If this were just another restaurant in London, it wouldn't necessarily be a favourite (switching to King's English spelling for London reviews). Don't get me wrong, the food is very good, the service is perfectly fine, and the ambience is lovely. And these next paragraphs might make no difference to non-chessplayers, in which case you can stop here, and consider this review to be a "Very Good" for overall quality.
But for chessplayers, Simpson's is possibly the most historically important restaurant in the world. Opened in 1828 as Rie's Cigar Divan, it was a locus of chess activity throughout the 19th century. (Check out the chess displays in the lobby.) Let me tell you something that you wouldn't know otherwise. One of the special features of Simpson's is its trolley service -- the trolley cart is pushed up to your table, and your beef or pork is carved for you. Neat -- but why? Here's why. The trolley is a wonderful vestige of its chess-playing heritage. Chessplayers were completely absorbed in their games; who had time to order, or even look at a menu? So Simpson's solved the problem by wheeling the trolley up to each table, and the players could glance up from their game and point to their desired fare. Whenever I eat here, which is every time I visit London, I can still feel the tension of intense competition, the thick tobacco smoke (not today, of course), the cries of joy and agony from the chessplayers as the games marched to their regicidal conclusions.
If you're not a chessplayer, then go to Simpson's and have a very good, enjoyable meal. If you are, then welcome to the pinnacle of chess history, and bask in the glow of the hard-fought battles of centuries past.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.