There's a lot about food and restaurants to read online, but sometimes it's hard for real London food fans to find the best out there. So here's a short list of the sites and reviewers that Hot Dinners rates.
Fay Maschler and David Sexton
The newspaper reviewers
London Evening Standard
Arguably the grande dame of the London restaurant reviewing scene, Fay Maschler (backed up by David Sexton) is usually the first to review any big-name restaurant, and is possibly the most influential restuarant reviewer in the town. The Evening Standard reviews concentrate on the food and dining experience, rather than the personalities of the reviewers
AA Gill and Giles Coren
Both restaurant reviewers for the Times are typical examples of a restaurant review being 80% about the critic and 20% about the actual restaurant. This makes for an entertaining read and there's no questioning the two critics' vast gastronomic knowledge, but you might prefer that they stuck to the matter at hand and told you just a little bit more about the restaurants they visit.
Guy Dimond and more
Tackling pretty much every single restaurant in London, Time Out reviews are well worth a read, partucularly as they are updated every year in line with the yearly Time Out Guide to Eating in London.
Feargus O'Sullivan and Marina O'Loughlin
thelondonpaper and Metro
The two free london papers both have outspoken food critics. Feargus O'Sullivan was behind thelondonpaper's anti-table-turning campaign, and Marina O'Loughlin from Metro won't visit a restaurant in the first few days of its opening - preferring to review it once both kitchen and front of house staff have bedded down. It's also worth checking out free City paper, CityAM's reviews too.
Matthew Norman and Jay Rayner
Matthew Norman can be relied on to use both extremes of the rating scale - restaurants are often excellent or terrible and seldom in-between - and we like his honesty about restaurants that try to "bribe" him with special service (and his resulting deducting or adding of points). Jay Rayner, meanwhile, is the only newpaper reviewer that doesn't give a score in his restuarant reviews. This can give us some headaches at Hot Dinners, but his reviews are always particularly heated (especially the negative ones) so it's usually very easy to see where he stands in the rating scale. His blog is also well worth a read.
Terry Durack, Tracey MacLeod and John Walsh
The Independent's main triumverate of food critics. Our main complaint (and one to accasionally throw at AA Gill and Giles Coren) is that the Independent and Sunday Indepepndent often review the same restaurant on consecutive days - when spreading out the reviews would have more impact.
Zoe Williams and Jasper Gerard
Jasper Gerard bucks the usual critic trend of visiting the newest restaurants and often visits them as they're past the opening period - often leading to a more measured review, while Zoe Williams also tends to review those restaurants that others miss.
Dos Hermanos are, without doubt, the uncrowned kings of the London restaurant reviewing scene. Rivalling Fay Maschler for being first on the scene at any new opening in town, between them they cover all walks of London eating from the local chippy to 3 starred Michelin restaurants. Very entertaining reading and rivalled only by Jay Rayner for their knowledge and clarity of opinion, this blog is a must-read for any Londoner interested in food.
Andy Hayler's perhaps best known for his quest to eat in every 3 star Michelin restaurant in the world, and has certainly visited all the top places in London. Particularly useful is that he regularly revisits places and gives an updated rating, something we'd like to see more of from the national papers.
An American girl on a quest to find the best dining in London - well worth a read.
A girl has to eat
This globe-trotting blogger is, by her own admission 'very, very good at eating'. Her blog features restaurant reviews from all over the world as well as cookery school reviews.
Can you recommend any blogs that should be on our list? Let us know.