It's been a busy year in London restaurants - so busy that it's sometimes hard to remember just how many big new restaurants have opened over the last 12 months or so. We reckoned there wasn't anywhere else you could find a comprehensive list of the restaurants whose openings have excited London's foodies, so if you think you've missed anything, this is the place to look. Of course, if you're visiting London for the first time in a while, and like to know what's worth trying, this is what you've missed so far.
We'll keep this list updated every month - removing older restaurants and adding new ones as time goes on. So if you're looking for a snapshot of where London food is today - the Hot Dinners Best In Show list is where to come.
In a nutshell: Simon Rogan comes to London
Where is it? Marylebone
Why should you care? It's still early days, but Simon Rogan's London outpost is one of the biggest openings of the Summer, bringing food with a feel of the original L'enclume to London and headed up by Ben Spalding. Reviews of this restaurant should start appearing in the next few weeks.
In a nutshell: South London tapas
Where is it? Bermondsey
Why should you care? José Pizarro, who made his name with the Brindisa restaurants, has finally gone it alone with his tapas bar in Bermondsey. The quality of the tapas is among the best in London and the critics have raved. But it's a tiny joint so be prepared to stand at busy times - at least until he opens his more sedate restaurant next door (later this year).
Read more about Jose
In a nutshell: Marcus Wareing's railway restaurant
Where is it? King's Cross
Why should you care? Marcus Wareing's railway hotel outpost has received mixed reviews in the press with some raves from the Guardian and the Independent, but a more muted response from the Standard and Metro. It's still one of the most impressive buildings and rooms you'll ever eat in and a must to try if you're in the area, particularly if you’re arriving or leaving on the Eurostar. Particular highlights are the cocktails and classy bar menu - read our test drive here.
Read more about The Gilbert Scott
In a nutshell: Hoxton fave comes to Soho
Where is it? Soho
Why should you care? The original Cay Tre has been a Hoxton favourite for years, alongside its sibling, Viet Grill. Now shoppers and advertising execs can sample the best Vietnamese London has to offer right in the heart of Soho. If you like what you try here, you may want to venture closer to the original location, to the company’s Banh Mi shop Keu by Old Street station.
Read more about Cay Tre Soho
In a nutshell: Fergus turns Innkeeper.
Where is it? Leicester Square
Why should you care? The latest St John has gained a great deal of attention, even managing to attract critics from the New York and LA Times. Expect a very similar menu to the original St John, pared down with no frills or fancies. It's received some great reviews, but it's certainly not cheap and this has put a few reviewers off. If budget is a consideration, come here for the start of the day and a St John Breakfast Bun which is only available here.
Read more about St John Hotel
In a nutshell: Polpo gets secretive.
Where is it? Soho
Why should you care? Coming off the back of the successes of Polpo and Polpetto, Russell Norman manages to go even smaller with Spuntino. Styled after American diners in the Village, this is all bare brickwork, fast eating and counter dining. As before, there are no bookings taken and there isn't even a name on the door. But everyone seems to know where to find it anyway, as the queues were huge right after opening (but they diminish fast thanks to the speedy service). The reviews were, as usual for Norman, highly positive. Expect high quality small American style bites, smart cocktails and down-to-earth service.
Read more about Spuntino
In a nutshell: Ottolenghi goes large.
Where is it? Soho
Why should you care? Yotam Ottlolenghi's pattisserie/cafe/restaurants throughout town have earned themselves many ardent followers. Now he's finally opened a more traditional restaurant right in the middle of Soho. While the prices are considerably elevated from what you might b used to from Ottolenghi, the cooking is very much there - albeit in a much more formal setting.
Read more about NOPI
In a nutshell: Heston comes to Town
Where is it? Mandarin Oriental, Mayfair
Why should you care? When Heston Blumenthal first announced that he was to finally open a restaurant in London, expectation was understandably high. But Heston met this flawlessly, and the biggest restaurant opening in years became the most successful and well reviewed London restaurant in a heartbeat. From Dinner, you can expect less of the experimentation of the Fat Duck (Meat Fruit aside) and more of a classic British menu, reinterpreted.
Read more about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
In a nutshell: Smart tapas in Covent Garden.
Where is it? Covent Garden
Why should you care? Surprisingly for such a cultural destination, Covent Garden is not best known for culinary treats as it caters to the more touristy end of the market. However, this is beginning to change and Opera Tavern is up there with the best of them in the rest of London. From the people behind Dehesa and Salt Yard, Opera Tavern specialises in high class tapas dishes and does them damned well, earning them a very rare five star review from Marina O'Loughlin in Metro and plaudits from many more critics.
Read more about Opera Tavern
In a nutshell: Terroirs mark 2.
Where is it? Shoreditch
Why should you care? The original Terroirs, just off the Strand, has proven to be an ongoing favourite of many critics and chefs in London, so the follow up restaurants was bound to get a great deal of interest. Luckily the food and wine has passed muster with many critics and this looks like another hit.
Read more about Brawn
In a nutshell: Vinoteca goes west.
Where is it? Marylebone
Why should you care? Yet another longtime favourite - the original near Smithfields finally got a sister restaurant/wine bar/shop in Marylebone. one that lives up to the promise of the original.
Read more about Vinoteca Marylebone
In a nutshell: Return of the classic .
Where is it? Savoy Hotel, Strand
Why should you care? The Savoy Grill is a much loved London institution and all eyes were on Gordon Ramsay as be revamped it under the care of Stuart Gillies. Gordon himself may not have had a fantastic 2010, but the new opening finally got his company the positive press he needed, with many critics raving about the revamped restaurant.
Read more about the Savoy Grill
In a nutshell: Danish influenced cuisine.
Where is it? Farringdon
Why should you care? When Noma won the coveted "Best Restaurant in the World" title earlier this year, Danish cooking was once again under the spotlight. This venture is Christoffer Hruskova's first venture since the successful Fig in Islington and many critics agree that it's the closest you can get to Noma style cooking in the UK at the moment.
Read more about North Road
In a nutshell: The best oysters in Soho.
Where is it? Soho, Kingly Court
Why should you care? Wright Brothers has been a Borough Market favourite for many years, and this year joined the ranks of expanding restaurants by opening in Soho, somewhat hidden away in Kingly Court. So if you're looking for an Oyster fix in the heart of Soho, this is the place to go.
Read more about Wright Brothers Soho
In a nutshell: Steak lovers' paradise.
Where is it? Pimlico
Why should you care? Along with Goodman City (see below) Hawksmoor has redefined steak in London, finally proving that the city can offer steakhouses to rival the best of new York. This second location for Hawksmoor was the best reviewed new restaurant in 2010 gaining plaudits for not only the steaks, but also the excellent bar food, particularly the Kimchi Burger, one of the best in London.
Read more about Hawksmoor Seven Dials
In a nutshell: Big brasserie.
Where is it? Strand/Covent Garden
Why should you care? Will Smith and Anthony Demetre have had huge success with Wild Honey and Arbutus and have expanded with a third restaurant, a much larger venue based around a classic French brasserie - with British influences in the food. Another instant hit with critics and ideally placed for theatreland - this is bound to be perennially popular.
Read more about Les Deux Salons
In a nutshell: Moro next door.
Where is it? Exmouth Market
Why should you care? Sam and Sam Clark had resisted opening a follow up to the hugely successful Moro for many years, but when they decided to expand - they didn't go far. This new venture is next door to the original Moro and is a much smaller affair. It concentrates on smaller tapas dishes and critics have commented on both the great quality and great value of the food on offer.
Read more about Morito
In a nutshell: Locatelli's protégés.
Where is it? Pimlico
Why should you care? With the backing of Giorgio Locatelli, this was always going to be one to watch and it continues the recent run of excellent Italian restaurants in London. Somewhat more upmarket than Zucca and Trullo, both in the posh Pimlico area and the designer interior, this is run by two brothers Max and Federico Sali and is already a hit with its Pimlico neighbours.
Read more about Tinello
In a nutshell: Mini Polpo.
Where is it? Soho
Why should you care? Less than a year after Polpo opened to resounding success, Russell Norman is at it again with Polpetto - a tiny restaurant above the French House. Already hugely popular and, once again, not taking bookings in the evening this mini-venetian takes on some of the best of Polpo while adding some new creations of its own. It's also managed by Polpo chef Tom Oldroyd, so if you liked Polpo then going to Polpetto is a no-brainer. If you can get in the door.
Read more about Polpetto
In a nutshell: Second steakhouse hit.
Where is it? Old Jewry, The City
Why should you care? Last year, the original Goodman (albeit itself taking after a Russian restaurant) opened in Mayfair and it's steadily built itself a reputation as serving some of - if not the - best steaks in London. No slow road to success for the new Goodman opening in the city - it's already had some rave reviews and is doing storming business. Along with Hawksmoor (also coming soon to Covent Garden) this restaurant proves that London's finally able to do steakhouses right.
Read more about Goodman City
In a nutshell: The master returns.
Where is it? Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge
Why should you care? When Pierre Koffmann launched his pop-up restaurant at Selfridges in 2009, the outpouring of admiration for the returning chef and his food was unstoppable. Ever since, rumours of a new venture - his first since the phenomenally successful La Tante Clare - brewed, until the announcement that he's be taking up shop in the old Boxwood Cafe in the Berkeley Hotel. This is, without doubt, one of the biggest openings in London this year (until Heston opens across the road) and, looking at the menu, it promises to be a tour de force from an old master.
Read more about Koffmann's
In a nutshell: City wine experimentation.
Where is it? Fetter Lane, The City
Why should you care? The people behind the Michelin starred Texture opened this new venture in the City with a much stronger focus on wine, offering a number of unique wines all available by the glass, carafe or bottle. Along with a decent bar menu, critics have been impressed by the food, from ex Gordon Ramsay chef Paul Walsh.
Read more about 28-50
In a nutshell: Affordable River Cafe in Islington.
Where is it? Highbury Corner, Islington
Why should you care? This is Hot Dinners' local restaurant, but it's also been one of the best restaurants that we've been to in 2010. Most of the critics agree with us - so it's not just the three minute walk to the excellent and affordable Italian food that has swayed us. With an ever changing menu, and wine that has a maximum mark-up of £10 this is a "local" restaurant worth travelling for.
Read more about Trullo
In a nutshell: 90's top French chef returns to town.
Where is it? Park Plaza Hotel, Waterloo
Why should you care? The latest of the big-name French chefs to return to London (with Koffmann hot on his heels), Joel Antunes was a big name here in the late 90s with his restaurant Les Saveurs. He's returned to run the first floor food at the Park Plaza Waterloo and, so far, the reception has been warm. It's also pretty much the only destination restaurant in the area and a good place for a business lunch so certainly worth trying out if you're down there.
Read more about Brasserie Joel