The restaurant scene in London has never been hotter. Big name chefs and restaurants from all over the world have their eyes on us, new trends are popping up all the time and areas previously devoid of decent food are becoming hot culinary destinations.
We update this list monthly with the restaurants causing the biggest stir in town - the ones which reviewers are thrilled about, where tables are like gold dust or places that are just serving the most interesting and inventive food in town right now. We know there are plenty of great classic restaurants (and we're covering them in our Top 40 - London's Best Restaurants feature) but these are the hottest, in alphabetical order...
Where: Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JJ
In a nutshell: Ex Kitty Fisher's chef Tomos Parry's Shoreditch restaurant
He was an instant hit when he started at Kitty Fisher's (after a successful stint at Climpson's Arch) so all eyes were on Tomos Parry for his next venture. An impressive open kitchen sets the scene, making the cooking over fire central to the restaurant experience. And a partnership with the people behind Noble Rot means that the wine's pretty decent too. Expect wonderful cooking - the turbot and the beef chop should both be on your list. And don't miss the small plates, as Keith Miller in the Telegraph says - "spider crab, one of many Basque touches on the menu, was tossed with cabbage – perfect with its slightly funky flavour – and fennel." Giles Coren was an instant fan, saying; "It’s that good. That different. That special."
Where: 1 Westgate Street, London E8 3RL
In a nutshell: P Franco open their first standalone restaurant
The much-loved Clapton wine bar was always a highlight of East London when it came to food.Then they went one step further, opening their first full restaurant in Netil House where Ellory used to be. James Ramsden (co-owner of Pidgin and Magpie) said their Cantonese style duck hearts were the "best thing I've eaten all year" and Instagrammer Felicity Spector found herself "literally gasping in admiration at a dish of crab in a kind of ajo blanco." The FT's Tim Hayward concurred, admiring the kitchen team's "quiet self-confidence".
26-28 Ray Street Clerkenwell London EC1R 3DJ
In a nutshell: Henry Harris does pub food
Giles Coren loved his meal here, saying Henry Harris's latest restaurant featured "familiar dishes but less polished, rougher-edged, revealing a genuine French family kitchen style. And all the rarer and more interesting for it." His opinion was echoed by Tom Parker Bowles in the Mail on Sunday who said The Coach served up "Great French food in the most English of pubs. Vive l’entente cordiale."
3 Prince Edward Road, Hackney Wick, E9 5LX
In a nutshell: Seasonal dining in Hackney
Tom Brown's had plenty of seafood experience, most recently at Outlaw's at the Capital - but now he's opened his own place in Hackney and there's still plenty of seafood on the menu. Food blogger Elizabeth Auerbach said she "was immediately impressed with his cooking from the first bite on" and Giles Coren declared the food "out of this world... I’ve never been one for tarama on veg. So I smeared it on their otherworldly sourdough toast with dripping and my eyes just rolled back in my head …". We also took it for a Test Drive.
316 Queensbridge Road, Hackney, London E8 3NH
In a nutshell: Tom Oldroyd's Hackney pub
It's early days for the Duke of Richmond, but there's been huge anticipation of the second Oldroyd restaurant, not least because the head chef is Rory Shannon, coming off a very well reviewed stint at Winemakers Deptford. Both the main dining room and the pub sound like they're worth separate visits, and we're hearing very good things about their burger. Not to mention the slow roasted duck on the Sunday lunch menu.
28 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DJ
In a nutshell: 11 seater restaurant from the Palomar folk
The ambience is relaxed, as though the whole restaurant is at the same dinner party," says Vogue.com of the latest opening from the Palomar crowd. And blogger Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits praised the "gorgeous lean, minerally oysters" on Instagram. And Kate Spicer in The Standard said "The food was split between good and the last three dishes we ate, which moved into a different realm of awesome."
85 Piccadilly, London W1J 7NB
In a nutshell: Dabbous mk II. And then some.
Of course, the pre-opening buzz surrounding Ollie Dabbous' new venture with Hedonism Wines was crazy, but then the Standard review came out and it was a good 'un. The place looks completely amazing, and it's definitely one to put on any self-respecting London foodie's list. And if your budget is tight, go for breakfast instead. Frankie McCoy gave it five stars in the Standard, saying "Don’t overthink it. Dabbous is knocking out his most fabulous five-star food yet." And Fiona Beckett in The Decanter said; "It’s worth ordering the extra course of what is simply described as ‘Cornish Fish in two services’ to experience one of the best fish stews you’ll ever have eaten."
41-43 Atlantic Road, London SW9 8JL
In a nutshell: Kricket returns to its home ground
When Kricket moved into Soho, it was a great move for them but many were obviously going to miss them on their home turf of Pop Brixton. Now they're back in a permanent restaurant with all the hits and a lot more besides (not least the ability to book a seat).
64 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DN
In a nutshell: Selin Kiazim's Oklava follow-up
Selin Kiazim's Oklava in Shoreditch has been a quiet, consistent hit, so there was always going to be a lot of attention on their follow up. This Fitzrovia restaurant sees her once again teaming up with Oklava's Laura Christie for this Turkish restaurant. And it's already impressed The Standard, as David Sexton said "Kyseri is a treat of the kind that only a restaurant culture as vigorous and varied as London’s makes possible."
18 Phipp Street, London EC2A 4NU
In a nutshell: Michelin-starred Ellory moves to Shoreditch
A big hit in London Fields - and Michelin-starred to boot - there have been changes for Ellory. They've moved from their original digs into the heart of Shoreditch, and changed the name in the process (it was the nickname of the original). With that comes more of a bistro focus. David Sexton was a fan of their asparagus dish - "This felt like a delicious rebuke to the sloppiness of asparagus with hollandaise, an impressive composition more than it was commonplace food." And Grace Dent declared the move a total success saying: "Ellory was good – we all loved Ellory – but Leroy is much, much better."
51 Greek Street, London W1D 4EH
In a nutshell: Italian deli turns its hand to a restaurant.
Italian deli Lina stores has been a beloved fixture of Soho for over 75 years, so the news that they were opening a pasta restaurant on Greek Street was clearly news for celebration. Primarily all about fresh pasta (which London can't get enough of lately, it seems). Susannah Butter in the Standard says "they’ve mastered the pasta. That should be enough to ensure it becomes a Soho institution like the deli."
18 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BE
In a nutshell: Upscale hotel gets the former Richmond dream team
Brett Redman (Elliots) and stylist-turned-restaurateur Margaret Crow last teamed up for the oyster shack The Richmond in Hackney. Here they've been given a gorgeous dining room with its own separate entrance on Guilford Street for their seafood-focused restaurant. "Half cooked langousitnes and rock oysters with aquachile" were the highlights of the much-instagrammed seafood platter according to food writer Ed Smith, who dubbed it "unusually inventive and fun for a restaurant based in a large, grandish central London hotel."
27 King Street, London WC2E 8JD
In a nutshell: The famed floral restaurant comes to the centre of town.
The buzz on the foodie grapevine was good for this serious new Covent Garden endeavour - just try getting a table here for dinner and you'll see how good. Instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy saved his greatest praise for the "incredible pistachio and hazelnut semifreddo." Unfortunately Marina O'Loughlin wasn't as impressed feeling "it has none of the insouciant, bucolic charm of the original."
35 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BR
In a nutshell: Ex Barrafina chef Nieves Barragan opens her own restaurant
The restaurant from the person who propelled Barrafina to its success has proven to be a huge instant hit. With two separate entities - the downstairs restaurant and the upstairs asador, both have proven to be winners. Grace Dent in The Guardian said "it’s still – and this is testament to Barragán and Etura – some of the best Spanish food in Great Britain." And of the Asador upstairs, Giles Coren said "This is Spain. This is how they eat and live. And that is how slow-cooked natural piglet tastes and smells. Terrible and delicious."
4 St James's Market, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4QU
In a nutshell: Ex NOPI chef goes it alone
Ex NOPI chef Ramael Scully has opened up his first restaurant in the St James's Market development and it's getting as much praise as his Ottolenghi-helmed previous restaurant. Here you can expect a range of cuisines that draw across family influences that include Chinese, Indian, Irish and Balinese with the arepa, eggplant sambal, and bergamot labneh being an early favourite. Plus the menu should grow and evolve as all the pickling and preparation Scully has put in takes fruit later in the year - and that's what ES reviewer Robert Peston says made "most of what we ate mind-blowing." Tim Hayward agreed saying the tomato shrub salad, "I guarantee will change the way you think about salads."
148 Clapham Manor St, London SW4 6BX
In a nutshell: Classic coastal Italian food from The Dairy crowd
Fay Maschler gave Sorella a rare four stars, saying their "tagliatelle with pork and nduja ragù at the second meal was everything you want from a bowl of pasta including comfort and joy." And Grace Dent said "The cep gnocchi with wild mushrooms is outstanding."
1A Shepherd St, Mayfair, London W1J 7HJ
In a nutshell: Shepherd Market gyoza bar
This new gyoza spot in Mayfair completely won over the Financial Times reviewer Tim Hayward who said: "It’s also got a seriously talented chef who seems to want to create unique food that makes people happy. And that’s kind of heart-warming."
Ones to watch...
From London's recently-opened restaurants here are the ones who aren't quite ready for the list but are worth keeping an eye on...
- Stem - This is the third restaurant from the people behind Anglo and Neo Bistro.
- Inko Nito - Giles Coren says it's not perfect but loved the crab tartare with chicken skin crackers
- Crepes and Cones - Rapper duo Krept and Konan are making regular appearances at their Croydon restaurant and the crowds keep on coming
- The Bluecoats - If a single place could signal the foodie evolution of an area, it seems this pub with Lucky Chip doing the food is it
- Temper - Neil Rankin's new pizza and vermouth spot in Covent Garden is building a steady fanbase. "Like a posh Chicago Town pizza and I mean that in a very good way" says blogger Samphire & Salsify.
- 24 The Oval - this neighbourhood spot won the heart of Susannah Butter in the Standard who wondered of the ingredients, "it’s a mystery how they were made to taste so intoxicating."
- And only just opened at the time of writing - but Brigadiers and St Leonards have hit written all over them.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.