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 regularly 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: 9 Maddox St, Mayfair, London W1S 2PA
In a nutshell: Jamavar does Mumbai street food
Ben Norum in The Standard describes this "less high-end but just as polished [as Jamavar], and another shining star of a restaurant...For a curry restaurant that has as much class and conviviality as its food has complexity and allure, Bombay Bustle is hard to beat." Marina O'Loughlin isn't mad on the clientele, but finds the goat keema pao "thrums with flavour" and is equally fixated by "Frilly little fried gram-flour patties of red onion and whole mild green chillies stuffed with mustard-seed flecked potato" which she says are "exquisite."
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. This sees him cooking in a restaurant that's directly above Smoking Goat in Shoreditch. An impressive open kitchen sets the scene, making their 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."
34-43 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HA
In a nutshell: Trendy vegan food from across the pond
It's apparently impossible to get a table here, so mobbed has this American import been since it opened in early February. Restaurant Magazine declared themselves "pretty impressed" and Instagrammers seem split between wanting to take pictures of the neon Guac save the Queen sign and the faux fish and chips.
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."
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.
16 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4HW
In a nutshell: Much-lauded Indian restaurant comes to London
In her second review of 2018, Fay Maschler accorded this with one of her rare five stars, "This is Indian food but not as we know it, Jim." Grace Dent was similarly delighted with her meal here calling the soy keema "one of the greatest vegetarian offerings I’ve ever tasted." even if she didn't think she'd be back on her own dime.
119 Queens Road, Peckham, London SE15 2EZ
In a nutshell: Peckham gets a South African inspired eatery
"A vibrant new addition to the neighbourhood," concluded the Standard's Ben Norum, who loved the Pigs head tortellini which he says "burst with a deep meaty flavour that neatly contrasts the gently fragrant broth they bob in." While babka expert Felicity Spector said, "the food is wonderful and it’s warm and welcoming and beautifully designed."
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 afoot for Ellory. They've moved from their original digs into the heat of Shoreditch, and changed the name in the process (it was the nickname of the original). With that comes more of a bistro focus, but the regularly changing small plates should prove just as much a hit as Ellroy.
70-74 City Road, London EC1
In a nutshell: Casual bistro dining from a promising chef
Arriving at his first restaurant via the kitchens of St John Bread & Wine, Lockhart, and the Chiltern Firehouse, expectations for Niall Davidson's Nuala are running high. Fay Maschler picks out the dauphinoise with lamb fat gravy for particular praise "How fitting that a predominantly Gaelic enterprise should excel in spuds."
39 Endell St, London WC2H 9BA
In a nutshell: The next restaurant from the people behind The Ten Cases
Fay Maschler gives this seafood spot in WC2 four stars, praising it for an "irresistible" menu from which "the croquettes, tanned, fat and rubble-rough with panko crumbs, must not be missed". It's also a hit with blogger Chris Pople who says it's "so close to perfect as makes no odds."
NEW: Passyunk Avenue
80 Cleveland Street, London, United Kingdom
In a nutshell: Philly cheesesteak champions
The Philly cheesesteak is a much-loved dish for many folk, but it's often easy to get it oh-so-wrong. Not so for Passyunk Avenue who have been perfecting their own version as a Spitalfields food truck and who have now moved into their permanent Fitzrovian accommodation. Part fast food, part dive bar - if you want the best Philly cheesesteak in London - here's where to go.
64 Dean Street, London W1D 4QG
In a nutshell: Barca beachy vibes in the heart of Soho
Fay Maschler doesn't dole out five stars regularly, so when she does it's worth sitting up and taking note. She loved her meal at Rambla, stating "It is not often that authenticity is handled with such a keen collector’s eye for gastronomic advances." Felicity Cloake in The Guardian praised their oxtail canelones which she reckoned was "the most pleasure you’ll get in Soho for a fiver these days."
The ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
In a nutshell: Shoreditch classic finds a second home on The Mall
There were probably a lot of folk wondering where the oddball Rochelle Canteen would survive in translation when it opened a second place at the ICA just down the road from Buckingham Palace. Happily, it appears to have done just that. Fay Maschler gave it four stars in the Standard adding that "Desserts deserve a rave of their own, particularly a smooth meringue with a chewy heart." Jay Rayner is a huge fan of the pie (as were Hot Dinners) and says "It is solid and sustaining. It is British cooking, by way of summers in the Dordogne."
5-7 Blandford St, Marylebone, London W1U 3DB
In a nutshell: Simon Rogan is back in London
Back in town with his revival of Roganic, Simon Rogan is getting great reviews. In the Telegraph, Katherine Flett says "we consume everything punctuated by countless oohs, amazings and I-didn’t-expect-thats" but isn't so sure about the "fun" of it all. And Grace Dent was wowed by the desserts - "A mini caramelised douglas fir tarte tatin was a bewildering work of apple architecture: what felt like a million tiny, dainty slivers somehow arranged into a coherent, edible artwork."
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. As blogger The Foodie Diaries puts it - "Scully is quite possibly one of the most fascinating restaurants to dine at in London, right now"
64 Shoreditch High Street London E1 6JJ
In a nutshell: Fiery Thai challenges convention moving from west to east London
Going in the opposite direction to everyone else, Smoking Goat began life in Charing Cross and is now branching out east. "There've been a couple of lukewarm reviews for this, the second, eastern version of the edge-of-Soho Thai barbecue and beer-food bar and restaurant," mentions food writer Ed Smith of Rocket & Squash, "Which is nuts, because the sourcing is first class (the finest mussel I've ever had, ever, ever — in a d'tom yam soup) and the delivery fiery." While Keith Miller in the Telegraph says "there’s a real excitement to it – a sense of élan and creativity and sheer, simple enjoyment – that I can’t remember encountering too often elsewhere."
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." Expect to see reviews in soon from Giles Coren and Grace Dent both of whom have been in recently.
Ones to watch...
There are always a few just-opened restaurants that aren't quite ready for the list - but worth keeping an eye on...
- Sapling - this new wine-focused restaurant in Dalston is getting great early buzz (look out for our Test Drive soon)
- Delamina - The people behind Strut and Cluck have created an instantly popular Middle Eastern kitchen in Marylebone.
- Bryn Williams at Somerset House - The Odettes chef is working wonders in the kitchen at this classic London spot as evidenced by our recent Test Drive.
- Kettner's Townhouse - Soho House's latest opening is Soho institution Kettner's. We've already spent a night there and loved it.
- Mare Street Market - Just opened, this is looking like a big hit, and even more so when Gizzi Erskine's main restaurant opens.
- Vurger and Co - the vegan burger place in Shoreditch is currently going down a storm on Insta.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.