Hot Dinners recommends

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. If you're looking for all-time classics, see our Top 40 - London's Best Restaurants feature) as these are the hottest at this very moment, in alphabetical order...

 

NEW: AllegraNEW: Allegra

Where: Olympic Park, 20-22 International Way, London E20 1GQ

In a nutshell: Ex Chiltern Firehouse chef Patrick Powell heads to The Stratford

This restaurant has been a long time in the coming, promised at various times over the summer but now Patrick Powell's east London home has been unveiled. it's in the big new The Stratford building just by the station and a lot of attention has gone into the look of the place. It has an enormous terrace for both the bar and the restaurant and look out for that smoked eel pithivier on Instagram this month. 

More about Allegra

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10 Heddon Street10 Heddon Street

Where: 10 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BX

In a nutshell: Italian inspired restaurant with a British accent for Heddon Street

The first restaurant to take a residency at this new space off Regent Street is a team-up between David Carter from Smokestake and Chris Leach of Petersham Nurseries. Chef and food writer Isaac Carew said of their pig and apple ketchup "I could eat for the rest of my life" and Grace Dent was in recently trying the roast pink fir potatoes with cod's roe. Another diner was roving maître d' Jon Spiteri who called Leach's ravioli dish "transcendental".

Our 10 Heddon Street Test Drive

 

The BettermentNEW: The Betterment

Where: 39-44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London W1K 2HP

In a nutshell: Jason Atherton shacks up in a hotel

It's been a while since Jason Atherton opened a new restaurant in town and this time he's going big. The Betterment is part of the new Biltmore hotel, and Atherton's looking after all the food and drink throughout. Early signs are promising - the onion flower looks like being the Instagram photo of choice - with reviews to come. With this opening being directly opposite his old boss Gordon Ramsay's Lucky Cat, there will be more than a few folk watching this face-off.

More about The Betterment

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Circolo PopolareCircolo Popolare

Where: Rathbone Square, London W1T 1JN

In a nutshell: Big Mamma does Sicilian in Fitzrovia

The second opening from the Big Mamma Group here in London, following Gloria, was an instantly huge hit. It's a freaking dream to look at - if you didn't manage a summer holiday this year, just pop in here and pretend you're on the Med - and the food and cocktails more than live up to that promise. Marina O'Loughlin isn't terribly impressed by the food, but says that doesn't matter - "I go with two pals, if possible even trickier customers than I am, and we have the jolliest time." And Jimi Famurewa in the Standard says it "legitimately feels like the hottest place in town."

More about Circolo Popolare

Our Circolo Popolare Test Drive

 

Darby'sDarby's

Where: 3 Viaduct Gardens Road, Embassy Gardens, London, SW11 7AY

In a nutshell: The Dairy team take on Vauxhall

This is the latest restaurant from the people behind The Dairy - Robin and Sarah Gill, as well as Dairy alumnus Dean Parker in the kitchen. They were the first to open in the brand new Embassy Gardens (opposite the US embassy) with a restaurant and bar that's dedicated to Robin's dad. There's a mix of bar and restaurant here (they're aiming for the feel of a club without the fee), with a few New York Irish influences in the menu.  Grace Dent left impressed - "A plate of dayboat monkfish fillet, again in seaweed butter, is heroically good." Fay Maschler found the service "delightful".

More about Darby's

Our Darby's Test Drive

 

FlorFlor

1 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL

In a nutshell: Lyle's open a wine bar in Borough

With Lyle's being one of only two UK restaurants in the World's 50 Best, there was great anticipation for their next opening, Flor in Borough. Those expectations have been met and then some. Offering something more of a small plates version of Lyle's, this combines wine bar, bakery and restaurant into what is immediately one of Borough's best places to eat - ideal for dinner or just dropping in for a quick bite and a glass. Giles Coren was an early admirer - with the much-Instagrammed prawns being "So, so good." and in ES Magazine, Jimi Famurewa praised its "lightly challenging, immensely skilled approach".

Find out more about Flor

Our Flor Test Drive

 

Four Legs at the Compton ArmsFour Legs at the Compton Arms

4 Compton Avenue, London N1 2XD

In a nutshell: Small plates at classic Islington pub

The Compton Arms has been a local of ours for many years now, so we were extremely pleased with the recent (and much needed) refurb and revamp under Nick Stephens (The Gun). Bringing in Four Legs has also been a masterstroke. Their menu changes daily, offering something truly seasonal for the area, and they're also turning out what has quickly become one of London's very best burgers. The Dexter Burger is worth crossing town for - and the rest of the changing menu will make you keep coming back to this Islington jewel. 

Our Four Legs Test Drive

 

JuliesNEW: Julie's

Where: 135 Portland Rd, Holland Park, London W11 4LW

In a nutshell: Legendary Holland Park restaurant returns

A celeb magnet well before it closed in 2015, expect this Holland Park restaurant to quickly get those celebs back through the door, now that it's finally reopened. The complete refurb looks great and it's paired with a menu by ex-Goring chef Shay Cooper, so the food looks like being just as impressive as the company. 

More about Julie's

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NandineNandine

Where: 45 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8TR

In a nutshell: Popular Kurdish spot expands to Camberwell.

People really love Nandine - and we mean REALLY love it. There's something about the food and the hospitality that goes down a treat with Londoners. Jay Rayner loves the popular mezze dish in his review for The Observer which he declares: "an extremely diverting plateful for just £5.50." In ES Magazine Jimi Famurewa says: "I’m struggling to conceive of anyone stepping through its doors without falling in love."

More about Nandine

 

NormaNEW: Norma

Where: 8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2LS

In a nutshell: Ben Tish does Sicilian in Fitzrovia

Ex Salt Yard chef Ben Tish was already responsible for the food at The Stafford, but this restaurant has them teaming up in a completely different location, with a focus on Sicilian cooking. And it looks like this partnership is pairing up nicely with a rave review from Fay Maschler who says "I keep going back" - so it must be good, plus another good one from Giles Coren who said the menu "is incredibly thrilling and unfamiliar."

More about Norma

Book Norma

 

Pick n CheeseNEW: Pick n Cheese

Where: Seven Dials Market, Thomas Neal's Warehouse, London WC2H 9QW

In a nutshell: The cheese conveyor belt

On reflection, it seems pretty obvious that the world's first cheese conveyor belt restaurant would turn out to be a huge thing, but the worldwide attention that Pick N Cheese, by the people behind The Cheese Bar, has received has been huge. And it's easy to see why - it's more than just a gimmick with some real care in the cheese pairings - both wine and condiments - and the off-belt additions are also winners. But the conveyor belt itself is the real winner and it becomes hypnotic once you sit in front of it. Head along to some of the other vendors in Seven Dials Market and finish off your evening here. 

Our Pick n Cheese Test Drive

 

Pophams HackneyPophams Hackney

Where: 197 Richmond Rd, London E8 3NJ

In a nutshell: Insta-friendly bakery expands to Hackney

ES Magazine's Jimi Famurewa was first in the doors to the new Pophams branch where the taleggio cappalletti dish delivered "nuanced contrasts of sweetness and salt, crunch and chew, all high-fiving in immensely pleasing ways." Instagrammer Felicity Spector concurred calling the same dish "genius". Blogger Samphire & Salsify says "it's a little bit fabulous. If you like carbs, go."

More about Pophams Hackney

 

The Sea The SeaThe Sea The Sea

Where: 174 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London SW1X 0AW.

In a nutshell: Fishmonger by day, bar by night in Chelsea.

Marina O'Loughlin admits she wasn't a fan of chef Leandro Carreira's previous restaurant, but she was hugely positivity about this Chelsea opening. Apologising for gushing she says the food here is "all so simple, so clever, so glorious to eat." Blogger Londoneater called a dish of crisp topped with scallops and a savoury Nutella "a simple but sensational exercise of layers and texture." on Instagram.

More about The Sea The Sea

 

SeabirdNEW: Seabird

Where: 14th Floor, 40 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8PB

In a nutshell: High rise seafood

The latest high-rise restaurant to hit London has come to the Hoxton hotel in Southwark - a brightly hued, airy restaurant on the top floor. The look of the place is impressive enough - it has a really gorgeous terrace - and that's paired with a pretty great menu. It's courtesy of the same people behind Brooklyn's Maison Premiere and they deliver an inventive seafood menu as well as a great oyster bar - and one of the biggest seafood towers we've seen. A great space, buzzy vibes and a good menu make this an instant hit.

More about Seabird

  

SirenSiren

Where: Goring Hotel, 15 Beeston Pl, Westminster, London SW1W 0JW

In a nutshell: Nathan Outlaw does seafood at an iconic London hotel 

Fay Maschler in the Standard came in early and wasn't a fan but over at the Sunday Times Marina O'Loughlin was supportive, calling Outlaw's restaurant here "more Markle than Middleton." She reserves the most praise for a cuttlefish black pudding which she likens to "some crazy Iberian/classic French/full English mash-up that makes your eyes roll back in your head with pleasure." And Grace Dent was also very impressed (although she does warn about the bill): "Siren lured me in and seduced me."

More about Siren

  

Tayer and ElementaryTayer + Elementary

Where: 152 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BJ

In a nutshell: Cocktails and Katsu sandos

Billed as a cocktail bar with great food, Tayer and Elementary certainly delivers on both of those. It comes from Alex Kratena, who won World's Best Bar four years in a row, and he's teamed up with top mixologist Monica Berg and katsu sandwich supremos Ta Ta Eatery for the food. Divided into two, there's a casual bar in front, with a more experimental Tayer bar in the back. Both are well worth your time, as is the excellent food by Ta Ta. Jimi Famurewa in the Standard is a fan - "the cooking at Tayēr + Elementary is heartening, awe-inspiring ." It's also already made the top 100 (straight in at 52) World's Best Bars list.

More about Tayer and Elementary

Our Tayer and Elementary Test Drive

 

Wild Honey St JamesWild Honey St James

Where: 8 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5NG

In a nutshell: Wild Honey Mk II 

Fans of the original Wild Honey have already been flocking to its new incarnation on Pall Mall, eager to reacquaint themselves with Anthony Demetre's cooking. Square Meal enjoyed their meal there, saying "Wild Honey might have lost the cosy charm of its Mayfair premises but its cooking still hits the sweet spot." William Sitwell in the Telegraph is also a fan, calling it "a magic-carpet ride across Europe".

More about Wild Honey St James

Our Wild Honey Test Drive

Book Wild Honey

 

VardoNEW: Vardo

Where: 9 Duke of York Square, London SW3 4LY

In a nutshell: Caravan goes west

The latest restaurant from the Caravan team isn't a restaurant at all, but a new launch from them in Chelsea. It shares certain elements of Caravan in a globetrotting menu and will be serving up a mean brunch. All this will go down very well with the Chelsea crowd, not to mention the amazing purpose-built building that it's in. Those windows that you see descend completely into the ground to very impressive effect, making it fully alfresco - if the weather holds. 

More about Vardo

Book Vardo

 

 

Ones to watch, open now...

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...

  • Arabica KX - The Borough market fave brings its Levantine food to King's Cross
  • Charlie's - Adam Byatt takes over at Brown's in Mayfair
  • Forza Wine - The people behind Forza Win take to the rooftops in Peckham
  • Loyal Tavern - ex Duck and Waffle chef sets up his shop in Bermondsey
  • Nutshell - an ex-Palomar chef cooking Iranian cuisine in Covent Garden
  • Sons + Daughters - the Pidgin duo do sandwiches in King's Cross

For more - read our guide to all the new restaurant openings in London.

 

Ones to watch, opening in October...

As Autumn continues, there are lots more new restaurants on the way...

  • Decimo - Peter Sanchez-Iglesias' high-end Mexican restaurant at the top of King's Cross hotel The Standard
  • Emile - a residency, but one with top talent behind it in Shoreditch. 
  • Great Scotland Yard hotel - The Dairy and Darby's Robin Gill take on all the food at the Whitehall hotel
  • Kolamba - More Sri Lankan cooking, this time in Soho with a focus on family recipes.
  • Mo Diner - Next door to Momo, a Mediterranean restaurant with a look influenced by US diners.
  • Oren - supperclub goes permanent in Dalston
  • Paradise - In the space left by Spuntino, a Sri Lankan restaurant that's been doing the supperclub rounds.
  • Silo - leading-edge no-wasted food in Hackney
  • Stoney Street - porridge and lots more besides in London Bridge
  • Trivet - Fat Duck alumni take over Bermondsey 
  • Wilder - Contemporary British food in the basement restaurant at Boundary

For more restaurant openings - read our guide to upcoming restaurants in September.

 

Where's Hot, mapped.

Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.

 

 

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