We update this list monthly with the restaurants causing the biggest stir in town as these are the hottest at this very moment, in alphabetical order. (And if you're looking for all-time classics, see our London's Best Restaurants list).
Covent Garden - 15 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8QG
In a nutshell: Big Mamma's latest creation
Ave Mario, from the people behind Gloria and Circolo Popolare, follows the Big Mamma restaurant template. It's gaudily decorated and with huge dishes on offer like the enormous ice cream cake that they wheel about the room or a veal Milanese that's twice as big as your head (and huge cocktails too). Not everyone's a fan - The Standard's Jimi Famurewa was underwhelmed - but it's an instant hit.
Shoreditch - 45 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3PT
In a nutshell: Top Spanish chef in Shoreditch
Bibo sees Dani Garcia, a top Spanish chef with Michelin stars to his name, take his Bibo restaurant group to the new Mondrian hotel in Shoreditch (where The Curtain use to be). While rollouits can sometimes be hit or miss - this is definitely in hit territory, with an excellent tapas menu and vibe to match. In the Standard, Jimi Famurewa was impressed, saying Garcia has created a place with a "fun, party-starting hedonism and rough-hewn generosity".
Shoreditch - 1 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
In a nutshell: BAO does Noodles (and baos)
BAO have mastered the art of the bao bun - now they've moved onto noodles, with beef noodles being the key draw at this Shoreditch restaurant. But worry not - bao buns are available too as well as many never-before-seen dishes. And it even has two karaoke rooms. It wowed The Standard's Jimi Famurewa who called it "a transporting, instant classic".
Chinatown - 62 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0BU
In a nutshell: Korean street food
Bunsik specialise in Korean Street Food - namely corn dogs, cupbap (rice in a pot with toppings) and Ddukbokki (fried rice cakes) - and those corn dogs have become hugely popular in London. A runaway sensation that also won't hurt your wallet - making it an immediate hit with Londoners.
Hackney - Canal Place, 32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL
In a nutshell: River Cafe chef goes it alone
There has been much anticipation for Max Rocha's solo restaurant by the canal in Hackney. The chef came from The River Cafe and like many of London's best chefs has also spent time at St John Bread & Wine. It's just breakfast and lunch right now, but dishes like rabbit tagliatelle and sage & anchovy fritti (not to mention Guinness bread ice cream) should make this a very worthwhile trip to the canal.
Covent Garden - 2a Garrick St, London WC2E 9BH
In a nutshell: Celebrated Indian restaurant MK II
When Asma Khan moved her supper club to permanent restaurant status, it was an instant success. But Darjeeling Express really hit the stratosphere when she was featured on Netflix's influential Chef's Table show. This restaurant is part deli and part restaurant - the latter which has a set menu based around her celebrated biryani. It's starting to become a celebrity magnet too - with Paul Rudd already making repeat visits (he's been three times in the past couple of months!). The Standard's Jimi Famurewa calls it "food with a potency, soul and story that completely speaks for itself."
Haringay - 429 Green Lanes, London N4 1HA
In a nutshell: Bakery Mk II
The Dusty Knuckle's original Dalston bakery and cafe space is stupidly popular - with queues round the block at the weekends. This is their second outpost, with more of the great potato sourdough, pastries and sandwiches. Plus it's a pizzeria in the evenings. It would be fair to assume you can expect a queue here too.
Mayfair - Royal Academy, Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
In a nutshell: Spanish tapas and art
The Royal Academy has drafted in Jose Pizarro to take over the food at the gallery and it's a near-perfect match. Post-culture tapas and Cava - what's not to like? There's an extensive tapas menu, a surprisingly affordable all-Spanish wine list and the Poster Bar downstairs is a great drop-in place too.
Where: 26 Romilly St, London W1D 5AJ
In a nutshell: Retro Korean pub in Soho
This Korean pub launched with little fanfare but has already gone on to be a big hit. It's all decked out in retro 70s style, with food including Makchang BBQ and Hongdae chicken as well as kimchi jeon, bo ssam and tteok bok ki rice cakes - alongside plenty of highballs to drink. David Ellis in The Standard called it an absolute riot and recommends you "sink the stress of the last year with soju".
Where: 54 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SL
In a nutshell: Comb to tail yakitori
This is top chef Angelo Sato's solo Soho restaurant and it's about literally all of the chicken. Every bit of the chicken is put to use in the yakitori menu, so while you can play it safe and choose breast (with plum + shiso) or wing (with shichimi + lemon) you can also opt for Achilles, tail, cartilage and more. Giles Coren says "It’s beer food. Izakaya snacks. Pub grub. And bloody good." while Tim Hayward in the FT said it features "high-quality avian deconstruction."
Where: 70 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4QG
In a nutshell: Kitchen Table reborn
Kitchen Table closed at the beginning of the first lockdown and only recently emerged - with a completely new look. The whole restaurant has been given a dramatic makeover, making it much swankier as a result. Expect a revamped menu and a new bar space that takes over where Bubbledogs was. A third Michelin star could be in the offing...
Carnaby - Top Floor Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London W1B 5PW
In a nutshell: Korean food comes to Carnaby
This Korean restaurant has taken over a prime space at the top of Kingly Court and features a menu from the people behind TA TA Eatery - so you already know you're in for something special. Aiming for an LA Koreatown vibe, it's already one of the busiest new restaurants in the area, the corndogs are top-notch and their kimchi stone pot is showstopping.
Spitalfields - 1-3 Widegate St, Spitalfields, London E1 7ES
In a nutshell: Noodles in Spitalfields
Marugame Udon has been a massive hit wherever it's landed before, so it's no surprise that their first London restaurant would be all over Instagram and TikTok. They have hundreds of sites all over the world (and they're already planning a second in London). Expect udon noodles at surprisingly great prices (which is part of why they're such a hit).
Soho - 77 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9ZN
In a nutshell: Batman in Soho
While some reports of this DC Comics-inspired restaurant in London have been mixed, it's certainly got everyone talking (as you can see from our own TikTok). A huge space, it maybe could still lean into the Batman mythos a little more but it's had immense interest both in this country and further afield. And there's definitely nothing in town like their immersive Monarch Theatre, where you're completely surrounded by a changing video projection for your whole meal.
Where: Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H 0BH
In a nutshell: Sally Abé's main home
She won loads of plaudits for her time at The Harwood Arms and now Sally Abé has moved to the Conrad St James. The chef is in charge of all the food at the hotel and The Pem is her main restaurant tgere, aiming to "build on the foundations of British cuisine" with a menu that intends to be elevated but fun.
Fitzrovia - Treehouse London, 14-15 Langham Pl, London W1B 2QS
In a nutshell: Top LA chef comes to London
Nancy Silverton is a BIG name back in the states where the LA Pizzeria Mozza is a big draw. This sees her arriving in London (and spending some time herself to help get it off to a good start) with a pizzeria which really does turn out excellent pizzas (and with a menu that's a good deal different from the norm) as well as huge desserts. As Marina O'Loughlin says, the "pizzas are sublime... There’s magic in this dough. "
Clerkenwell - 24 Clerkenwell Green, Farringdon, London EC1R 0NA
In a nutshell: Florence Knight in Clerkenwell
London has seen some pretty beautiful restaurants opening of late and this Clerkenwell restaurant is a particularly good example - with a stripped-back approach to the decor on the Grade II building. This also sees the return of Florence Knight to the London restaurant scene, the first time since Polpetto, with a menu that is a mix of British, French and Italian cooking.
Soho - 47 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7JP
In a nutshell: Latin America in Soho
This Soho restaurant is housed in a truly spectacular dining room (with chandeliers made from decanters) and has a menu by superstar chef Fernando Trocca. Open fire cooking is the main name of the game here and make sure that the empanadas and the crab tostada are on your to-try list. The bar downstairs (Abajo) is also well worth a look with its glow-in-the-dark cocktails.
Ones to watch...
Also opened recently which we think are worth keeping an eye on...
- Bar La Rampa (Fitzrovia) - Cuban bar and restaurant, with a menu by the team behind TA TA Eatery.
- The Seafood Bar (Soho) - This comes via Amsterdam and the main events are their huge seafood platters.
- Kudu Grill (Peckham) - Kudu expands again, this time with a South African braai restaurant.
- The Cadogan Arms (Chelsea) - James Knappett and Alex Harper (ex Harwood Arms) team up for this revamped Chelsea pub.
- Sunday in Brooklyn (Notting Hill) - A hit in America (particularly for its brown butter pancakes) this looks very likely to win over Notting Hill too.
For more - read our guide to all the new restaurant openings in London.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.
Pem photography: Food Story Media Ltd
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