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).
Mayfair - 42 North Audley Street, Mayfair, London W1K 6ZR
In a nutshell: Contemporary new Indian restaurant
Run by Chet Sharma, previously at L'Enclume and Moor Hall and most recently development chef with JKS (Gymkhana), this restaurant takes influences from roadside cafes across India. Jimi Famurewa in The Standard was a fan - "BiBi lights a fire under a somewhat staid fancy Indian dining sector with personality, vibrant distinctiveness and mesmeric, precisely executed food". Grace Dent is also a convert: "Bibi has made 2021 bearable."
Shoreditch - 45 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3PT
In a nutshell: Top Spanish chef in Shoreditch
Not to be confused with Bibi (above), 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 rollouts 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".
Hackney - Canal Place, 32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL
In a nutshell: River Cafe chef goes it alone
Cafe Cecilia's chef Max Rocha came from The River Cafe and like many of London's best chefs has also spent time at St John Bread & Wine. They're just serving 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. David Ellis in The Standard agrees - "I’m not a very “it” person, to tell you the truth of it, but I think Café Cecilia might quietly just be the one."
Brixton - 67-68 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PS
In a nutshell: The sequel to Fish, Wings & Tings
This Brixton restaurant is from Brian Danclair, the man behind the popular Fish, Wings & Tings. The restaurant is best described as Caribbean fusion, while also taking influences from Latin America. It opened relatively quietly in Brixton, but to immediate acclaim. In The Standard, Jimi Famurewa said, "there is something quietly radical about its forceful sincerity, its unusual juxtapositions and the way it pushes at the edges of what we imagine when we hear the words “Caribbean restaurant”."
Covent Garden - 2a Garrick St, London WC2E 9BH
In a nutshell: Celebrated Indian restaurant MK II
Darjeeling Express cemented its reputation as one of London's hottest restaurants with an extremely good shout-out by Dan Levy on Jimmy Kimmel recently. And on top of Paul Rudd's obsession, another new Marvel star Kumail Nanjiani (along with wife Emily V Gordon) has also dropped by. As for the restaurant itself, it's part deli (which is the section you're more likely to get into pre-Christmas) and part restaurant - the latter has a set menu based around Asma's celebrated biryani. Look out for supper club tickets as they're announced too.
Ladbroke Grove - 301 Portobello Road, London W10 5TD
In a nutshell: Chris Denney's latest
Fiend is from Chris Denney, previously of hit Notting Hill restaurant 108 Garage. Here's he's putting together a menu that's trying to be as eclectic as it can in what's described as a "vibrant bohemian restaurant, bar and lounge" that's "provocative, rebellious and inspired". Grace Dent has been an early convert - "The menu was clever, focused, deliciously erratic and ever so slightly bewildering. Fiend sounds like being hijacked by a nefarious presence. The more I think about Denney’s cooking, the more it feels perfectly fitting."
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. Giles Coren loved it and as far as the RA itself was concerned, "frankly, this perfect exhibition by José Pizarro is all the art I need."
Where: 26 Romilly St, London W1D 5AJ
In a nutshell: Retro Korean pub in Soho
With everything Korean being very big at the moment, thanks to Squid Game, this Korean pub has become an even bigger 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".
Knightsbridge - The Park Tower Knightsbridge, 101 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RN
In a nutshell: Salt Bae has arrived!
Everyone's still talking about Salt Bae, whether it's the £600 cost of a Tomahawk steak or of pics of him feeding the pigeons and squirrels in London. By all accounts, the restaurant by the human salt dispenser continues to be a big hit (al least while the man's in town), even if it leaves others perplexed. Few critics have been in with the exception of Jimi Famurewa, who left very unimpressed (and a lot poorer) saying a trip there "feels like wasteful masochism".
Nine Elms - 14 New Union Sq., Embassy Gardens SW11 7AX
In a nutshell: Fine dining in Nine Elms
It's been a long time coming (conceived over 10 years ago apparently) but chef Sven Hanson Britt has brought something quite new to a revamped Nine Elms (now with its own shiny new tube station). There's a shop and bar but the main event is his restaurant with a changing tasting menu (that apparently follows your own "individual tastes and preferences".
Soho - 77 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9ZN
In a nutshell: Batman in Soho
We're still to see any of the big critics visit, but this DC Comics-inspired restaurant has been a hit. 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.
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. "
Haggerston - 322-324 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA
In a nutshell: Wine bar/restaurant with added Seb Myers
One of those openings that's simmering away in the background is Planque. The wine bar/shop/restaurant opened relatively quietly but has a lot going for it, not least in getting ex-P Franco chef Seb Myers in to lead the kitchen. The menu will change regularly and an early fan is Instagrammer Felicity Spector, who says it's "such a pleasure to be enjoying Sebastian’s cooking again"
Finsbury Park - 52 St Thomas’s Road, London N4 2QW
In a nutshell: The Four Legs pub
They first created waves with their Compton Arms residency and now Four Legs have opened their very own pub in Finsbury Park. It's become an immediate hit, with tables booked up for weeks in advance mere days after opening. Their famous burger will be on the menu, of course, but also look out for lots of new dishes too (like the beetroot and horseradish with fried oysters in the pic here). The pub also has a great (and affordable) wine selection (on top of beer, obvs) which is an added bonus for locals like ourselves.
Soho - 49 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 9AP
In a nutshell: Rita's comes to Soho
Nearly a decade after they first opened in Hackney, Rita's have arrived in town with their much-anticipated restaurant. They'd been previewing it to much acclaim on the terrace, but now it's set up as a fully formed restaurant, serving a menu inspired by owners Gabriel Pryce and Missy Flynn's travels across the Americas. Wine will also be a big deal here, not to mention a tempting steak dinner for two.
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 - the stripped-back approach to the decor on the Grade II building is stunning. Reviews of both the look and Florence Knight's cooking have been great. Grace Dent called it "hugely convivial, like a time before any of the Bad Things happened" while Marina O'Loughlin said "This is a place for four-hour lunches, for cinq à sept, for abandoning all idea of restraint or frugality."
Notting Hill - 98 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RU
In a nutshell: NYC brunch and more in London
Sunday in Brooklyn has been a big hit in New York - now they're one of a few NYC restaurants making a home this side of the pond n Notting Hill. Their hazelnut and brown butter pancakes are the main attraction (you'll want a whole stack) and the all-week-long brunch is a big deal too. It's quickly become hugely popular in Notting Hill, bringing in the crowds.
Farringdon - 36-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross St, London EC1M 6BN
In a nutshell: Russell Norman returns
He changed London's restaurant scene with Polpo and now Russell is back a decade later with this new opening in Farringdon/Smithfield that's inspired by the trattorias of Florence. There are signature touches throughout - the decor is beautiful and the lighting is low - which sit beside a menu of classic Italian dishes and enormous T Bone steaks. Plus they have negronis for a fiver - that's certainly going to pull the crowds in. Jimi Famurewa is the first critic in and declared it somewhere that'll "have you plotting your next visit before the main courses have arrived".
Ones to watch...
Also opened recently which we think are worth keeping an eye on...
- The Avocado Show (Mayfair) - ALL the avocados just off Oxford Circus
- Santo Remedio Cafe (Shoreditch) - The Santo Remedio team are back in Shoreditch with a new Mexican cafe
- 1771 (Mayfair) - Anglo chef Mark Jarvis reimagines this Belgravia space with a single tasting menu
- Toklas (Strand) - Mediterranean on the Strand (and a promising bakery too).
- 3 Henrietta Street (Covent Garden) - Four restaurants/cafes in one.
- Langan’s (Mayfair) - Can this Mayfair legend regain its past glory as one of London's top celeb-haunt?
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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