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 - 68 Duke Street, London W1K 6JU
In a nutshell: Veg forward, low waste in Mayfair
This is the new restaurant from Chantelle Nicholson, previously behind the much-missed Tredwells. This takes forward the low-waste and vegetable focus that was pushed to the fore at hackney pop-up All's Well and delivers a strikingly good menu that's full of innovative touches. A real sign that a low-waste focus can really deliver wonders.
Dalston - Abbot Street Car Park, London, E8 3DP
In a nutshell: Fire and beer
Acme Food Cult sees chefs Andrew Clarke and Daniel Watkins (previously together at St Leonards) teaming up for a restaurant that's all about cooking over fire. Indeed, much of the menu comes from one single outside grill and it's an impressive endeavour. Right next to 40FT Brewery, you can expect plenty of beer in the cooking too. In The Standard, Jimi Famurewa found it "strikingly flavoursome" and a restaurant that's continuing to evolve.
Hoxton - 172 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JL
In a nutshell: Barge cooking
Caravel is a restaurant on a barge, floating on the canal in Hoxton. In charge are brothers Lorcan and Fin Spiteri who are in charge of the food and drink respectively. Expect the kind of food from Lorcan "that he and Fin enjoyed growing up". Marina O'Louglin is an early fan of the cooking: "It’s just, like its setting, designed to be lovely".
St Giles - 103-105 New Oxford Street, London WC2H 8LH
In a nutshell: Food hall Mk II
This is a relaunch of what was once Arcade Food Theatre, but now under the management of JKS, the people behind Gymkhana, Hoppers, Lyles and more. There's an eclectic range of cooking on display here, from Southern Thai cuisine by chef Luke Farrell through to Shawarma from the people behind Berenjak, sandwiches from Margot and Hector Henderson and burgers from Bake Street’s Feroz Gajia.
Fitzrovia - 30 Charlotte St., London W1T 2NG
In a nutshell: Nuno Mendes is back
Nuno Mendes is one of London's great chefs. His Viajante still remains a template for many contemporary restaurants and his menu at Chiltern Firehouse certainly contributed to its success. Here, he returns to his Portuguese roots with a menu that is described as being a love letter to Lisbon. It really is a crowd-pleasing restaurant and is already a big hit. In The Standard, Jimi Famurewa said "Mendes has collapsed the best bits of a beloved city’s eating culture into a single restaurant".
St James - 172 Piccadilly, St James, London W1J 9EJ
In a nutshell: French dining on Piccadilly
When Richoux closed in early 2021, there were concerns that a London institution could be lost. However, it returned under completely new stewardship with a new look, new menu and new chefs and has immediately improved the St James dining scene. Here, you'll find French classics down really very well and also at a very decent price for the area. Giles Coren wasn't impressed but Jay Rayner is a fan, saying when it comes to a Central London recommendation, "Richoux is my new best answer."
Fitzrovia - 55 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7LQ
In a nutshell: James Knappett does pub food
The George is the second collaboration between JKS (Gymkhana) and James Knappett (Kitchen Table) although the upstairs dining area of this pub leans a little more into classic pub food with a touch of Knappett's fine dining edge. As such, you'll find a very fancy version of scampi and there aren't many pubs with Tournedos Rossini on the menu. Giles Coren called it "classic gussied-up pub fare in the best possible sense".
Islington - 4-6 Islington Green, London N1 2XA
In a nutshell: Fresh pasta in Islington
Islington had been missing the trend in fresh pasta bars that have been popping up across town (like Lina Stores and Emilia's) so this is a welcome addition to the area. It comes from Louis Korovilas the ex-chef at Bancone (and who created some of its iconic dishes). It's early days, but the restaurant is already getting rave reviews from locals. "A welcome addition to Upper Street's thriving restaurant scene," said the Ham & High.
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". "This is a restaurant to adore," said Tom Parker Bowles in the Mail on Sunday.
Hackney - Canal Place, 32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL
In a nutshell: River Cafe chef goes it alone
Possibly the hottest ticket in town right now. Cafe Cecilia's chef Max Rocha came from The River Cafe and St John and dishes like rabbit tagliatelle and sage & anchovy fritti (not to mention Guinness bread ice cream) 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." while Grace Dent said "I have a sense that it’s really only just getting started on its path to being one of London most serious restaurants."
Knightsbridge - The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, London SW1X 7RL
In a nutshell: Parisian pastry master takes on London
A dessert tasting menu costing £135 sent TikTok into a tizzy, but as the Standard's David Ellis found, the proof is in the pudding. He called Cedric "a sorcerer" for his magic tricks. The good news is you can pop in for a less budget-busting pastry to go and there's also a breakfast offering in the hotel's brand new adjacent cafe.
St James - 2 St James’s Market, London SW1Y 4RP
In a nutshell: Mayfair hit transfers to St James
In its years as an extended pop-up on Heddon Street, Fallow picked up many fans and they've all embraced the restaurant's move to St James. The hits of the menu are still here - with the mushrooms for the mushroom parfait now grown in the basement - along with brand new dishes and there's a big bar space to try out. Marina O'Loughlin, was impressed by the food on offer saying "the experience stays with me".
Canary Wharf - 1 Water Street, London E14
In a nutshell: Floating steak palace
It's been a while since Hawksmoor opened a new London restaurant (as they've also been pretty busy in New York) but they've certainly come back with a (literal) splash. This restaurant in Canary Wharf is actually floating on the river and looks amazing as a result. The same excellent steaks and cocktails that you've come to expect from them are here, as well as their biggest bar yet, The Lowback. Grace Dent has called it "reassuringly special" while Marina O'Loughlin said her steak there "floods the palate with sheer mineral, grass and hay-fed beefiness."
Covent Garden - 21 Slingsby Pl, London WC2E 9AB
In a nutshell: Popular Burmese restaurant hits the West End
Having built an incredibly loyal fanbase over in Shoreditch for their authentic Burmese food, Lahpet have arrived in Covent Garden spot. Tucked in off of Long Acre, this huge two-floored restaurant is already doing storming business. Expect that to get even busier when their first floor covered and heated terrace opens. Grace Dent says it's "officially one of my safe places" in Covent Garden while David Ellis in the Standard agreed: "This is a happy place"
Shoreditch - 49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT
In a nutshell: The hit restaurant moves east
Manteca has moved again - but this time it's permanent. The David Carter and Chris Leach restaurant started at Heddon Street, moved to Soho and now has found a home in Shoreditch. An immediate hit, the menu is once again a mix of Italian and British cuisine, with a big focus on seasonality and sourcing. Expect amazing pasta which changes regularly alongside pork in all its forms and much more. Giles Coren raved about pretty much everything in his review for The Times while Jimi Famurewa enjoyed the longest of lunches there.
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 still booked up for weeks in advance. Their famous burger is on the menu, of course, but also look out for lots of new dishes too. The pub also has a great (and affordable) wine selection (on top of beer, obvs) which is an added bonus for locals like ourselves. Jimi Famurewa was an easy convert in his Standard review, saying "It is about forceful informality, squashing in beside smiling strangers, and the abiding escapism of a very good burger."
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."
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 a restaurant 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. Tom Parker Bowles said that "Trattoria Brutto doesn’t just feed you. It sustains, satisfies and leaves you feeling that there is hope." while Jay Rayner said "these are big, heavily built flavours, like they’ve been working out down the gym for a good few months before landing on your table."
Strand - 1 Surrey Street, London WC2R 2ND
In a nutshell: Med food + bakery
Toklas is a Mediterranean restaurant - with specific Italian, French and Spanish influences. But that's not all, as also features a top-notch bakery from the man who launched Angel Bakery in Abergavenny (there's even an art gallery here to boot). Marina O'Loughlin was impressed: "Never mind the art, I plan to be a regular installation here in ’22." The huge terrace will be the place to be when the weather heats up.
Ones to watch...
Also opened recently which we think are worth keeping an eye on...
- The Twenty Two (Mayfair) - This new Grosvenor Square hotel has Picture alumni Alan Christie and Colin Kelly in charge
- Tattu (Centre Point) - They're big outside of London, but this is their first time in the Capital in what looks like an impressive setting, based on a traditional Chinese courtyard house
- Princess Royal (Notting Hill) - The latest pub from Cubitt House is a hit in Notting Hill.
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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