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...
Where: 103-105 New Oxford Street, London, WC2H 8LH.
In a nutshell: Eight top restaurants at Centre Point
Upscale food courts have definitely become a thing of late, and this latest opening at Centre Point is arguably the hottest one yet. They've pulled together an enviable collection of names - Oklava, Flat Iron, Chotto Matte, El Pastor, Pophams, Lina Stores and Casa do Frango to create offshoot kitchens here. And probably the biggest draw is TATA Eatery's Tou, whose Iberian katsu sando is easily one of London's top dishes right now.
Where: 64 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8NQ
In a nutshell: Quique Dacosta hits London
When the chef behind a new restaurant in London has both three Michelin stars and a spot in the World's 50 Best Restaurants longlist (his own place is at No 81 this year) - you know it's going to be worth checking out. Giles Coren went twice for his review and said of the Paella Valenciana he had on his second visit; "I imagine being here with friends, maybe with a seafood paella as well and big glasses of strong Spanish wine. I’d be very happy." DaCosta's fellow Spanish chef Jose Pizarro was another early-doors diner calling it a 'great addition to the London dining scene."
Where: 13 Stoney Street Borough Market London, SE1 9AD
In a nutshell: Bao Buns with added karaoke
Any opening by Bao is a reason to get excited, but when they add karaoke to the mix, that takes it up to a whole other level. As well as karaoke, there's a hatch if you want bao-to-go) as well as bubble tea) and new dishes, of course. Those dishes include the chicken nugget bao and the prawn shia song bao (which is actually a fried bao). The Standard's Jimi Famurewa was a fan, but preferred the baos over the new dishes - "if you prioritise those magnificent bao, you will leave here very happy."
Where: Level 8, 122 Leadenhall St, London EC3V 4AB
In a nutshell: Presser Pour Champagne dans le City
It's been a long time coming (five years and £25 mil) but the sequel to Bob Bob Ricard is finally here. They've taken over a floor in the Leadenhall building (aka the Cheesegrater) for a restaurant that's really quite like no other - it's very fancy. Add in a modern French menu from Eric Chavot and more of those tempting press-for-champagne buttons and they're onto another winner. Grace Dent said that "in the privacy of a Bob Bob Cité booth, with such good service and the real world so very far below, there’s a level of escapism that is wholly seductive" while Giles Coren says "Bob Bob Cité will be as good a place as any to sit and watch the world end".
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, is already a huge hit. It's a freaking dream to look at - if you can't afford 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."
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're the first 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."
7 Haunch of Venison Yard, London W1K 5ES
In a nutshell: The Quality Chop House people take on Bonham's
Emilia is the new restaurant from the Woodhead Restaurant Group, the people who brought London the current, celebrated version of the Quality Chop House, Clipstone and Portland. This time they've taken over the restaurant at auction house Bonham's. Fay Maschler said "The kitchen, led by Stuart Andrew from Clipstone, is one worthy of two young restaurateurs at the top of their game." And Jay Rayner agreed - "Chef Stuart Andrew’s concise menu is an object lesson in the value of doing just a few things exceptionally well."
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 is an early admirer - with the much-Instagrammed prawns being "So, so good."
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.
White City House Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, London, W12 7FR.
In a nutshell: High-end sushi in White City
This sushi restaurant in White City comes from Endo Kazutoshi, former sushi master at Zuma. It's a small high-end sushi restaurant with an already great reputation - so expect a place at the table here to be like gold dust. In his review, Giles Coren (who broke with tradition and visited before the opening - so he could get a table) said it was "what was probably the most perfect meal I have eaten in a restaurant in more than 20 years as a critic." So high praise indeed.
Where: 95 Portobello Road, London W11 2QB
In a nutshell: Four floors of cooking over fire plus late night bars in Notting Hill
There have been a throng of celebs through the door at this new Notting Hill spot. Tatler reliably informs us that diners so far have included "Lady Amelia Windsor, Jourdan Dunn and Olympia Campbell, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice have been in on a double date." As for the food, their reviewer loved the "an eclectic mix of modern European dishes, full of playful twists and surprises." And it's also won over Marina O'Loughlin who says "OK then, I give in: it’s pretty, goddammit, and the food is pretty good."
31 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2EU
In a nutshell: Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke expand their empire with a Notting Hill seafood restaurant
Olive magazine was the first to review Notting Hill's hot new opening - loving the whole meal right though " to the posh rice pudding at the end, hiding sweet and sour, Pink Panther-hued stewed rhubarb". Giles Coren also turned out to be a fan, liking the fact that it was "something young and new and lovely in funny old, crusty old, somewhat over the hill Notting Hill".And Tom Parker Bowles declared it "food that makes me happy" in the Mail on Sunday.
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.
Where: Goring Hotel, 15 Beeston Pl, Westminster, London SW1W 0JW
In a nutshell: Nathan Outlaw does seafood at an iconic London hotel
Two key reviewers have clashed in their opinion of Nathan Outlaw's new restaurant at The Goring. Fay Maschler in the Standard wasn't a fan, calling a dish of battered turbot, "an insult to chippies everywhere." But while Maschler wasn't keen on the new dining room's design, over at the Sunday Times Marina O'Loughlin was more supportive, calling it "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."
60 St Johns Wood High Street, London NW8 7SH
In a nutshell: The Wolseley in St John's Wood
It's been a while since Corbin and King opened a London restaurant (their last was an outpost of The Wolseley in Bicester) and this sees them bringing a grand cafe to St John's Wood. Already packed after only a couple of weeks after opening and it feels like it's been there forever. In the Telegraph, Kathryn Flett says "if I could choose a restaurant in which to quietly pass away, still smiling, after a couple of glasses of wine and a good lunch with an old friend, it would probably be whichever is C&K’s latest." And Giles Coren is a bit addicted too - "I am in danger of never eating anywhere again in my life apart from Soutine."
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 "
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."
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...
- Nutshell - an ex-Palomar chef cooking Iranian cuisine in Covent Garden
- My Neighbours The Dumplings - second restaurant for the dumpling legends, this time in Victoria Park
- BaoziInn - just opened at the time of writing, the colourful dim sum comes to Borough.
- The KPH - Henry Harris teams up with Ruairidh Summers for this legendary pub in Ladbroke Grove
- Isla and Double Standard - Adam Rawson times two in King's Cross.
- Suzi Tros - Greek food in Notting Hill from the people behind Mazi
- Pophams - who are turning out some stellar pasta in their new Hackney location, we hear.
Ones to watch, opening in August...
Spring is upon us - so keep an eye out for these openings in the coming month...
- Eggslut - Eggy buns from LA
- Snackbar - this successfully crowdfunded cafe is one to watch in Dalston
- Mama Fuego - Huge new 60s themed space in Greenwich
- Three Uncles - serving Cantonese roasted meats in The City
For more restaurant openings - read our guide to upcoming restaurants in July.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.
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