How to get a seat at London's hottest restaurants

When we were asked by Share Radio's new Food programme with Sainsbury's magazine to talk about how to get into London's hottest restaurants, we thought it might be a good idea to set our thoughts down in writing. And so, here you go:



Black Axe Mangal

This tiny Highbury resturant only about 24 seats. But the food is astonishing, super instagrammable and the music is ear-bleedingly crazy. Lee Tiernan spent 10 years working at St John and you’ll be fighting for a table here with half of London’s restaurant workers.

How to get a seat - get there early or be relaxed about your table time – they’ll take your name while you go to the nearby pub and wait



padella main


Insanely popular since it opened (plus a raft of great reviews from Marina O Loughlin in the Guardian, Grace Dent in the Standard etc), Padella is run by Jordan Frieda (son of hair maestro John Frieda and Lulu) and Tim Siadatan who was one of the original Jamie Oliver's Fifteen

How to get a seat: The bad news is there's just 50 seats. The good news is that this is good food, but fast food, so it's not a place to linger which means the turnaround is pretty quick. Try and avoid when there's a full market on at Borough - which is Wed-Saturday. Be aware that they sometimes close late afternoon to roll more pasta - it's THAT fresh.




Santa Remedio

Food husband and wife team Edson and Natalie Diaz-Fuentes run this Old Street Mexican which has had universally great reviews since opening. Edson has worked all over Mexico and was head of menu innovation for the Wahaca restaurant group before he opened this.

How to get a seat: there's just 45 covers here, but don't be daunted by a full dining room downstairs, there's a great bar with seats upstairs you can eat in. They do take bookings but only if you're a larger group and come in for the earliest sitting at lunch or dinner.



11 sexyfish

Sexy Fish

Richard Caring's latest Mayfair opening has had a slew of stars in through the doors since it opened. We were there in opening week, just after Matt Damon and we passed Boris Becker as we went in. David Cameron had a pre-Christmas party downstairs in the AMAZING private dining room with the largest coral reef tank anywehre in the world. Yes, it’s that kind of place.

How to get a seat: unless you're able to do some serious name dropping or you actually are a certifiable A-lister your best bet here is to be organised and book ahead. Another way to do it is dine in the bar - you can still book tables here but they're easier to get. Have the barman take you through the amazing Japanese whisky selection.



somsaa self

Som Saa

They started as a pop-up, progressed to a residency and finally opened their first permanent place last month in Spitalfields. Som Saa is hot. or "freaking awesome" as Giles Coren put it in The Times. Thankfully it’s slightly larger than anywhere they’ve opened before with 80 seats in the dining room.

How to get a seat – lunch is coming soon which will be completely bookable, but until then you’ll have to be group of six or more to book ahead in the evenings. Otherwise come early when everyone else is still stuck at work.

Liked this? Check out our full list of London's hottest restaurants in Hot Right Now.