The restaurant scene in London has never been hotter. Big name chefs and restaurants from all over the world have their eyes on us, new trends are popping up all the time and areas previously devoid of decent food are becoming hot culinary destinations.
We update this list regularly 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. We know there are plenty of great classic restaurants (and we're covering them in our Top 40 - London's Best Restaurants feature) but these are the hottest, in alphabetical order....
26 Kingly Street, Carnaby, London W1B 5QD
In a nutshell: Central London spot for Breddos
Packed to the gills since it opened, Breddos new Soho spot seems to be hitting all the right notes. "Good-time vibes are as abundant as the chilli and coriander," said the Standard."Is there a third on the way?" asks blogger Samphire and Salsify. "I blooming hope so."
3 Queen Victoria St, London EC4
In a nutshell: The new Bloomberg office externalises its staff canteen to all our benefit.
With 10 restaurants in total opening - and five now in service - this City food corridor is going to be worth going to visit, even if you don't work in this part of the world. Curated by Bloomberg's restaurant critic Richard Vines, keep an eye on our feed as more opens here.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD
In a nutshell: Michelin Chef goes to South Ken
The Frenchman's return to the London dining scene after the closure of Hibiscus has had a lot of love. Jay Rayner in the Observer called Bosi's new digs "a restaurant with a profound understanding of the simple virtues" but warns it's "viciously expensive". while Giles Coren praised Bibendum's food too "the supreme delicacy of some of the starters sends them straight to the top of London’s fancy list." And Bosi getting back his two Michelin stars immediately means this place just got even hotter.
NEW: The Coal Shed
Unit 3.1 One Tower Bridge, 4 Crown Square, London, SE1 2SE
In a nutshell: Brighton fave makes it big in the city
The people behind Brighton-based The Salt Room and The Coal Shed have brought the latter up to London - a mix of meat, seafood and some very rich sides to go alongside that. Pair those up with some truly wonderful desserts and you have a real winner. As Fay Maschler said "Here is a savvy kitchen, maybe even a millennial kitchen, open to global influences but not overcome."
Core by Clare Smyth
92 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2PN
In a nutshell: Gordon Ramsay alumnus goes it alone
While at Gordon Ramsay's flagship restaurant, Clare Smyth retained their three stars for years and established herself as one of the greatest chefs in the country. Reaction to her solo venture has probably been a little less enthusiastic than she may have hoped but there's no denying it's on a lot of people's must-try lists.
4 Blenheim St, Mayfair, London W1S 1LB
In a nutshell: Sushi in Mayfair
Olive magazine enjoyed the sea urchin butter the scallops in this South of Oxford Street spot came with so much "we nearly drank it directly from the scallop shell it was served in." And David Sexton in the Standard thought it "very easy to have a fine time here."
Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW
In a nutshell: Asma Khan's supperclub goes permanent
Previously existing as a supperclub and as residencies, Asma Khan's Darjeeling Express picked up many a fan along the way - and she's been described by Grace Dent in a recent rave review as "a force of nature: bold, funny, talented, philanthropic and unstoppable". Eager expectations about her solo venture in Carnaby Court have proven to be well-founded.
9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
In a nutshell: Hong Kong restaurant comes to London Bridge
There's always a sense of trepidation when a restaurant that's done very well overseas decides to try its hand in London. But this Hong Kong import has already been a big hit, with high-end Cantonese food mixing well with some HIGHLY Instagrammable goldfish-shaped dim sum. All that and a drop-dead gorgeous room too makes this a must-try.
One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7QY
In a nutshell: Mexican celebrity chef transfers well to London
Martha Ortiz is a legend in her home country of Mexico, but it looks like she's already creating quite a reputation for herself with her London outpost. Grace Dent felt that " for a hotel restaurant...the atmosphere was decidedly bouncy." while The Telegraph thought it was "the more casual dishes that stay in the mind: slow-roasted pork with achiote seeds and a simple fresh black bean salad."
1 St. James’s Market, London SW1Y 4AH
In a nutshell: West African food in St James's Market
Even before Ikoyi opened, we marvelled at the plates they were previewing on Instagram. Everything looked WONDERFUL. But could the place live up to the the Insta hype? Fay Maschler certainly thought so, saying "there is a titillating undercurrent of unfamiliarity (for some of us anyway) filtered through a high end, sometimes Nordic skill set, coupled with a sense of celebration and inclusion fostered by amiable staff. Win-win for London." And Giles Coren is now exhorting Londoners to try it saying, "it is all fantastically well executed."
36 Snowsfields Yard, London SE1 3SU
In a nutshell: Top chef Leandro Carreira's solo spot
Ever since he wowed everybody with a stint at Climpson's Arch, all eyes have been on Leandro Carreira to see what he'd be bringing to the table when he opened his first spot. And now he's opened in London Bridge with part wine bar. bart restaurant - with many of his Portuguese influences intact. It's bound to be an instant hit. "Excellent cooking and a procession of great dishes and wines," says Instagrammer Chris Prowler. "Go as a group and taste as many things as you can, an absolute pleasure!"
19 Ganton St, London W1F 7BU
In a nutshell: In a nutshell Fresh pastas and Italian cocktail slushies from Stevie Parle
Pastaio is still on soft launch, but the early word is good and given Parle's track record, expect it to be hard to find a seat here any night of the week. One early visitor was blogger Chris Pople who said on Instagram; "Utterly magnificent grouse and rabbit agnoli from @pastaiolondon. New star of Soho. Padella who?" Fighting talk.
64 Dean Street, London W1D 4QG
In a nutshell: Barca beachy vibes in the heart of Soho
Fay Maschler doesn't dole out five stars regularly, so when she does it's worth sitting up and taking note. She loved her meal at Rambla, stating "It is not often that authenticity is handled with such a keen collector’s eye for gastronomic advances." Felicity Cloake in The Guardian praised their oxtail canelones which she reckoned was "the most pleasure you’ll get in Soho for a fiver these days."
152 Tooley St, London SE1 2TU
In a nutshell: Shoreditch classic finds a second home on The Mall
There were probably a lot of folk wondering where the oddball Rochelle Canteen would survive in translation when it opened a second place at the ICA just down the road from Buckingham Palace. Happily, it appears to have done just that. Fay Maschler gave it four stars in the Standard adding that "Desserts deserve a rave of their own, particularly a smooth meringue with a chewy heart." Jay Rayner is a huge fan of the pie (as were Hot Dinners) and says "It is solid and sustaining. It is British cooking, by way of summers in the Dordogne."
152 Tooley St, London SE1 2TU
In a nutshell: The return of the classy Mexican restaurant
Santo Remedio's closure last year was a blow to many - like us - who loved its take on Mexican cuisine, finally really showcasing what was possible if it was done really well. So their return to London, in their brand new Bermondsey location, is very welcome indeed. If someone tells you they're looking for top Mexican food in London, you'll want to send them here.
Serge et le Phoque
The Mandrake, 20-21 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1PG
In a nutshell: High-end French dining via Hong Kong
There's not been much about this new restaurant from boutique hotel The Mandrake, but it just got a rare four stars from The Standard's Fay Maschler who says "A spirit of warmth and bonhomie prevails throughout" and particularly recommends the noisettes of lamb.
64 Shoreditch High Street London E1 6JJ
In a nutshell: Fiery Thai challenges convention moving from west to east London
Going in the opposite direction to everyone else, Smoking Goat began life in Charing Cross and is now branching out east. "Another banging addition to the London food scene," said Instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy of this new opening. "There've been a couple of lukewarm reviews for this, the second, eastern version of the edge-of-Soho Thai barbecue and beer-food bar and restaurant," mentions food writer Ed Smith of Rocket & Squash, "Which is nuts, because the sourcing is first class (the finest mussel I've ever had, ever, ever — in a d'tom yam soup) and the delivery fiery/"
34 Drayton Park, London N5 1PB
In a nutshell: Follow-up Highbury spot from the people behind Primeur.
It's clear we loved Westerns Laundry, but what did everyone else think of this rather beautiful new restaurant tucked away off Holloway Road? US site Infatuation declared it somewhere to go "when you want to want something cool, but want to keep it a little low key". Food blogger and wine expert Zeren Wilson said it "hums in the evening with the same energy, joie de vivre and candlelit charm of Primeur." Grace Dent gave it a rare set of top marks saying; "So many places wax lyrically about being fresh and remarkable. This one actually is."
30 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DL
In a nutshell: Bao does Taiwanese dining in Chinatown.
The third opening from the team behind the two Bao restaurants, Xu is "a couple of tweaks – and a pudding menu – away from being truly excellent" says Matthew Bayley in The Telegraph. He reserves particular praise for the cuttlefish toast - "Imagine the world’s greatest prawn toast." It gets 5 stars from Time Out where Tania Ballantine says "Everything I ate was terrific". Fay was pretty light with her praise but Marina O'Loughlin in the Guardian turned out to be a fan, pronouncing it "quite simply gorgeous". And an initially cautious Giles Coren had "as good an Asian meal as I think you can get in this town. Or country."
Ones to watch...
There are always a few just-opened restaurants that aren't quite ready for the list - but worth keeping an eye on...
- The Square - revamped with not only a completely new look, but a brand new menu and chef
- Southam Street - the people behind 108 Garage are looking for similar big things from their latest. Plus there's an upstairs mezcal bar...
- Bombay Bustle - can the people behind big hit Jamavar get another hit in this ex Hibiscus spot?
- Linden Stores - this new place that's taken over the original Prawn on the Lawn spot looks like another hit for Highbury
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.