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....
NEW: The Araki
12 New Burlington Street, London W1S 3BH
In a nutshell: Three Michelin-starred Japanese food
The Araki was always a popular and very hard to get into restaurant at the best of times, but with its newly awarded three Michelin Star status, it's immediately become one of the hottest tickets in town. With room available for just nine at the counter and a £300 bill to get you access too, it's clearly not for everyone. But If you can get a spot right now, you're in for one of the best meals in London served up personally by Mitsuhiro Araki..
Bang Bang Oriental
399 Edgware Rd, London NW9 0AS
In a nutshell: Chinatown goes north and inside
We'd seen a fair few examples of established restaurants gathering together in upmarket food halls in the States - but this was the first time in London. Essentially, some of the great Oriental restaurants in London have gathered together in Colindale to provide a truly unique experience in town. It's VERY popular, and as Jay Rayner says "The regional fracturing of Chinese food in the UK really is a thrilling development. Here, it’s all on show." Expect it to be pretty busy at the weekends.
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.
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. So it's no surprise that her first restaurant is proving a big success, with booking lines already clogged up and reservations apparently not to be had for months..
153 Hoxton Street, London N1 6PJ
In a nutshell: Cocktail bar merges with restaurant
Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) has been behind some of London's best bars and the latest incarnation of his Hoxton flagship sees him merging cocktails with food fully for the first time. This spot is also embracing the no-waste trend that's been appearing in a lot of London restaurants as of late. The place to head if you want to be ahead of the curve.
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.
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 thinks 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."
NEW: Gilly's Fry Bar
4A Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP
In a nutshell: Chippy meets Asian food
One of the best restaurants on the Stroud Green side of Finsbury Park is Season Kitchen, so the opening of a new restaurant from the same chap is something for Finsbury Park residents to rejoice over. This new spot mixes tempura serves with raw fish and Japanese whisky highballs to make it a must-visit..
Jacob The Angel
1 16 1/2 Neal's Yard, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9DP
In a nutshell: The Barbary does a coffee house
Really, all we need to tell you about the buzz this new Covent Garden coffee shop is creating is to tell you it's the new place from siblings Layo and Zoe Paskin who are behind The Palomar and The Barbary. "Sheer heaven," said Instagrammer and all round dessert queen Felicity Spector of her preview there. Expect your Instagram feed to be full of their coconut cream pie before too long.
Jean Georges at the Connaught
Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL
In a nutshell: Big-time NYC chef returns to London
When the restaurant at one of London's greatest hotels, The Connaught, announced it was revamping the restaurant, all eyes were on who would get the prime position. And they landed a big catch with Jean Georges, who is a very big deal indeed in New York. The room looks beautiful and we hear the laid back food is going down a storm with Mayfair locals and hotel guests alike.
76 Commercial Street, London E1 6LY
In a nutshell: The people behind Gunpowder go Himalayan
This is the new restaurant from the people behind Gunpowder, a very popular City Indian spot. It sees them taking their inspiration from Himalayan cooking, and cranking up the heat a little too. It's a small spot, but you can wait with drinks in the bar downstairs until a table becomes free. It doesn't hurt at all that it looks rather beautiful.
10 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BX
In a nutshell: Trolley service meets British small plates
The final opening of Magpie in the West End (it was due to open last year) had a lot of hype to live up. Pidgin is still serving up a storm in Hackney but could that vibe survive a move to the centre of town.We're here to tell you it can and does.
11 Woodstock Street, Mayfair, W1C
In a nutshell: East London style seasonal food in the West End
Ben Norum in the Standard praises the "renegade pairings" of this new restaurant just off Oxford Street. "best-in-show is the marriage between lamb and eel," he decares - "a rich and earthy symphony of the sort that Beethoven would be proud." City AM reviewer Melissa York thinks the "food so intriguing, you’ll be discussing it long after you’ve left."
10-50 Willow St, London EC2A 4BH
In a nutshell: Nobu extends its brand to East London
When we visited Nobu Shoreditch recently, very soon after opening, our immediate thought was - "this is VERY busy" with the latest Nobu picking up a large clientele in very quick fashion. Grace Dent said "I loved Nobu Shoreditch, loved the sleek opulence, the chipper serving staff, the open kitchen full of hot chefs and the DJ playing Nineties club classics... But in all fairness I’d have been better fed if I’d been kidnapped." So yes, it IS very pricey but you'll be in for a treat if you CAN afford it. Better still, get someone else to take you.
NEW: Santo Remedio
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.
NEW: 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.
7 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NA
In a nutshell: Cheese, charcuterie, wine and tapas from Spain and Catalunya in a laid back setting.
Sometime dining companion of Fay Maschler, chef Victor Garvey is always one to watch and his latest restaurant opening in Covent Garden confirmed Grace Dent's opinion that he opens "genuinely, God’s-honest-relaxed places with fabulous wine and tapas worth trekking across town for". Also in the Standard David Ellis called it "very likely the best restaurant I’ve been to this year."
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 somwhere 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."
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."
Plus all those new Michelin stars and Bib Gourmands
Of course, we've just had the Michelin stars announced and everything we hear from the chefs who have been given one tells us that these also become instant hits. So along with The Araki and Claude Bosi above, read the full list of all the new stars right here.
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 Wigmore Tavern - quickly becoming our go-to affordable Oxford Circus hangout.
- Gul and Sepoy - The people behind Gunpowder and Madame D's are already back with another hit in the making.
- Hoppers - second coming of the Soho favourite from the people behind Gymkhana - but you can actually book here.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.