Now that we've passed the half-way point of the year, we thought it might be handy to run through the best new restaurants that have opened in 2019 so far. If you're looking to try something new - this is the best of the new bunch.
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: Rathbone Square, London W1T 1JN
In a nutshell: Big Mamma does Sicilian in Fitzrovia
This is the second opening from the Big Mamma Group here in London, following their other big hit, Gloria. The place is 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. All this should mean getting a table here is hellishly difficult but the sheer size of this new opening might work in your favour.
Where: 95 Portobello Road, London W11 2QB
In a nutshell: Four floors of cooking over fire plus late night bars in Notting Hill
If the throng of celebs through the door at this new Notting Hill spot is any indication of a restaurant being hot, then 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." Restaurant Magazine called the fresh pasta there "something else."
Where: Sheldon Square, W2, London W2 6DL
In a nutshell: Waterside restaurant from London Shell Company
For a few years, the London Shell Company has been running very popular canal trips from Paddington in their floating restaurant. This new addition is still on a canal boat, but it's permanently moored. Featuring a menu that's mainly seafood - taking in delights like beer-battered lobster along the way - this also sees a focus on Cornish food.
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."
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."
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 goes up another whole 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. They include the chicken nugget bao and the prawn shia song bao (which is actually a fried bao).
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 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: Fried Chicken in Soho
In a nutshell: This fried chicken purveyor has been winning many fans in pop-ups and in its Boxpark locations, but this saw it launching its first proper restaurant in Soho. The restaurant cements its reputation for excellent fried chicken while also adding some great new dishes to the menu.
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."
Where: Holborn Town Hall, 193-197 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD
In a nutshell: A top team in Holborn
After a successful residency at Carousel, Gezellig opened a beautiful new space in Holborn. There's a formidable team behind it, with experience at The Square, Elystan Street, Pied à Terre, L’Autre Pied and The Ledbury between them. With excellent bar snacks, an enviable bar space and some innovative food on show, this is a good addition to Holborn.
Where: 1A Langton St, London SW10 0JL
In a nutshell: Irish-influenced food in Chelsea
This is the first solo restaurant from Anna Haugh, who's previously worked with Gordon Ramsay and at Bob Bob Ricard. Here, she's bigging up her Irish heritage with a menu that has many callbacks to the mother country - Clonakilty black pudding makes an appearance - and it's all inspired by legendary Irish chef Myrtle Allen. Fay Maschler gave it a reserved thumbs-up, singling out the buttermilk pannacotta for the most praise "a superb assembly, light and wibbly and painterly".
Where: Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, London N1C 4AB
In a nutshell: Barrafina goes outside
This is the first time that Barrafina has tried a completely different proposition - an alfresco DIY grill restaurant. It's outside their King's Cross outpost and combines some of the small plates they're best known for with tableside grills to let you cook prawns, meats, veg and more. If the British summer behaves, this will do very well. In the Standard, Jimi Famurewa called it "audacious, exceptionally enjoyable".
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 ins the Standard is a fan - "the cooking at Tayēr + Elementary is heartening, awe-inspiring."
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 Bonhams. 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."
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.
49 Maddox St, London W1S 2PQ
In a nutshell: DUM Biryani moved into Mayfair
With the success of DUM Biryani in Soho behind him, Dhruv Mitta's next restaurant is in Mayfair. There are still those great biryanis on the menu, but they're joined by traditional Lucknavi kebabs and more new dishes. In the Standard, Jimi Famurewa said it "doesn’t stint on flavour and care while Jay Rayner added that it "will only occasionally knock your socks off, but will still show you a nice time along the way, and you won’t be disappointed."
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.
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 Biscester) 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."
13 Cosmo Pl, London WC1N 3AP
In a nutshell: Latest from X'ian Impression chef
The original X'ian Impression in Holloway is still rated as one of the best in London, so anything by one of its founder chefs gets immediate interest. This time, they're in slightly-more-accessible Bloomsbury with a menu that features the favourites from the original as well as adding some newer dishes. Giles Coren is a convert: "I love Master Wei. I truly don’t know what Midtown thinks it has done to deserve it." And Grace Dent fell in love with their biang biang noodles calling them "an assertive culinary hug."
Mortimer House, Mortimer Street, W1T 3JH
In a nutshell: Italian flair in Fitzrovia
Mortimer House Kitchen opened last year - but it's the new chef that's brought in all the plaudits. Lello Favuzzi was formerly head chef at L'Anima and has changed the menu here to a mix of Italian and Middle Eastern influences. And it's impressed Fay Maschler ("homemade tagliatelle with prawns and courgette flowers and un-mentioned but not un-noticed flecks of red chilli is a beautiful “Large Plate”") and also Marina O'Loughlin who said the soft-shell crab fritti was "gorgeous: crisp and fresh and packing real zing."
Where: Belmond Cadogan Hotel, 75 Sloane St, Chelsea, London SW1X 9SG
In a nutshell: Adam Handling takes on the food side of things at Belmond's flagship London hotel
Adam Handling's west London restaurant sees him bring his favourites (and new dishes) to the fancy Cadogan Hotel. Plus it's the only place you can get an Adam Handling Afternoon Tea. Instagrammer Felicity Spector has been in to try the "stunning desserts". Bloomberg's Richard Vines picked out a main of Highland wagyu beef and short rib for particular praise.
Where: 56 Dalston Lane, London E8 3AH
In a nutshell: Japanese/Italian fusion in Dalston
While the idea of a fusion restaurant can occasionally give pause, when it's done well there's definitely something to celebrate. And so is the case with Angelina, which mixes Japanese and Italian cuisine (as well as a tiny bar which bans phones). As Jay Rayner says "Angelina feels like a beautifully intentioned, low-key experiment. It’s like being invited round for dinner by your mate; the nerdy one who can really cook, and who has just gone into his Japanese phase." Richard Vines, Bloomberg's Chief Food Critic also raved about his "Very good lunch yesterday at Joshua Owens-Baigler's Angelina restaurant in Dalston."
11-17 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8BH
In a nutshell: Modern British at the Hackney Arts Centre
Having the former executive chef of St John running things, gave this Stoke Newington spot a head start and Jay Rayner clearly took to it saying that while the dishes wouldn't win any fans on Instagram, they were heavenly to eat, calling the crispy pig’s cheek with watercress "merely the highlight of a hugely cheering meal".
54-56 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3QR
In a nutshell: Italian in Shoreditch via Paris
The first London restaurant from the Big Mamma Group opened with a bang with Fay Maschler's review being one of the first out of the doors. Her four-star review enjoyed the "pleasantly deranged" atmosphere and she loved their black truffle croquettes. Grace Dent was similarly enthusiastic, loving the way it was "kicking Brexit gloom up the arse." One of the really big hits of the year.
17-19 Maddox Street, London W1S 2QH
In a nutshell: Atul Kochhar is back with a new restaurant
This is the first new restaurant from Kochhar since his departure from Benares. The roast duck seems to be one of the main dishes getting all the attention. William Sitwell was impressed - "here I get a mini feast of tender, sometimes charred, bits of lamb, salmon, prawn and chicken, all cooked with love."
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 (from the people behind Brunswick House) - loving the whole meal right through " 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.
120 Morning Lane, London E9 6LH
In a nutshell: P Franco team's third restaurant is an all counter spot where Legs used to be
From the team behind P Franco this features William Gleave in the kitchen. Here it's all about yakitori from the grill. Jimi Famurema in ES Magazine was "blown away" by it. Tim Hayward in the FT praised "the highest degree of craft cooking by an extraordinarily creative team using top-level ingredients". Grace Dent, meanwhile, says the tofu here is some of the best she's ever tasted.
177b Blackstock Road, London N5 2LL
In a nutshell: Wine bar in Highbury
This Highbury wine bar is headed up by a Dinner by Heston in Melbourne alumnus as well as an ex-Naughty Piglets chef. They've launched this neighbourhood wine bar in Highbury with added Three Sheets cocktails. The Standard's Jimi Famurewa was impressed, calling much of the menu "Properly, blissfully good."
13-14 Thayer St, Marylebone, London W1U 3JR
In a nutshell: Two halves of a restaurant in Marylebone
Chef Carlo Scotto (previously at Babbo) has brought a restaurant of two halves to Marylebone. The ground floor is for casual dining - but it's upstairs which is getting the real attention. It only serves a 10-course tasting menu, very much a modern take on fine dining. It could have been a risk - but the quality is undeniable. It even managed to convert Grace Dent back to tasting menus - "Xier could be the best opening of 2019."
55 Beak St, London W1F 9SH
In a nutshell: Top Turkish chef comes to Soho
Yeni saw the arrival in London of Civan Er who has had success in Istanbul with his restaurant Yeni Lokanta. The Soho restaurant has a modern approach to traditional Anatolian cuisine, with top dishes like ciq kofte tartare and their signature pan-fried 12-month-old feta. Jay Rayner wasn't impressed but the Standard's Jimi Famurewa gave it a rave - "Yeni soothed and pleased me greatly, and I cannot wait to go back."
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, London E2 9NF
In a nutshell:
After the closure of Typing Room, The Town Hall Hotel has unveiled its new restaurant - somewhat under the radar. It's a modern Latin American restaurant run by two chefs who arrive here via The Fat Duck, Fera and the Michelin-starred restaurant Amelia San Sebastian. Fay Maschler gave it an early 2019 rave - "A parade of nine dishes marching at a measured pace, starting with beetroot topped by sardine, trout roe and crème fraîche intertwined with fronds of samphire and finishing with exquisite petits fours including exhilarating pâte de fruits and little triangles of fervent lemon tart is ideal, mellifluous, in balance, like a troupe of acrobats."
Looking for more new restaurants?
For all the London restaurants opening in April - and beyond - we've got you covered. Just head over to our Upcoming London Restaurants feature for all the very latest info. And as for what's already opened? You'll need our New London Restaurants feature for that.
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