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: 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."
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 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. "It's really good," says Gizzi Erskine. "Like truly great."
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) development 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.
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."
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 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 5BG
In a nutshell: Tiny pub restaurant revitalised by Neil Borthwick
After winning acclaim for his work at Shoreditch's Merchants Tavern, Neil Borthwick has gone back to basics as the head chef of Soho's The French House (once the launch home of Polpetto, back in the day). The new menu has been showered with praise from everyone who's managed to get a space at the very tiny restaurant above the French House pub. Expect a seasonal menu done exceptionally well. As Grace Dent put it, "This is classic, earthy cooking. It is a damned good lunch."
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."
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 over a year ago - 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: 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".
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: 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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
177b Blackstock Road, London N5 2LL
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."
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...
- Gezellig - the supperclub masters now have their own place in Holborn.
- Sette - the new restaurant at the Bulgari hotel, with a top New York team taking over.
- Les Platanes - French chef Thierry Laborde (most recently Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis) is back in town.
- Coqfighter - the fried chicken at their new Soho restaurant is getting raves.
- The Sea, The Sea- fishmonger by day, seafood bar by night with added Leo Carreira.
- Casa Fofo - Ex Pidgin Head Chef's own restaurant in Hackney
- Lucknow 49 - From the man behind DUM Biryani, now with added kebabs.
Ones to watch, opening in June...
Spring is upon us - so keep an eye out for these openings in the coming month...
- Arros QD - hugely influential Spanish chef Quique Dacosta launches his rice-based restaurant
- Lucky Cat- the latest restaurant from Gordon Ramsay has courted controversy but his fans are excited about this Asian eating house
- Flor - The follow-up to Lyle's from James Lowe - a new wine bar for Borough.
- Wild Honey St James - This restaurant from Anthony Demetre has just moved to a plusher location.
- Circolo - They've already had huge success with Gloria, and already Big Mamma are gearing up for their next restaurant.
For more restaurant openings - read our guide to upcoming restaurants in May.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.
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