We update this list monthly with the restaurants causing the biggest stir in town as these are the hottest at this very moment, in alphabetical order. (And if you're looking for all-time classics, see our London's Best Restaurants list).
Where: 20 Sidworth Street, London E8 3SD
In a nutshell: Chef's table in London Fields
This London Fields restaurant comes from Andy Beynon, former development chef for Jason Atherton, and he's created something quite special in a bespoke room. A huge and well socially distanced counter awaits, comfortable yet still maintaining a good atmosphere. That's backed up by a largely seafood-led menu that is full of inventively-used ingredients. There's really not much else like it in town right now and it won a Michelin-star in double quick time, reflecting that.
Where: 9 Blenheim Cres, Notting Hill, London W11 2EE
In a nutshell: NYC ex-pat in London
This New York import opened under the radar for takeaway coffees and gorgeous pastries, quickly building a reputation as a super-chic West London brunch spot. Are you in the West Village or the Left Bank? Who cares, when the croques monsieurs are this good. It doesn't hurt that it looks super inside too.
Where: Unit 2, Building, 4 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG
In a nutshell: BAO's bakery and more
The BAO team have taken creativity to the next level at their latest restaurant with teeny lobster rolls, bejewelled prawn toasts and more on offer. The space looks beautiful too - all that Mad Men panelling - and the best bit is it's as easy to pop in and take home some of the baked goods as it is to sit yourself down and gorge on the menu here.
Where: Arch 374 Helmsley Place Hackney E8 3SB
In a nutshell: Brat goes alfresco
Serving up new dishes alongside Brat classics, this started as a residency, became a huge hit and it is now a permanent fixture. Jay Rayner visited it for a joyous alfresco dinner and praised the "deft, sensitive cooking in the service of seriously classy ingredients." Our own recent dinner there was a triumph.
Where: 43 Store Street, London WC1E 7DB
In a nutshell: Anna Tobias + 40 Maltby Street
Anna Tobias is an ex-River Cafe and Rochelle Canteen chef and definitely one to watch. Her first solo venture, in Bloomsbury, is backed by the people behind 40 Maltby Street and it's very much about comfort food. Keep an eye on Instagram for the daily changing menu - each one is a masterclass in great menu writing. You'll want everything.
Where: Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, London W2 6HY
In a nutshell: Cheese. On a barge.
The Cheese Bar team could simply have settled for serving cheese platters on a boat and Londoners would have lapped it up, but they've done so much more with this floating restaurant. The vessel itself - purpose-built- gives nearly everyone a water level view. As for the food, just look at this picture and you'll know why you should go. Clever, elegant and delicious - a restaurant where can watch a nesting moorhen as you fork another curried cheese curd in your mouth.
Where: 274 High Road, Tottenham, London, N15 4RR
In a nutshell: Celebrated Indian restaurant MK II
When Asma Khan moved her supper club to permanent restaurant status, it was an instant success. But Darjeeling Express really hit the stratosphere when she was featured on Netflix's influential Chef's Table show. This move to a bigger restaurant - which doubles as a deli during the day - should make getting a table just a wee bit easier. During the evening there's a set menu based around her celebrated biryani - as well as vegetarian and vegan options. It's already a massive hit.
Where: 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3YD
In a nutshell: Huge Italian food emporium
In the depths of lockdown, with images being shared on social of an empty, zombie-like City, the idea of opening a massive new palace of Italian food by Liverpool Street station seemed faintly ridiculous. Eataly proved them quite wrong - the place has seen queues for miles ever since it threw open its doors. Go to marvel at the huge grocery section, and then recover with a glass of Chianti and bowl of pasta in one of its many restaurants.
Where: 194 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, London SW6 2UF
In a nutshell: British seasonal restaurant for Fulham
Two huge (and good) reviews helped propel this Fulham opening to the top of everyone's hit lists. Grace Dent loved the "casual yet caring service" and urged readers to order the custard tart, while the Standard's Jimi Famurewa was staggered by his meal there - "the relentless level of control, technique and explosive flavour was almost stupefying". If you're sticking with alfresco dining, know that the terrace here is particularly warm, covered and snug.
Where: Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby London W1B 5PW
In a nutshell: Syrian pop-up goes permanent
Taking over Asma Khan's old space at Kingly Court comes this hugely-anticipated permanent restaurant from another supper club chef. Imad's story may be of refugee to restaurateur but his legions of fans testify to their delight in his food. Jimi Famurewa was the first reviewer to file and while he noted teething pains, he also praised the cooking that spoke to "abundance, simplicity and the traditions of the home".
Where: 9 Seymour Street, London W1H 5BT
In a nutshell: High-end Mexican food
Santiago Lastra's Kol was a long-awaited opening which has proven to be very much worth the wait. Another step in the reinvigoration of Mexican food in London, he mixes Mexican cooking with ingredients that are largely sourced in the UK (and it has a great downstairs bar too). David Beckham has been in to try it out and the tables remain among the hottest in town.
Where: 72 Old Compton St, Soho, London, W1D 4UN
In a nutshell: Restaurant rejuvenated with a menu designed by TA TA Eatery
Working on the proviso that pretty much everything TA TA Eatery get involved with is worth knowing about, folk have already been flocking to this revamped Soho spot which had them overhauling the menu. Jay Rayner was an early reviewer, describing his meal there as "fun, reasonably priced and well-executed".
Where: 39 Brook Street, London W1K 4AH
In a nutshell: Ethical dining in a Mayfair shop
It certainly didn't hurt Native that their new opening in this chic Mayfair store was in possession of a rather lovely courtyard, making it the perfect set-up for alfresco dining. Jimi Famurewa loved it called the fish fillet "the capital's most intensely enjoyable new dish" - the same conclusion Marina O'Loughlin came to, "genius, simply".
Where: 157 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RS
In a nutshell: Endo Kazutoshi sushi bar
Having already opened his fabulously-reviewed Endo at the Rotunda, sushi master Endo went one further opening this new sushi bar in the heart of lockdown. Notting Hill residents were the first to enthuse about the amazing bento boxes. If you were missing top drawer sushi during the lockdowns, just looking at Sumi's Insta account might break you. It's all just so BEAUTIFUL.
Ones to watch, opening this month...
Also just opened in May - we think it's worth keeping an eye on...
- Bar Des Pres (Mayfair) - Household name (in France) chef Cyril Lignac picks Mayfair for his foray into the London restaurant scene.
- Humble Chicken (Soho) - Angelo Sato's 'comb to tail' yakitori spot has all the hallmarks of a hit.
- NoMad (Covent Garden) - Early rumblings are that both the cocktails and food are as good as the decor at this American import.
For more - read our guide to all the new restaurant openings in London.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.
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