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) but 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."
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
It's early days yet for Adam Handling's new west London restaurant but already 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: 19 Bevis Marks, London EC3A 7JA
In a nutshell: Spanish in the City
Victor Garvey had a big success with his last opening, Rambla in Soho, and this makes his first return back east since Bravas Tapas. Here you can expect a similar focus on Spanish food, combining classic tapas dishes with a focus on Paella too.
Where: 27 Romilly St, Soho, London W1D 5AL
In a nutshell: Smart but traditional Persian-style kebabs and more
Berenjak is from JKS restaurants, the folk responsible for Brigadiers, Hoppers and Bao - to name a few - so they've a good track record which continued with Berenjak. "Good kebabery skills," said food and wine writer Zeren Wilson on Instagram. Giles Coren described the kebab torki as "your classic student Saturday night nosh to the power of ten".
Where: Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB
In a nutshell: Caprice come to Selfridges with a jaw-dropping room
If you'd been to Selfridges over the past year, you couldn't have missed all the renovation taking place and a large part of that was for the huge space that Brasserie of Light takes up. The one-floor restaurant takes up two floors of the building and looks amazing as a result - not least for the huge Damien Hirst sculpture hanging overhead. And the critics are impressed too. Marina O'Loughlin says "it’s all very fiddling-while-Rome-burns; but still, you’d struggle not to be dazzled" while The Standard says "it’s a masterclass in creating a glitzy, clubby feel."
5 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PT
In a nutshell: Hugely popular Taiwanese import
There was much excitement when the opening of Din Tai Fung in London was announced - and that was then dwarfed by the huge queues that immediately settled outside when it opened. While the initial four-hour wait wasn't quite on the mark, there's no denying that the restaurant has been a huge hit (and the wait will die down after the opening of the nearby Centre Point branch). The soup dumplings are proving to be the star - Giles Coren said "I have never seen or tasted the like,' and while the operation has met with general approval, Grace Dent has warned about the dangers of all that hype. More recently Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits praised it, saying; "for sheer consistency at a level that most customers would be more than happy to settle at, Din Tai Fung is a genuinely remarkable operation."
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 had 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.
49 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 5BG
In a nutshell: Tiny 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."
9-10 Waterloo Pl, St. James's, London SW1Y 4BE
In a nutshell: Top Chinese restaurant group comes to St James
Imperial Treasure certainly divided the critics, but it looks like the restaurant is taking note since opening. After Jay Rayner wrote about no second serving of the duck, the menu has changed and Fay not only got the benefit of that but loved the pancakes which she called the best she'd ever come across. Giles Coren agreed, saying is was "close to faultless."
17-19 Maddox Street, London W1S 2QH
In a nutshell: Atul Kochhar is back with a new restaurant
The roast duck at Atul's new restaurant seems to be one of the main dishes getting all the attention. It's still in soft launch but Bloomberg's chief food critic Richard Vines was happy to praise his dinner there as "a very fine meal".
10 Lincoln St, London SW3 2TS
In a nutshell: Rohit Ghai (ex Gymkhana, Jamavar) goes to Chelsea
Rohit Ghai was one of the driving forces behind Gymkhana and its Michelin status and had similar success with both Jamavar and Bombay Bustle. This latest restaurant sees him going properly alone with a beautiful place in Chelsea. It's early days but Chris Pople has already raved about the "Nargisi Kofte with an insanely flavoured tomato/bone marrow curry that’s one of the best things I’ve eaten all year".
12-16 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL
In a nutshell: Peckham restaurant from the people behind Brixton's Salon
Levan is the next restaurant from Nicholas Balfe, the man behind Brixton's Salon. This time he's opened in Peckham with a new all-day affair and a close eye on a low-waste approach. Jimi Famurewa in ES magazine has already been highly impressed, saying "though Peckham has long been on every Londoner’s cultural radar, it has just been given another hell of a boost."
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.
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". Food writer Dan Lepard was equally positive and thought the shallot, truffle and aged Comte tart was "ace".
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
None of the papers have reviewed Peg yet - but the early buzz for the latest from P Franco featuring William Gleave in the kitchen is good. Here it's all about the grill and the yakitori pics hitting Insta look delightful.
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."
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...
- Yeni - So far, this Turkish restaurant has split the critics but the new Soho spot is packing them in.
- Xier - two floors, two concepts, one chef. Still waiting for the first reviews.
- The Halal Guys are big in the US - can they draw in the crowds in Leicester Square?
- No 50 Cheyne - revamped pub in Chelsea that got a rave review from the Standard before it even finished soft launching.
- Fatt Pundit - we're starting to hear good things about this Indo-Chinese restaurant in Soho.
Ones to watch, opening in April...
Spring is upon us - so keep an eye out for these openings in the coming month...
- Endo at Rotunda - A sushi master comes to White City. Finally opening in April and already has a rave review.
- Bob Bob Cité - the final touches are being put on this Bob Bob Cité sequel and the design promises to be jaw-dropping.
- Soutine - the next restaurant from Corbin and King (who re behind The Wolseley) is coming to St John's Wood.
- Lucknow 49 is from the man who brought us DUM Biryani - here he'll be adding kebabs to the mix.
For more restaurant openings - read our guide to upcoming restaurants in April
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.
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