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).
Mayfair - 42 North Audley Street, Mayfair, London W1K 6ZR
In a nutshell: Contemporary new Indian restaurant
Run by Chet Sharma, previously at L'Enclume and Moor Hall and most recently development chef with JKS (Gymkhana), this restaurant takes influences from roadside cafes across India. Jimi Famurewa in The Standard was a fan - "BiBi lights a fire under a somewhat staid fancy Indian dining sector with personality, vibrant distinctiveness and mesmeric, precisely executed food". Grace Dent is also a convert: "Bibi has made 2021 bearable."
St Pancras - St Pancras Rennaisance, Euston Road, London NW1 2AR
In a nutshell: Station glamour with Patrick Powell food
Booking Office at St Pancras was always an impressive looking restaurant but the new design has really kicked things up a notch, emphasising the height (there are trees inside) and it's lighter too. That's paired with a new menu by Allegra's Patrick Powell that really helps to make this a proper destination restaurant. The cocktails are particularly good.
Hackney - Canal Place, 32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL
In a nutshell: River Cafe chef goes it alone
Possibly the hottest ticket in town right now. Cafe Cecilia's chef Max Rocha came from The River Cafe and St John and dishes like rabbit tagliatelle and sage & anchovy fritti (not to mention Guinness bread ice cream) make this a very worthwhile trip to the canal. David Ellis in The Standard agrees - "I’m not a very “it” person, to tell you the truth of it, but I think Café Cecilia might quietly just be the one." while Grace Dent said "I have a sense that it’s really only just getting started on its path to being one of London most serious restaurants."
Fitzrovia - 19-23 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RL
In a nutshell: Residency rotator hits Fitzrovia with wine bar and pop up additions
During its time in Marylebone, Carousel used its space to promote chefs and restaurants from around the world. Now in an impressive new space on Charlotte Street, they also have room for a permanent wine bar plus a pop-up spot and events section. It’s already drawing a crowd and looks set to be a great addition to Fitzrovia.
Brixton - 67-68 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PS
In a nutshell: The sequel to Fish, Wings & Tings
This Brixton restaurant is from Brian Danclair, the man behind the popular Fish, Wings & Tings. The restaurant is best described as Caribbean fusion, while also taking influences from Latin America. It opened relatively quietly in Brixton, but to immediate acclaim. In The Standard, Jimi Famurewa said, "there is something quietly radical about its forceful sincerity, its unusual juxtapositions and the way it pushes at the edges of what we imagine when we hear the words “Caribbean restaurant”."
St James - 2 St James’s Market, London SW1Y 4RP
In a nutshell: Mayfair hit transfers to St James
In its years as an extended pop-up on Heddon Street, Fallow picked up some dedicated fans. They've all embraced the restaurant's move to St James, taking over the space that was Duck & Waffle so it's heavily booked out for the next few weeks. The hits of the menu are still here - with the mushrooms for the mushroom parfait now grown in the basement - along with brand new dishes and there's a big bar space to try out.
Canary Wharf - 1 Water Street, London E14
In a nutshell: Floating steak palace
It's been a while since Hawksmoor opened a new London restaurant (as they've also been pretty busy in New York) but they've certainly come back with a (literal) splash. The new restaurant in Canary Wharf is actually floating on the river and looks amazing as a result. The same excellent steaks and cocktails that you've come to expect from them are here, as well as their biggest bar yet, The Lowback.
Mayfair - Royal Academy, Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
In a nutshell: Spanish tapas and art
The Royal Academy has drafted in Jose Pizarro to take over the food at the gallery and it's a near-perfect match. Post-culture tapas and Cava - what's not to like? There's an extensive tapas menu, a surprisingly affordable all-Spanish wine list and the Poster Bar downstairs is a great drop-in place too. Giles Coren loved it and as far as the RA itself was concerned, "frankly, this perfect exhibition by José Pizarro is all the art I need."
Shoreditch - 49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT
In a nutshell: The hit restaurant moves east
Manteca has moved again - but this time it's permanent. The David Carter and Chris Leach restaurant started at Heddon Street, moved to Soho and now has found a home in Shoreditch. An immediate hit, the menu is once again a mix of Italian and British cuisine, with a big focus on seasonality and sourcing. Expect amazing pasta which changes regularly alongside pork in all its forms and much more. Giles Coren raved about pretty much everything in his review for The Times while Jimi Famurewa enjoyed the longest of lunches there.
Nine Elms - 14 New Union Sq., Embassy Gardens SW11 7AX
In a nutshell: Fine dining in Nine Elms
It's been a long time coming (conceived over 10 years ago apparently) but chef Sven Hanson Britt has brought something quite new to a revamped Nine Elms (now with its own shiny new tube station). There's a shop and bar but the main event is his restaurant with a changing tasting menu (that apparently follows your own "individual tastes and preferences".
Haggerston - 322-324 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA
In a nutshell: Wine bar/restaurant with added Seb Myers
One of those openings that's simmering away in the background is Planque. The wine bar/shop/restaurant opened relatively quietly but has a lot going for it, not least in getting ex-P Franco chef Seb Myers in to lead the kitchen. The menu will change regularly and, apart from a few issues with his seat, Giles Coren said "Planque is a very wonderful restaurant indeed."
Finsbury Park - 52 St Thomas’s Road, London N4 2QW
In a nutshell: The Four Legs pub
They first created waves with their Compton Arms residency and now Four Legs have opened their very own pub in Finsbury Park. It's become an immediate hit, with tables booked up for weeks in advance mere days after opening. Their famous burger is on the menu, of course, but also look out for lots of new dishes too. The pub also has a great (and affordable) wine selection (on top of beer, obvs) which is an added bonus for locals like ourselves. Jimi Famurewa was an easy convert in his Standard review, saying "It is about forceful informality, squashing in beside smiling strangers, and the abiding escapism of a very good burger."
Soho - 49 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 9AP
In a nutshell: Rita's comes to Soho
Nearly a decade after they first opened in Hackney, Rita's have arrived in town with their much-anticipated restaurant. They'd been previewing it to much acclaim on the terrace, but now it's set up as a fully formed restaurant, serving a menu inspired by owners Gabriel Pryce and Missy Flynn's travels across the Americas. Wine will also be a big deal here, not to mention a tempting steak dinner for two. The Standard's critic Jimi Famurewa gave it a rave review.
Marylebone - 12 New Quebec St, Marylebone, London W1H 7RP
In a nutshell: Authentic Japanese kaiseki restaurant
If high-end sushi is your thing, it doesn’t come much better than this new restaurant by top chef Daisuke Hayashi who comes here via Tokimeitē. With interiors shipped over from Kyoto’s Nakamura Sotoji Komuten it looks gorgeous and the early word is very good. Food writer Naoko Jeffries called it "one of the most notable new openings of the year."
Mayfair - 10 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BX
In a nutshell: Filipino bistro with lechon as the menu centrepiece
Budgie Montoya has built up a loyal following at his supperclubs and here at Heddon Street has the space to spread his wings. Lechon (suckling pig) is the main draw but needs to be ordered in advance. Jay Rayner may have missed out on the piglet, but found particular praise for a kale dish in his review.
Clerkenwell - 24 Clerkenwell Green, Farringdon, London EC1R 0NA
In a nutshell: Florence Knight in Clerkenwell
London has seen some pretty beautiful restaurants opening of late and this Clerkenwell restaurant is a particularly good example - the stripped-back approach to the decor on the Grade II building is stunning. Reviews of both the look and Florence Knight's cooking have been great. Grace Dent called it "hugely convivial, like a time before any of the Bad Things happened" while Marina O'Loughlin said "This is a place for four-hour lunches, for cinq à sept, for abandoning all idea of restraint or frugality."
Farringdon - 36-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross St, London EC1M 6BN
In a nutshell: Russell Norman returns
He changed London's restaurant scene with Polpo and now Russell is back a decade later with a restaurant that's inspired by the trattorias of Florence. There are signature touches throughout - the decor is beautiful and the lighting is low - which sit beside a menu of classic Italian dishes and enormous T Bone steaks. Tom Parker Bowles said that "Trattoria Brutto doesn’t just feed you. It sustains, satisfies and leaves you feeling that there is hope." while Jay Rayner said "these are big, heavily built flavours, like they’ve been working out down the gym for a good few months before landing on your table."
Ones to watch...
Also opened recently which we think are worth keeping an eye on...
- Jeru - A top Australian chef's Middle Eastern restaurant and bakery in Mayfar
- Carmel - The people behind Berber & Q come to Queen's Park
- Zahter - Turkish chef Esra Muslu's solo London restaurant
- Warehouse (Covent Garden) - An ex-Silo chef opens at The Conduit Club with a no-waste restaurant
- Dai Chi (Soho) - Top skewer action from the people behind Dalston's Angelina
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.
Pem photography: Food Story Media Ltd
Subscribe to hear the latest from Hot Dinners