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: 10 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BX
In a nutshell: Italian inspired restaurant with a British accent for Heddon Street
The first restaurant to take a residency at this new space off Regent Street is a team-up between David Carter from Smokestake and Chris Leach of Petersham Nurseries. Chef and food writer Isaac Carew said of their pig and apple ketchup "I could eat for the rest of my life" and Grace Dent was in recently trying the roast pink fir potatoes with cod's roe. Another recent diner was roving maître d' Jon Spiteri who called Leach's ravioli dish "transcendental".
Where: 103-105 New Oxford Street, London, WC2H 8LH.
In a nutshell: Eight top restaurants at Centre Point
Upscale food courts have definitely become a thing of late, and this latest opening at Centre Point is arguably the hottest one yet. They've pulled together an enviable collection of names - Oklava, Flat Iron, Chotto Matte, El Pastor, Pophams, Lina Stores and Casa do Frango to create offshoot kitchens here. And probably the biggest draw is TATA Eatery's Tou, whose Iberian katsu sando is easily one of London's top dishes right now. While many have praised Arcade, of the reviewers, Grace Dent has been a vocal dissenter.
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 takes it up to a whole other 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. Those dishes include the chicken nugget bao and the prawn shia song bao (which is actually a fried bao). The Standard's Jimi Famurewa was a fan, but preferred the baos over the new dishes - "if you prioritise those magnificent bao, you will leave here very happy."
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. 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: Rathbone Square, London W1T 1JN
In a nutshell: Big Mamma does Sicilian in Fitzrovia
The second opening from the Big Mamma Group here in London, following Gloria, is already a huge hit. It's 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. Marina O'Loughlin isn't terribly impressed by the food, but says that doesn't matter - "I go with two pals, if possible even trickier customers than I am, and we have the jolliest time." And Jimi Famurewa in the Standard says it "legitimately feels like the hottest place in town."
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: 185 Portobello Road, London W11 2ED
In a nutshell: Eggs in buns from the USA
This Los Angeles import has been doing cracking (sorry) business since opening. But a glance across social shows folk pretty evenly divided betweeen "OMG they're opening an Eggslut in LONDON!!!!!!" to " That is an awful name for a restaurant." Restaurant Magazine editor Stefan Chomka encompassed both these schools of thought in his Instagram post: "Very tasty it was, too. I’m still not totally convinced about the brand name though."
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."
1 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL
In a nutshell: Lyle's open a wine bar in Borough
With Lyle's being one of only two UK restaurants in the World's 50 Best, there was great anticipation for their next opening, Flor in Borough. Those expectations have been met and then some. Offering something more of a small plates version of Lyle's, this combines wine bar, bakery and restaurant into what is immediately one of Borough's best places to eat - ideal for dinner or just dropping in for a quick bite and a glass. Giles Coren is an early admirer - with the much-Instagrammed prawns being "So, so good."
4 Compton Avenue, London N1 2XD
In a nutshell: Small plates at classic Islington pub
The Compton Arms has been a local of ours for many years now, so we were extremely pleased with the recent (and much needed) refurb and revamp under Nick Stephens (The Gun). Bringing in Four Legs has also been a masterstroke. Their menu changes daily, offering something truly seasonal for the area, and they're also turning out what has quickly become one of London's very best burgers. The Dexter Burger is worth crossing town for - and the rest of the changing menu will make you keep coming back to this Islington jewel.
Where: 95 Portobello Road, London W11 2QB
In a nutshell: Four floors of cooking over fire plus late-night bars in Notting Hill
There have been a throng of celebs through the door at this new Notting Hill spot. 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." And it's also won over Marina O'Loughlin who says "OK then, I give in: it’s pretty, goddammit, and the food is pretty good."
Where: 45 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8TR
In a nutshell: Popular Kurdish spot expands to Camberwell.
People really love Nandine - and we mean REALLY love it. There's something about the food and the hospitality that goes down a treat with Londoners. Jay Rayner loves the popular mezze dish in his review for The Observer which he declares: "an extremely diverting plateful for just £5.50." In ES Magazine Jimi Famurewa says: "I’m struggling to conceive of anyone stepping through its doors without falling in love."
Where: 197 Richmond Rd, London E8 3NJ
In a nutshell: Insta-friendly bakery expands to Hackney
ES Magazine's Jimi Famurewa is first in the doors to the new Pophams branch where the taleggio cappalletti dish delivered "nuanced contrasts of sweetness and salt, crunch and chew, all high-fiving in immensely pleasing ways." Instagrammer Felicity Spector concurred calling the same dish "genius". Blogger Samphire & Salsify says "it's a little bit fabulous. If you like carbs, go."
Where: 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.
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."
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 Bicester) 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."
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 in the Standard is a fan - "the cooking at Tayēr + Elementary is heartening, awe-inspiring "
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."
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...
- Nutshell - an ex-Palomar chef cooking Iranian cuisine in Covent Garden
- The KPH - Henry Harris teams up with Ruairidh Summers for this legendary pub in Ladbroke Grove
- Suzi Tros - Greek food in Notting Hill from the people behind Mazi
- Three Uncles - Cantonese roasted meats and dim sum in the City.
- Snackbar - cafe and working space in Dalston.
- Wun's - Late night Cantonese restaurant and bar in Soho from the people behind Bun House.
- Berto - fresh pasta bar in Holloway from the people behind Zia Lucia
For more - read our guide to all the new restaurant openings in London.
Ones to watch, opening in September...
September is looking like it'll be the busiest month in the year for new openings (over 30 at the last count) but here are a few we think you should be concentrating on:
- Allegra - Patrick Powell (ex Chiltern Firehouse) does high-rise dining in Stratford
- Arabica - Levantine food specialists (currently in Borough) open a second restaurant in King's Cross
- The Betterment - Jason Atherton's latest, running this restaurant and all the food at the Biltmore Hotel (right opposite a certain Lucky Cat)
- Charlie's - The restaurant at Brown's gets a big overhaul from Trinity's Adam Byatt.
- Daffodil Mulligan - the first new London restaurant from Richard Corrigan in over a decade.
- Julie's - the legendary Holland Park restaurant returns, with Shay Cooper at the helm.
- Loyal Tavern - taking over from Village East in Bermondsey, with Tom Cenci (Duck & Waffle) at the helm.
- Norma - Ben Tish and the Stafford team open this Sicilian restaurant in Fitzrovia
- Seabird - the new Southwark Hoxton hotel brings in NYC's Maison Premiere for this high-rise seafood restaurant.
- Seven Dials Market - the latest of London's high-end food halls, this time from Kerb.
- Sons + Daughters - the Pidgin team do sandwiches in King's Cross
- Sweet Chick - The first London outpost for this American brand, led by its chicken and waffles and a certain rapper, Nas, who happens to be its backer.
- Vardo - the people behind Caravan are trying something new in Chelsea.
For more restaurant openings - read our guide to upcoming restaurants in September.
Where's Hot, mapped.
Here's how the Hot Dinners "Where's Hot" restaurants are spread across town.
Subscribe to hear the latest from Hot Dinners