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Guide

The 14 Hottest Dinner Spots In London Right Now

Paris Hilton, eat your heart out. These are the London restaurants that are definitively hot right now.

14 Spots
Launch Map
14 Spots
Launch Map
Updated November 30th, 2021

For anyone wondering which sit-down restaurants are hot in London at the moment, you have arrived at the right figurative Internet place. What does ‘hot’ mean, you ask? Well, it means that the restaurants below are the place to be. That almost everyone going to them is wearing their ‘good perfume’ and that their dinner will definitely be shown off online. A night out at one of these restaurants - whether it’s for a casual catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night - feels ‘very now’. Loads of them are are brand spanking new, but we’ve also listed a couple of spots doing something noteworthy for the first time.

And, as always, we wouldn’t be recommending any of these restaurants just for having a scene-y scene. We’ve eaten at every spot and loved the food they serve - so you can plan your dinner confidently.


THE SPOTS

Ola O Smit

Toklas

££££
££££ 1 Surrey St

Toklas is the kind of hot restaurant that knows it’s much cooler to be a little reserved. You’ve got the founders of Frieze to thank for this tasteful and consistently tasty Mediterranean restaurant. While you might expect something that smirks towards pretension given its location (at the back of 180 The Strand) and founders, Toklas is anything but. The menu is seductive in its simplicity, with a radicchio and hazelnut salad and crab with leeks standing out, though mains can leave something to be desired: a cuttlefish and mussel stew is a little too minimalist in flavour. Nevertheless the combination of a worldie chocolate tart, a bar and dining room that’s full of understated Vinterior-ish pieces (that us normies would likely overpay for), and a pleasantly buzzing atmosphere that’s defined by thick-rimmed glasses will leave you feeling indulged and in the know.

KOL

££££
££££ 9 Seymour St

We would do some very bad things to have easy access to Kol’s cashew mole. And the mezcal welcome broth. And the pine mayo that comes with the glorious trout and Oaxaca chilli tostada. Yes, we want to be a cashew mole VIP - please, we beg you - and you better feel the same for absolutely any hope in hell of getting a reservation at this wildly popular Mexican restaurant on Seymour Street. Fine dining done sexy, Kol is booked out to the point that you’re going to need to either get organised or get obsessive with the last-minute cancellation section of their website. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder if all this emotional upheaval is worth it for a seven-course tasting menu and a couple of margs on a Friday night. The short answer is yes, yes it absolutely is. The food is exceptional, the service attentive but never stuffy, and the sophisticated terracotta dining room is exactly the kind of place where you can take your winter denial for a blow-out meal of summer serotonin ft. a lobster taco we’re lowkey in love with.

Bar Crispin

££££ 19 Kingly Street

We are a strong, glorious nation of repressed human beings who swallow our feelings down until we have to watch Marley And Me just to see if we’re still capable of squeezing out one pathetic little tear. God save the queen etc. But this stoic behaviour also means that a wine bar that’s 50% outdoor seating can still be wildly popular in the UK. Because we’re not scared of something as trivial as 4º weather, how dare you. Enter Bar Crispin, an all-day natural wine bar that serves delightful things like oysters, cheese with fresh honeycomb, and a very sauced-up beef tartare that we refuse to be mad at in the face of such a cool, classy atmosphere. They do have some tables inside but the terrace is where it’s at. Somehow this little corner of Carnaby has taken on a Paris boulevard café atmosphere. Everyone’s smoking, everyone’s drinking orange wine, and absolutely everyone is ignoring the fact that they can’t feel their hands anymore. J’adore Britannia.

Kudu Grill

££££
££££ 57 Nunhead Ln

Biltong is sexy. It’s a bold statement but we’re sticking to it. Partially because we know that somewhere out there our uncles are patting themselves on the back for buying cheap biltong from petrol stations for the past four decades, but mostly because Kudu Grill can make absolutely anything sexy. The third spot from Kudu Collective, this place is a grown-up moody braai restaurant - nay, paradise - where you go to eat fried pig’s tails and whole grilled lemon soles whilst saying dynamic, intriguing things like ‘we almost bought a chair exactly this shade of green from Made’. Hello, smooth talker. It’s located slap bang in between Rye Lane and Nunhead situation, but any travel faff is entirely worth it for the t-bone steak alone. Book at least a week in advance, obviously.

Bibo Dani García

££££
SpanishTapas  in  Shoreditch
££££ 45 Curtain Road

Shoreditch, a celebrity chef, an in-house DJ, lobster dishes, and booths big enough to seat the entirety of BTS. Yes, Bibo was always going to wind up on countless inspiring lists dictating Hot Restaurants It Is Your Civic Duty To Take A Selfie At, but importantly, the tapas here is genuinely excellent. Thanks to its head chef Dani García and location inside the Mondrian hotel, you’ll probably have to fight for those coveted weekend bookings. But any reservation admin is entirely worth it for the opportunity to sit beneath a giant wicker lampshade and smugly post videos of the lobster paella. Bonus points for interiors content, such as #TerracottaDreams #FoliageFeels #CoolJugsOfInstagram.

Sessions Arts Club

££££
££££ 24 Clerkenwell Green

There’s nothing interesting about a lift that’s transporting you somewhere for purely functional purposes, it’s a foreboding utilitarian box of doom, but a lift transporting you somewhere for fun is something quite different. It’s a thrilling journey into the unknown and in the case of the wooden and brass-detailed lift up to Sessions Arts Club, it’s a journey into London’s hottest restaurant right now. No other lift in London takes you to a room quite as beautifully (and purposefully) dilapidated as this one. If Miss Haversham was born into the era of Xanax this, we imagine, is how her house would look. Enormous ceilings, peeling wall paper, candle flickering and a bespectacled stalwart in the shape of Jon Spiteri (of OG French House and St. John fame) showing you to your table like beaming and bewildered extra who found his way here via Warhol’s Factory. Grandiose room aside the food, from Florence Knight (formerly of Polpetto) hits many marks, specifically the ones named pane carasau and clams. There’s a touch of the Noble Rots about the menu in its European-seasoned British style, and indeed about the wine, mainly because they supply it. But Sessions isn’t ubiquitous-feeling at all, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

Humble Chicken

££££
Japanese  in  Soho
££££ 54 Frith Street

It’s unlikely that you’re travelling to Japan in the very near future, so until then head to Humble Chicken. The new Soho yakitori bar is buzzing and will fill you with every bit of a single bird possible. There are a few tables outside but this is primarily a counter restaurant - where flames are waved and skewers are brought straight to you, charred and glistening. The order of the day here is, really, to have fun. Close your eyes and pick your yakitori: from skin with numbing kosho to oyster with lemon ponzu. Don’t miss the offal either. Or that ice-cold Asahi tap.

Chameleon

££££
££££ 1 Marylebone Road

Chameleon is an upmarket Marylebone restaurant that is a total assault on the senses. Smell: hummus mixed with the heady scents of Paco Rabanne. Taste: chickpeas, coriander, top smoky meats. Sight: foliage, foliage, foliage in a self-proclaimed ‘God’s Garden’ outdoors and dim purple lighting inside the grade I listed dining room. Sound: chaotically loud electric violin played by a woman in a gold sparkling gown. Touch: don’t touch anything, we’re 99% sure a single fig negroni cocktail glass here costs more than our rent. Basically, this is a party spot for people who adore the glitter IG filter and describe dried flowers as their passion. It’s classy meets cocktail chaos, but one thing you can count on is that the Middle Eastern-inspired food will be great.

Jake Missing

Tofu Vegan

££££
ChineseVegan  in  Islington
££££ 105 Upper St

It’s rare that a specialist all-vegan restaurant makes as big and as positive (sorry, By Chloe) an impact on London’s eating scene as Tofu Vegan has. The new Chinese spot on Upper Street is heaving seven days a week as everyone tucks into house-made silken tofu in Szechuan sauce, mock meats like Chongqing chicken, dim sum, and much more plant-based fare that may surprise you with how impressive it is. More fool us, we guess. The space is big, so much so that it spills out onto the pavement, much like the sizzling fish-fragrant sauce that will likely fall from your greedy spoonfuls, and, considering the scarcity of actually good places to eat on the Angel-end of Upper Street, it’s no wonder this place is as bustling as it is.

Imad's Syrian Kitchen

££££
Syrian  in  Soho
££££ Kingly Court, Carnaby Street

We have strong feelings for hummus. We also have strong feelings for this new Syrian spot on the top floor of Carnaby Street’s Kingly Court that just so happens to serve some excellent hummus. Imad, a chef who fled to the UK from Damascus as a refugee and has since hosted supper clubs and pop-ups in London, has created a menu of Syrian dishes like fattet macdous, shish tawook, and baba ghanoj. Everything is great, but for a special dinner you’re going to need the baba ghanoj, sharihat ghanam, and falafel on your table.

Mangal II

££££
Turkish  in  Dalston
££££ 4 Stoke Newington Rd

Mangal II is not a new restaurant, but its reinvention and constant menu evolution means that the new-school Turkish restaurant continues to be one of the places to eat in right now. The Dalston spot has lots of things on its side, the first being that the food is excellent. Their handmade mushroom manti dumplings with sweet preserved tomato and yoghurt are a delicious mainstay, while recent creations like brown crab sarma with langoustine emulsion or tahini butterscotch tart are as good IRL as they are on Instagram. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with something like razor clams cooked over an ocakbasi grill. It’s the summer food of dreams. Only this place is very much real: humming with fervour and flavour, Monday to Saturday.

The Light Restaurant And Bar

££££
££££ 233 High St

Hands, face, space is a deeply applicable message at The Light Bar. Your hands should be in use as padron pepper, coppa ham, and fried beef bun gobbling devices. Your face should have a big old smile on it as soon as your bottle of orange wine arrives at your table. And when it comes to space, you should know that this place is absolutely massive. Set over three-floors in a converted Victorian power station, there’s plenty of room for those big group catch-ups but somehow this place also manages to feel intimate enough for a candlelit date night. The handmade pasta is also a real winner and their al fresco terrace is an excellent shout for a sunny day.

Sumi

££££
££££ 157 Westbourne Grove

If you like Notting Hill, sushi, and spending £100 on dinner then you should be getting a cab to Sumi ASAP. It’s the new restaurant from sushi master Endo Kazutoshi and the fish is absolutely outstanding. It’s on the part of Westbourne Grove that feels a bit like LA if the sun is shining and enough small dogs being cradled sidle past you, but the pinewood interior and bright feel of the restaurant itself is understated. Of the sushi, the hamachi (yellowtail) and hotate (scallop) stand out, though pretty much every piece of fish will have you doing umms, ahhs, and OTT groans.

Mr Ji

££££
Taiwanese  in  Soho
££££ 72 Old Compton Street

Soho in the summer screams ambling about in a martini haze looking for somewhere to stick your bum in order to continue the slurping and slow stuffing of yourself. Enter, Mr Ji. The new-ish Taiwanese spot is a cocktail and chicken specialist, and when darkness falls it becomes a neon-lit den where you’ll want to all night cramming your table with béchamel-filled prawn toast, fried chicken, and another round of rice martinis. This restaurant is Soho at its best: new, exciting, flirty, and drunk. But importantly, drunk on the good stuff.

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