The Hottest Dinner Spots In London Right Now
Paris Hilton, eat your heart out. These are the London restaurants that are definitively hot right now.
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 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.
New to Hottest Restaurants (9/3): Oranj
You never quite know what you’re going to get with Shoreditch these days and, pushing open Oranj’s unmarked creaking black garage doors, we would be lying if we didn’t have shuddering visions of an orange wine and jumpsuit-type experience. Thankfully, the industrial wine bar is nothing of the sort and with Ha’s Đặc Biệt in the kitchen, it’s one of the coolest places you can eat in London. The Vietnamese pop-up from New York is in residency until 2nd April so its flavour-packed food won’t hang around. Braised beef cheek with lime leaf and galangal is so tender, so meltingly fatty, that it wobbles like a savoury panna cotta. While a coconut tres leches with toasted peanuts is an irresistible way to end a meal in a room that feels like guest list-only, NTS-soundtracked supper club.
Dorian is a neighbourhood restaurant. But that neighbourhood is Notting Hill, so it translates to emerald banquette seating, a marble bar, gold lamps, and dressed-up locals. It’s also a total scene. The L-shaped space is utterly cramped, with stools at the bar and tables crammed in to accommodate everyone who’s been desperately refreshing the reservation page for the last month. The place fizzes with the clamour of conversation, corks popping, and sizzling of pork chops from the busy open kitchen. The bistro dishes are nice enough—stick to small plates like crab-topped rösti, tender pigeon with meaty morels, and carrots with tangy whipped curd. But you’re really here to see and be seen in your great outfit, and boast about how far in advance you had to book.
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photo credit: Jake Missing
Evernight is a futuristic restaurant that exists in the here and now. On paper it’s an izakaya-inspired restaurant in Nine Elms serving skewers and funky wines. But in reality it’s something far more Blade Runner-ish and slick. The minimalist space, all black blocks and clean wooden lines, feels like an immersive light box and the bar is its glowing bulb. This is where you want to get a seat, to watch the chefs at work and to go through the menu bite after bite—from an astounding sweetbread curry katsu bun to a tender skewer of beef tongue with black garlic and burnt apple—alongside glugs of riesling. Given the vaguely dystopian and thoroughly glassy chill of the surrounding Nine Elms development, there’s no surprise that Evernight is more cool than it is cuddly. But this type of restaurant, that’s so sure of its vision and so full of people looking to be thrilled, is all about feeling somewhere other than at home.
photo credit: Seyi Odeyemi
It’s officially winter, a.k.a. Groundhog Day season. Frowning at the frosty ground, boasting about how many layers you’re wearing, cosying up to your SAD lamp—and repeat. Jam Delish, a vibrant vegan Caribbean spot, is a reason to spend the night apart from your weighted blanket. Step off a quiet Islington backstreet and into a packed-out, lively dining room with the kind of Good Times energy that will enable a round of colourful cocktails, even on a Tuesday night. It’s loud—in its blue velvet upholstery, foliage-covered wall, and turned-up R&B playlist—and proudly a place where everyone leaves full and revived. You could make a meal from small plates like ‘fish’ tacos and whole jerk plantain with sharp pomegranate, but don’t miss mains like incredibly tender, warming ‘oxtail’ (jackfruit and mushroom) stew. That said, it’s really the buzz of the place and welcoming hospitality that’ll lift your spirits.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
In a city where puffer jackets now snake down Marylebone Lane in the hope of nabbing a table at the perfectly passable (but also, totally passable) steak-frites restaurant Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote, you can be forgiven for wondering whether any social media-led restaurant hype is worth investigating. With Straker’s, it is. The Notting Hill restaurant is so much more than just the name of its internet famous head chef. The flavours are bolshy, the wood fire oven in the open kitchen is always blazing, and the tight-knit room means that heat from this restaurant isn’t solely borne from online buzz, but from the emergence of a new, great British restaurant. Good luck getting a table for dinner and go for a lovely, lazy lunch down Golborne Road instead.
photo credit: Sam A Harris
It should be no surprise that a Borrower-sized wine bar off Newington Green, lit by flickering candles and filled with heads being thrown back in laughter, is one of London’s most gratifyingly lovely see and be seen spots. If you’re into walk-in only wine bars and lazily eating charcuterie at the bar, then Cadet is a no-brainer. There are snacky bits and seasonal small plates but what N16’s latest hot spot truly excels in is a kind of innate charm. A charm that means every plate of turbot or slice of peerless pâté-en-croûte tastes even greater than the sum of its ingredients.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
There is something about a cocktail umbrella that triggers the part of our brains we like to call the Central LOL System. It’s probably actually called the dopabellum or something, but Speedboat Bar isn’t the kind of place for technicalities. No, it’s somewhere to order a phed pokati margarita, eat MSG-smothered chicken skins between mildly competitive rounds of pool, and debase yourself in front of colleagues courtesy of the Singha beer towers. Conveniently named after the world’s hottest form of transportation and from the people behind Plaza Khao Gaeng, this decidedly cheeky spot off Shaftesbury Avenue combines big extrovert energy with exceptional Thai dishes. It’s physically impossible to stop nibbling on the chicken matches with the fruity little green mango dip, and the sensational life-affirming heat of the drunkard’s noodles might actually trump the cocktail umbrellas as our favourite thing here. Leave your worries at the door. It’s good times only at Speedboat Bar.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Miznon is a restaurant with personality. For starters, its menu reads like the top shelf of a newsagent. Customers are ‘creatures’, a cottage pie is like ‘heaven’, and tomatoes are notably ‘naked’. It’s also printed in Comic Sans which feels like both a conscious choice as well as an amusing accident. But off paper the much-heralded Israeli pitta restaurant is dynamic in different ways. It slots into its buzzy Soho location seamlessly, doling out caramelised charred cauliflower and jammed pittas to groupies at the counter who are familiar with Miznon’s dishes from its locations in Tel-Aviv, Paris, Melbourne, or wherever else. There are bigger tables and banquettes behind said counter, best used to enjoy the smuttier parts of the menu. Sac de coq, tomato ovaries, and the like. Given it’s an international mini-chain, there was fear that Miznon would feel like a number. But it isn’t that. It’s characterful, it’s confident... it’s cool.
photo credit: Cavita
Everything about Cavita in Marylebone is gorgeous. The exposed brick walls painted a calming pale coral; the lush green plants hanging from the ceiling; the people who are there to see and be seen and drink many spiced watermelon margaritas. A thin curtain across the front of the Mexican restaurant, screening you from Wigmore Street, creates a cocoon in which only nice ceramics and cutlery exist. This is prime third date territory, to make eyes over an utterly divine pig’s head tamal, or the perfect spot to feel fabulous with a friend, sharing refreshing mooli ceviche and aguachile rojo. If you manage to book one of the larger tables, split the whole grilled octopus. Despite the luxe atmosphere, friendly service and the bustling open kitchen adds a homely warmth—you know, if you served huge tentacled seafood on the regs.
photo credit: Patricia Niven
Honey & Co Bloomsbury
The sad closure of Honey & Co’s little nook on Warren Street was softened by the happy news that Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich would be opening a new, bigger place on Lamb’s Conduit Street. And we’re happy to report that it’s just as warm and welcoming, the smooth, nutty hummus is the same, the bread just as dunkable, and desserts like kadaif cheesecake as syrupy-sweet. It’s all cool neutral colours, pretty ceramics, and thick, off-white paper on the tables throughout, but the best seats in the house are at the front of the restaurant where it’s most buzzy or, if the weather’s playing ball, on one of the few patio tables with a direct eyeline to Noble Rot (where you’ll likely head for a post-dinner nightcap, naturally). It’s open for breakfast and lunch but dinner is when the space shines—with the lights dimmed, candles flickering, and an orange blossom old fashioned to kick off proceedings.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
You’ll find Plaza Khao Gaeng above the mania that is Arcade Food Hall. If you’re looking for hot chicken sandwiches, superlative beef satay, and a deranged energy that combines excellent food with a soundtrack constantly on the verge of gabber, the food hall is for you. It’s definitely one of the places to eat right now. But the place for us is upstairs. Plaza Khao Gaeng is hot, hot, hot. On your tongue and on your forehead. The northern Thai curry house is full of fire and flavour, plastic tablecloths, and white strip lighting. The ratio of brows being mopped to beers being drunk is pretty even. There’s no doubt that everyone here knows that this is one of London’s hottest restaurants.