Get us in your inbox

Sharing plates
Photograph: Adam Friedlander

The 23 best new restaurants that opened around the world in 2021

A sure sign that life as we knew it is returning? New restaurants are springing up around the globe in droves – these are the best of the bunch

Morgan Olsen
Sophie Dickinson
Edited by
Morgan Olsen
&
Sophie Dickinson
Advertising

Does anyone else feel like new restaurant openings hit differently in 2021? We’ve always been the first in line to try the buzzy new spot on the block (then tell you about it), but these days, we recognise that opening a restaurant is a Herculean task worthy of celebration.

Despite the odds stacked against them, new restaurants are popping up all over the world right now, proving just how resilient the hospitality industry really is. So as part of this year’s Time Out Love Local Awards, we asked you to tell us your favourite new places to eat. The stories of the ones you picked are remarkable, too – from long-awaited openings to lockdown daydreams, every spot on this list is praise-worthy.

Ready to dig in? Grab a glass, queue up a reservation and join us in celebrating the best new restaurants of 2021. 

RECOMMENDED: 14 cool museums and other culture spots that opened around the world in 2021

The best new restaurants in the world right now

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Clerkenwell

Is this real life? Or is it just fantasy? Those are questions you might ask yourself when visiting Sessions Arts Club in Farringdon. Hidden away behind an unassuming red door, up an elevator and through a velvet curtain lies an artfully distressed former courthouse room. The interior resembles a stunning run-down Tuscan villa complete with cracked walls, glorious columns, towering arched windows, fireplaces and old rugs. Chef Florence Knight, artist Jonny Gent and GM Jon Spiteri have tag-teamed to create something truly beautiful. Amid all the grandeur, a wonderfully simple and seductive Brit-Mediterranean menu is on offer, with crab croquettes and lemony chickpea flour fries. It’s a place to bring your lover, your mother, your sister and your friends to experience one of London’s most spectacular new dining rooms.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in London

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819646/image.jpg
Angela Hui
Food & Drink Writer, Time Out London

The anticipation surrounding this new NYC hotspot has been building since 2019. Spoiler alert: the hype is totally worth it. When you approach this dazzlingly pretty Indian restaurant at Essex Market, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived. Inside, the menu includes items seldom seen commercially stateside, including plates like gurda kapoora (goat kidney, testicles, red onion and pao) doh khleh (pork with lime, cilantro, onion and ginger) and champaran meat (mutton, garlic, red chilli) – all of which spotlight ‘the forgotten side of India’. Cocktails like the N.R.I. – a spice-forward mix of infused scotch, Cointreau and coconut cream with a coconut water ice ball – only make it easier to linger a bit longer. Not that you needed an excuse.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in NYC

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Advertising

Embodying the essence of a quaint neighbourhood café one might stumble upon in the narrow backstreets of Paris, Café Sauvage strives to show off contemporary French cuisine from a more culturally holistic point of view. Bien sûr, all of those conventional classics the world has come to love will still be coming out of the kitchen and gracing the handful of tables that are snugly tucked into this lush little oasis. However, guests will also discover dishes that draw influence from the entire Francophonie (i.e. any country that speaks French) and spotlight other cooking traditions that have made their mark in France, like Vietnamese, Moroccan and West African. We personally suggest that folks spice things up and try the injera crêpe or the chicken and jollof rice with sauce vert and fried plantains.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Boston

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

The downstairs portion of a two-tier restaurant duo, Bicyclette’s polished wood interior and French wines by the half-glass make you feel like you’ve stepped into an old-school Parisian bistro. With a rotating menu full of classics like escargots en croûte and bouillabaisse, as well as seasonal dishes like soft-shell crab à la grenobloise, veteran chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke bring traditional French flavour to this busy stretch of Pico Boulevard. A whimsical cocktail zine offers new delights alongside a hefty, imported wine list. Don’t sleep on ordering dessert either – Margarita’s James Beard-nominated tarts and pastries are unforgettable.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Los Angeles

https://media.timeout.com/images/105814342/image.jpg
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
Advertising

Chef and owner Pablo Zitzmann started his solo dumpling business during lockdown and we couldn’t be happier for his success. Zitz Sum is now a brick-and-mortar in Coral Gables, which means we can pop in at any time for his hand-rolled dumplings, spring onion pancakes and other Asian-influenced dishes. Zitzmann, who’s of German-Mexican heritage, lets his creativity run free with unexpected pairings like charred cabbage with habanero butter and aged parmesan and chicken potstickers with Oaxacan salsa macha.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Miami

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820378/image.jpg
Virginia Gil
Editor, Time Out Miami
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

After years at the helm of acclaimed Chicago eatery Boka – and a CV that includes some of the world’s best restaurants – chef Lee Wolen’s latest project finds him exploring the flavours of Italy with delicious results. Before you even open the menu, take a moment to admire the ornate space, which places diners under an arched pergola draped in greenery or flowing sheets of fabric that hang from the ceiling. Then it’s time to order homemade pasta, pizza, arancini and roast chicken, accompanied by glasses of vino from lesser-known Italian wineries – just try to save some room for a gorgeous slice of tiramisu.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Chicago

https://media.timeout.com/images/105800431/image.jpg
Zach Long
Editor, Time Out Chicago
Advertising

Mokili’s menu is brimming with dishes known from across the African continent, such as Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, the Congo and Mali. It’s a welcome addition to a neighbourhood that’s got more Eurocentric leanings. Aromatic plates of maafe peanut stew, Congolese grilled goat and sorrel juice to wash it down deliver. It’s fuelled in part by the 10-acre speciality farm AgriTropiQ out in Île-Perrot in Quebec. Owners Baka Serkoukou and Epepe Tukala Vuvu have created a brilliant introduction to demystifying an often-homogenised part of the world. Mokili celebrates Africa's grand diversity through food.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Montreal

https://media.timeout.com/images/105849228/image.jpg
JP Karwacki
Editor, Time Out Montreal

Bar Bar means ‘over and over again’ in Hindi. And trust us, after you’ve eaten here, you’ll want to return. Nikhil Mahale is a formerly London-based chef from Mumbai who has settled in Barcelona with the idea of ​​offering a ‘modern version of traditional Indian cuisine’. The place itself is austere and bare, with the kitchen taking pride of place in the centre. The menu is also pretty minimalist, with ten starters and ten main dishes to choose from. Try the shikampuri kebab, which melts in your mouth and gets more intense as you make your way through it. Or there’s the aromatic gobi number 65, comprising subtle cauliflower balls battered with garlic and yoghurt. Oh, and you‘ll eat the best chicken tikka masala of your life here. Big claim, but true.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Barcelona

Advertising

Discovering a new restaurant stashed away at the bottom of a garden, complete with its own vegetable patch, feels rare in a city. But this is Laïa, a Mediterranean joint opened by Pierre Doublet and Quentin Garreau de Labarre this year. They took over an old distillery to grow a magnificent green bubble in the centre of Paris, flanked by Portuguese tiles and centred around a spacious bar area. The food is an elaborate barbecue situation: think spicy red tuna chorizo, paprika and lemongrass chicken espetadas and beef carpaccio. It’s easy to slip into cliché when describing it – ‘stunning’, ‘a pure masterpiece’ etc – but Laïa deserves a decent helping of superlatives.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Paris

When you think of iconic dishes in Mexico City, your brain probably swirls with images of tacos, tortas and mole. But Mexican cuisine is vast, and there are plenty of other everyday eats that are integral to local communities. That’s the focus of Mux, a research kitchen that rescues lesser-known recipes and celebrates them in Colonia Roma, one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. The word ‘mux’ translates to ‘sacred point’ in Mayan – a spot-on description for this one-of-a-kind eatery.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Mexico City

https://media.timeout.com/images/105809185/image.jpg
Andrea Vázquez
Editora de Comer, Cafés y Vida nocturna
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • West Kowloon

Dishing out an innovative take on Italian fine dining, Radical Chic is one of the latest restaurants to grace the 101st floor of the iconic ICC tower in Hong Kong. In addition to the kick-ass views, diners can expect to be wowed by tasting menus that shine a spotlight on Italian produce, thanks to chef Andrea Tarini’s incredible expertise in the cuisine. The dishes here are deceptively simple, boosted by immense skill and laborious technique – like the immaculate carnaroli risotto, which offers a different flavour of the ocean with every bite. Do yourself a favour and book your reservation for sunset: then sit back and enjoy Mother Nature’s show.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Hong Kong

https://media.timeout.com/images/105818032/image.jpg
Fontaine Cheng
Section Editor, Time Out Hong Kong

It doesn’t take much prodding to realise that this new Bellevue East restaurant – bootstrapped by husband-and-wife team Victor and Thandi Ngwenya – is something special. The couple welcomes in diners like guests to their home, greeting each table with a complimentary glass of gemere (ginger beer) or amahewu (a fermented maize-based sipper). Rooted in African cuisine, the menu is equally personal, highlighting open-flame cooking and hyper-local ingredients. The sense of community here is palpable – it’s the kind of place you’ll want to enjoy with friends.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Advertising

Chef-owner Alejandro Saravia, who doubles as the official food and beverage ambassador for rural Gippsland near Melbourne, spent four years bringing his vision of a deli, restaurant and bar to life. There’s no use peeping at the menu in advance, as the kitchen here only uses fresh ingredients that are available from farmers on the day to avoid waste. There’s also a deli downstairs, where the fridges are stocked with locally sourced cheeses and cured meats.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Melbourne

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor

Pepito’s, it turns out, is neither restaurant nor bar, but a homage to what Peruvians call a ‘taberna’ – an unpretentious, often century-old, family-run neighbourhood haunt where people from all walks of life cross paths for a drink and a casual bite to eat. Save for the lone main course of confit duck and coriander-stained rice, you can count the number of dishes on offer on two hands… and you’ll eat most of them with your hands too. So naturally, there is papa a la huancaina, the staple of boiled potato slices coated in a creamy, pastel-yellow sauce flavoured with soft cheese and fruity aji amarillo chilli. Here, the spuds arrive roughly quartered, hand-crushed, deep-fried and crowned by an oniony salsa criolla, with a light and frothy take on the sauce to the side. Make a mess. Enjoy.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Sydney

Advertising

We're cheating a bit with this one, as 1-Atico is actually three concepts in one. (The more the merrier, right?) Perched 56 storeys above the street, this splashy new penthouse rooftop is home to contemporary Argentinian steakhouse Fire, Japanese-Peruvian gastro bar FLNT and glitzy, futuristic nightclub 1-Atico Ultra-Lounge. No matter which route you choose, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the sparkling city skyline thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows that line just about every wall in the place.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Singapore

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor

One of Atlanta’s hottest food trucks has opened a brick-and-mortar location that brings New York street food to your plate. Husband-and-wife duo Malik Rhasaan and Detric Fox-Quinlan specialise in ‘hood-to-block’ cooking that’s unapologetically packed with flavour and personality. For breakfast, it’s all about the Bodega, a serious sando with layers of beef sausage, egg and melty cheese. (Are you setting your alarm yet?) Come lunchtime, we’re waiting in line for the brilliant lamb burger, which is topped with jammy caramelised onions and tongue-tingling jalapeño.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Atlanta

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Advertising

This highly anticipated restaurant from chef Mohamad Orfali breaks all the rules of traditional Levantine cooking in the most brilliant and lip-smacking of ways. The Syria-born, Dubai-based chef reimagines classic dishes from the Middle East and serves them with lashings of style – and heaps of flavour – at this cute, petit bistro tucked in one of the city’s trendiest up-and-coming foodie destinations, Wasl 51. A popular name on Arabic food and cooking channel Fatafeat, Ofali teams up with his brothers (as the name suggests) Wassim and Omar at this new eatery, and you can expect innovative dishes from their native Aleppo and beyond, with a handful of indulgent ingredients (burrata, wagyu beef et al) added for that extra Dubai sparkle.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Dubai

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820462/image.jpg
Amy Mathieson Managing Editor, Time Out Dubai

Chef Kazuo Harada’s eponymous new restaurant marks his triumphant homecoming after seven years away from São Paulo. He’s not phoning it in either – the ambitious eatery explores a handful of Asian cuisines, paying homage to ancient techniques and traditions. The jet-setting menu is a study of hot and cold – with aromatic green chicken curry and tender wagyu ribs served alongside pristine cuts of sushi. Book the omakase-style tasting menu in advance for a special occasion or pop in for the more casual à la carte menu. No matter which route you go, cocktails from celebrated bartender Alex Sepulchro are non-negotiable – spring for the Tokyo Milk Punch, with notes of pineapple, vanilla and yuzu.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Advertising

Plural is an apt name for this new Mumbai restaurant that contains multitudes. The pan-Asian eatery specialises in innovative vegetarian and vegan fare crafted with local ingredients and an eye for sustainability. It’s owner Vedant Shah’s love letter to his travels, with nods to the US, Vietnam, Laos and beyond. The expansive menu remixes meaty favourites – like wings, bao and pizza – into veg-forward classics that are anything but lacking. The stew entrée, for instance, is a fragrant, belly-warming mélange of wood ear mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potato, bok choy, water chestnut and dill. A hefty slice of peanut butter fudge cake (which is vegan and gluten-free) is the only way to end the meal.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Mumbai

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor

In 2020, friends Montserrat Garza and Ann Lee managed to map out their wildest dreams: a pair of Mexican concepts that would disrupt the culinary landscape in Oslo. They’ve achieved just that with Vaquera Verde – a sunny, plant-based café – and sister spot La Mayor, a dark and sexy fine-dining destination that elevates authentic Mexican cuisine. The menu changes from week to week to celebrate of-the-moment Norwegian produce, but look out for chef Garza’s signature charcoal-charred octopus with rich mole poblano.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Advertising

The name of this zero-waste mobile trailer speaks volumes about owner Damien Brockway's ultimate inspiration. The former fine-dining chef retired his tweezers in favour of BBQ gloves to showcase his extensive research of the African diaspora foodways in the US. The result is a stunning new take on modern African-American cuisine that's kissed with smoke, infused with West African spices and loaded with decades of heritage. His small but mighty smokeshack cranks out a parade of ridiculously tender meats that are slathered in sauces so flavorful, you might just catch yourself licking your fingers clean. (No shame in that game.)

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Austin

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor

The name of this timeless bistro is a play on the Basque word ‘itsaso’, which translates to ‘ocean’. That should tip you off to the treasure trove of seafood in the kitchen, where chef Dominique Crisp brings his light, bright and seasonal menu to life. Situated in the serene Pasadena Playhouse, Saso blends Basque flavours with Pacific Northwest style, creating a veritable escape within city limits. Sweetening the deal is Saso’s picturesque patio, the ideal backdrop for munching on pintxos and sipping vino.

🍽 Explore more of the best new restaurants in Los Angeles

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Advertising

While the rest of us were guzzling wine and stocking up on sweatsuits in 2020, chef Jesper Nilsson was dreaming up this effortlessly cool, deeply lovable restaurant – talk about an overachiever. The menu channels his Nordic upbringing while paying homage to Cape Town's bounty of super-fresh ingredients. Everything’s designed to be shared and enjoyed with ease over good conversation. Better yet is the fact that Nilsson is hellbent on democratising the workplace, with tip pooling, salaried employees and a flexible time-off policy.

🍽 Discover the best restaurants in Cape Town

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799549/image.jpg
Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
Recommended

    More on reopening

      You may also like
        Advertising