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Forza Wine
Caitlin Isola

The best new restaurants in London

An extremely tasty guide to the city's greatest new restaurant openings

Leonie Cooper
Edited by
Leonie Cooper
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Every week, a frankly stupid amount of brilliant new restaurants, cafés and street food joints arrive in London. Which makes whittling down a shortlist of the best newbies a serious challenge. But here it is. The 20 very best new restaurants in the capital, ranked. 

Go forth and eat, featuring everything from Med sharing dishes at Morchella in Clerkenwell and sublime small plates at Hackney's Sune to modern Malaysian cuisine at Mambow in Clapton, tasty sausage at Bistro Freddie in Spitalfields, Italian-ish snacks at Forza Wine on the South Bank, wondrous west African set menus at Chishuru in Fitzrovia, and Filipino sharing feasts at Donia in Soho. 

Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best restaurants in London.

The best new restaurants in London

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Malaysian
  • Clapton
  • price 2 of 4
  • Recommended

Abby Lee's Peckham market stall has moved to its first permanent restaurant space and it's truly sensational. A relatively chilled open kitchen churns out showstopping Malaysian food, full of fun, fragrance and heat. Order the lor bak – supremely crispy five spice pork and bean curd rolls with potent chilli vinegar jam – otak-otak prawn toast, and whopping big kam heong mussels, sensational in their messy, lip-smacking sloppiness. 

78 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0RN

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Haggerston
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Gripe all you want about east London’s current preponderance of boho bistros specialising in small plates and natural wines – but when it’s done right, it’s still a knockout formula. And Sune, just over the bridge from Broadway Market in Hackney, absolutely nails it. There are twists on the Spanish gilda – piquant olives, anchovies and guindilla chillies – mounted on a potato cake that’s essentially a hash brown, and warm flatbreads to dip in a horseradish cream topped with bursting trout roe and herb oil, the whole thing tasting like taramasalata with serious attitude. A smoked eel salad was an olfactory smash and Sune’s signature dish of soft beef tartare on a croque monsieur, was a wild combination, taking supreme skill to balance the optimal temperatures of raw beef and melted cheese. When can we go back?

129A Pritchard's Rd, E2 9AP

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James Manning
Content Director, EMEA
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South Bank
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Forza Wine describes its food as ‘Italian-ish’ and they’re spot on. Taking over the top floor of this iconic South Bank buillding, the Peckham-based restaurant's new spot offers a bounty of fresh, and field-grown flavours spanning bitter leaves, lightly dashed with a muscular anchovy dressing, to lamb shoulder with salsa verde, pumpkin with pearl barley and burrata with beetroot. We ordered buttery broccoli dotted with salty pops of brown shrimp; a hearty pork ragu on a still-crunchy wedge of fried bread, dressed up with some gargantuan slices of chilli and pickled fennel; and a sublime, straightforward dish of clams, with rounds of courgettes, chickpeas and sherry. Nothing is overly fancy, nothing is overly cheffy, but it’s all spotless. 

National Theatre, Upper Ground, SE1 9PX

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Borough
  • price 2 of 4
  • Recommended

The long-awaited sister restaurant to Som Saa sits in a former coach house and has a sophisticated New York neighbourhood eatery air. A running theme here is slow cooking – many of the southern Thai dishes are roasted for hours upon hours, including the incredible signature dish, a grilled mussel skewer. It’s an immensely thoughtful restaurant, and there's much to enjoy in its huge flavours and warm, lively vibe. 

6 Park St, SE1 9AB

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Andrzej Lukowski
Theatre & Dance Editor, UK
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Brixton
  • Recommended

After a series of successful pop-ups around the city, young talent Ruben Dawnay has being giving a pop-up stint in Brixton’s Market Row. With its exposed brickwork and mismatched crockery, it’s a cosy, friendly little spot and the menu comprises five different sarnies (four salt beef varieties and a veggie option) plus a selection of barbecued small plates and sides. Meat is the star of the show and the main event is a reuben sandwich piled high with thick slabs of blushing pink salt beef, tangy sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and lashings of oozy, piquant Russian dressing.

10 Market Row, SW9 8LD

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Rosie Hewitson
Newsletter and Events Editor, Time Out London
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Trafalgar Square
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan, everything about The Portrait is an oasis of unshowy opulence, giving you all the good stuff without any of the pomp and bluster. This balance of decadence and restraint sits at the heart of Corrigan’s exceedingly pleasing menu, which features the likes of artichoke smothered with crab, pig trotter ballotine, halibut with borlotti bean puree and impossibly tender lamb chops. Don't miss pudding and enjoy perhaps the best off-menu dish; the incredible skyline views of London. 

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Clerkenwell
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

If you like Perilla (and many people do), it’s pretty much a given that you’ll be tripping over youself to visit Morchella, which marks the second outing for the Newington Green restaurant's team. Food here is pitched as modern interpretations of classic Mediterranean dishes, and the menu is one of those with no more than three words to describe each dish. Unsurprisingly, this does the generosity of Morchella’s masterly cooking a disservice, but at the same time makes for some neat surprises when the food arrives. A simple ‘pork jowl’ fails to mention this crisp yet gooey flesh toastie comes layered with a veritable sash window of sweet pink quince and thick onion jam, while sublime ‘salt cod churros’ are found on top of a hitherto unmentioned slick of chunky, funky sauce, and ‘egg, spinach and chickpeas’ were dolloped with cream and asteroid-sized sourdough croutons. 

84-86 Rosebery Ave, EC1R 4QY

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Filipino
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

A small ‘modern Filipino’ restaurant from the same group behind Kentish Town’s culty Panadera Bakery and Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream, Donia offer a brief but masterful menu of rousing, flavour-packed gastronomy. Think prawn and pork dumplings with white crab, thick-cut sea bream kinilaw, massive lobster ginataan with creamy coconut and pumpkin sauce and sensational lamb shoulder caldereta pie. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Shoreditch
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Bistro Freddie is a London rarity: a knowingly ‘cool’ vibehouse that doesn’t make you want to dash your brains out on the edge of an understated white table. Bossing it from within the open-fronted kitchen is head chef and flavour magus Anna Søgaard. The spare, paired-back menu belies the erstwhile Erst cook’s talent for concealed pzazz. Many of the dishes, on paper, appear mundane. Søgaard, the Danish-American thaumaturgist, has deceived you. Nothing leaves her kitchen underpowered in the wallop department. Freddie’s glistening, glowing rhombuses of ‘house sausage’, served with punchy (and homemade) brown sauce, deserve a place somewhere near the top. A-tier (at least). Try also snails on top of pillowy flatbread, sprinkled with nubbins of crispy chicken skin, bobbing in tarragon butter. 

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Joe Mackertich
Editor, Time Out London
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • Dalston
  • price 2 of 4
  • Recommended

The Prince Arthur welcomed Joe Couldridge – whose culinary career spans the likes of Hawksmoor, Leroy, and more recently, The Clarence Tavern in Stokey – into their kitchen this summer. Besides being a great pub, the food at the Prince Arthur is knife-and-fork-down brilliant. The menu, consisting of small and large(ish) plates, naked oysters with moreish mignonette as well as snackier bits like mushroom toast, is polished enough to make it feel special – but never have you reaching for your phone to Google ingredients. The star of the show was undoubtedly the lobster bisque: three plump Orkney-dived scallops and saffron-cooked potatoes, topped with samphire and swimming in a heavenly bowl of buttery, fishy, unami-loaded bisque (AKA Jesus’s blood).

95 Forest Rd, E8 3BH

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Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Clapton
  • price 2 of 4
  • Recommended

With its wood-panelled walls, masterfully tiled flooring and mammoth 1960s posters for Italian vermouth brands, this chic little cafe is like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. In the daytime you can grab lasagne, milanese sandwiches and coffee, but in the evening, Leo’s transforms into restaurant serving Sardinian-inspired pasta, and wood-fired sardines. The chef is Giuseppe Belvedere, who formerly plied his trade at the dearly departed Bright down the road in Hackney.

59 Chatsworth Rd, E5 0LH

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Soho
  • Recommended

Bebe Bob is the latest offspring of Bob Bob Ricard, and you’ll find it a mere skip away from the original’s Golden Square-adjacent location. Here rotisserie chicken in hyper elegant surroundings is the order of the day. ‘Any main course the customer wants as long as it is chicken or chicken’, says the menu, with the options being a whole Vendée bird from Western France, or one from Landes in Gascony. There’s a brief but well thought-out selection of sides, with a pungent sauteed kale with garlic, earthy truffled cauliflower cheese and golden french fries. Wash it all down with some champers and enjoy the glitzy surroundings. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • West African
  • Fitzrovia
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Not technically new, but well worth a spot on this list anyway, Chishuru first opened in 2020 in Brixton Village. This Fitzrovia site is the latest incarnation of Joké Bakare's much-loved West African restaurant and its every bit as impressive – and we're not just saying that because of the powerful spiced okra Martini we had before we started eating. This is a menu smouldering with prestige comfort food, where warm flavours and soft textures envelop you like a trusty duffle coat. Chishuru is back where it belongs; at the forefront of the London dining scene.

3 Great Titchfield St, W1W 8AX

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Notting Hill
  • price 4 of 4
  • Recommended

A supremely chill wood-panelled space that fits just six diners, Juno is the smallest omakase counter in the UK. You'll find it upstairs at Japanese-Mexican fusion spot Los Mochis, where exec chef Leonard Tanyag (formerly of Zuma), and head sushi chef Han (NobuRoka) deliver banger after banger of perfectly formed fish dishes, like back-to-back DJs at the culinary equivalent of intimate south London rave spot Venue MOT. You'll need to be slightly adventurous though; flying ants mixed with chilli and salt, grasshopper shavings and wagyu with an agave worm are the menu's more leftfield additions. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Goodge Street
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

This elegant Fitzrovia bistro bangs out old-school and hearty dishes. Here you'll find joyful, sauce-laden French dishes designed to warm the heart and fill the belly. Show-stoppers come in the shape of an unctuous seafood bisque, caper-studded remoulade with ham, and the snails; escargot orbs, smushed with bacon, fried in breadcrumbs and served like aristocratic Scotch eggs. 

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Joe Mackertich
Editor, Time Out London
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Pan-European
  • Cannon Street
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Mayfair’s chicest celeb dining spot, The Wolseley's second London site is quite the looker, with gothic chandeliers, golden Egyptomania touches, and black and white striped columns which make you feel as if you’re eating inside a massive backgammon board. If you can brave the big Bullingdon energy of the city boys inside, you'll find fabulous food. The menu is European, leaning French, but with a soft spot for schnitzel, and prides itself on classics done simply but well.

68 King William St, EC4N 7HR

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4
  • Recommended

This hotel is all art deco splendour, twinkling red-brick majesty and rooms literally fit for royalty. But what of Claridge’s on-site restaurant. Taken back in-house after 20 years, Claridge’s Restaurant finally seems comfortable in its own skin. It's very, very expensive, but you'll get some extremely skilled cookery for cash, with truffle here, lobster there and one of the poshest baked alaskas we've ever munched.

Brook St, W1K 4HR

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Balkan
  • Sydenham
  • price 1 of 4
  • Recommended

Spasia Dinkovski whips up traditional Macedonian filo pies using her grandma’s recipes; semi-psychedelic swirls of pastry packed with ground meat, gooey cheese, and enough butter to make you see into the future. Find them at her Sydenham cafe – a former Italian deli – where the short menu lists four bureks and one sweet and sour cherry baklava bun. Scoff your hearty slice surrounded by accoutrements of Balkan culture and to a Northern Soul soundtrack. Heaven.

227 Dartmouth Road, SE26 4QY

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Hotel restaurants are tricky characters – some can be quite forgettable, while others manage to completely outshine the hotel. And somehow, Broadwick Soho's in-house spot Dear Jackie manages to do both. It’s pleasingly kitsch, flamboyant and fabulous, like a more sophisticated version of the Big Mamma restaurants, though the short Italian menu gets rather overshadowed by the highly memorable decor. That’s not to say that the flavours don’t pack a punch, they really do, but some swing a bit too hard. And let’s be real, this place isn’t really about the food; it’s all about the vibe and that it gets pitch perfect.  

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Sonya Barber
Contributor, London
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Spitalfields
  • price 3 of 4
  • Recommended

Tom Brown is the man behind Cornerstone, the Michelin-starred Hackney Wick seafood favourite – and this, his second London restaurant. Pearly Queen is all about oysters, which come both fresh and interfered with. Of the dressed oysters the star was the pate with champagne jelly, transporting you joyfully to the French riviera. Still good, if a little dry, was the fried oyster with Frank’s Red Hot-style buffalo sauce. If you don't mind eating underneath a purple-hued, post-impressionist portrait of the chef, then this place is worth a shuck. 

44 Commercial St, E1 6LT

Joe Bishop
Contributor
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