Every year, London’s dining scene is showered with a veritable smorgasbord of new places to tuck into, from haute cuisine to gimmicky cafes and everything in between. Intrepid London diners can have a lot on their plate trying to test out every new kid on the block, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourites from 2016, from fine dining in Chelsea, to Shoreditch chic via pasta in Borough Market. Your 2017 must-visit list is filling up already…
1. Elystan Street Book Elystan Street
Following his success at 2 Michelin-starred The Square, esteemed restaurateur Phil Howard brought his skills to Chelsea in 2016. Already a hit with the critics, Elystan Street serves seasonal, ingredient-led, gimmick-free dishes, in a relaxed but refined setting.
2. Native Book Native
Following a host of successful pop-ups, chef Ivan set up a permanent home in Neal’s Yard this year. Showered with praise by the nation’s top critics, Native‘s menu is all about the finest in seasonal and foraged ingredients, all served in a charmingly intimate space.
3. Samarkand Book Samarkand
London is home to almost every cuisine imaginable, and now Samarkand has ensured that Uzbekistan is well and truly on the capital’s culinary map. Expect traditional dishes and small plates, as well as one of the capital’s most well stocked vodka bars.
4. Sardine Book Sardine
Laidback Sardine fits right into its uber-cool N1 location. French-inspired, wood-fired cooking is joined by an impressive selection of wines and cocktails, served amidst the kind of minimalist chic you’d expect in this corner of the world.
5. Ormer Mayfair Book Ormer Mayfair
Led by Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin, Ormer brings classically refined cooking to the 1920s-inspired dining room of the Flemings Mayfair Hotel. Cherry-picked ingredients from Shaun’s Jersey restaurant pack the menu, including fresh lobster, hand-dived scallops, and herbs foraged form the shoreline.
6. Picture Book Picture
Much-loved Picture on Great Portland Street looks set to repeat its success with a new branch in Marylebone. The formula remains the same – creative, ingredient-led cooking, with excellent value for money and a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant feel.
7. The Frog Book The Frog
After many TV appearances and following the success of Adam Handling at Caxton, The Frog is Adam’s first solo venture. Tucked away behind the Old Truman Brewery, the restaurant is so very Brick Lane, with eclectic interiors, innovative dishes, craft beers and specialist cocktails.
8. Restaurant Ours Book Restaurant Ours
The man behind Michelin-starred Restaurant Story, Tom Sellers was always set to create a buzz with his next opening. Like Story, Restaurant Ours is something a little different, with indoor trees and large sky lights serving as the backdrop to a menu of innovative flavour combinations.
9. Dum Biryani House Book Dum Biryani House
One-dish restaurants were all the rage in 2016, with Dum Biryani House adding a twist on the theme by focusing on the humble biryani. There are no gimmicks here however – chef Dhruv Mittal has an illustrious CV which features The Fat Duck and Hibiscus.
Sometimes simple is best. This year saw Padella fans queue out of the door for its short menu of handmade pasta dishes, and cosy counter dining.
We also asked our Twitter followers for their take on this year’s best:
@Bookatable Som Saa.
— Andy Hayler (@wyahaw) November 30, 2016
— ConciergeAngel.com (@ConciergeAngel) November 30, 2016
— Seetal Savla (@SavlaFaire) November 30, 2016
— Binnys_Kitchen (@binnyjs) November 30, 2016