Last year over 200 restaurants opened in the capital, and this year appears to be just as chock-full with London openings. As we settle in to 2019, we’ve rounded up some of the launches that we’re most excited about for the 12 months ahead. Trying each and every one of them will be a tough, thankless task, but we’ll endeavour to do our best – and you should too. Read below to see our top picks.

Arros QD, Fitzrovia (featured image)

When does it open: Early 2019

Why we’re excited: Three-Michelin-starred chef Quique Dacosta (who owns an eponymous restaurant on the Costa Blanca) is opening a premium paella restaurant in Oxford Street’s Plaza Building. Originally billed as InPaella, the restaurant has since changed its name to Arros QD, and its menu will focus on rice, something not featured prominently in high-end gastronomy.

Bao May 2016 1

Bao, Borough

When does it open: Spring 2019

Why we’re excited: The ever-popular Bao (which already has sites in Fitzrovia and Soho) is set to open a third site, on the former site of the Borough Market branch of Feng Sushi. The first couple offered contemporary Taiwanese small plates, alongside the signature soft-steamed buns. However, this new location is expected to provide a slightly different offering. Whatever the menu, we’re sure Londoners will be queuing up to try it.

Big Mamma founders

Big Mamma, Shoreditch

When does it open: Early 2019

Why we’re excited: This site from French restaurant group Big Mamma is found on the corner of Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, in the space which formerly housed Red’s True BBQ. The as-yet-unnamed restaurant will be split over two floors and seat around 150 diners. The interiors will be inspired by the Italian island of Capri in the 1970s and the food will likely follow suit.

Leonid Shutov London restauranteur Bob Bob Ricard Bob Bob Exchange

Bob Bob Cité, City

When does it open: 25 March 2019

Why we’re excited: A full year after we included this sequel to Soho’s Bob Bob Ricard in our ‘most anticipated openings of 2018’ feature, and we’re still waiting. The opening is now scheduled for March, but we’re willing to wait, thanks to the promise of ‘press for Champagne’ buttons and cooking from top chef Eric Chavot, who also oversees Coda at The Royal Albert Hall.

Darby's Team Robin Gill

Darby’s, Battersea

When does it open: Early 2019

Why we’re excited: Irish chef Robin Gill has already made a name for himself with his restaurants including Sorella and Counter Culture, but this is his biggest project to date. Irish-influenced Darby’s will open on the tenth floor of Embassy Gardens (a retail/residential development) and will sit beneath the SkyPool, an outdoor swimming pool suspended 35 metres in the air between two residential blocks.

Charlotte Wilde restauranteur headshot

Darling, Hackney

When does it open: Spring 2019

Why we’re excited: We love Sager + Wilde, so we were excited to hear that its co-founder Charlotte Wilde is opening her own joint, comprising a wine bar, kitchen as well as an events and production space. Darling’s food menu will consist of a small, seasonal à la carte of modern European dishes, while cocktails will offer twists on classic sips such as Negronis. The wine list meanwhile will feature 100 regularly changing bottles at accessible prices.

Eggslut

Eggslut, TBC

When does it open: Early 2019

Why we’re excited: Despite its somewhat controversial name, Eggslut has proved a hit in the US, operating a handful of sites across California and one in Vegasas well as its international outpost in Lebanon. Its first London site will debut at an as-yet-undisclosed location, with more set to follow. Signature dishes include the Slut: potato purée served in a glass jar, topped with a coddled egg and paired with slices of baguette.

Farzi Cafe London restaurant food

Farzi Café, St James’s

When does it open: 18 January 2019

Why we’re excited: Seven-strong Indian restaurant chain Farzi Café is launching its first London site just off Piccadilly Circus. Farzi is known for its modern interpretation of Indian cuisine, as well as its tableside theatrics. Dishes to indulge in will include tandoori wild mushrooms, sprinkled with a truffle and walnut dust, and the Raj Kachori (pastry shells filled with sweet and sour pumpkin, topped with chutney foam, and served with a crisp okra salad).

Leonardo Pereira photo

Nutshell, Covent Garden

When does it open: January 2019

Why we’re excited: The kitchen at this two-floor Iranian restaurant is headed up by ex-Noma and Greenhouse chef Leonardo Pereira, with counter dining on the ground floor and a more formal space upstairs. The menu is set to focus on Iranian cuisine made using British produce and will include the likes of hay-infused yoghurt with freshly-baked flatbreads, and raw scallops dotted with Iranian caviar.

Roast Sept 2016 2

Roast Kitchen, Fitzrovia

When does it open: Opens mid-2019

Why we’re excited: Borough Market favourite Roast is launching a second, more casual site in Fitzrovia. Open all day, Roast Kitchen will be set across two floors and plans to offer the brand’s signature British roast dinners, alongside new additions. The kitchen will be headed by chef Paul Shearing, who has previously worked at the likes of Odette’s and the One Aldwych hotel.

Xier Food spread

Xier, Marylebone

When does it open: February 2019

Why we’re excited: This is the first solo project from chef Carlo Scotto, who counts Angela Hartnett as his mentor (who won our AYALA Female Chef of the Year Award 2018). The minimalist, chic space is split across two floors, with a tasting menu served in the first-floor Xier and a more accessible and casual offering, called XR, in the ground-floor space. Expect the likes of yellowfin tuna tartar served with aubergine caviar.

For a more extensive list of 2019 openings, take a look at our full list of restaurants coming soon.