The highest ever rate of new restaurant openings in the capital is recorded in the 25th edition of Harden’s London Restaurants, whose 2016 book was published on 5 November. The guide has tracked restaurant openings since 1991.
The 2016 editionʼs tally of 179 newcomers easily exceeds both the 2008 pre-financial-crash level of 158, and 2015ʼs figure of 148. Although the number of closings, 56, was slightly higher than last yearʼs (at 47, the lowest this century), it is still a modest amount, continuing a 3-year trend of very limited closures.
The resulting net openings of 123 (179-56=123) beat last yearʼs high of 101. The ratio of openings to closings stood at 3:2 to 1, a ratio beaten only once in the guideʼs history (in 1996). In only five of the last 25 years has Hardenʼs recorded a ratio that exceeded 2:4 to 1.
The guideʼs co-founder, Peter Harden, said: “The growth of Londonʼs restaurant scene is jaw-dropping in comparison to its recent past, never mind the ʻDark Agesʼ in which we founded our guide 25 years ago. It is wonderful to be celebrating the guideʼs silver anniversary in what is a golden age for restaurant-goers.”