Whether you like it or not, Instagram has impacted the London restaurant scene, forcing eateries to come up with visually stunning designs, innovative and immersive dishes and theatrical presentations worthy of capturing a like-driven millennial audience.
We’ve all had to get used to the routine of having to take a pause when you first sit down at the table and again when your food arrives, while your insta-obsessed friend tries to take a picture which will rake in the likes. It may seem crazy to the restaurant traditionalists out there, but for many people getting that perfect shot of the food or interiors is as important as the meal itself. Restaurants have had to move with the times to accommodate this, meaning that nowadays a new opening is often just as much about the look as the food.
Fail-safes include elaborate flower displays, foliage, millennial pink, OTT light installations and smashing loos, but restaurants are constantly pushing the boat out to stand out further and be the next big thing. The presentation of the food is also a key element of making a restaurant look as Instagrammable as possible. Sadly, smears of purée and dots of gel just don’t cut the mustard any more. Hot chocolate sauce poured over a chocolate sphere? That is so two-thousand-and-late, people.
But it’s important to not get too carried away and let it all become style over substance – food should, in our opinion, still be the main focus of a restaurant. We’ve put together a list below of the best Instagram restaurants London has to offer, that manage to balance the two – captivating visuals as well as tasty grub. So, next time you’re searching for a restaurant which will guarantee you a delicious meal but also has all the elements you would want for that ideal snap, be sure to check these out.
Maya, Old Street
Why: Rooftop restaurants were made for the ‘gram and this one is no different. With interiors from the team at SoHo House, Maya makes for some serious photo fodder. Think a plant-filled roof terrace, rattan lampshades, velvet couches and curved booth seating.
Most Instagrammable feature: The roaming guacamole cart
What to order: Seabass ceviche
Where: The Hoxton, 1 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
NoMad, Covent Garden
Why: This cavernous green space at NoMad is filled with natural light – which as any papper knows is tres importante for getting the shot. Aside from the glass roof there are green velvet banquettes, fluted pendant lights and marble tables (which of course make a great background to the food when you’re sneaking a few snaps).
Most Instagrammable feature: The restaurant as a whole
What to order: The signature NoMad Plateau, which comes as a stunning seafood platter
Where: 28 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW
Why: While pink walls and hanging foliage is all well and good, you might prefer a clean neutral space which is picture perfect in a whole other way. Lyle’s not only gives you stripped back neutral interiors, there’s also a Michelin starred menu on offer, so it’s a win win if you ask us.
Most Instagrammable feature: The bar with its background of large warehouse-style windows
What to order: No two days are the same at Lyle’s, but plates come presented prettily as standard
Where: Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
Ivy Asia St Paul’s, St Paul's
Why: Go big or go home, we think that’s how the saying goes? The Ivy Asia St Paul’s does everything in excess, creating the most wonderful backdrop for any pictures you want to take while dining (in fact, staff actually offer to take pictures of you while you're here). At the centre of the room there’s a giant faux blossom tree, while the floor is lit from beneath and incrusted in slices of green stone. This is a true spectacle.
Most Instagrammable feature: The central blossom tree
What to order: Black truffle, pork, and prawn dumplings – they come sprinkled with gold
Where: 20 New Change, EC4M 9AG
Sexy Fish, Mayfair
Why: This one’s a favourite of the rich and famous who are out to be seen. Aside from the possibility of celeb spotting, Sexy Fish also offers up a great place to snap photographs until your heart’s content. You might be forgiven for thinking this is a dining room with style over substance, but the food lives up to the setting with cracking pan-Asian cooking.
Most Instagrammable feature: The central bar with its sculptural fish mobile
What to order: The banana bubble-gum ice cream
Where: Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR
Why: At Allegra luxury minimalism is king with the restaurant’s muted grey palette and touches or marble. On top of the high-end interiors, there are also great views out across London’s Olympic Park. Food here is hyper-seasonal with a modern European style.
Most Instagrammable feature: The wraparound terrace with its views of east London’s landmarks
What to order: Pistachio choux with liver parfait and gooseberry
Where: Olympic Park, 20-22 International Way, E20 1GQ
Wild by Tart, Belgravia
Why: Wild by Tart was founded by one of London’s top catering firms who bost Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton amongst their clients. With such discerning customers already on the books they could hardly come to the restaurant market with average décor. The combo of laidback linens, rattan chairs and natural light makes this an Instagram dream.
Most Instagrammable feature: One of the foliage surrounded seating nooks
What to order: Chocolate cookie skillet with salted milk ice cream
Where: 3-4 Eccleston Yards, SW1W 9AZ
Native at Browns, Mayfair
Why: If it’s good enough for the fashion set, it’s good enough for us. This gorgeous hidden space is found at high end retailer Brown’s, offering a welcome respite from retail therapy. At Native at Browns you’ll find mosaic floors, a beautifully tiled bar and woven seating, all equating to a gorgeous picture for your feed.
Most Instagrammable feature: The central tiled bar, or the outdoor terrace
What to order: Smacked cucumbers with fermented brown crab
Where: 39 Brook Street, W1K 4JE
The Ned, The City
Why: Okay, this isn’t actually one restaurant, but a collection of restaurants all found within The Ned hotel at Bank. Each of the restaurants have their own specific vibe, but all have Instagrammable qualities in common. If you fancy something laidback you can’t beat getting a bite to eat in Millie’s Bar, where there’s pink banquette seating and the most perfect people watching.
Most Instagrammable feature: The grand entrance hall with its central band stand
What to order: Go for brunch, you won’t be disappointed
Where: 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
Haute Dolci, Wembley
Why: Combining a pink aesthetic with a menu of high-end puddings, Haute Dolci is the perfect place to get sugary-sweet pictures for your feed. While the offering might not be exactly nutritionally dense, the sugar high will make you forget all about needing your five a day.
Most Instagrammable feature: The entire space seems to have been specifically designed for Instagram
What to order: Choux buns
Where: 6 Boulevard, Wembley Park, HA9 0HP
Brasserie Zedel, Picadilly Circus
Why: The grand dining room at Brasserie Zedel is as impressive as it is unexpected. Reached via a subtle entrance on Piccadilly, the epic space below is cavernous. With a touch of old world glamour, the décor will transport you to the glory days of traditional French dining. Expect marble pillars and gilded touches as well as a menu covering all the classics – from steak hache through to duck confit. If you have time, grab a cocktail in the neighbouring Bar Américain before your meal.
Most Instagrammable feature: The whole of the main dining room
What to order: Steak hache with peppercorn sauce
Where: 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Why: Up on the 14th floor of Southwark's Hoxton Hotel, Seabird boasts incredible views over London, and plenty of plush furniture to nestle into as you enjoy the Spanish-led menu. The highlight, however, has to be the impressive terrace which comes decorated with elegant trees and allows you to dine in the clouds.
Most Instagrammable feature: The tree-lined terrace
What to order: The octopus roll, with smoked aioli
Where: 40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NY
Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia
Why: Not only is Big Mamma's Circolo Popolare one of London's most Insta-friendly restaurants, but it's also surely one of the biggest. The massive dining room is a Sicilian trattoria on steroids, featuring a huge amount of foliage dangling from above, backlit walls of bottles, and beautifully crafted furnitire. The seriously extra food is also definitely more than worth a few snaps.
Most Instagrammable feature: The walls stacked from top to bottom with bottles
What to order: La gran carbonara, which comes served straight out of a cheese wheel
Where: 40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX
14 Hills, City
Why: Sat up on the 14th floor of a Fenchurch street skyscraper, D&D's 14 Hills could be described as a forest in the sky, thanks to the vast amount of foliage in all corners of the restaurant. If you add to this fact that the window gives you a view right out over London, there's no denying that this is one of the City's go-to Instagram spots.
Most Instagrammable feature: The indoor trees, dangling with lanterns
What to order: Try the chicken kiev for a refined take on a hearty classic.
Where: 120 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 5BA
Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury
Why: Dalloway Terrace changes the display on its terrace to reflect the season, so expect grandiose flowers in spring and summer, crisp and frosty decorations during winter and golden brown leaves in the autumn. Twinkling fairy lights always complete the look and the retractable roof and outdoor heaters mean it’s enjoyable any time of year.
Most Instagrammable feature: The seasonally-changing flower displays on the terrace
What to order: In the colder months, try the fondue. Visiting during summer? We love the prawn cocktail.
Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Sketch: Gallery, Mayfair
Why: The explosion of bubble gum pink that is Sketch’s Gallery restaurant has been eternalised on Instagram feeds worldwide before ‘Instagram moments’ were even a thing. The true millennial pink hipster feature is lady finger-shaped chairs and booths, while white tablecloths add crispness and contrast, and walls are covered in black-framed David Shrigley sketches.
Most Instagrammable feature: A toss up between the all-pink gallery itself and the loos – so why not pap both?
What to order: The infamous afternoon tea
Where: 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Waeska at The Mandrake, Belgravia
Why: The mystical Waeska at The Mandrake is the hotel’s cocktail bar, which boasts some rich fabrics, delicious cocktails and intriguing artwork. We’re a particular fan of the mutant peacock gazelle hanging behind the bar with its colourful tail.
Most Instagrammable feature: The burnt-orange velvet-padded private booth
What to order: The She-Devil cocktail
Where: The Mandrake Hotel, 20-21 Newman Street, W1T 1PG
Bar Douro, Southwark
Why: Tucked away in one of Flat Iron Square’s railway arches, the Portuguese Bar Douro is clad in traditional tiles and marble table tops, which subtly contrast with the remaining industrial interiors – it’s all great Instagram fodder.
Most Instagrammable feature: Its Mediterranean blue-and-white tiles
What to order: The croquettes – they are divine
Where: Arch 35B, Union Street, Flat Iron Square, SE1 1TD
Corner Room, Shoreditch
Why: The east-end hotspot that is Corner Room has earnt its popularity due to two things. One, its wall of artistically hung retro pendant lamps – this is where you go to get your Insta material. Two, incredible small plates showcasing modern European food.
Most Instagrammable feature: The famous ‘light wall’ of pendant lamps
What to order: Duck hearts with shellfish mayo
Where: Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, E2 9NF
Serata Hall, Shoreditch
Why: The interiors at Serata Hall are as made for Instagram as any we've seen – high ceilings, wrap-around windows, plenty of shrubs, and emerald velvet seating. The casual co-working space (there’s unlimited coffee and complimentary wifi for you to do your uploading) serves up delicious Italian grub.
Most Instagrammable feature: The winding staircase
What to order: One of the signature pizzas
Where: 207 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
Image: James Mcdonald
Why: Securing a membership at ultra-luxe and ultra-exclusive private member’s club Annabel’s is not easy, so enjoying the Instagrammable loos and other interiors might not become a reality. But if you want to get a little taste, posing in front of the flower-clad frontage can at least give you an epic photo.
Most Instagrammable feature: Seeing that getting inside is pretty tricky, the façade, but if you’re lucky enough to step through the doors, hit the loos ASAP
Where: 46 Berkeley Square, W1J 5AT
Brasserie of Light, Fitzrovia
Why: In addition to serving up fantastic food from an international menu, Brasserie of Light boasts plenty of features that would work for a pic for the ‘gram. Not overlooking the gigantic Damien Hirst-designed Pegasus sculpture that hangs from the ceiling (it has a 30-foot wingspan), the dusty pink ladies’ toilets that are selfie-ready, and the food which is prettily and artistically presented. Most Instagrammable feature: The Pegasus sculpture
What to order: The galactic-themed chocolate bombe – also Instagram worthy
Where: Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Ella Canta, Knightsbridge
Why: Frida Kahlo has inspired Ella Canta’s concept to the max – waitresses are sporting her hairdo and flower crown (although not her eyebrows) and you can even spot her face on lampshades in the loo. The colourful dining room and prettily adorned (and well-turned) cocktails tick all the Instagram boxes.
Most Instagrammable feature: The gold-embossed grasshopper on top of the fresh guacamole
What to order: Salmon tostadas with chunks of smoky octopus
Where: InterContinental Park Lane, 1 Hamilton Place, W1J 7QY
Why: Its Scandinavia roots are apparent in everything at Michelin-starred Aquavit, from the distinct Nordic cuisine to the sleek Martin Brudnizki-designed interiors.
Most Instagrammable feature: The cluster of lighting and pine cones in winter
What to order: The Insta-friendly Arctic Bird's Nest dessert
Where: 1 Carlton Street, SW1Y 4QQ
The Collins Room at The Berkeley, Knightsbridge
Why: The room itself is as pretty as a picture with hues of silver and mint complementing art deco mirror details, but it’s The Collins Room at The Berkeley's afternoon tea that steals the show, Insta-wise. Themed around fashion, it features details such as Prada’s red and white handbag in edible form or Stella McCartney’s famous striped dress.
Most Instagrammable feature: The Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea
What to order: Well, the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea, of course!
Where: The Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL
The Berkeley Bar and Terrace, Knightsbridge
Why: The spanking-new bar and terrace at the stunning (and let’s be honest, already an Instagrammer’s dream) The Berkeley, not only whips up a wide selection of rare wines, Champagne and dark spirits, but also gives plenty of Insta material. Visit The Berkeley Bar & Terrace now!
Most Instagrammable feature: The soft coral snug with its mural of faces and dusty pink seats
What to order: Be fancy and order a glass of Champagne with a side of caviar!
Where: The Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL
The Fortnum’s Bar & Restaurant at Royal Exchange, City
Why: Situated in the courtyard of the Royal Exchange, The Fortnum’s Bar & Restaurant at Royal Exchange showcases a striking, lit-up bar in its signature mint green. Night or day – it’s beautiful and it would be outright rude not to take pictures of it.
Most Instagrammable feature: The central bar, from all angles
What to order: Fortnum & Mason’s signature Knickerbocker Glory for some serious #FoodPorn
Where: The Courtyard, The Royal Exchange, EC3V 3LR
Why: The kitsch cuteness overload at Mayfair’s Jikoni is almost unbearable but somehow manages to just strike the right balance of clashing prints. The food of executive chef Ravinder Bhogal is a merry medley of the cuisines of Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Britain, and so are the interiors. Rich fabrics, ethnic patterns and native artefacts work as pretty Instagram details.
Most Instagrammable feature: The sofa seats, stuffed with richly-patterned cushions, pretty tablecloths and intriguing crockery
What to order: The kuku paka with Sukuma wiki and saffron rice – divine
Where: 19-21 Blandford Street, W1U 3DH
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
Why: OTT destination The Ivy Chelsea Garden is popular with the Instagram crowd, much due to its colourful interiors and luscious garden terrace, which is quite the place to be in the summer.
Most Instagrammable feature: The foliage-covered garden walls
What to order: The blackberry sundae
Where: 197 King's Road, SW3 5ED
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho
Why: You might know it as the restaurant with the ‘press for Champagne button’, and although we do agree that anywhere with such a button is worth visiting, Bob Bob Ricard is more than a gimmick. The food is exceptional and besides the button itself, the luxurious Gatsby-like interiors will make your followers mega jealous.
Most Instagrammable feature: The button. Go on, push it!
What to order: Apart from Champagne (duh), go for the beef Wellington
Where: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF
Harrods Dining Hall, Knightsbridge
Why: The spanking-new Harrods Dining Hall is a haven both for foodies and for Insta-chasers. Formerly known as the Meat & Fish Hall, the new Dining Hall is a collection of restaurants that each boast luxurious design.
Most Instagrammable feature: The oval-shaped wine bar, sitting below the mural-painted ceiling
What to order: A large glass of the Harrods Chablis
Where: 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL
Sushisamba, Covent Garden
Why: What Sushisamba Covent Garden lacks in views compared to its City-based Heron Tower sibling, it sure makes up for in photogenic material. Funky tiles, gold-mirrored ceiling, shrubs-galore and a ‘living bar’? Pff, who needs views?
Most Instagrammable feature: The plant-overloaded bar
What to order: The green bean tempura with black truffle aioli
Where: Opera Terrace, The Piazza, WC2E 8RF
Why: The east-end smash-hit Gloria, which dishes out Instagrammable plates such as the ten-layer lasagne to a (very) loud gleeful soundtrack, is a quirky haven.
Most Instagrammable feature: The 70’s Capri-style interiors that are, in one word, extra
What to order: The pasta al tartufo – home-made malfadine pasta with mascarpone, black truffle shavings and button mushrooms
Where: 54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR
Berners Tavern at The London Edition, Fitzrovia
Why: The evergreen and handsome dining room at Berners Tavern at The London Edition is effortlessly elegant. A real special-occasions place, it’s great for afternoon tea (it has a Champagne trolley) and Sunday roasts alike.
Most Instagrammable feature: The dining hall with its multiple framed paintings
What to order: Colchester crab on toast dressed with pickled cucumber and celery
Where: 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP
The Dining Room at Mare Street Market, Hackney
Why: Instagrammers will have a field day at the crystal chandelier-studded, antique-filled, plant-lined Dining Room at Mare Street Market. From vintage furniture, giant mirrors and taxidermy giraffe heads, there’s so much to capture here.
Most Instagrammable feature: An overview of the whole room – but make sure to get the giraffe in
What to order: One of the seasonal specialities – perhaps grilled scallops with miso butter
Where: 117 Mare Street, E8 4RU
Clerkenwell Grind, Clerkenwell
Why: The dusty pink and royal blue velvet seating at Clerkenwell Grind are an Instagrammer’s dreams come true, made complete with marble table tops and endless Espresso Martinis. Where to start eh?
Most Instagrammable feature: The marble-topped cocktail bar
What to order: The warm banana bread
Where: 2-4 Old Street, EC1V 9AA
The Coral Room, Bloomsbury
Why: The Coral Room at the Bloomsbury Hotel is indeed coral, styled in a 1920s fashion – and extremely pretty. Luxurious design details, well-turned cocktails (that also look the part), and delicious food make this a hit with the Bloomsbury crowd.
Most Instagrammable feature: The shimmering art-deco bar
What to order: The lobster and crayfish mac & cheese
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden
Why: Dubbed as the world’s most romantic restaurant, there are more reasons than one to visit Clos Maggiore. Our favourite of them is the flower-studded conservatory, known as ‘the pretty room’, where twinkling fairy lights make for a romantic setting at night, and beaming sunlight gives everything a dreamy atmosphere during the day. The French cooking is also worth the visit.
Most Instagrammable feature: The ‘pretty room’ conservatory
What to order: Roast squab pigeon and confit leg with a truffle and onion tart
Where: 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Helix at the Gherkin, City
Image: Roland Blunk
The Gherkin has been a much-photographed London landmark for nearly 20 years now (feeling old yet?), but we never seem to grow tired of it. The diamond-shaped slats on the glass dome at the top floor frame the City view so beautifully.
Most Instagrammable feature: The sun setting through the diamond-slatted glass
What to order: The Pirate ‘One-Eyed’ Willy cocktail that comes served tiki-style in a blue china fish-shaped vase
Where: 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP
Lina Stores, Soho
Why: If piles of freshly made pasta, cheese and cured meats aren't enough to convince you to pop down to Lina Stores in Soho (and you know the Instagram crowd love a good pasta shot), than perhaps the million interior Gram-opportunities will.
Most Instagrammable feature: The diner-styled bar with its mint-green seats
What to order: Any of the deliciously-dressed pastas
Where: 51 Greek Street, W1D 4EH
Juno Rooms, City
Why: There is so much to love at Juno Rooms, from Japanese cherry blossoms and an incredibly handsome private dining room to the palm-printed booths – there’s even a neon sign thrown in for good measure. Popular as an after-work cocktail spot for City workers, this Square Mile bar is as Instagram-ready as they get.
Most Instagrammable feature: The Japanese cherry blossoms
What to order: Chicken ramen burger and a Rhubarb Pisco Sour
Where: 67-69 Watling Street, EC4M 9DD
Need more to fill your feed with? In our list of London’s most Instagrammable loos, you can find out where to have a wee and boost your Instagram account all at the same time, and in our list of pink restaurants in London, you can discover the must-go places for a pretty-in-pink profile.