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.
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. 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. Below is a list of the best Instagram restaurants London has to offer, that manage to balance the two – captivating visuals and tasty grub – what more could you want?
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
Why: This vegan Fitzrovia restaurant is the brainchild of Instagram influencer Loui Blake, so he knew exactly what she was doing when decking out Kalifornia Kitchen. Millennial pink, foliage-covered walls and neon wall signs draw in the crowds, alongside catchy phrases such as ‘Don’t Kale My Vibe’ written on the walls.
Most Instagrammable feature: The shock-pink staircase
What to order: The rainbow beetroot carpaccio (also v Instagram-friendly)
Where: 19 Percy Street, W1t IDY
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
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 inviting autumnal leafs come September. 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: The prawn cocktail
Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
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
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
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
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
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
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
Why: London is not short of places to hit up for some good vistas, but there's something about the way Sky Garden’s wrap-around windows and glass roof frame the view so neatly that makes it one of our favourite spots. The abundance of flowers and fresh plants obviously help.
Most Instagrammable feature: The view, seen through the giant, curved glass wall
What to order: Shallot onion tarte tatin with goat’s cheese
Where: Level 36, 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY
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
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
Why: Ever-luxurious, the Corinthia Hotel London has many pretty features across its restaurants; The Northall has got some seriously handsome interiors and Kerridge’s Bar & Grill has some lovely artwork (and that famous lobster omelette), but the star of the show is the crystal chandelier in the hotel’s Crystal Moon Lounge. Need we even explain this? Just look at it!
Most Instagrammable feature: The gorgeous crystal chandelier
What to order: Afternoon tea
Where: Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD
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
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
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
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
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
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
Why: This relatively new luxury hotel is built in an old Grade II-listed Magistrates Court and has some serious chandeliers within its four walls. One is in the Courtroom Bar, whereas the other one can be seen as you enter the lobby. Cameras at the ready, folks!
Most Instagrammable feature: The chandeliers
What to order: The Gin Martini with yuzu, absinthe and seaweed-infused gin
Where: 211 Tooley Street, SE1 2JX
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
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
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
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
Why: 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
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.