Like it or not, Instagram-friendly restaurants in London are a thing. Instagram has had a huge impact on the capital's restaurant scene over the last decade, and even the best London restaurants have had to come up with stunning centrepieces, innovative and immersive dishes and theatrical presentations worthy of capturing a like-driven millennial audience.
We’ve all had to get used to pausing throughout dinner whilst your Insta-obsessed friend reels off snap after snap. It may seem crazy to the restaurant traditionalists out there, but for many people, getting the perfect picture 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 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. If you're mates with Damien Hirst and you can get him to make you a giant sculpture, you're probably quids in. 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 most beautiful restaurants in London that manage to balance 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.
YOPO at The Mandrake, Fitzrovia
Why: Regular ‘grammers are likely no strangers to The Mandrake Hotel, but among the many snappable interiors, rainforest-chic YOPO is probably our favourite. It’s impossible not to admire the full steam ahead commitment to the jungle theme, complete with sprawling canopy and taxidermy.
Most Instagrammable feature: The lost world taxidermy.
Where: 20-21 Newman Street, W1T 1PG
Book now: YOPO at The Mandrake
Booking Office 1869
What: Booking Office 1869 is the reimagined ticket off for St Pancras Station, which has been transformed into a dining room that exudes luxury through a combination of dark woods, 8m palm trees and plush seating. Stepping over the threshold here is like heading back in time with its old European charm, and a laissez-faire feel that makes you forget you’re actually in the middle of a train station. On the menu you can expect to find classic dishes served with a modern twist.
Most instagrammable feature: It’s all pretty spectacular, but those palm trees need to be seen to be believed.
Where: Euston Road, NW1 2AR
Book now: Booking Office
Why: Richard Caring's Caprice Holdings is no stranger to glitz and glam, but even by his standards Bacchanalia takes the biscuit. Chequerboard floors, Sistine Chapel-esque murals and four giant Hirst sculptures dominate the room - Bacchanalia is quite a sight, and the food is photogenic too.
Most Instagrammable feature: The enormous Damien Hirst sculpture of ‘winged lovers embracing on a unicorn’.
Where: 1 Mount Street, W1K 3NA
Book now: Bacchanalia
Mount St. Restaurant, Mayfair
Why: Artfarm is quickly establishing itself as a group to watch in London, after years of success in the West Country. Mount St. Restaurant sits above The Audley pub in Mayfair, and combines some gorgeous modern interior styling with a stupendous art collection. The marble mosaic floors are absolutely mesmerising in person too - easily one of London's most beautiful restaurants
Most Instagrammable feature: Is it the Matisse? Or the Warhol?
Where: 41-43 Mount Street, W1K 2RX
Book now: Mount St. Restaurant
Why: The forward-thinking Mexican fare isn't the only reason to visit this Marylebone marvel. The moody burnt orange colour scheme was heavily influenced by colourful Mexican architect Luis Barragan, and is a lovely tonal match for the mahogany, leather and terracotta throughout the restaurant.
Most Instagrammable feature: The raw steel and stained glass spiral staircase.
Where: 9 Seymour Street, W1H 7BA
Book now: KOL
Why: Experimental Japanese sharing plates meet live jazz at this gorgeous bar and restaurant in Dalston, which comes from the team behind Brilliant Corners. Food can often feel like an afterthought at live music venues but it's very thoughtfully done here, alongside a bevy of brilliant classic cocktails. The space is a stunner too - mu is graffiti-strewn and derelict-looking from the outside, but walk through the solid wooden door and behold the natural light, Japandi brilliance of the space. We can't think of anywhere better to sit with a negroni and enjoy a bit of freehand jazz piano.
Most Instagrammable feature: The gentle glow of spherical pendant lights over the bar.
Where: 432-434 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA
Book now: mu
Spring, The Strand
Why: Skye Gyngell’s bright and breezy restaurant in Somerset House is a picture of elegance, with marble, gold accents and plants galore providing a photographer’s paradise.
Most Instagrammable feature: The custom-made bubble chandeliers.
Where: Somerset House, WC2R 1LA
Book now: Spring
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, a gold-mirrored ceiling, shrubs-galore and a ‘living bar’? Pff, who needs views?
Most Instagrammable feature: The plant-overloaded bar.
Where: 35 The Market, WC2E 8RF
Book now: Sushisamba Covent Garden
Why: If you’re someone that loves a bit of natural wood grain, get yourself over to Uchi in Clapton - this authentic Japanese restaurant boasts a compact menu of hot and cold dishes, all served in a calm, serene space. Leave your shoes at the door, and shuffle about in complimentary slippers.
Most Instagrammable feature: Your own feet, with complimentary slippers on.
Where: 144 Clarence Road, E5 8DY
Book now: Uchi
14 Hills, The City
Why: Sat 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.
Where: 120 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 5BA
Book now: 14 Hills
La Goccia Bar, Covent Garden
Why: Sure, the sprawling outdoor terrace at La Goccia gets all the attention, but have you ever had a peek at the inside of the bar? From the paint-splattered armchairs to leopard-print stools, it’s a ‘grammers dream!
Most Instagrammable feature: The crimson paint-splattered armchairs for us.
Where: 1 Floral Court, WC2E 9FB
Book now: La Goccia Bar
Sessions Arts Club, Farringdon
Why: Sessions Arts Club has caused quite a stir with its tasteful, shabby-chic restoration of an old courthouse. Much of the interior has been carefully rescued from markets and salvage yards, but the sky-high ceilings and foliage preserve the building's regency glamour.
Most Instagrammable feature: The whole place is amazing, but rumour has it there's an infinity pool hiding on a terrace somewhere in the building.
Where: 22 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0NA
Book now: Sessions Arts Club
The Water House Project, Bethnal Green
Why: Not what you expect to find down a gloomy backstreet in Bethnal Green, The Water House Project is quite something - a tasting menu experience that blends kitchen and dining rooms, and delivers food that looks as good as it tastes.
Most Instagrammable feature: Gabriel Waterhouse’s beautiful, minimal cooking.
Where: 1 Corbridge Crescent, E2 9DS
Book now: The Water House Project
MiMi Mei Fair, Mayfair
Why: MiMi Mei Fair evolves as you proceed through different rooms, from the Orient Express vibe downstairs, to the opulence of painted silk wallpaper and thick tasselled curtains upstairs. This is an ultra-glamorous destination with high-end Chinese food to match.
Most Instagrammable feature: The hand-painted mural in The Parlour. The black chinoiserie wallpaper in the loos is a close second.
Where: 55 Curzon Street, W1J 8PG
Book now: MiMi Mei Fair
Why: There’s lots of cool stuff going on at this Latin-American open-fire cooking den, from art deco mosaic walls to patterned upholstery on the chairs. It’s a beautiful space, not least thanks to the stunning chandeliers.
Most Instagrammable feature: Bespoke chandeliers made up of over a thousand cut glass decanters.
Where: 47 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7JP
Book now: Sucre
The Aubrey, Knightsbridge
Why: An eccentric, off-kilter blend of stately Georgian and Japanese izakaya vibes, The Aubrey is a welcome addition to London's restaurant scene. The restaurant is a real labyrinthe of different spaces, from the plush, dusky-red lounge and dining room to the ambient lighting of the salon and curio lounge.
Most Instagrammable feature: Explore the myriad rooms - they all have their own character.
Where: 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
Book now: The Aubrey
Ave Mario, Covent Garden
Why: a jaw-dropping combo of scarlet banquettes and multicoloured Murano glass, Ave Mario might just be Big Mamma’s loudest and proudest restaurant yet. That shade of red was taken from the Pope’s slippers, by the way.
Most Instagrammable feature: Worn terracotta tiling and vintage Fiorucci posters.
Where: 15 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QG
Book now: Ave Mario
Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Richmond
Why: One of London’s Instagram originals, the Petersham Cafe in Richmond is still a stunning space to hang out in, and that’s before we mention the pared-back, ultra-seasonal Mediterranean cooking - still some of London’s best.
Most Instagrammable feature: The very green terrace.
Where: Church Lane, TW10 7AB
Book now: Petersham Nurseries Cafe
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.
Where: 28 Bow Street, WC2E 7AW
Book now: NoMad
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.
Where: Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR
Book now: Sexy Fish
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.
Where: 3-4 Eccleston Yards, SW1W 9AZ
Book now: Wild by Tart
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.
Where: 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Book now: Brasserie Zedel
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 seafood-led menu. The highlight has to be the impressive terrace which comes decorated with elegant trees and allows you to dine in the clouds. FYI, Seabird has just started serving some of the best brunch in London - we'd recommend booking a table asap.
Most Instagrammable feature: The tree-lined terrace.
Where: 40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NY
Book now: Seabird
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.
Where: 40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX
Book now: Circolo Popolare
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.
Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Book now: Dalloway Terrace
Sketch: Gallery, Mayfair
Why: Sketch Gallery's bubblegum pink, eternalised on Instagram feeds worldwide, is gone, replaced by a solar yellow colour scheme that marks a new chapter for the trendsetting restaurant and gallery. The major redesign comes courtesy of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE and architect India Mahdavi - a series of Shonibare's works have joined the gallery, celebrating African culture. Is this the end for Millenial Pink? We'll soon find out.
Most Instagrammable feature: A toss up between the yellow gallery itself and the loos – so why not pap both?
Where: 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Book now: Sketch: Gallery
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. Let's not overlook 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.
Where: Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Book now: Brasserie of Light
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.
Where: 19-21 Blandford Street, W1U 3DH
Book now: Jikoni
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!
Where: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF
Book now: Bob Bob Ricard
Bebe Bob, Soho
Why: Another from the Bob Bob team, Bebe Bob is the group's youngest sibling, this time focussed around rotisserie chicken, Champagne and fine wines. The dining room is an art-deco haven of royal reds and blues, geometric carpet, modern artworks and a curvaceous bar.
Most Instagrammable feature: The crimson hideaway at the back of the dining room
Where: 37 Golden Square, W1F 9LB
Book now: Bebe Bob
Berners Tavern at The London Edition, Fitzrovia
Why: The evergreen and handsome dining room at Berners Tavern is effortlessly chic and elegant. Combined with Jason Atherton's exceptional modern European menus, this is one of London's real special occasion treats.
Most Instagrammable feature: The dining hall with its mosaic of framed paintings.
Where: 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP
Book now: Berners Tavern at The London Edition
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.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Book now: The Coral Room
Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden
Why: Unquestionably one of London's most romantic restaurants, 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.
Where: 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Book now: Clos Maggiore
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, while this list of pink restaurants in London are the must-go places for a pretty-in-pink profile. Prefer to eat somewhere that doesn't try so hard? These cool and trendy restaurants in London are where you'll want to be seen.