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The most Instagrammable restaurants in London

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 15/07/2020 Luke Abrahams
a bunch of people that are set up on a table: image © Provided by Evening Standard image

If we know one thing it's this: London has its fair share of absolutely gorgeous Instagram-worthy restaurants.

For a while, it was all simple flat lays and snapshots of our food – but over the past couple of years, all that's changed.

How so? Well, the restaurants have clocked on to all the Insta-action and are now tempting us Londoners with chic, flowery and magazine-style decors that are almost as tempting as the food itself.

From Palm Vaults to Clerkenwell Grind, Clos Maggiore to the Landmark Hotel, these stunning restaurants deserve top spot on your Instagram feed.

Amazonico, Mayfair

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Why go? "Elephantine plant-draped bling" best describes the latest outpost of Madrid-via-Dubai’s dining sensation Amazonico. Neighbour to Berkeley Square powerhouses Annabel’s, Benares and Park Chinois, foliage-festooned rooms glimmer in warm shades of golds, greens and yellows alongside chic snugs and private dining rooms that ooze whirlwind pick-up romances – prime date night spot material. Menus are extra meaty – think mighty cuts of Brazilian-style rump, deliciously juicy fish numbers and exotic fruity salads – with dishes served alongside a behemoth of a drinks menu. Unreservedly chic and unapologetically glitzy, don’t be surprised if your ‘gram features a celeb or two.

Gold, Notting Hill

a room filled with furniture and vase of flowers on a table: (Ingrid Rasmussen) © Provided by Evening Standard (Ingrid Rasmussen)

Why go? Decorated with a giant moody mural, Gold's trendy facade is almost as Instagrammable as its plush, earthy interiors. A magnet for royals and the A-List – Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were spotted on a double date here – the Notting Hill restaurant's sexily lit bar, plant-flecked garden room, all exposed brick floors, sweet lanterns hanging off the greenery and Wimbledon-esque retractable roof form all the ingredients that have made it one of west London's must go-to spots. Ex-River Café chef Theo Hill’s menu is an eclectic mix of modern European dishes, from smartly done chicken to braised artichokes and delicious seafood numbers. And the desserts? Pure gold that even King Midas himself would approve of.

Sket​ch, Mayfair

Why go? For the pink, of course. Afternoon tea in the Gallery is a must in this slick and chic restaurant to the stars, but if you want something more intimate – and even prettier – Glade offers that extra dose of Sketch sorcery. Oh, and don't forget the obligatory snap in the egg-shaped loos, either.

14 Hills, the City

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Why go? 14 Hills is quite literally the definition of Instagrammable. Packed into the dense sprawl of the City, the lofty low-lit jungle affair dons a lush, evergreen canopy ceiling and more than 2,500 plants, including on-trend fiddle tree figs and roomy alocasia palms. Summed up, it’s a well-polished #plant_problem kind of vibe with gorgeous views of Tower Bridge and the scrapers of London town too. To eat? It’s a brasserie-style occasion with garlicky chicken kievs, Jersey rock oysters and extra juicy king scallops gracing the menu. Request to sit view side away from the bar crowds to get the shot of your food with the skyline in the background. Great date night spot, too.

The Corner Room, Bethnal Green

Why go? Inside the Town Hall Hotel, the Corner Room dishes out inventive, quirky and affordable spins on modern British and European cuisine, and there are selfie spots galore in front of those dazzling hanging lights.

Kym's, the City

Why go? A restaurant with a faux cherry blossom plonked in the middle of it? To our mind, that's a restaurant all but designed for Instagram. Serving up Hong Kong-style made-to-share dishes curated by Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong, this romantically lit Bloomberg Arcade hit has date night written all over it. Gorge on fried chicken, dumplings and beautiful ribs besides the bustling and vibey open kitchen. Major standout? The prices. The most expensive thing on the menu is a turbot pot at £24, which is something of a steal.

Dinings SW3, Chelsea

Why go? The sister restaurant of Marylebone's much celebrated Dinings W1, this affluent gaff tucked in a nook of a mews in Chelsea serves up Japanese fusion cuisine in a Grade I listed palatial space. Dinings SW3 packs in all the razzmatazz of a quintessential Manhattan loft: pale white walls, double height ceilings and towering arched windows. Tables are large (perfect for flatlays), and there's a luxe marble counter perfect for 'gramming the chefs showing off their top-notch sushi slaying skills. Food wise, the signature mini Wagyu beef burgers are bang on. Think juicy meat and a rich, ridiculously flavoured bun with a hint of heat. All expensive, but you'll be left drooling. Another ideal date spot, too.

Bar Douro, Borough

Why go? Portuguese vibes, stunning tiles and the crème de la crème of all pastry couture, warm pastel de nata (those Portuguese custard tarts). Aside from that, you'll find a buzzing intimate atmosphere, and a reasonably priced menu – our favourites on it include octopus with sweet potato and grilled quail with red onion cebolada and pinenuts. There's a stellar wine list, too.

Hide, Mayfair

Why go? Aside from the gorgeous private dining rooms, and the bonkers wine cellar – there are vintages here worth more than £20k – and the now Insta-famous and Gaudi-esque staircase, Ollie Dabbous's Michelin-starred Mayfair gaff is best summed up as one big social media fantasy. Split across three floors overlooking Green Park, chipper staff dish out photogenic seasonal delights that range from pumpkin soup to glistening oyster trays – and heck, even the bread is theatrical. Everything on the plate is sourced locally or from suppliers across the country, so it's a very British affair served with a side of posh clout. Fab cocktails, too. ​

Canova Hall, Brixton

Why go? What can we say about this fine Brixton insitution, except for the fact that it's stonkingly beautiful? Early on, the New York-style weekend brunch favourite is an avocado utopia by day and rampant, debauched and packed out club by night. The food on offer is limited but ever so tasty – go for the figs on toast and massive bacon sarnie ​– and the portion sizes are monstrous, in the best way. To Instagram? The bar, tap room, micro-distillery and the pizza bar are a good place to start. Overall, it melds everything Instagram is about: pretty food and made-for the grid interiors.

Brasserie of Light, Marylebone

Why go? For that enormous crystal-encrusted Pegasus designed by Damien Hirst. Housed inside Selfridge’s, this one of the most-talked about openings of 2018 and for good reason: it’s well lit, pretty and with a menu that offers decent mains for under £20. For the best snap, go early for a good spot and request to sit on one of the corner tables by the window. The loos are pretty too.

Ting at the Shard, London Bridge

Why go? For food with fabulous views. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served 35 floors above the metropolis at Ting, the Shangri-La at the Shard’s British Asian fusion restaurant. Minimalist to a T, the space overlooks everything from the City to Tower Bridge and beyond, so it’s the perfect chance to get a flatlay with a city icon in the background. There’s also a pretty afternoon tea. If you can, avoid going at midday as the light can be too harsh for good photos, especially if the windows haven’t been cleaned.

Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia

Why go? The Big Mamma group know how to do two things very well: interiors and alcohol. They've nailed both with Circolo Poplare, a sequel to Shoreditch's ultra buzzy Gloria that's more grotto nightclub than restaurant. Illuminated by candles, cutesy gardens, an enormous ornamental tree and a kaleidoscopic mish mash of backlit booze bottles crammed into every nook of the space's arched walls, there's plenty of opportunity to capture an obscene amount of top snaps.

While the food can be a little hit and miss – think too much salt, and soggy pizzas – the breakfast is a pretty safe bet. The avocado toast, ricotta pancakes, eggs alla fiorentina and bircher bowls are all pretty options, along with a lick-your-chops-worthy Italian-style full English made for the morning after a Soho bender. The Circolo lemonade is also non-negotiable. Oh, and try not to steal the plates, jugs and cutlery, though they're all the definition of #designergoals.

Annabel’s, Mayfair

Why go? Ask any Instagrammer in the city and they’ll tell you the façade of the iconic member’s club is more than enough to bring in those coveted likes. Spread across four stonkingly gorgeous floors featuring everything from a pink bar to a Mexican tequila bar, our advice is simple: find a member and score an invite to one of its infamously good Mezcal-fuelled Mexican Sunday brunches.

Helene Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair

Why go? Helene Darroze at The Connaught understands the importance of natural light. Step inside and you’re greeted by an airy space which dons everything from gorgeous mahogany walls to masterfully upholstered chairs, immaculate tables and original Damien Hirsts hanging above the fireplace. It’s a two-Michelin starred restaurant, so what else would you expect? Aside from its well-lit interiors, the food is equally as ‘gram friendly. For the best snaps, go for the weekend brunch and request to sit by the window. Expect an gluttonous affair with cured meats, oysters, t and foie-gras-everything ruling the menu. Special shout out to the take home Canelé – easily the best in London.

Ella Canta, Mayfair

Why go? It’s pink, channels Frida Kahlo and is full of waitresses – and the odd waiter – wearing flower crowns. If that’s not got Insta written all over it, then what has? The space is bright and light, so it’s nigh on perfect for taking photos of colourful flatlays and there are several quirky ornaments and toys to ‘gram too – don’t miss the little Mexican art in the toilets. For the most ‘grammable food, opt for the tasting menu. Think small plates crowned with avocado, bubbling broths, lobster numbers and the prettiest cocktails to wash it all down with. The only downside about Ella Canta is its location on the Hyde Park roundabout – a gullet full of smog is hardly ideal after five tacos, but we can’t have everything.

Sushisamba, Covent Garden and Heron Tower

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Why go? Both Sushisambas are worth a visit to keep your feed in tip top shape. At the newer Covent Garden site (above), which takes pride of place in the market piazza, the living ceiling with lush South American and Japanese plants crowns the space, along with a tiled sea-themed sushi bar, exposed tile kitchen and gorgeous first floor terrace overlooking the square. Other highlights include the spectacular rooftop designed by Eric Parry – perfect for taking photos – and the grand orange marble staircase by the entrance. Instagram in a nutshell, really. To eat? Try new additions butternut squash scallop with vanilla, the kobe bun with pickled onion and a classic California roll. All so good.

At the original site, in the Heron Tower, pop in for a giant orange tree that looks like it’s from Game of Thrones. Set on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, the sky-high favourite dishes out a fine selection of Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese fine cuisine with some cracking views on the side. Highlights include the roof terrace, perfect for a tipple in the summer, as well as the restaurant itself where hanging lights and wooden ceilings reign supreme. One for the ArchiLovers hashtag.

Sky Garden, The City

Why go? A glass palace boasting stupendous cityscapes of the city and beyond, Sky Garden offers continental breakfast with a view, at a bargain price. If you want to splash out though, head upstairs where you'll find the Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch. Extremely snazzy.

Fortnum & Mason at the Royal Exchange, the City

Why go? For that absolutely stunning Fortnum's atrium shot. Go early or just after midday so the lighting is just right and for the best ‘gram, head south side to snap the restaurant, shop and Royal Exchange in one. To eat? The spinach and mushroom Wellington is a symposium of flavours, as is the poached brill with vermouth and caviar sauce, and the buttermilk Panna Cotta with white truffle.

The Landmark London, Marylebone

Why go? For the Landmark's Winter Garden views and their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Imagine massive and endless portions of eggs benedict, full Englishes and rainbow-coloured continental breakfasts set amongst palm trees and marble galore.

Jean Georges at The Connaught, Mayfair

Why go? Wondrous views of Mount Street crown a light and airy art deco dining room which dishes out French, British and Asian-inspired dishes from one of London's hottest chefs, Jean Georges Vongrichten. And there's a truffle pizza you can box and take home, too.

Bloomsbury Street Kitchen, Bloomsbury

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Why go? Mediterranean meets Japanese sharing plates at this Bloomsbury hole in the wall, found in the shadow of the British Museum. Completely cutesy, the low-lit bar, funky plant-riddled dining room and swish tile-laquered bathrooms are all worthy of the Insta shot. The hummus, lamb shoulder and oven baked lobster – ask for extra cheese – are all worthy standouts. Oh, and be sure to wash it all down with a boomerang of sake or OTT cocktail.

Bocca di Lupo, Soho

Why go? This perennially popular Italian tapas joint is a soft-lit ‘grammers paradise. The buzzing and sexy ground floor – all terrazzo floor, white walls and twinkling lights – is dominated by a long marble bar, the perfect spot for grazing and gazing into (or storying) the open kitchen. Strewn with candles and flowers, it's ideal for snapping those beautifully plated small bites of Italian deliciousness – don’t miss the truffled radish, celeriac, pomegranate and pecorino salad or the ridiculously good ragu. Buon appetito.

The Palomar, West End

Why go? It’s all about the curvy neon bar and the Insta-friendly plates at this Middle Eastern hotspot. Wildly popular and ever so audacious, The Palomar is probably the best spot in town to get a boomerang, ‘gram and story in one sitting. It's tiny, but there's also a sort-of Tel Aviv party scene here, though its entirely unpretentious. The menu offers everything from the divine glazed octopus to a whole bass done in the Josper over. The best part? You can watch the chefs at work at the bar.

The Collins Room at The Berkeley, Knightsbridge

Why go? The room is designed perfectly for Instagram flatlays. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that it’s notoriously difficult to get a restaurant with good lighting, but in the case of The Collins Room, Instagrammers need not worry. Home of the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea – an Instagram soiree alone – the exceptionally bright space was designed under the watchful eye of Robert Angell and is a prime favourite of London's fashionista posse. What to ‘gram? The bar, mermaid chandeliers and the mirrors are a good place to start.

Laurent at Hotel Cafe Royal, Central London

Why go? This space from chef Laurent Tourondel is the latest Insta-friendly venue to take over the infamously stunning and celeb-ridden Hotel Cafe Royal. Designed by contemporary Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni, the 110-seater sits above the grand foyer of the five star luxury hotel and overlooks the slick curves and arches of Regent Street. A glistening bar crowns the main restaurant space and is complemented by very on-trend cube light fixtures and wine cabinets. Tip: take your shot behind the chandelier pointing towards the bar – the picture above speaks for itself. The food is just as pretty. Melt in your mouth wagyu beef ribs, spicy tuna sushi, grilled poussin and much more some served on chic plates. It's all gorgeous #goals.

Crystal Moon Lounge at The Corinthia, Westminster

Why go? It's all about the Corinthia Hotel's crystal chandelier. Afternoon tea junkies will be pleased to know that this mega luxe hotel to the stars has its very own fabulous cake-filled soiree, with an exhaustive list of fine teas personally weighed, brewed and infused by the on hand tea sommelier. There are, of course, plenty of finger sandwiches as well, and a vast selection of cakes and pastries masterminded by Head Pastry Chef Lois Carbonnet. Our pick of the bunch is the chocolate peanut sphere.

The set-up is just as quirky as the Richard Breton crockery, and far from ordinary high tea in London. Instead of a cake stand plonked on the table, everything is served in stages and by request. Instead of a platter of dry scones looking drab, they're placed in an air tight box to ensure extra fluffiness. It's different – dare we say it, a tad bonkers – but delightfully refreshing.

Temakinho, Soho

Why go? It's simply tiles galore. With spots in Milan, Rome, Ibiza and our very own darling Soho, Temakinho really does reign supreme when it comes to Japanese Brazilian fusion and traditional South American hospitality. It's great for solo dining or with a group of friends: samba flavours – which means tapas-style tartaras, ceviches, rolls and temaki – effortlessly unite with the Tulum pool-style green interiors. The hanging monkeys are also another quirky 'gram plus, and don't leave without getting a shot of the absolutely divine bar. It's all very slightly mad menu wise – shout out to the banana sushi – but thankfully, it works.

Palm Vaults, Shoreditch

Why go? Fresh cali vibes, red brick walls and lots and lots of pink. Yes, Palm Vaults is one of London's most Instagrammable veggie cake dens. Expect oodles of simple, but beautiful cakes, and extremely colourful coffee shots.

Casa do Frango, London Bridge

Why go? The set up. Casa do Frango's style is Brooklyn brownstone meets cosmo London bar. Think draping green plants, lots of natural light and a bar choc-a-block with every Insta-friendly drink you can imagine. For the design fanatics out there, clean lines and vintage tiles rule the airy aesthetic. In terms of sustenance, piri piri chicken – don’t turn down the fiery hot sauce – with a side of African rice and a cheeky pastel de nata will keep rumbling tums happy.

Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

Why go? It's the definition of your #plant_problem dreams. If you decide to go, book and head straight for the greenhouse and dive head first into Bourne and Hollingsworth's infamously good bottomless brunch. Fine food, flora and floral armchairs.

Clerkenwell Grind, the City

Why go? Aside from the fact that it's so on trend right now, Clerkenwell Grind is a pinktastic all day/all night affair kitted out with velvet sofas, hanging mirrors and a gigantic electric neon sign, which might just fill God's Own Junkyard with jealousy. Downstairs you'll find a club, which serves highly 'grammable cocktails into the early hours of the morning.

Claridge's, Mayfair

Why go? It's the most Instagrammable afternoon tea in London.There are two sittings of early and late afternoon high tea at Claridge's, set in the hotel's sensational Foyer or inside the tucked away, intimate Reading Room. Four types of bladed sandwiches (salmon, egg, cucumber, chicken), a sensational trio of treats, Champagne and extensive tea menu are served, along with fluffy scones. Do not turn down the Marco Polo Jam, and, if like us you're one of those adventurous types, opt for the 'Tea Journey' to try three secret teas, expertly chosen and paired according to your own preferences.

Spoiler: you'll definitely end up buying the exceedingly rich Claridge's blend – it's bold, refreshing and without doubt, will make you 'ahh' in delight. The deal here is supremely simple: totter in, feast, and roll out of the lobby back onto Brook Street.

Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury

Why go? Named after the famous literary character from Virginia Woolf, who was synonymous with Bloosmbury, the Dalloway Terrace is one of London's most Instagrammed restaurants, and for good reason, too. Set in a quintessentially English space, the balcony is nothing short of visually poetic. The decor changes each season and it's not just a pretty face – the food is also divine. Flowers, towering plants, a historic setting. What more could you ask for?

The Coral Room, Bloomsbury

Why go? Not a restaurant per say, but well worth a visit nonetheless. Once you've finished dinner at Dalloway Terrace, head into The Coral Room, a decadent secret cocktail bar. Designed by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki, the vibrant grand salon bar reflects an exquisite country house transported to the city. The bar boasts a stylish inimitable cocktail list and one of the largest English sparkling wine lists in London.

La Poule au Pot, Belgravia

Why go? Maggie Jones's French sister is basically a slice of Provence plonked in the middle of Belgravia. The set up is quaint, quirky and very pretty. Candlesticks and cutesy chairs are everywhere, along with a charming set of baskets donning the prettiest dry flowers you'll see this side of Columbia Road Flower Market. The food is equally as seductive. Rustic French fare (foie gras, Saucisse de Toulouse and the most heavenly hot cheese quiche) is served on charming crockery alongside a fab wine list featuring some French classics. C'est tres bon.

Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

Why go? The Petersham Nurseries at Covent Garden is basically floral-Insta-dreams meets ultra modern Italian-boho-love-shack in the middle of central London. We're sold. Set within the pretty stone walls of the revamped Floral Court, the space has a sort of infectious Tuscan flair that resonates in its menu, as well as its interiors. Wine cellars, walls lined with mammoth flowers displays, a charming outdoor seating area – Petersham has it all. Food wise, go for the buratta, and don't refuse the cheesecake, either. It's sister restaurant, the original in Richmond, is absolutely worth a visit too.

Aquavit, St James's

Why go? From the bar to the mammoth golden chandeliers, this unique beauty originally from the shores of Manhattan offers a bit of Nordic calm for tired Londoners. Aquavit's mission is simple: sophisticated dishes with all the perks of designer plates and contemporary cuisine. With interiors overseen by the design studio of Martin Brudnizki (the same chap who did the Coral Room, and countless others), go for knock out pretty dishes served alongside silverware from Georg Jensen, wall mounted textiles from Olafur Eliasso, and furnishings from Ida Sjöstedt. In a nutshell, it's all very pretty. The food doesn't disappoint, either.

Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

Why go? A ceiling of hanging flowers, a glowing fireplace and French cuisine: Clos Maggiore was once voted the most romantic restaurant in the world. Go early to get the most magical Insta shot of your dreams.

Chicama, Chelsea

Why go? London's Instagram royalty often descend on this Peruvian hotspot to perfect their flatlays. Luckily Chicama, on the King's Road, is more than just a riff of the words 'Chelsea chic' and sticks to its simple, unpretentious coastal namesake roots in Peru. Aside from the exceptional 'grammage, prepare for scandalously cheap and delicious seafood dishes and cocktails that need no filter.

45 Jermyn St., St. James's

Why go? It looks like the whole place has been modelled on the set of Mad Men. From the bright orange booths to the immaculate marble and glass-clad bar, old-school glamour meets contemporary London in the heart of grand St James's. Located just around the corner from the immaculate shop windows of Fortnum & Mason, revel in 45 Jermyn St.'s world of supreme Insta-luxury as you 'gram chic treats like lobster flambe, rum floats and succulent curried scallops. You'll also get to snap some exquisite lacquered tables and salmon-coloured leather banquettes, Art Deco lamps and crackled glass panels. We think it's true love.

Luca, Clerkenwell

Why go? This Clerkenwell haunt will easily become your new foodie obsession. Luca offers high-class dining in Tuscan village-style settings. You can even book yourselves into a private kitchen, too.

The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea

Why go? No matter the season, the Ivy Chelsea Garden manages to steal the show with the most spectacularly bonkers floral facades in the city. For the best interior shots, head directly to the garden terrace and the Organgery. Food wise? A classy modern British menu with a refined twist.

Lina Stores, Soho

Why go? Anyone who's anyone in the Instagram world knows that this deli shack on Brewer Street is the shot in Soho. If you've never been to Lina Stores, imagine a family-run deli piled high with fresh, homemade pasta, cheese and cured meats. It's gorgeous. Luckily for London's Instagram posse, the people behind the green blitzen tiled shack decided to open up a restaurant selling all their quality goods, and it's really rather lovely. Located just around the corner on Greek Street, the chic green space dons two floors: one downstairs for those romantic types and one above in the heavens for peeps to get that coveted #fromabove shot. Aside from all those 'grams, there's plenty on offer food wise to satisfy all your Italian feast cravings. Expect everything from veal ravioli to slow roasted pork belly sandwiches and seasonal gnocci dishes, as well as the best cannolis outside of Little Italy. Run, don't walk.

Sexy Fish, Mayfair

Why go? It's sexy. Very, very sexy. If you've never been, you're in for a real Instagram treat. Richard Caring's celebrity ridden Berkeley Square gaff is a plush space filled to the brim with whirling mermaids, mammoth sculptures and the odd 'grammable waterfall. Don't miss the obligatory toilet selfie (lots and lots of marble) and make sure you whizz down one of Sexy Fish's legendary blingy cocktails. Food wise: sashimi is the thing. Whilst this Mayfair institution is a little on the dark side, you'll still manage to get a fantastic shot of the bar and a rather glowing flatlay – it's mystical, to say the least.

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