London’s most Instagrammable restaurants – worth it or not?

Are London’s prettiest restaurants, bars and cafes really worth it?

The restaurant scene, especially in cities, has been changing over the last few years. Having good food and service is no longer enough, you’d better look good on the ‘gram too. I was a bit late to this party but have certainly been making up for lost time exploring London’s most Instagrammable bars, restaurants and cafes.

There are lots of lists of instagrammable places out there but most of them don’t tell you one important thing: is it actually worth going? And even if somewhere is worth trying for the experience, is it worth going back just for the food? In my experience, these types of places are a mixed bag, so I’ve to set out my thoughts on the places I’ve visited in London to get the most social media friendly snaps and the remaining places on my list to try (marked ‘coming soon’!).

Where menus are available, I’ve linked them to the ‘price’ headings.

London's most Instagrammable restaurants

A.O.K

Coming soon

Alto by San Carlo

Coming soon

Amazonico

Amazonico London
Walking into Amazonico

King of London’s instagrammable restaurants, Amazonico is a trip through the Amazon visually and gastronomically. There’s a sushi menu as well as food from Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Service is friendly and attentive and Oh Em Gee the interior is out of this world. You aren’t going to find many other places that can compete with Amazonico for pure draw dropping scenery.

Amazonico London
Lounge / dining area, Amazonico
Price

Around £150 pp for three courses, drinks and service

Good to know

There are several areas inside, a bar, a lounge / dining area and the main restaurant. I couldn’t see a difference between some parts of the lounge / dining areas and the main restaurant except some tables were high with stools and in a kind of walk way between the kitchen and restaurant (which I wouldn’t want to sit at). I believe the menu is the same across the venue but you’re safest booking the main restaurant for the best Insta experience.

Amazonico London
The bar, Amazonico
Worth it?

I came with no expectations for the food and was braced to be disappointed by the interior but the Insta-worthiness of the place was top drawer and the food was pretty damn good too. You can get the same or better food other places in London for less but not in Berkeley Square and not in this setting. Highly recommended.

Amazonico London
Starters at Amazonico

Ampeli

Coming soon

Aquavit

Coming soon

Aubaine

Coming soon

Bancone

Coming soon

Bar Douro

Coming soon

Beast

Beast Restaurant, London
Atmospheric Beast

This isn’t your typical IG venue, but it is very atmospheric with long benches, low light and candles on the tables. The big bonus is that the food is (in my opinion) some of the best in London. Beast is famous for its Norwegian king crab and steak but it keeps expanding its specials and starters and everything I’ve tried so far has been exceptional.

Price

Around £150 pp for three courses, service and drinks

Beast Restaurant, London
Beast
Good to know

The USDA Nebraskan chateaubriand is the best cut and don’t be swayed by the lobster, it’s king crab all the way.

Beast Restaurant, London
King crab at Beast
Worth it?

Hell yeah. You won’t get top drawer IG shots, but they’ll still be good and you’ll get an excellent meal too. If you’re into wine there’s also a really good wine list.

Berners Tavern

Coming soon

Bob Bob Ricard

Coming soon

Brasserie of Light

Probably one of the ultimate IG locations in Central London courtesy of a giant glittery flying horse, mirrored everything and the pinkest bathrooms you’ve ever seen.

Brasserie of Light
Brasserie of Light – Damien Hirst sculpture
Price

I went to lunch and had 2 courses and a bellini for just under £60. The dinner menu is pretty similar so if you added sides, another couple of drinks and a dessert then it’s going to be a fairly reasonable £80 – £100 depending on what you order.

Bellinis at the Brasserie of Light
Good to know

Turnaround on our table was 90 minutes for lunch for 2 people, I’m not sure if they give you longer at dinner but it felt a little stingey! The Brasserie of Light is on the first floor of Selfridges – allow yourself 10 minutes grace to make your way from the front of the department store.

Do not leave without visiting the toilets – the men’s are mirrored black granite and the women’s a sea of mirrored pink.

The giant glittery Pegasus that presides over the brasserie is a Damien Hirst creation.

The toilets at Brasserie of Light
The toilets at Brasserie of Light
The toilets at Brasserie of Light
The toilets at Brasserie of Light
Worth it?

I thought so. It’s not fine dining but the portions were generous and the food pretty solid. Service wasn’t good and wasn’t bad – it felt a bit busy canteen-ish (because it was pretty busy) but we got what we ordered quickly so there wasn’t really anything to complain about. I didn’t love the menu but it’s typical brasserie fare so hard to complaint – the clue is in the name!

On balance I recommend it – I got some seriously amazing photos and it was reasonably priced for its location with decent food and drinks.

Bar at the Brasserie of Light
Bar at the Brasserie of Light

Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse, London
Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse needs no introduction as the fire station turned hotel / restaurant that’s a hangout for A list celebrities and presided over by executive chef Nuno Mendes. Getting a table isn’t as difficult as it used to be but it’s still not easy so you might have to settle for eating mid week or at weird times.

Price

I actually have no idea having had private dining, but it will be in line with top end London restaurants.

Good to know

There’s a bar areas as well as the restaurant, so you can try your luck for drinks even if you can’t get a table (although I believe this isn’t an option at peak times).

I’ve only ever eaten in their private dining area which was really nice and intimate and had the benefit of being able to shut the door. The wider restaurant was pretty noisy as well as quite tightly packed (pre-COVID) and there are certain tables I wouldn’t have wanted to sit at with waiters and other guests constantly squeezing by.

Chiltern Firehouse, London
Chiltern Firehouse private dining
Worth it?

The bar area is super cute and has a lovely relaxed vibe and the food there is pretty good (especially the crab donuts). It’s not in the same Insta league as a lot of other places in this list but it has good cache and its own photogenic vibe. On balance it’s worth going if you like iconic London venues.

Chotto Matte

Coming soon

Circolo Popolare

Circolo Popolare, London
Circolo Popolare

A Sicilian Trattoria in Fitzrovia strewn with flowers and foliage and walls covered in backlit bottles is a stunning setting for an Italian menu of pizza and pasta. It also has a brunch menu of standard classics including a full English and pancakes.

Price

Around £50 pp for three courses, drinks and service

Circolo Popolare, London
Pancakes at Circolo Popolare
Good to know

The restaurant is kind of cavernous and can be a bit loud so it’s probably not the venue for an intimate lunch or dinner.

Worth it?

Definitely, the food is good and reasonably priced, there’s a nice lively atmosphere

Clos Maggiore

Clos Maggiore, London
Clos Maggiore at Christmas

Named London’s most romantic restaurant, Clos Maggiore is an intimate affair in Covent Garden with a seasonally changing Insta-worthy floral displays.

Price

The food is actually more reasonable than I expected but my bill was high due to the wine which more than doubled the bill. You could eat for under £100 per person for three courses, but it’s likely to be nearer £150 per person if you include wine.

Good to know

You need to book in advance to get a table full stop, but book extra early (months in advance) to request the iconic area by the fireplace. We got lucky when we went but plan ahead to avoid disappointment!

Worth it?

Totally. The food far exceeded my expectations – I thought it would be over-hyped because it was so well known for its interiors but it’s genuinely excellent food. Service was impeccable and it looks as good inside as you’ve been led to believe.

Dalloway Terrace

Coming soon

Duck and Waffle

Duck and Waffle City, London
Christmas at Duck and Waffle

High on the 40th floor of Heron Tower you’ll find Duck and Waffle, London’s highest 24 hour restaurant. I’ve included it in this list for the epic views, even though the interior isn’t your classic Insta set up

Price

About £60 per person for 3 courses, drinks and service but it depends a lot on what time you visit. This is another venue that can be as cheap or expensive as you like.

Good to know

It’s much smaller and more intimate than Sushi Samba in the same building and the set up does allow you to get near the windows for pictures even if you’re not at a table near the windows. Try their signature wish, duck and waffle.

Duck and Waffle City, London sunrise
Sunrise from Duck and Waffle
Worth it?

If you like sunrise and sunset views and time your visit right then it’s really worth it. The food is decent but not amazing, you’re really going for the view. If you go for a pre-work breakfast in the winter and see a beautiful sunrise (as I did), then it’s worth it.

EL&N

Elan Cafe London
Elan Cafe

Elan is basically the mothership of Instagram content. The whole place is filled with pink chairs, fake flowers and cute neon signs. There are several venues with different decor across Knightsbridge and Belgravia.

Price

About £4 for a cup of coffee but there’s cake and sandwiches too so around £20 per person for a meal and drink.

Elan Cafe London
Elan Cafe
Good to know

Elan doesn’t take reservations so it’s walk in only.

Elan Cafe London
Elan Cafe, Lowndes Street
Worth it?

Nope. Just no. And maybe this was a COVID thing because I don’t think they’d been open long and it still felt really…odd, but it just felt a bit grotty and despite all the fake flowers there wasn’t really any atmosphere. Service was friendly but a bit odd, like being in a National Trust property cafe rather than Knightsbridge. On the plus side you can get all the Insta snaps you want for the price of a coffee so it’s not like you’re going lose much if you can’t

14 Hills

Coming soon

Hide

Hide Above London
The Hide staircase

Muted tones characterise this slick interior with a beautiful wooden staircase as its centrepiece and floor to ceiling windows overlooking Green Park.

Hide Above London
Beautiful views onto Green Park from Hide Above
Price

The 8 course tasting menu in Hide Above is £140 without drinks or service. There’s also a 5 course menu at £110 per head. You could easily spend as much or more on the a la carte if you opt for caviar of expensive wine.

Good to know

Hide comprises Hide Above (a 1 Michelin star restaurant), Hide Ground (serving breakfast, lunch and dinner) and Hide Below (the bar area). The wine list is basically the contents of Hedonism Wines, which they can have sent over to the restaurant with 15 minutes notice, so it’s extensive but not very competitively priced!

Hide Above London
Instagram worthy food at Hide Above
Worth it?

Yes. I’ve been here several times and never had a bad meal. If you’re coming just for the ‘gram then you probably want to save your wallet and go for drinks only, but the food is absolutely worth every penny.

Hush

Coming soon

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

Coming soon

Kaspar’s

Kaspar's at the Savoy, London
Kaspar’s at the Savoy

Laid back with a striking but understated Art Deco style interior, Kaspar’s is one of my favourite places in London for the excellent food and service with a bit of old world opulence thrown in. When I say the service is excellent I mean really excellent – once a waiter overheard me saying I had a sore throat and brought me honey and lemon on the house. Show me another restaurant that’s going to do that for you.

Price

Completely depends on what you order, you could do a modest lunch for £50 per person or £100 – £150 if you’re going down the caviar and champagne route.

Good to know

You can almost always get reservations here, even if other bars / restaurants in the Savoy are full. Get the caviar, they serve it properly with lots of traditional garnishes. If your visit coincides with Christmas you’ll get to see the Savoy’s small but opulent display in the hotel lobby. I much prefer a seat at the bar than at a table.

Worth it?

Every time. This is one of my favourite places in London. You also get various Insta opportunities as you have to walk through the foyer where they serve afternoon tea to get to Kaspar’s. Kaspar’s itself is very cute but not top of the IG ranks, but you’ll still get an amazing experience.

Kym’s

Kym's London
Kym’s

Pretty Kym’s with a pink tree and red lanterns serves up Chinese food in the City’s Bloomberg Arcade.

Price

About £70 per person for three courses, drinks and service

Good to know

This place does get busy, even at the weekends, despite it’s City location so reservations are advised. You could easily go for drinks at the bar, get a photo of the iconic tree and skip the meal, which is probably what I’d recommend. Then take yourself to Koya a few doors up for dinner.

** UPDATE I understand from the press that Kym’s won’t be re-opening after lockdown **

Kym's London
The food at Kym’s
Worth it?

No not really. The service was good but not excellent and we didn’t love the food. The food felt expensive for what we got. Which was weird because we LOVE Andrew Wong’s other restaurant, A. Wong in Victoria.

MKNY HSE

Coming soon

NAC

Coming soon

Ours

Restaurant Ours, London
The famous entrance to Ours

Probably one of the most well-known Instagram friendly restaurants is Ours in

Price

About £100 per person for three course, drinks and service.

Restaurant Ours, London
Inside Restaurant Ours
Good to know

Go on Friday or Saturday for entertainment while you eat. Make sure you wear something you want to be photographed in to make use of their iconic entrance way and selfie wall.

Restaurant Ours, London
Worth it?

Surprisingly, yes. This was another place that caught be slightly off guard because I expected overpriced, mediocre food since the main draw was the venue, but I was presently surprised. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not groundbreaking cuisine and you can get a better meal for your money in plenty of places in London but this place certainly stood up to scrutiny, although the service was a little off the pace at times.

Park Chinois

Park Chinois, London
Park Chinois
Price

Realistically you’re going to spend at least £150 per person if you’re doing three courses and drinks. Possibly more if you’re having duck, lobster or caviar.

Good to know

There’s a choice of the Salon de Chine (the main restaurant) or the Club Chinois (for a cabaret dining experience). I’ve never been to see the cabaret but it’s definitely on my list. Even in the main restaurant you get live entertainment nightly from 8pm. Portions are surprisingly generous so you can mitigate the cost somewhat with some sensible ordering.

Park Chinois, London
Lobster noodles at Park Chinois
Worth it?

Yep. It’s expensive but you’re getting so much theatre and entertainment for your money as well as great good and service so it’s hard to fault. The trade off is the price, but you’re in Mayfair so suck it up.

Peggy Porschen

Peggy Porschen, London
Peggy Porschen, Belgravia
Price

Free to take photos outside, otherwise around £15 per person for coffee and cake.

Good to know

You can get the money shot of the flower-strewn doorway from outside without even needing to visit!

Worth it?

No idea! It was busy when we passed by so we just took photos from outside and moved on.

Saint Aymes

You might not of heard of this café but you’ll almost certainly have seen it on Instagram. Just north of Hyde Park it’s an emporium of all things floral and pink from the décor, to the façade to the food and drinks.

Saint Aymes cafe
Saint Aymes cafe
Price

We ordered a hot chocolate, a ‘teapuccino’ and a small unicorn cookie which came to £23…even I was shocked.

Teapuccino, Saint Aymes
Teapuccino, Saint Aymes
Good to know

We managed to get a coveted table outside by arriving around 11:30am on a Saturday… I have no idea how representative or not that is but I imagine it gets busier in the afternoon.

You could pretty much get the same photos (except for the food and drinks) from outside without spending any money.

Unicorn cookie, Saint Aymes
Worth it?

It’s really beautiful and I have great photos but honestly I’m not sure I’ve had such bad drinks in a café. The ‘teapuccino’ just tasted like tepid milk with dry rose petals floating in it and the pink hot chocolate was watery. I did quite enjoy the unicorn cookie (at £3.99).

I recommend taking some photos from the outside and save your money (and your taste buds).

Saint Aymes cafe
Saint Aymes cafe

Sexy Fish

Sexy Fish, London
Outside Sexy Fish

A Japanese inspired menu with a stunning bar and decor. There’s usually a display outside too for more Insta bang for your buck.

Price
Good to know

Book in advance to get a table, last minute doesn’t really work here. The largest tables seat 6 and if you want to book for more than 4 you’ll have to speak to them directly. The toilets make for epic toilet-selfies.

Sexy Fish, London
The bar area at Sexy Fish
Worth it?

I know others who disagree with me, but I think Sexy Fish is worth it. It’s toppy but the food is decent and the atmosphere is great for a Friday or Saturday night out. One of the really lovely touches is that they open the huge windows onto Berkeley square when the weather’s good so you get a nice inside / outside vibe. There’s always the option of drinks only if the menu prices aren’t palatable.

Sketch

Sketch, London
The Gallery, Sketch

Probably the most famous of photogenic London restaurants and somewhat of a forerunner of the current era of eating it for the gram is Sketch. You really get bang for your buck here as Sketch is several venues in one, each more impressive than the last.

Choose between the Glade (breakfast, lunch and cocktails), the Gallery (afternoon tea and dinner), East Bar (drinks), the Parlour (all day dining, music and cocktails) and the Lecture Room and Library (three Michelin star lunch and dinner).

Sketch, London
Cute pop up menus in the Gallery, Sketch
Price

It depends where you eat. In the Gallery about £100 per person but you could opt for a much cheaper drink in the Glade.

Good to know

Something for everyone at any price points from cocktails to fine dining. Make sure you use the space age egg pod toilets.

Sketch, London
Sketch at Christmas
Worth it?

Yes, Sketch is a London institution and they don’t give out 3 Michelin stars to just anyone.

Sky Garden

Sky Garden, London
The Sky Garden at night

London’s highest garden features bars, restaurants and a DJ 4 days a week. Visit for views across London with a glass of champagne.

Price

You can book free tickets and not pay anything or you can stay for drinks and food. Champagne / cocktails are around £15 and beers £6.

Sky Garden, London
The Sky Garden at sunset
Good to know

You need to book a timed slot ahead of time on their website. Try to go at sunset for the best day to night views.

Worth it?

I didn’t think so. I’ve spoken to people who love it, but there are better places with views nearby like City Social, Sushi Samba and Duck and Waffle. I thought the Sky Garden itself would be more impressive but it just felt like a budget winter garden. The service was pretty poor and it wasn’t as Instagrammable as I’d hoped. If you go and spend no money then all you’ve lost is an hour or so of your time, but I personally wouldn’t go back.

STK

Coming soon

Sushi Samba

Sushi Samba City, London

Sushi Samba is a double whammy of IG-goodness with stunning interiors as well as epic views over the City and London from the 38th floor of Heron Tower. The high ceilings give it an airy and dramatic feel and depending on when you go you could be treated to a dramatic sunset or spectacular night time views over London.

Price

Around £150 pp for food, drinks and service, but there are some high value dishes so this can vary wildly depending on what you order. It’s also possible to pick some cheaper items and eat a lot cheaper if this doesn’t match your budget.

Good to know

As you can see from the photo, there’s no guarantee you’ll be anywhere near a window as the room is quite large and it’s hard to walk up to the windows in the restaurant because you’ll be disturbing other diners. You’ll probably need to visit the terrace for unobstructed views.

Sushi Samba City, London
The restaurant in Sushi Samba, Heron Tower
Worth it?

On balance I’d say yes. If I want great sushi it’s not top of my list in London, but if I want pretty good sushi (and it is pretty good) and a fun night out in cool surroundings, then yes I’ll go back to Sushi Samba. It’s an overall experience rather than amazing food experience, but you probably won’t regret going.

2 thoughts on “London’s most Instagrammable restaurants – worth it or not?

  1. Pingback: Autumn London Instagram walk | Think on paper

  2. Pingback: London’s Instagrammable Christmas spots | Think on paper

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