If you want to become one of the most Instagrammed restaurants of the year, you have to have something worth capturing. The list toppers, released by the photo-sharing app, either have breathtaking landscapes, FOMO-inducing atmospheres or mouth-dropping eats. With more than 500 million monthly active users on the app, gaining Instagram fame is a free marketing strategy with a whole lot of reach. Check out the concepts that blew up on Instagram this year, via CNN.
10. Perch, Los Angeles
Perch in Los Angeles is less about the food porn and more about the view from the 15th-floor rooftop bistro and 16th-floor lounge. Although the restaurant’s multiple fire features, ornate furniture and clear view of the LA skyline draw iPhone camera lenses away from the French cuisine, Perch’s Parisian-inspired cocktails seem to have a better chance at making the shot.
Photo op: Artsy skyline pics that prove users live in LA
8. Lavo, New York City
With an Italian restaurant upstairs and a nightclub downstairs, Lavo in New York City gives diners the chance to fill their Instagram accounts with photos of belly dancers and bottle service alongside their veal parmigiana.
Photo op: Diners in their Saturday best, lavish food and drink, star-studded DJs
7. San Pedro Fish Market; San Pedro, Calif.
Dubbed the Disneyland of seafood, how could diners not be snap happy at California’s San Pedro Fish Market? The family-friendly seafood restaurant got its sea legs as a fish market in the ’50s. Today, San Pedro Fish Market serves 10,000 guests a week and has a capacity to seat 3,000 at once. Guests can watch as their market buys are cooked to order on the restaurant’s outdoor grill.
Photo op: Cute kids, weird-looking fish, waterfront
6. Bottega Louie, Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Times noted that LA’s Bottega Louie is “ideally suited to showcase beautiful patisserie,” and Instagram has the proof. Users can’t get enough of the rainbow beam of macarons and other fanciful sweets in the marble pastry case. Also pictured: champagne and other brunch-time usual suspects.
Photo op: Gold-dusted pastries
5. Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, New York City
NYC’s Black Tap hit a social media gold mine with its monstrous $8 milkshakes; the viral desserts are garnished with things like entire slices of cake, 360 degrees of cookies and what looks like an entire bag of M&Ms. A year after the restaurant’s shakes shook the internet, Black Tap had fans vote online for the flavor they would like to grace their Instagram feeds once more.
Photo op: Sky-high sugar rush
4. Katz's Delicatessen, New York City
Back down, Arby’s—Katz has the meats. New Yorkers and tourists flock to the institution, which has been slicing pastrami since 1888, almost as a rite of passage. Guests who literally want to have what Meg Ryan’s having in the famous scene from “When Harry Met Sally” need only stop at Katz. With all that history, the restaurant doubles as a museum—and the photos as a souvenir.
Photo op: A century of history, stacked meats and authentic kitsch
3. Tao Downtown, New York City
The second NYC Tao Group venue on the list also is a restaurant-nightclub hybrid. Users can feast their eyes on Tao Downtown’s giant murals and Pan-Asian decor. Zagat rates the overall design a 4.6 for its “soaring spaces where attractions include ‘imaginative’ food and cocktails and a chance ‘to be seen.’” With plenty of backgrounds to choose from—the 300-seat main dining room, a sushi bar, an ink bar, a skybox and a restaurant lounge—guests can spend all night taking selfies and not one will look the same.
Photo op: Buddhist goddesses, avant-garde performers
2. Nobu Malibu; Malibu, Calif.
Guests can photograph the ocean from virtually every seat at Nobu Malibu in California. But it’s not just the seaside views that draw in customers. Some might be hoping to snap a photo of the celebrities who stop by the restaurant—Robert De Niro is a partner for Nobu Restaurants’ 33 locations.
Photo op: Deep blue sea, Malibu models
1. Sugar Factory, New York City
Customers at NYC’s Sugar Factory skip to the sugared-up American brasserie for its $36 bowl cocktails or mocktails garnished with candy necklaces, swirly pops and gummy worms, and likely have to be carried home after they crash. One Yelp user put it this way: “Go once for your Snapchat or Instagram stories.” Popular among a younger crowd, the whimsical decor gives guests the opportunity to take photos with their besties against a wall of sugar dots.
Photo op: Neon goblets of sugar