The UK’s Most Instagrammed Michelin Star Restaurants
The UK’s food scene is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to both quality and innovation. With nearly 200 Michelin starred restaurants across the UK, we’re up there with the very best in global gastronomy.
As the saying goes, we eat first with our eyes. And Michelin-level chefs work tirelessly to ensure that their dishes and dining rooms are a visual feast worthy of attention.
But which are the most Instagram-friendly? To find out, we’ve ranked the UK’s Michelin starred restaurants according to the number of Instagram hashtags they rack up.
So, whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next special occasion or just a foodie who goes weak at the sight of a well-presented dish, read on.
Set in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge, Heston Blumenthal’s eponymous restaurant is not only one of the UK’s most celebrated, it also tops our list.
It’s not hard to see why. The famous “Egg in Verjuice” – coconut pannacotta with coffee parfait and sour apple juice inside a white chocolate shell – may look like a simple boiled egg but is in fact a 100-step masterpiece of modern cooking. It’s a sight to behold and has wowed diners since its inception in the mid-2010s.
2. The Fat Duck
Heston Blumenthal also takes the second spot on our list with three-Michelin starred The Fat Duck. An unassuming gastropub (from the outside, at least), this has been named “Best Restaurant in the World” multiple times and consistently delivers a magical, playful and innovative experience.
Barrafina – which translates as “Excellent Bar” – is one of the UK’s best Spanish restaurants. It offers a casual atmosphere, but there’s no messing about. If you’re after a modern atmosphere and delicious tapas done well, you’ve come to the right place.
Run by chef proprietor Tom Kerridge, the Hand and Flowers is a rustic gastropub and was the first in the UK to be awarded two Michelin stars. Comforting and cosy classics are the stars here – and the Sunday lunch is among the best in the country.
A stalwart of the UK food scene, Ruth Rogers’s The River Café opened in 1987, serving simple Italian classics. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are at the forefront of its offering – which explains why it’s still tricky to get a table there. Oh, and it also happens to be the place where celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cut their culinary teeth.
6. The Ledbury
Although currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, two-starred Notting Hill restaurant The Ledbury has been a runaway success since opening its doors in 2005. Chef Brett Graham delivers a classic fine dining experience that’s won the hearts of both critics and food fans – that’s no mean feat. Let’s hope the team are welcoming diners again soon.
Known for his avant-garde style, chef Michael O’Hare provides unconventional dishes in obscure surroundings at his Leeds restaurant. Expect the unexpected: macabre splashes against black plates, wacky cocktails galore and dishes such as “Dali to Delhi” – a tikka prawn served on a black telephone.
8. The Kitchin
This Edinburgh restaurant, which takes after its highly revered and aptly surnamed chef, Tom Kitchin, is a celebration of the best in Scottish fare. The restaurant’s razor-sharp focus on sourcing the best in local, sustainable produce shines throughout the menu, which includes dishes like Hand-Dived Orkney Scallops.
Located in Soho, Social Eating House offers bistro-style dishes in a relaxed and contemporary setting – a far cry from the crisp white tablecloths and stuffy service of many of its Michelin-starred peers. Heading up the kitchen are chefs Jason Atherton and Paul Wood, with an innovative upstairs cocktail bar – The Blind Pig – providing liquid refreshment for diners.
This is the second entry for chef Jason Atherton, whose Pollen Street Social also offers an informal yet sophisticated dining experience that describes itself as a “modern urban eating point”. Unsurprisingly, it’s hugely photogenic, with modern, clean lines and a cheese board to rival any in the UK.
Simon Rogan’s iconic Lake District outpost is an ode to simplicity. The dining room is modest, with whitewashed walls and flagstone floors – all the better a setting to appreciate the chef’s exquisitely presented dishes. Much of the food is home-grown in the restaurant’s own kitchen garden, giving real meaning to the term “from farm to fork”.
12. The Clove Club
With its imposing blue doorway (the restaurant is set within the historic Shoreditch Town Hall), east London newcomer The Clove Club offers modern British cooking that’s bound to blow your mind. The most photo-worthy of chef Isaac McHale’s dishes has to be the Crab Tart snack, which arrives in a beautiful (if other-worldly) spider crab skull.
13. Le Gavroche
Mention “Michel Roux JR” and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t aware of the longstanding culinary dynasty. Le Gavroche, one of the first French fine dining restaurants in London, has lost nothing of its charm since it opened in 1981. The red interior, impeccable service and classic dishes are still a sight to behold – and an experience not to be missed.
Literally translated as “The Wild Mushroom”, this Cheltenham restaurant, headed up by chef David Everitt-Matthias, is understated in the best way. French-inspired classics are given a local twist – and the result is a smartly-presented menu of dishes you really want to eat.
15. Hakkasan Mayfair
The last on our list is probably the best Chinese restaurant in London – and that’s saying something. The world-class oriental cooking combined with incredibly ornate presentation and a darkly lit dining room provides the ultimate opportunity for an Instagram-worthy shot.