Instagram Really Has Helped Shape SF’s Restaurant Scene

For a city of seven modest square miles, San Francisco is proudly holding its own where food and decor meet Instagram filters and hashtags. 

In a nutshell, opening a millennial-friendly eatery sounds simple: pick a buzzworthy neighborhood, learn to sculpt avocados into rose blossoms, insert a trendy wallpaper, and plug in a neon sign of a relevant catchphrase that, perhaps, can double as a yet-made meme.  And there’s no doubt that SF is bastion for IG-worthy foodie spots. In fact, Instagram’s had its hand in shaping a bevy of our favorite haute hangouts Downtown.

Ambiance is Key (And Trending)

The reality is that a lot of thought goes into the Bay Area’s trendy restaurants, both in regards to food and design. Take Madelyn Markoe and Jessie Barker’s superstar Cuban spot Media Noche, for example. (You may know it as the place where every fashion blogger has taken a casual snap by the flamingo mural.) As expected, the mural contains a gentle reminder—#medianochesf—in its lower righthand corner. Media Noche, too, boasts turquoise tiling that’s a work of art in itself.

“We wanted it to be Instagramable,” Markoe told The Verge. She estimates that on average, customers spend 10 minutes taking pictures before they order. Even Starbucks let the world know that they got the hint when they flooded your Instagram feed with Unicorn frapps earlier this year.

But the Bay Area, never to be outdone, boasts a wealth of social media friendly restaurant options. If you can believe it, research by Zizzi indicates that the 35-and-under crowd spends 5 entire days per year browsing food images on Instagram. The hashtag #eatingfortheinsta is 1.2 million strong at the moment.

If you’re a fan of rad wallpapers, Wrecking Ball in the Marina and Fiorella in the Outer Richmond have your back. The former flaunts a fun summer vibe with its pineapple wallpaper, while Fiorella takes it a step further; its wallpaper features Bay Area legends including Mac Dre, Joe Montana and Angela Davis.

If a happy hour spot is more your jam, head to Leo’s Oyster Bar on Sacramento Street. Former SF-based fashion blogger Julia Engel and Tory Burch have both raved about its mother-of-pearl chandeliers, fern wallpaper and ode to glamour. Because happy hour deserves a beautiful setting.

Heading to the floor, Liholiho Yacht Club joins Media Noche as a perfect opportunity to show off those brand new peep-toe summer sandals. It’s tiled floors read “Aloha”—and you’d be hard-pressed not to feel welcomed.

And if you just want to show off a well-embellished motto, Mr. Holmes’ Bakehouse has been copied many times over with its pink “I Got Baked in San Francisco” neon sign. At Succulence, you can ‘gram their “U Sexy” sign – written in succulents. Perfect for the thirsty Instagram account.

Food You Can’t Ignore

Everyday you can party like it’s your birthday at Home Cafe in the Sunset—where the birthday cake latte is sure to earn you a fair share of Insta-worthy stills. Its rainbow swirls are beyond the grind of your average self-proclaimed latte artist, which is precisely why it’s so popular. Their menu also features its popular cousins, the red velvet latte and the cookie monster latte.

Home is the brainchild of a couple, Annie Cheng and In Ho, who wanted to spend more time together. The concept is well represented in the cafe’s presentation, which boasts sayings like “Welcome home” and “All because two people fell in love.”

Moving onto Japantown, Uji Time Dessert steals the spotlight with its fish-shaped ice cream cones. The cone is based on a desert known as Taiyaki. Uji Time’s soft serve comes in flavors that include matcha, tofu and sesame.

Finally—if none of these options seem over-the-top enough to pull the attention you’re craving on Instagram, it may be time to go for gold: there’s always Kittea. We hear cats and cruffins pair very nicely together. And, if Instagram were to be represented by a spirit animal, a cat would be just that representation of a faunal soul.

// Have some foodie Instagram treats you’d like to recommend to us? Feel free to tag us on your next savory or sweat upload with the #bobcutmag!

Instagram Really Has Helped Shape SF’s Restaurant Scene
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