THE MOST INSTA-WORHTY RESTAURANTS
It’s no secret that the modern age lives and breathes technology, but do we eat it? It has become an art form in and of itself to post a drool-worthy food photo to Instagram.
*Bonus if you have a group of tolerant, yet adventurous dining companions, thus giving your photos all the diversity and hand-cameos it can squeeze in an insta-sized shot.*
Sex sells, and food porn is no exception. What’s worthy of the gram in Gainesville? In no particular order:
Written By: Melissa Kahan, @melik921
Any seasoned grammar probably knows that lighting is all too important in snapping that naturally tantalizing photo, sans saturated edits. Maple Street’s wide span of windows around the perimeter makes almost every seat in the house a good one from which to snap a photo, the most idyllic at the high-tops right up against said windows. The vertical height from the stacked sandwich calls for an eye-level photo, while the sauciness of each dish gives it that appealing textural contrast, from the generously poured chunky sausage gravy to the syrupy pepper jelly inching its way to the plate’s edge.
GRAM: Any biscuit sandwich
If there is one thing hipster-stylized food stops typically support, it’s the effortlessly grungey-chic décor. In addition to lighting, a photo’s backdrop is another make-or-break feature. Civilization happens to host both: Its signature teal tables with white polka dots are doing every photo serious favors, and for some reason the majority of dishes just pop against it, from the bright red of the hibiscus ginger mimosas contrasting sharply with the teal to the quintessential #basic avocado toast on a bright white plate.
GRAM: Grits Florentine
Shameless plug to one of the most underrated restaurants in Hogtown: Bistro 1245’s thoughtful array of sandwiches, salads and appetizers are as beautiful as they are simply delicious. And the price does not reflect the quality, so enjoy the value (and the garlic rolls brought over from Leonardo’s Pizza by the Slice next door).
I am by no means saying this is the most authentic Latin Cuisine. Honestly, Gainesville is lacking in that category. But for sizeable portions of really good food, Emiliano’s is not only worth a visit but worth a gram. The café squashes the adage that large plates can’t be just as artistically crafted as small ones: the green of the chimichurri sauce ladled atop the plate-length grilled Churrasco steak; the contrasting red glaze and powdered sugar sprinkled atop guava-strawberry cream-filled crepes next to a pomegranate mimosa at brunch…A picture is worth a thousand drools here.
GRAM: Guava-Strawberry Crepes
Since you’re here for the gramming anyway, you won’t mind that this tapas-style, international cuisine haven requires multiple dishes to be ordered for a complete meal. Come with your wallet and phone ready, as Chef Valero takes pride in the story told on each plate, sometimes personally at the table(fresh-grated truffles, anyone?) This is where food science and plating more so than lighting makes the photo intriguing, as many times the dish presented begs the question: “How did you create this?”
GRAM: Duck French Toast (brunch) or an array of tapas
A food’s texture can get lost in 2D pictures. Uppercrust’s multi-dimensional breads and pastries have broken this barrier: the rippling, flaky layers of a nutella croissant; creamy chèvre nestled beneath a fold of sliced turkey perched atop a buttery roll; the powdered sugar and almond slivers dusted atop an apricot rose as if Tinker Bell used it as pixie dust. If only there was a way to gram a smell.
GRAM: The flakiest of pastries available
Similar to tapas, Dim Sum is meant to be a sharing experience of small plates. Lucky for the grammers, it makes for a gorgeous overhead photo spread: the variety of bite-sized shapes and sizes, sauces and colors. I can assure that this Chinese cuisine experience, brought tableside in a revolving series of food-filled carts, tastes as savory as it looks. Side note: The pineapple buns (no relation to pineapples) look like yellow biscuits, so picture-wise they are just filler, but one bite of the sweet pastry and they won’t make it into the picture anyway.
GRAM: Dim Sum and lots of it
It is no coincidence that another most-grammable restaurant goes to one of the most popular downtown spots in Gainesville. Not only are the colors of the fresh sashimi and vegetables atop the sushi rolls so vibrant that a filter almost deters from the beauty, but the variety of sushi roll toppings and fillings, from pork belly and NY strip steak to masago and fried kimchi, keep the rolls anything but bland circular slabs. Not to mention the seasonal desserts take so much crafting that they are usually sold out before the sun sets each evening.
GRAM: Pitchfork Roll
There is just something about diner décor and its artificial, slightly dimmed lighting that gives a photo a more effortlessly vintage feel. While lighting is important, not every picture has to be bright and modern to be eye-catching and grammable. Take Metro Diner: Solid tables and colorful, ad-blazoned paper place mats set the stage for huge plates of hearty eats, the half-full coffee mug donning the restaurant’s logo or two scattered around with a few bowls of creamer giving it that extra authenticity. I know that was a mouthful, but ironically what could be more effortless?
GRAM: Breakfast Pizza
This overhead photo-op is akin to that of artisanal donut shops: A box of uniquely-flavored circular pastries provides a symmetrical aesthetic, while a variety of colors and shapes with combative textures atop the pastries causes the eye to jump around. I like to think of it as delicious organized chaos.
GRAM: As many as the box can fit