Explore New Orleans

Edible Art

Instragram gives new meaning to "culinary art."

There is no denying the impact social media has on business. Instagram is the app of the moment for its ease of use, integration with Facebook and because it offers users the opportunity to flex their photography muscles. For restaurants the image-heavy site is a great way to showcase food as art and, of course, is a genius marketing tool. For food geeks the addiction to these restaurant/chef feeds comes easy. Who doesn't want to scroll through images of tempting food porn? It's hunger-inducing art—and calorie-free.

If there is one local restaurant that set the bar as an "early adopter" of Instagram it would be Maurepas Foods (@MaurepasFoods). With a strong artistic lens focused on food, cocktails, architecture and cityscapes, Maurepas’ feeds are almost always accompanied by smart words. 

Maurepas Foods
Radishes, pickled squid and pickled chiles with a basil vinaigrette from Maurepas. (©Maurepas Foods)

Meauxbar chef Kristen Essig is an Instagram master with two accounts (@Chefkkessig and @Meauxbar). Her heavy use of Hipstamatic filters to bend color and form is fun, and she goes out of her way to feature food, coworkers and, most enjoyably, her own kitchen foibles (like crying over spilt milk for panna cotta).

Meauxbar
Meauxbar's pork belly and watermelon with arugula. (©Meauxbar)

Some restaurants get (and give) their kicks with clever words partnering the pics. Snarky, funny and fabulous Stein’s Deli (@SteinsDeli) has a voracious following. Fair warning: Their feed, while delicious with images of fat sandwiches and other deli treats, is also peppered with "R"-rated words and sometimes suggestive shots of deli-owner Dan Stein, sleeping, ect. This is restaurant/food art of the more radical kind.

Stein's Deli
Stein's meatball sub served on an Amoroso hoagie roll. (©Stein's Deli)

Ethnic eateries pay close attention to detail with drool-worthy images and words that demystify unfamiliar dishes. There's fine eye-feasting to be done for Filipino fare at Milkfish (@MilkfishNola), the Latin fusion food of Baru Bistro & Tapas (@Barutapas) and Vietnamese cuisine at Tan Dinh (@TanDinhNola).

Baru Bistro & Tapas
Baru's pecado frito with coconut rice, patacones and mango slaw. (©Baru Bistro & Tapas)

Modern meal-art photography is often the bastion of fine dining restaurants like Emeril’s (@Emerils), Commander’s Palace (@CommandersPalace), Root (@RootNola) and Square Root (@SquareRootNola). These restaurants also use their Insta-channel in an approachable, everyone-has-a-chair-at-the-table way. Some of the best food voyeurism is the photographic sneak peek into locally sourced product, craft cocktials and short videos of kitchen craft and technique.

Root restaurant
A simple—and simply stunning—vegetable salad from Root. (©Root)

It is said "we first eat with our eyes" with reason. There is an art to the madness of this modern medium. Scroll through, savor…then get out and dine.