In the Age of Instagram, the phrase 'eating with your eyes' has never been more relevant. A restaurant that creates a viral sensation – or is first to bring one to Australia – is rewarded with bums on seats and rave reviews from bloggers. Some cafes even create menus with 'instagramability' in mind. Forget freakshakes and acai bowls; these are the top 23 most instagrammable foods of 2016 in Australia.
1. THAT CAKE
Rumours are flying around the Internet that Black Star Pastry's layered strawberry and watermelon cake isn't just the most instagrammed cake in Australia, but in the entire world.
2. FRIED CHICKEN
Ain't no thing like a chicken wing: fried chicken has commandeered feeds nation-wide, with Belle's Hot Chicken a favourite in both Melbourne and Sydney.
3. COLOURFUL COFFEE
Lattes are available in just about every shade of pink, blue, yellow and even rainbow. But let's remember where it all started not so long ago: the green matcha latte. This one from Eden's Backyard in Carlton, Melbourne, comes with bonus cat art.
4. ARTISTIC CROISSANTS
Agathé Pâtisserie at the South Melbourne Market swirls them with raspberry and adorns them with gold; Lune's have been dubbed the best in the world and Sydney's Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie even had a foie gras mousse and black cherry gel special.
5. STUFFED CROISSANTS
Croissants are the perfect vessel for fusion dishes: in Sydney, there's the Bacon Mac Daddy at Cuckoo Callay for hangover brunches, while Melbourne's White Mojo shoves soft shell crab, pickles, chipotle mayo and a fried egg in their croissants and calls it a Croissant Burger.
6. OTT HOT CHOCOLATES
Melbourne has one up on Sydney here, probably due to the weather. Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters are behind the fairy floss hot chocolate, while customers at Mörk Chocolate Brew House can't drink a Campfire Hot Chocolate without photographing it first.
7. SUPER SOFT SERVES
Weather aside; the crazier your soft serve, the more likely it is to become an Internet sensation. Devon on Danks is making ice cream seasonal in the middle of winter by adding fries and black truffle, while Aqua S surrounds theirs in a cloud of fairy floss.
8. FLOWER GELATO
Sydney CBD newcomer i-Creamy has taken the online world by storm with its gelato flowers, already popular in New York and London.
9. BAE GOALS
Bagels have been big this year. Their aesthetically-pleasing shape, as well as the fact that they're often served on branded boards atop marble tables, makes them extremely Insta-friendly. Try Sydney newcomer, Smoking Gun Bagels.
10. EGG WAFFLES
Haven Specialty Coffee in Surry Hills has nailed it with the presentation of their egg waffles, which might come with an upside-down ice cream cone or Japanese teapot of matcha sauce.
11. GELATO SLIDERS
Sticking to Sydney, C9 Chocolate & Gelato's "gelato sliders" – which look suspiciously like ice cream sandwiches – come with your choice of gelato filling; cookies, brownie or banana bread exterior; drizzle of chocolate or Nutella and Instagram filter.
12. CRAZY CONES
Head to Zero Degrees in Sydney CBD for taiyaki, Japanese soft serve in a fish-shaped cone, or to South Yarra in Melbourne, where Adriano Zumbo's Little Frankie's has customers bending over backwards to capture the gelato-filled doughnut cone in the foreground and the neon sign in the background.
13. SIGN SPOTTING
Special mention to those Melburnians who get as much joy from Instagramming signs at cafes and restaurants as they do the food itself. These words of wisdom from Gontran Cherrier Boulangerie have been especially popular as of late.
14. BEAUT BURGERS
Nothing racks up likes quite like a snap of a juicy burger that's barely able to contain its insides. The strong branding at 8bit makes them an especially good #burgerporn contender.
It's all about the ooze, you see – something that Maker and Monger at Prahran Market has capitalised on with its grilled cheese sandwiches, blow-torched reubens and indulgent raclette.
16. HESTON'S MEAT FRUIT
This one needs no introduction. At Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne's Crown complex, photographing the famous meat fruit is practically compulsory.
There's no shortage of doughnut-filled posts, but those from Doughnut Time are especially popular.
18. PORK STAR
When Tim Ho Wan – the Michelin-starred dim sim chain from Hong Kong – landed in Melbourne at the start of the year, it brought with it the restaurant's signature baked barbecue pork buns. Also available in Sydney, they taste better than they look.
19. DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST
Want customers to Instagram your food? Artfully arrange persian fairy floss over the top. It worked for this not-so-french french toast from The Picnic Burwood.
20. RAINDROP CAKES
It arrived in Australia from Japan, via New York, already a viral sensation. Now the raindrop cake – which resembles either a droplet of water or a breast insert depending on how you look at it – is available at Cafe Lafayette in Port Melbourne and at Harajuku Gyoza in Sydney and Queensland.
It may not be new, fusion or topped with doughnuts, but people still want you to know when they're eating ramen. In Melbourne, try Shop Ramen, Fukuryu Ramen and Mugen Ramen. In Sydney, Chaco Bar, Yasaka Ramen and Ippudo.
22. FLOWERS & FLATLAYS AT THE GROUNDS
Venues don't get much more impressive than Sydney's The Grounds of Alexandria, which explains why it's one of the most Instagrammed places in the country. Stylists and horticulturists have made it extra Insta-friendly; come for the flora, stay for the 'freak sodas' and irresistible flat lay opportunities.
23. ALL THE THINGS AT MATCHA MYLKBAR
From their blue algae lattes and hot pink skull smoothies to their vibrant green burgers, hotcakes and everything in between.