The Worst Food Photos from the World's Best Restaurants

Decent food photography is apparently harder than it looks

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

So what is this a photo of, exactly? Oh, it's a signature dish at the world's best restaurant, Noma.

When we’re eating a great meal at a restaurant, most of us have the compulsion to whip out our iPhones and snap some food porn. And if that meal happens to be at one of S. Pellegrino’s 10 best restaurants on earth, even the worst photographers tend to want to commemorate the occasion. But taking great photos of restaurant dishes can be a lot more difficult than it sounds, because we tracked down photos taken at the world’s 10 best restaurants that are absolutely miserable.

The Worst Food Photos from the World's Best Restaurants (Slideshow)

Taking photographs of the food we’re eating has become somewhat of a national pastime in the past several years, thanks mostly to a combination of high-quality cameras on smartphones and the ability to immediately upload them to social media. It might sound fairly simple to take a decent photo of food — just point and click — but it’s actually a lot more difficult than it appears, for several reasons.

First, lighting. It’s basically impossible to get a decent photo of a dish in a dark dining room, because flash makes food look terrible and it’s too dark without it. Natural light is really the only way to go, so if you want a decent snapshot make a lunch reservation and request a window seat. Second, distance. Some people shove their cameras so close to the food that the lens gets fogged up with steam, there’s no context of how big the dish is or what we’re supposed to be looking at, and the camera simply isn’t equipped for extreme close-ups. Third, watch out for blurriness. Cameras auto-focus, but it might focus on the table in front of the dish while leaving the actual food blurry.

Every year, S. Pellegrino announces the world’s 50 best restaurants in a gala event, and reservations at these restaurants immediately become the hottest tickets around. Professional photographers have taken countless spectacular photos of the food at these places, and we’re sure that the amateur photographers dining there have taken some decent ones as well. The ones you’re about to see, however, are not decent. In fact, they’re pretty terrible, proving that just because food looks pretty on the plate doesn’t mean that it will automatically result in a good photo. Read to see some truly awful photographs of food from the world’s top 10 restaurants.

#10 The Ledbury, London

Chef Brett Graham’s Notting Hill gem cracked the top 10 this year, and his tasting menu has won some serious accolades. One of the theatrical highlights of the meal is the presentation of their signature ash-baked celeriac with wood sorrel, which in this blurry photo looks anything but appetizing.

#9 Alinea, Chicago

Grant Achatz is pushing some serious culinary boundaries at Alinea, and one of his signature dishes is the Hot Potato/ Cold Potato, which brilliantly combines hot and cold elements into a perfect mouthful. This dark, blurry photo of it is instead focused on the table in front of the dish, resulting in what looks like a few odd lumps perched over a bowl with something purple in the middle of it. 

Click here for more terrible photos from the world's best restaurants. 

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Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.