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Remembering the Biggest Dining Surprises of 2013

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, best newcomers, 2013 in one word, and the best dining neighborhood. Now it's time for the year's best dining surprises. Readers, please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Abattoir. [Photo: Style Curator]

Q: What was the biggest dining surprise of 2013?
Bob Townsend, Atlanta Journal Constitution:
I wouldn't call it a surprise, but I'm still in awe of the way the restaurant community came together to create Team Hidi, continue the dream of Staplehouse, and found The Giving Kitchen.

Sonia Chopra, Eater Atlanta editor:
Hector Santiago to Abattoir, followed by Hector Santiago announcing that Super Pan fare is coming back and headed to Buckhead.

Jennifer Zyman, Creative Loafing:
How much I ended up eating at The General Muir. It became our neighborhood restaurant for everything from breakfast to drinks. It is a fun place to hang out and a wonderful addition to Atlanta's dining scene.

Beth McKibben, Twisted South Magazine food editor:
Zeb Stevenson leaving the Livingston and joining forces with Arianne Fielder at Parish. My dream team. An epic pairing.

Jimmy Sobeck, Eat It, Atlanta:
Monday Steak Night at Paper Plane

Angela Hansberger, Fiddlehead Foraging:
Surprises came on a weekly or monthly basis with migratory chefs and ephemeral barkeeps in Atlanta's chef-driven restaurant scene. Where is Arianne Fielder today? Shane Devereux is now where? David Sweeney's Sunday dinners at Octane were a highlight for me. I would follow him and a hot plate anywhere.

Jennifer Maley, Eater Atlanta contributor:
Sobban. Love their playful take on Korean and Southern. Also, dumplings and chicken wings.

Laura Scholz, Eater Atlanta contributor:
Hector Santiago finding a home in Abattoir. I really like what he's doing with the menu there.

John Kessler, Atlanta Journal Constitution:
The General Muir, which is stunningly good in so many ways. Both chef Todd Ginsberg and [former] pastry chef Lauren Raymond have shown themselves to be brilliant DIY practitioners.

Broderick Smylie, Savory Exposure:
BoccaLupo - I'd enjoyed the food at La Pietra Cucina however the room never really matched what was on the plate. Everything from the food, the vibe, and the service seems to connect here.

Grant Goggans, Marie, Let's Eat:
We visited Timone's and found that, for an ostensibly angry chef, Ron Eyester really is a great big cuddly teddy bear and a complete sweetheart. His big meanie act fooled me completely. His team also bakes a really great pizza, and that orange soda might be the best drink in the city.

Brad Kaplan, Creative Loafing and Thirsty South:
Hector Santiago setting up shop at Abattoir. A happy surprise.

John Mishler, Eater Atlanta contributor:
A pair of restaurants in unincorporated DeKalb County: Zyka "The Taste" for traditional Indian fare and Chinese Dhaba for Chinese and Indian fusion.

Chris Watkins, Eat Drink Repeat:

Christiane Lauterbach, Atlanta Magazine and Knife & Fork:
Hector Santiago moving to Abattoir
· All Year in Eater 2013 Coverage [-EATL-]

The General Muir

1540 Avenue Place, , GA 30329 (678) 927-9131 Visit Website


1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30318 (404) 892-3335 Visit Website


924 Garrett Street, , GA 30316 (404) 380-1886 Visit Website


1409 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Paper Plane

340 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030

The Brasserie and Neighborhood Cafe at PARISH

240 North Highland Avenue Northeast, , GA 30307 (404) 681-4434 Visit Website