As is the year end tradition, Eater Atlanta surveyed a handful of the city’s food editors on everything from their best meal to their biggest dining grievance in 2017. The experts have already named their restaurant standbys, Atlanta’s top newcomers, the city’s best dining neighborhoods, the biggest dining surprises, and their top dining grievances this year. Their responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited. Now, each of Atlanta’s food editors share their best meal of 2017.
Julia Bainbridge, Atlanta Magazine food editor
Spring in Marietta. Brian So's menu is tight—four appetizers, four entrees, four desserts—and he’s got full control over every element, including the complimentary, house-made sourdough served with cultured butter. (It’s some of the best bread in the metro area.) Everything but the whipped chicken liver pâté on brioche changes monthly, and everything—from the shrimp bisque to the muscadine sorbet—is deserving of its place on that highly-considered menu. Spring is a charming place with delicious, if not necessarily innovative, food, and I think So is the best chef in Atlanta right now. Also, I'm going to use this opportunity to say that Zeb Stevenson is underrated. I'm sure it's tricky for him to express his own vision--Watershed has such history and its clientele will always want to be able to order some of those classic Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis dishes--but when he does, it yields great results. And, dude's got technique. That duck with green curry and vegetables...two thick slices of duck breast perfectly cooked and seasoned, the flavors in that curry are so clean, and the vegetables are al dente, just how I like then. And I appreciate the portion control: I recently ordered the fall squash soup with a Mexican-style candied cubes of squash as well as the duck, and both were manageable. I left feeling satisfied and not too full.
Hilary Cadigan, Creative Loafing food editor
In Atlanta? Dang, that's hard. Honestly, maybe the BBQ lunch I had at B's Cracklin' Barbeque: pork sammy, collards, hash and rice. It doesn't get much better than that.
Mike Jordan, Thrillist Atlanta editor, Southern Kitchen associate editor
I honestly wasn't blown away by anything this year in Atlanta. I had meals in Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and a few other Southern cities that made me realize we really need to step it up if we're going to stay competitive, which I'm not really sure we are right now. And, I love Atlanta, so it's not that I'm trying not to give us credit or be proud of our dining scene. It just needs less in order to do more.
Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta editor
Talat Market. Every damn time. Parnass Savang is doing something remarkable in that tiny kitchen at Gato. But one of the most memorable, eye-opening, and delicious meals I had this year was not in a restaurant or a pop-up but at the home of Everyday Korean cookbook author Seung Hee Lee (aka @koreanfusion on Instagram). She cooked for a small group of us from her book (and from her family’s recipes) and blew all of our minds with the food of Korea none of us had ever experienced. Seung’s book and its recipes...gorgeous.