The year is drawing to a close and, as is tradition, Eater Atlanta has surveyed several Atlanta food writers and dining experts on everything from their best meal in 2018 to their food headline predictions for 2019. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited. The experts have already given their restaurant standbys when dining off duty.
Now Atlanta’s food authorities name the year’s top restaurant newcomers.
Mara Davis — Radio and TV personality for WABE, The Bert Show, and Atlanta Eats
- White Bull in Decatur: Simple, creative and delicious.
- Tiny Lou’s: I have not been yet, but literally ever single person who has gone raves about how fantastic it is.
- Watchmen’s Seafood & Spirits: Tasty cocktails with great decor.
- Mary Hoopa’s Fried Chicken and Oysters: Fun concept in an emerging neighborhood.
Mara Shalhoup — Deputy editor for Atlanta Magazine
My absolute favorite of the year is Watchman’s Seafood & Spirits. It checks all my boxes: creative food (that’s neither heavy nor heavy-handed), creative cocktails (I could drink that Air Mail all day), creative design (that doesn’t look like it’s trying to hard), and oysters, oysters, oysters! I also adore Banshee; it’s the kind of polished yet eccentric restaurant that’s long past due in East Atlanta.
Gray Chapman — Freelance food and drinks writer at New York Times, Atlanta Magazine, Atlas Obscura, Vice, and Vox
When it comes to restaurants, I tend to spend more time on barstools than in banquettes, and I spent a lot of time posted up in front of Adrienne at Watchman’s this year. Turns out, I could easily subsist off of raw oysters, crab fritters, and pulls from the Chartreuse shot machine.
Mike Jordan — Digital program director for V103, Thrillist Atlanta editor, Eater Atlanta contributor
I really, really enjoyed Tiny Lou’s. Also great were The Brasserie at Bazati, Bully Boy (eat all the crab fried rice you can), and The White Bull in Decatur Square. And, I haven’t had a chance to get there since it opened very recently, but I’m also looking forward to AIX -- chef Nick Leahy is no joke.
Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta editor
There were a lot of great restaurants that opened this year. This includes the aforementioned The White Bull in Decatur, Watchman’s Seafood & Spirits, and Tiny Lou’s at Hotel Clermont. I’m also really enjoying the vibe, food, wine, and cocktails at Banshee in East Atlanta Village. However, the restaurant ticking all of the boxes for me and bringing something truly special to the Atlanta dining scene this year is the delightful Snackboxe Bistro in Doraville, run by Thip Athakhanh and Vanh Sengaphone. Snackboxe is a love letter to Laos and to Atlanta’s diners who have shown up in droves to this little restaurant in the Super H Mart complex. I want to give a shoutout to recent newcomers the lounge-y, unpretentious LLoyd’s in Inman Park and Nick Leahy’s Aix and Tin Tin for bringing a true wine bar and Provençal food to Westside.