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, their picks for the city’s best new restaurants, summed up dining this year in one word, named the best dining neighborhoods, and detailed the year’s biggest dining surprises.
Here, Atlanta’s food authorities give a shoutout to their best meal in 2018.
Mara Davis — Radio and TV personality for WABE, The Bert Show, and Atlanta Eats
Staplehouse’s spring menu. Predictable answer but, oh man, that place is so special. Preview of Pinewood Forest’s new restaurant, Braise, at a media lunch. Chefs Tanya Jiminez and Michael Le from Mushi Ni in East Atlanta blew us all away. Can’t wait for that to open in 2019.
Mara Shalhoup — Deputy editor for Atlanta Magazine
Gray Chapman — Freelance food and drinks writer at New York Times, Atlanta Magazine, Atlas Obscura, Vice, and Vox
Probably the pan-fried dumplings and duck soup with hand-pulled noodles at LanZhou Ramen.
Mike Jordan — Digital program director for V103, Thrillist Atlanta editor, Eater Atlanta contributor
More than a few restaurants really impressed, from established spots like Empire State South to newer places like C. Ellet’s Steakhouse (Braves playing well or not, that’s a great restaurant.) But, if I’m being honest, I have to give it to Lazy Betty during their pop-up dinners. Everything from the Gulf red snapper tartare to the wagyu steak was incredibly impressive. However, nothing shocked me more than how much I loved the foie gras, which I usually avoid. I anticipate the coming Dekalb Avenue restaurant is going to be very successful.
Ryan Hughley — Eater Atlanta contributor, freelance food writer
As the saying goes, “you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take California out of the girl.” To that end, the absolute best thing I ate all year were three carne asada tacos topped with chopped cilantro, onion, lime and salsa verde from Supermercado Chicago in Doraville. There is nothing like the taste of home.
Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta editor
I ate a lot great meals throughout 2018. Some of my favorites were at Snackboxe Bistro. I love their khao piek sen (noodle soup) and nam khao with fermented pork (crispy rice salad.) The most memorable and beautifully presented meal of the year came from Staplehouse this month. Their latest tasting menu is an absolute triumph. But, likely the best meals I ate in 2018 came from chef Maricela Vega and her modern Mexican pop-up Chicomecóatl — at the Spindle Kitchen in Studioplex and then a dinner held at LottaFrutta, owned by Myrna Perez. The passion Maricela has for the traditions, techniques, and recipes of her ancestors, coupled with her ardent support of local farmers, permeates every delicious bite in the dishes she creates. Her food simply resonates with me.