Today we announce the winners of the tenth annual Eater Awards, celebrating the restaurants that made the largest impact on all 24 Eater cities over the past twelve months.
Choosing the winners is never an easy task. Thank you to the readers who provided valuable feedback to our city editors on their favorite new restaurants this year, and congratulations to the Atlanta winners for Best New Restaurant, Best New Restaurant Design, and Dish of the Year. Winners will receive an illustrious tomato can trophy to put on display and an “Eater Awards Winner” sticker to post outside the restaurant, along with a full feature on Eater Atlanta in 2020.
Restaurant of the Year
Lazy Betty, Candler Park
Le Bernardin (NYC) alums Ron Hsu and Aaron Philips manage to strike a harmonious balance between casual and fine dining at their tasting menu restaurant. Lazy Betty is an approachable neighborhood spot by design, where people gather to dine on seven course meals dressed in everything from jeans and a tee to chic designer duds. Hsu, Phillips, and their capable team of young chefs represent the best of what Atlanta’s current dining scene has to offer. Food feels fresh and personal, and each skillfully prepared dish presented celebrates the diverse flavors and ingredients found within Atlanta’s global pantry. Here, Hsu weaves his Chinese-Malaysian heritage into dishes such as the charred octopus with fermented black beans (a take on a childhood favorite) or a Waffle House-inspired steak and eggs sprinkled with grated wasabi and accompanied by a sous vide egg yolk inside a wasabi leaf. In just a few shorts months, Hsu and Philips have created an essential Atlanta restaurant and are helping to redefine the city’s dining scene, while also training its next generation of chefs.
Restaurant Design of the Year
Cold Beer, Old Fourth Ward
Atlanta-based firm Ai3 designed chef Kevin Gillespie’s (Gunshow, Revival) latest restaurant along the Eastside trail to highlight his love of art, architecture, and nature. It’s the chef’s most ambitious and stylish restaurant yet. While the modern, minimalist interior may not appeal to everyone, the design behind Cold Beer is deeply personal for Gillespie, who describes the restaurant as “serene and simple.” Neutral tones in the dining room accentuate the natural light flowing through the two-story windows, while pops of color come from bright yellow trim, live plants, and several panels filled with preserved mosses and ferns above the bar. Perhaps the restaurant’s most striking and deliberately designed element is the large painting of a polar bear (Gillespie’s spirit animal) created by artist O.M. Norling for the chef. Entitled “A Recluse, the Journey, and a Curious Game of Skill and Chance”, the bear represents Gillespie, his life, and his recent tribulations, which includes a battle with renal cancer last year.
Dish of the Year
Akko prawns at Aziza, Westside Provisions District
Tal Baum’s “modern” Israeli restaurant is a breath of fresh air at Westside Provisions District. Dishes here showcase the broad range of Middle Eastern foods and flavors found within Israel’s most cosmopolitan cities. However, the moment Aziza opened in July, the Akko prawns became a breakout star on the menu. These heads-on jumbo shrimp come swimming in a warmly spiced tomato sauce set atop thick falafel toast, all created by executive chef Brandon Hughes. This comforting dish is then garnished with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of Persian lime. It’s best paired with a fresh and funky red, like Niepoort’s “Drink Me Nat Cool” from the Bairrada region near the Atlantic coast of Portugal.