We continue discussing the 2019 dining scene with several Atlanta food writers and restaurant critics. The experts have already given their restaurant standbys, named the best new Atlanta restaurants, included insights into the year’s biggest food trends, described the 2019 Atlanta restaurant scene in one word, and explained their biggest dining surprises and biggest dining grievances.
Next, Atlanta’s dining experts give a shoutout to their best meal in 2019.
Mara Davis — Radio and TV personality for WABE, the Bert Show, and Atlanta Eats
Lazy Betty. I was skeptical of the menu and format at first. The food is fancy schmancy creative, but the service is down-home friendly. It was as good as anywhere in NYC or LA, minus the attitude. Can’t wait to go back to see what they have to offer in the spring.
Mara Shalhoup — Deputy editor for Atlanta Magazine
The first time I ate at 8Arm after the arrival of chef Maricela Vega blew my mind. (Subsequent visits were just as insanely good.) Though her menu isn’t entirely plant-based, most of it is—and what Vega does with vegetables is miraculous. I’m a fan of healthy and sustainable eating, obviously, but that fandom is not why I love Vega’s cooking. I love it because it’s delicious. If I could eat at one restaurant every day, it would be this one.
Jennifer Zyman — Contributing writer and restaurant critic for Atlanta Magazine, Thrillist, Eater Atlanta, AJC
La Grotta. I grew up going here and it is a great example of a mature restaurant that is still holding its own. We did many special occasions here over the year, and the overall experience left me feeling happy and nostalgic.
Mike Jordan — Thrillist Atlanta editor and contributing writer for Eater Atlanta, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Atlanta Magazine
Tiny Lou’s. From the minute I sat down to eat, the service, appetizer, cocktails, wine, salad, entree, and dessert were all exceptional. I still get warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how impressed I was when I left.
Beth McKibben — Eater Atlanta editor
Filipino pop-up Kamayan, Gato Nights, and 8Arm. I attended a few Kamayan pop-ups this year and am in love with chef Mia Orino’s food. Excited for her to open a permanent spot so I can indulge regularly in that lechon sisig, among other dishes. I can’t say enough great things about Maricela Vega at 8Arm. I’ve eaten my way through an entire menu in one night numerous times. Like Vega, I find myself returning often for chef Nicolas Stinson’s Mesoamerican food at Gato Nights. All three chefs genuinely love what they do, love experimenting with ingredients and flavors, and love sharing their food with people. It’s always a joyful experience.
- All Year in Eater coverage [EATL]