As 2022 draws to a close, and, as is tradition, Eater surveyed Atlanta food writers and restaurant critics as well as surveyed readers on everything from their favorite new restaurant or pop-up and best meal of the year to what they hope to start seeing on the Atlanta dining scene in 2023.
First up, we ask our experts and Eater readers to share their favorite new restaurant to open or pop-up to launch in 2022. And there was a lot to choose from this year, as close to 200 restaurants and bars opened in 2022 alone (and counting).
Check back throughout the week for more Year in Eater feedback from Atlanta food writers and Eater readers.
Sara Delgado, Eater Atlanta contributor
Definitely Fishmonger. I love how focused of a concept it is, and the food is great, no frills or reservations required. I love when a restaurant opens and it’s completely fresh (no pun intended) and offers something completely new to the city.
Mike Jordan, Atlanta food and culture journalist and Southeast editor at Resy
My favorite new restaurant was Mujo. It’s not cheap, and yes I’m sometimes bougie, but that makes it no less true IMO. Fishmonger was very, very close behind it, and I was very much into So So Fed, but Mujo feels like another statement for the city, much like Lazy Betty in 2019. A family-owned restaurant group from the Atlanta area deciding that it was worth doing something better than everybody else. And in this case, sure, it meant getting a sushi genius from...Kentucky! But one who’d mastered his craft in NYC and Tokyo, and had also fallen for our awesome little big Southern hub of a town. Again, yes, you should take $1,000 from your bank account, take someone you love (make SURE you love them), and plan for an unforgettable night of omakase with great music, incredible service, and outstanding cocktails. I promise it’s worth it.
Sam Worley, Atlanta magazine deputy editor
Hands down Tio Lucho’s, and my fave new pop-up was Ba + Me. They’re completely different (Peruvian and Vietnamese, respectively), but I think I was drawn to the same kinds of qualities in both: big, superfresh flavors; honest cooking; lots of veggies and herbs. I never loved a quinoa salad till I ate the one at Tio Lucho’s.
Kris Martins, Eater Atlanta contributor
Tio Lucho’s. I love this unique spotlight on Peruvian dishes and flavors that incorporate seasonal, regional ingredients. For me, this restaurant strikes that balance between providing context on a cuisine that’s newer to the city, while also making its menu an expression of Georgia. Plus, everything’s packed with flavor, from the bright and spicy tiradito to the hearty lomo saltado.
Jennifer Zyman, Atlanta restaurant critic and Food & Wine magazine senior commerce writer
Mujo, hands down. It is not only the best omakase, but also the best sushi in Atlanta. The only pain is getting in for a reservation if you miss the monthly drop. And it is super expensive, which might be prohibitive for some.
Beth McKibben, editor of Eater Atlanta
I agree with all of the restaurants named above, but I’m going to throw two more out there: Gigi’s Italian Kitchen and Laotian pop-up So So Fed. I’ve said it many times, the pop-up scene is the future of Atlanta dining and where some of the most exciting and dynamic food is happening right now anywhere in the city or metro area. Gigi’s started life as a pop-up at Gato in Candler Park, and within a year built a following so fiercely loyal, Nicolas Stinson turned the keys to the space over to chefs Eric Brooks and Jacob Armando. I’m in love with the comforting Italian bistro dishes, tight wine list, and chill ambiance at Gigi’s. Neighborhood spots just like this should be all over Atlanta. As for So So Fed, I’ve been following Molli Voraotsady and her Laotian food pop-up since its days at the Bookhouse Pub, Qommunity, and 8ARM (RIP), and now at Full Commission. I’m still thinking about a recent dinner where I enjoyed a bowl of red curry laden with Thai eggplant, zucchini, and bamboo shoots and tender chunks of pork shoulder in a beautifully aromatic chili broth.
Eater readers surveyed
Several readers who participated in the 2022 Year in Eater dining survey listed new restaurants Fishmonger, Tortuga y Chango, Tio Lucho’s, and pop-up Humble Mumble as their favorites to open this year.