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. We’ve already asked Atlanta food writers and Eater readers to name the best new restaurants and pop-ups of 2022. Now, they shout out their best meals at Atlanta restaurants this year.
Check back throughout the week for more Year in Eater feedback from Atlanta food writers and Eater readers.
Sara Delgado, Eater Atlanta contributor
Mujo. I’m not an omakase person by any means, but when I think back on meals I’ve had this year that I would gladly budget for again, Mujo is at the top of my list. From the theatrics of each course, pristine wine pairings, peerless hospitality, and the quiet sort of grandeur of it all, it’s definitely my most memorable meal of the year.
Mike Jordan, Atlanta food and culture journalist and Southeast editor at Resy
The meal I remember the most was lunch at St. Cecilia. I don’t go there often (that’ll change,) but they extended their lunch menu this year, while everybody else was cancelling lunch service. I went because I needed to do something to break from my reality at that moment and had an amazing midday meal. Everything was good, from the Bibb lettuce salad to the wood-grilled swordfish, and I had a rosé riff on a French 75, plus a glass of white wine. The staff was exceptionally cool, which helped because my mom had very recently passed away, and I was in need of good people with good energy. I think beyond the great lunch, the service was what I appreciated the most; it was remarkable, but still casual.
Sam Worley, Atlanta magazine deputy editor
I can’t say for sure that he copied me, but I did get the blackened grouper Caesar salad at the new Kirkwood Fishmonger a week or two before Barack Obama did—as part of a meal that was as immaculately prepared as anything at the restaurant’s Poncey-Highland original, but with cocktails (and now a presidential seal of approval).
Kris Martins, Eater Atlanta contributor
At the start of the year, a handful of pop-ups did an around-the-world dumpling night, and I was crazy enough to get a dish from each chef. Standouts included the spicy pork wontons by Mighty Hans, TKO’s mandu-guk (Korean dumpling soup), and pierogi ruskie by Brave Wojtek. That event was such a good snapshot of the talent in Atlanta’s pop-up scene.
Jennifer Zyman, Atlanta restaurant critic and Food & Wine magazine senior commerce writer
Mujo again. Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisines, and J. Trent Harris understands its nuances from sourcing to service. What other sushi spot wipes your dish between pieces of nigiri in Atlanta? It may not be an every week type of meal, but it is a must for any sushi lover or diner who likes fully immersive culinary experiences. I also really enjoyed my night at Palo Santo and want to return.
Beth McKibben, editor of Eater Atlanta
It’s hard to nail down just one meal this year, but I have to give another shoutout to that blackened grouper sandwich from Fishmonger. Chef Brad Forsblom dips the grouper in nori butter and sprinkles it with a roasted ten-spice blend that includes Sichuan pepper, cumin, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and coriander. The fish comes served on a toasted bun smeared with nori butter and topped with a zesty sauce and herb salad. It’s just so damn good. I would be remiss if I didn’t mentioned the meals I had at Redbird. Chef Zeb Stevenson has loaded that menu with the most delicious vegetable, rice, and grain dishes. This includes the spicy fried rice with grilled bamboo shoots and a perfect six-minute egg
Eater readers surveyed
Eater readers who participated in the 2022 Year in Eater dining survey listed best meals from the following restaurants: Just F*ck Me Up, Fam dealer’s choice at Little Bear; the KFC bowl from TKO; soup dumplings at Xiao’s Way Noodle House; birria tacos at Pretty Little Taco (Colony Square); chicha sours, ceviche, and causa from Tio Lucho’s; miso black cod from Bully Boy; chile relleno at Tortuga y Chango; the grinder from Staplehouse; duck burger from Boone’s; and the oxtail lo mein at Continent.