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, their best meals in Atlanta this year, to offer up their favorite spots to regularly dine in Atlanta, and what got them excited in 2022 for the future of restaurants and dining in Atlanta.
Finally, instead of offering up dining predictions for 2023, we asked these industry insiders and Eater readers to create a dining wish list for Atlanta. Here’s what each had to say about what they hope to see in the future at Atlanta restaurants.
Sara Delgado, Eater Atlanta contributor
Where do I begin? Let’s start with wine bars. Samantha Maxwell explained this well. We’ve got the pulse on wine shop culture, most everyone knows where to shop and each boutique shop has its niche and pulse in the neighborhood. I live down the street from Vin ATL and I love what Dwight Cunningham is building in this little pocket between Edgewood, Candler Park, and Kirkwood. If I had to pivot away from the wine bar, I’d say a hotel bar. We have no good hotel bars. I’ll die on this hill. Aside from the St. Regis and the Clermont Lounge, we need a hotel bar, not a hotel with a downstairs restaurant and bar. If I could revive anything back from the Atlanta food and beverage graveyard, it would be the cocktail program at Amer in a space as lavish and chic as Le Bon Nosh.
Mike Jordan, Atlanta food and culture journalist and Southeast editor at Resy
I want someone to stop leaving money on the table and put a decent, very large Mexican restaurant in the Tri-Cities area. We have a few amazing-but-tiny gems (shouts to Don Sige and Don Chon,) but they can’t hold all the folks that love Mexican food and margaritas in the area. Please come get rich, whoever you are, you hero. Aside from that, I want Atlantans to start expecting more from restaurants that are overcharging them for mediocrity, and good news: I’ve got a story coming right here to Eater Atlanta about that very subject. Oh we’re going to talk about it. I’ve become irritated and I need to let some of that energy out. Your favorite restaurant might not be worth what they’re charging you, and I was glad to see people responding to my recent salty tweets, because it means we’re waking up, and we’ll be a better dining city for it.
Sam Worley, Atlanta magazine deputy editor
This is a fairly humble little wish, but given how crowded my local Perc is, I really think we could stand some more coffee shops scattered around town.
Kris Martins, Eater Atlanta contributor
- I’d love to see the city continue to create more opportunities for food carts and food trucks, so they’re more integrated in different Atlanta neighborhoods and become a more prominent part of the dining scene.
- I’d like to see the city experiment with pedestrian-only areas like they did with Edgewood Avenue during the summer. Not only does this keep areas with high foot traffic safer, but it could also be an opportunity for more restaurants and bars to experiment with on-street dining.
- I still wish Atlanta had more natural wine bars, especially after losing 8ARM. I love that so many restaurants have incorporated low-intervention wines into their beverage program, but I’d love an unfussy, accessible bar that leans on a substantial by-the-glass wine list with small bites playing a supporting role.
Jennifer Zyman, Atlanta restaurant critic and Food & Wine magazine senior commerce writer
I said it before and will say it again: I want a true diner to open in Atlanta. The kind with big cakes that actually taste good and enormous Greek salads. Seriously, there is a diner space on Piedmont right next to a Greek restaurant. Anyone? I would also like to see more good New York-style pizza and bagels in town and better al pastor taco options because those are seriously lacking.
Beth McKibben, editor of Eater Atlanta
I continue to say it: Atlanta needs more casual, low-key neighborhood restaurants like Gigi’s Italian Kitchen in Candler Park. For me what’s happening on the main drag of North Highland in the heart of Virginia-Highland with all of its restaurants and shops, people walking around with their dogs, kids, friends, family, should be happening in neighborhoods all over Atlanta. I’d also love to see more chill spots (with tinned fish and wine to boot) like Larakin in Midtown open. I second more wine bars, and more wine bars that also act as neighborhood hangouts. My last big wish is for Atlanta restaurateurs to realize we need all-day cafes and spots for drinks or coffee after dinner. Not everyone wants to head to another restaurant to grab drinks at the bar where there’s likely also a wait for a seat and they feel rushed to order and move on quickly.
Eater readers surveyed
Several Eater readers who participated in the 2022 Year in Eater dining survey wish to see the following in Atlanta:
- More wine bars
- Less brunch restaurants, way less
- Service fees/auto gratuity replacing tips
- More restaurants like what chef Deborah VanTrece is doing in Cascade Heights in other similar neighborhoods.
- Persian street food and more Ethiopian restaurants
- Smaller, more straightforward restaurants like Spring, Little Bear, Fishmonger.
- More places like Brickstore, The Companion, The Porter Beer Bar. Good, honest neighborhood pubs with elevated food and drink that are not overwrought.
- Good dim sum restaurants
- Burmese restaurants
- For Atlanta to stop turning into a mall with chains, pricing independent restaurants out.