75 Best Restaurants in Atlanta: 8Arm
Beverage director Joshua Fryer shakes it up behind the bar

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore, mural by Carl Janes

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Under new chef Maricela Vega, 8Arm has turned over a new leaf. Vega’s food, perfected at a series of pop-ups in 2017 and 2018, suits the restaurant’s cool-kid vibe and its nonconformist roots. But in addition to being more deeply plant-based than what came before, these dishes also are influenced by Vega’s cultural background (Mexican) and those of her team (Polish, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese). A plate of oyster mushrooms, served in a beautiful jumble of brassica fleurets, pumpkin seed creme, and chimichurri, is so meaty it could make the most bloodthirsty carnivore forgo steak. Vega also brilliantly deploys heat against cold: a crisp strawberry and mint salad gets a pleasant jolt from fiery chili oil; the spicy Bangladeshi-style curry poured over whole-roasted trout is countered by cool creme fraiche raita. It’s a marvel that the restaurant continued to push boundaries after chef Angus Brown died in early 2017, a little more than four months after it opened. But with Vega in the kitchen, 8Arm feels new again. 710 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 470-875-5856, 8armatl.com