Our October 2022 issue featured the return of one of our most beloved lists—Atlanta’s 75 Best Restaurants. Among those 75, the 11 eateries below were also dubbed worthy of the title of Atlanta’s Best New Restaurants for this year. These newcomers feature everything from tender lamb birria to Edomae-style sushi to quinoa-based “brekkie bowls,” and each is absolutely worth a visit.
Listed in alphabetical order. View the full list of 75 Best Restaurants here.
The latest from Pat Pascarella (White Bull, Grana) is built on cheese: He bills this buzzy Westside eatery as a “mozzarella bar” and offers a generous handful of varieties for sampling, from earthy mozzarella di bufala to fatt’ a mano—a pleasingly chewy version pulled by hand at a dedicated station behind the Bastone bar. They can be enjoyed as part of a mozz flight, and/or with salumi, and/or with focaccia, taralli, little dishes of olives—and definitely with wine and cocktails, and as a forerunner to some of the more substantial handmade pastas on the menu. This isn’t a quiet, candlelit Italian restaurant—it’s bustling and light-filled, with a personality as big as its flavors. 887 Howell Mill Road Northwest, Westside, 404-252-6699
With Slutty Vegan at one end and Staplehouse at the other, the stretch of Edgewood between Boulevard and Howell is shaping up into a regular restaurant row—and this brewpub is one of its finest recent additions. Even if the beer were lousy, a trip would be in order just to dig into chef Davis King’s hearty, veg-forward menu, which feels like the next generation of bar food: raw oysters, smart salads, housemade pimento cheese, fries with garlic aioli, and a few more substantial sandwiches and dinner plates that change with the seasons. And, to be clear, the beers—a few clean-tasting pale ales and IPAs, several sours, various rotating options—are the opposite of lousy. Other perks: a daytime coffee bar and one of the chillest patios around. 537 Edgewood Avenue Southeast, Old Fourth Ward, 404-796-9919
Atlanta diners’ passion for birria has not really abated, with the spicy Mexican stewed meat available around town in forms more traditional (birria tacos, quesabirria) and less (birria ramen, birria pizza). One of the most exciting renditions to hit the scene recently is the birria de borrego at this family-run joint: dissolvingly tender lamb, served in a velvety, lightly spiced tomato broth and based on a recipe that an earlier generation of Landeroses served at a restaurant in the Mexican state of Aguascaliente. The heirloom preparation is nothing short of stunning; various other dishes, including weekends-only menudo, get high marks, too. 2400 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth, 678-373-3657
Com Ga Houston
This place is named after the dish it specializes in, a Vietnamese relative of Hainanese chicken rice: skin-on chicken, poached delicately in chicken broth and served cold over rice with a panoply of accoutrements—various veg and pickled cabbage, onion oil and ginger and Vietnamese coriander leaves, served with ginger sauce and a cup of chicken broth on the side. It’s splendid, but just the beginning of owner Khoa Do’s bird-centric menu: There’s also chicken or duck congee with cubes of pork blood, noodle soups and chicken pho, and magnificent salads built on cabbage or banana blossoms and featuring a whole landscape of torn chicken, herbs, and crispy bits of fried shallot. 3350 Steve Reynolds Boulevard, Duluth, 678-691-3143
Julia Kesler Imerman calls her adorable spot off Cheshire Bridge Road a “holistic” cafe—I call it a joyous refuge from the vicissitudes of everyday life. Born Jewish in South Africa and raised in Atlanta, the young owner is a proponent of intuitive or mindful eating. Not denying the body what it craves is her philosophy, so on her daily menus, you can find French fries and latkes—in addition to things like rotisserie chicken (or cauliflower), salmon pitas with lemony labneh, shakshuka, and “brekkie bowls” with quinoa, avocado, and soft-boiled eggs.
There’s more to this tiny whitewashed building than meets the eye. Your first impression is of a calm respite with two distinct zones: one set up like a living room with books to read and comfy rugs to muffle the sounds; the other more commercial but still peaceful and communal, with a counter for ordering and a handful of grab-and-go items. But in the back, there’s also a large production facility, where Imerman’s staff assembles the above-mentioned dishes in addition to distinctive shelf-stable products sold on the premises as well as in local groceries: cumin-scented cauliflower Bolognese, various soups and dressings. I find her combination of physical and mental nourishment irresistible, and the obvious success of this young business gives me faith that—given enough moxie and goodwill—the good can triumph over the mediocre. 2127 Liddell Drive Northeast, Piedmont/Morningside, 404-600-4155
From 8Arm (RIP) impresarios Nhan Le and Skip Engelbrecht and chef Bradford Forsblom, this jewel box of a storefront has the potential to be many things to many people: a lunchtime destination for a bowl of chowder and one of the city’s best new sandwiches (a blackened grouper that’ll knock your socks off); a retail market with superfresh cuts of fish you can take home and prepare yourself; and a BYOB raw bar serving immaculately prepared oysters, crudo, shrimp cocktail, and more, to be enjoyed in the open air on a few charming sidewalk tables. A second location has opened in Kirkwood. 674 North Highland Avenue, Poncey-Highland, 678-705-9538
Gigi’s Italian Kitchen
Checkered-tablecloth nostalgia meets modern technique at Gigi’s, which has recently made the transition to full-time restaurant in the same Candler Park space where, several nights a week since last year, it’s been in a pop-up residency. Two young chefs, Eric Brooks and Jacob Armando, are behind it, offering a tightly curated, seasonally driven Italian menu with dishes like fried polenta cake with creme fraiche and caviar, brassicas cooked over a yakitori grill and seasoned with Calabrian chilis, and artfully plated housemade pastas and classic preparations like chicken Milanese. Replacing Nicholas Stinson’s beloved Gato, Gigi’s promises to be just as integral to the fabric of the neighborhood. 1660 McLendon Avenue Northeast, Candler Park, 404-371-0889
How Crispy Express
The latest—and perhaps the last— word in Atlanta’s fried-chicken-sandwich wars, this cheery counter-service cafe existed as a pop-up for several years before landing on Summerhill’s main street. The Southern-style sandwich at the heart of the menu is everything you want it to be—a generous piece of juicy dark meat, fried twice for extra crunch, with an herby spread and bread-and-butter pickles—but don’t sleep on the variations, including Lemon Pepper Wet, doused in buffalo sauce, lemon pepper, and ranch. Tangy, sloppy, and sublime, the sandwich screams Atlanta. 71 Georgia Avenue Southeast, Summerhill, 678-705-3531
Ron Hsu and co. step down from the multicourse extravagance of their James Beard–nominated prix fixe restaurant Lazy Betty with this casual cafe, which transitions over the course of the day from a breakfast hang (serving baker Chao Wen’s winning Turkish egg bread and Portuguese egg tarts) to a casual lunch spot (banh mi, fragrant pho in both beef and vegan versions) to a dinner destination with carefully wrought, Vietnamese-influenced entrees (the savory coconut-shrimp crepes banh xeo, lemongrass-marinated pork with tomato and corn succotash). It’s kid-friendly, too, with a line of housemade sodas flavored with ingredients like calamansi, passionfruit, and Buddha’s hand. 2260 Marietta Boulevard Northeast, Bolton, 470-427-3057
Arrive early: You’ll want to pregame at the sanded-stone cocktail counter with barman Mike Satusky, who makes perhaps the city’s best Negroni, in which hojicha tea creates a bridge between the drink’s bitterness and its sweetness. Then, dig the music, which counterbalances Mujo’s aspirational nature with songs like “Sexy M.F.” by Prince (the explicit version) and the anthemic “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men. When seating begins, you’re led through a door to a spotlit 15-seat counter, where you’ll spend two and a half hours on executive chef J. Trent Harris’s Edomae-style sushi, aged and cured exquisitely and presented twice nightly in an always evolving omakase experience.
Harris, whose Michelin cred comes from working in celebrated restaurants like Sushi Ginza Onodera of NYC and Tokyo, was recruited by Atlanta restaurateur Federico Castellucci, who convinced him to launch a sushi pop-up out of Cooks & Soldiers. During the early days of the pandemic, it offered takeout—an impossible idea that Harris achieved at the highest level of quality, flavor, and precision, reminding stuck-at-home diners that, even in times of separation and difficulty, great dreams can become reality.
Today, Mujo’s omakase is booked out a month in advance and might include decadent and buttery blackthroat sea perch or other rare fish flown in from Toyosu—the island area of Tokyo where the famed Tsukiji fish market moved several years ago. Fresh produce, which shows up in small plates of hot and cold dishes such as nasu agebitashi—a chilled dish of marinated, fried eggplant, served with squid ink and burnt-eggplant puree—comes from local and regional purveyors including Delaware-based Japanese vegetable producer Suzuki Farms. Kentucky native Harris’s Southern sensibility helps it all blend together beautifully. With so much attention to detail, Mujo would be amazing if it didn’t have the best raw fish in Atlanta. But this unlikely restaurant’s survival story has indeed reshuffled our city’s sushi hierarchy. 691 14th Street Northwest, Westside, 404-400-6832
Having established himself with his pop-up La Chingana—and, previously, as executive chef at Minero—Arnaldo Castillo launched a brick-and-mortar over the summer, offering a regular place for his fans to get their fix of Castillo’s irresistible coastal-Peruvian cooking: superfresh raw-fish dishes like ceviche and spicy tuna tiradito; wonderful salads built around quinoa, corn, and sweet-hot aji dulce peppers; the classic Chinese-Peruvian stir-fry lomo saltado; and a fun cocktail list with both a classic and a seasonally changing pisco sour. That this place is one of the brand-newest entries on this list is terrifically exciting: We can’t wait to see it grow. 675 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Poncey-Highland, 404-343-0278
This article appears in our October 2022 issue as part of the 75 Best Restaurants in Atlanta. View the full list here.