Today, our list of the year’s best new restaurants launches online. (Look for it on newsstands, too, where it’s been for a week or so.) For months, we dine so you can peruse the city’s new spots that impressed us the most.
This year, though, added a twist.
Like some other publications, we extended the calendar year—usually October of the previous year through October of the current one, as our print deadline falls around October 15—so we could include a restaurant like Ayahuasca Cantina, which opened in August 2020 amid a landscape gutted by the pandemic’s closures. In essence this, then, is a best list over 18 months. It seems only fair and respectful to include those whose stage was stolen from them.
In our state of limbo, we looked to restaurants. And they appeared. This year’s cohort of the city’s finest, captured in stunning photography by Brittany Conerly, stands in a league of its own: complex, fragile, resilient.
The line-up is a beautiful representation of our city—impressive and diverse, a showcase of where the culinary richness lies, which is everywhere.
Last night, at the event that the magazine holds to showcase the dazzling top-restaurant cast, we had sultry gumbo from Tiffany Derry and delicate beet summer rolls from Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen.
And in the back, as we left, I heard chefs and servers talking about the camaraderie, the banding together of Terra’s team helping spoon visually stunning sauces for a colleague and the teams from Sister and Suburban Yacht Club plating Restaurant of the Year Meridian’s fluke crudo. Which is not unusual. The restaurant industry showcases teamwork. In a way, though, they said, that stood out.
“Do you think it’s the post-pandemic?” I asked. They blinked, and in the short pause that ensued, we knew we were all thinking about the same thing: the miracle that this crew has achieved.
So, with more gusto than ever, let’s go out and dine. These 12 restaurants are your start. From there, explore. Read the list now.