Three Atlanta food writers share their favorite new restaurants

“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with three writers who contributed to an extensive article in Atlanta Magazine on the “Best New Restaurants of 2021.”

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As Atlantans venture out of the home after an extended stay indoors, many are hungry to try some of the many new restaurants that have opened their doors and weathered the storm of the last year. “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with three writers who contributed to an extensive article in Atlanta Magazine on the “Best New Restaurants of 2021.” Christiane Lauterbach is the magazine’s dining columnist and longtime editor of “Knife & Fork,” Sam Worley is deputy editor of Atlanta Magazine, and Mike Jordan is food and culture writer and editor-in-chief for Butter ATL. The three contributors discussed the restaurants that hit the spot in 2021. 

Interview highlights:

What these writers considered when evaluating new restaurants:

“What I love the most is not just a great experience, but consistency,” said Jordan. “I love the hustle, I love the entrepreneurial spirit, I love the ideas that come forth and I love the classics as well. But if I’m going to recommend it … there’s nothing like going, and going again, and seeing if it’s all hype, or if this is something that’s going to have some legs, some sea legs to it and stick around.” 

“To me, as a critic, it’s not so much about whether I like it or I don’t like it. Maybe liking it is 10%, 20%,” said Lauterbach. “If you were an art critic, and you wrote about, ‘You know, I don’t really like Picasso,’ they’d call you an idiot because there is a standard of excellence, there is history, there is the biography. All of that is super important in the evolution of a restaurant. It’s certainly possible to like bad restaurants, actually. So for me, I’m still holding to the level of excellence of a restaurant.”

Assorted top picks from Atlanta’s newest and best:

Lauterbach’s pick:

Nur Kitchen (Buford Highway) “If you go there, you must have the schnitzel with hummus and salad. [Chef Shay Lavi] bakes his own pita; it is not a fast-food restaurant. This is a serious restaurant.”

Jordan’s picks: 

Talat Market (Summerhill) – “It’s just so funky and so spirited, and such a peoples’ champion from food truck to brick-and-mortar in Summerhill.” 

Lake and Oak Neighborhood BBQ (East Lake) – “I just found myself there over and over … That’s the place where you might just see me on the outdoor patio, just enjoying some wings or smoked chicken or something, because they just don’t miss the mark.”

Worley’s pick: 

Buena Gente Cuban Bakery (Decatur) – “They just make wonderful sandwiches. I had an amazing Cubano and a milkshake. And they have a little pastry case too, and it’s just a sweet little spot where you can set up on the sidewalk in front.”

The full article from Atlanta Magazine by Christiane Lauterbach, Mike Jordan, and Sam Worley on the “Best New Restaurants of 2021” can be found here