Since the end of 2015 is near, Eater asked a group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past year. The annual survey spans eight questions from dining surprises, best dining neighborhoods, to restaurant grievances. All answers will be revealed as the week rolls on—cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Readers, add your answers in the comments below. Second up:
What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2015?
Anastacia Uriegas, contributor of Thrillist
Apis, Counter 3.Five.VII, Emmer & Rye, Juniper, Fixe were the best all around, but honestly, my friends and I visited Launderette, Vox Table, and Fukumoto the most this year.
Brandon Watson, food editor of Austin Chronicle
Fukumoto, Counter 3.Five.VII, Launderette, Apis, Juniper, Wu Chow.
Dan Gentile, staff writer at Thrillist
Wu Chow, Bullfight, Shake Shack.
Jane Ko, blogger at A Taste of Koko
Emmer & Rye, Wu Chow, Cafe No Se, Fukumoto, and Italic.
Jolène M. Bouchon, critic for Austin Monthly
Even though I can't stand eating the exact same thing as the people I'm out with, I love the concept, approach, and food at Counter 3.Five.VII. And I'm pretty partial to Mongers. I mean, you can take the girl away from the Gulf Coast...
Kathy Blackwell, editor in chief of Austin Way
Launderette, Wu Chow (still need to try about five new places).
Katie Friel, editor of Tribeza
Launderette, Counter 3.Five.VII, Unit D Pizzeria, Juniper.
Melanie Haupt, freelancer writer and Eater Austin contributor
Launderette, Bullfight, Bribery Bakery.
Melody Fury, freelance food writer, blogger at Gourmet Fury, and contributor of Eater Austin
Emmer & Rye was this year's standout for its innovative yet uncompromising slow-food approach (e.g. fermentation, milling in-house). Fukumoto delivers excellent (and long overdue) yakitori and izakaya eats. Geraldine’s menu and bar program encapsulates the Austin spirit and executes it with precision. Meanwhile, Counter 3.Five.VII’s avant garde techniques and styling transported me out of this city altogether. I’m also glad to see Wu Chow familiarize diners with the finer side of traditional Chinese cuisine.
Patricia Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
There are so many! I’ve had terrific meals at Launderette and Gardner, as well as Fixe and Vox Table, not to mention Bullfight and Italic. I’m looking forward to visiting Fukomoto, Emmer & Rye, Geraldine’s, and Central Standard.
Tom Thornton, food and drinks editor of CultureMap Austin
My favorites to date are Central Standard, Emmer & Rye, Apis, and Unit D Pizzeria. Have also had great meals from very late 2014 entrants Gardner and Fixe this year. Haven't tried Wu Chow, Bullfight, or Geraldine's yet.
Veronica Meewes, editor of Zagat Austin
I've had amazing meals at Apis out in Spicewood, Counter 3.Five.VII, Vox Table, and Emmer & Rye. I was also so excited when Fukumoto opened on East 6th Street, near my house, and I look forward to returning often! Mongers Kitchen & Market is another welcome addition to the neighborhood, providing the east side's first seafood-focused restaurant plus a sustainable market too. I feel like Geraldine's (inside the brand new Hotel Van Zandt) is another really important newcomer that already feels like an Austin icon.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
I crave Fukumoto all the time. The delicious sushi made with the freshest cuts of fish, inventive yakitori, and owner/chef Kazu Fukumoto’s enthusiasm always makes for a great dining experience. Then, everything I order from Launderette never disappoints me. Other restaurants I’ve been impressed with this year include Counter 3.Five.VII, Emmer & Rye, and Wu Chow. On the cocktail end, The Townsend and Roosevelt Room have become my new drinking destinations.