As is the tradition as we near the end of 2017, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. The annual survey spans eight questions, from dining surprises to best food neighborhoods and disappointing meals. 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. Question number two:
What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2017?
Matthew Odam, restaurant critic at Statesman
Bonhomie, Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Pitchfork Pretty.
Jolène M. Bouchon, critic at Austin Monthly
Kemuri Tatsu-ya of course! I've also been loving Holy Roller. My eight-year-old is obsessed with it.
Brandon Watson, food editor at CultureMap Austin
Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Bonhomie, Holy Roller, Mattie's, JT Youngblood’s, Pitchfork Pretty, La Matta, the Hummus Among Us food truck, and the new Foreign & Domestic. Refreshingly, all are very different. The appeal of sameness seems to be wearing out in Austin's dining scene.
Erin Kuschner, editor of Time Out Austin
Pitchfork Pretty nailed it for all-around excellence: food, service, ambiance, and a seriously good lemon ice box pie. LeRoy & Lewis for its lamb belly and the fact it incorporates kimchi (lifeblood) whenever possible. And I'm going back for those scallop skewers stat at Kemuri Tatsu-ya.
Anastacia Uriegas, freelance food and cocktail writer
I’m pretty sure my replies are the same as everyone else: Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Mattie’s, Holy Roller, Bonhomie, LeRoy & Lewis, Pitchfork Pretty.
Tom Thornton, freelance food writer and contributor at Eater Austin
Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Bonhomie, Le Politique, and Holy Roller.
Jane Ko, blogger at A Taste of Koko
Le Politique, Honest Mary's, Aviary Wine & Kitchen, Tumble 22, ATX Cocina, La Matta, and Steel City Pops.
Kelly Stocker, creative consultant and contributor at Eater Austin
Pitchfork Pretty, Leroy & Lewis, La Matta.
Sommer Brugal, freelance writer and contributor at Eater Austin
While it’s not a restaurant per se, Rosen’s Bagel Co. became my go-to weekend staple at Brew & Brew over the summer. I’d also include Kemuri Tatsu-ya and Killa Wasi.
Veronica Meewes, Zagat Austin editor and freelance food and travel writer
Bonhomie and Holy Roller definitely lived up to lofty expectations. Pitchfork Pretty was a welcome east side opening and I can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeves. Aviary Wine & Kitchen closed and reopened as a new concept with a bigger wine list. I wish every neighborhood (but mostly my own) had a spot just like it. I’ve also been stoked about the kolaches at Batch, Killa Wasi’s Peruvian interpretations, Be More Pacific’s brick and mortar, and the hummus bowls at Hummus Among Us. And as far as bars go, Nickel City tops all.
Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
Holy Roller and Nickel City, which I think shows that unpretentiousness still rules in Austin.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
I love exploring the menus at Kemuri Tatsu-ya. Other favorites: the one-two hit of Delray Cafe and Nickel City, the sweet and savory combinations at Holy Roller, the fun and funky wines and food from Aviary Wine & Kitchen, the actually spicy hot chicken at Tumble 22, and the insanely amazing Texas-Indian food at Puli-Ra, morning favorites from My Name Is Joe Coffee Co., and (finally) good bagels at Rosen’s Bagel Co.