As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. For our first question, friends of Eater weighed in on their top restaurant standbys. Now, it's time for top restaurant newcomers. And readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.
[Photo: Cinquecento/Rachel Leah Blumenthal]
Q: What are the top top restaurant newcomers of 2012?
MC Slim JB, restaurant critic, The Phoenix: Gustazo Cuban Restaurant & Cafe, Thai North, West Bridge, China King, Casa B, Shojo, Yume Wo Katare. For bars, I'd add The Hawthorne, Brick & Mortar (though technically speaking, both opened in late '11), backbar, and First Printer after Brother Cleve was brought in to revamp its cocktail program.
Marc H., Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk: I really like Eugene O'Neil's in the Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain. It's laid-back, friendly, relatively comfortable, and completely unpretentious. Conrad's in Walpole is nice as well, with excellent steak tips and a slightly less hectic feel to it than their original spot in Walpole. And I have to include the Grillo's Pickle Store in Cambridge's Inman Square here--their pickles are out of this world.
South End blogger BosGuy: Most anticipated has to be Cinquecento by the Aquitaine Group which opened just a few weeks ago
An anonymous industry insider who we'll call Litchi Bear: Giulia, Otto (Brookline), Shojo, Puritan and Co., West Bridge, Lone Star Taco.
Aaron Kagan, editor, Eater Boston: dwelltime (again), BonChon (Harvard), and DooWee & Rice.
Rachel Cossar, ballet dancer with the Boston Ballet and food blogger at foodista on pointe: The top five would have to be West Bridge, Puritan & Company, Giulia, Poe's Tip Tap Room/Estelle's (two new openings in one year!!!) and Backbar.
Tom O'Keefe of BostonTweet: I've quickly become a big fan of Cinquecento on Harrison Ave in SoWa. The food, atmosphere, layout, and drinks are perfect.
Jacqueline Church, local food writer. Maybe a little premature, but I'm excited about jm Curley. Okay it's a pub. But, a lunchtime burger that didn't try too hard with crazy additions, fancy brioche - shows confidence and thoughtfulness of chef (Sam Monsour). It is still on my mind and was a standout out for the things that a burger should stand out for. The bar has a no douche-bags rule and doesn't take itself too seriously. Solid expertise behind the bar (Patrick McGuire) holds promise, too. Right in my 'hood. Can't wait to get back - in fact, why am I not there now?
Richard Auffrey, The Passionate Foodie: For me, the top newcomers that I most enjoyed include: The Painted Burro in Somerville (with an amazing Yucatan Meatloaf), A Tavola in Winchester (killer Italian from Chef Ettore of Bistro 5), and Moxy in Portsmouth, NH (innovative Spanish-inspired tapas).
Damien S., community manager for Yelp Boston. Just destroyed an excellent wild boar pappardelle at Giulia, who've settled in Rafiki Bistro's old space nicely. Rittenhouse and absinthe cocktails, outrageous burrata and an eyebrow-raising tap list... they slid in to home late, but a run is a run.
Audrey Giannattasio of Boston Foodie Tours: Trade - Successful right out of the gate. Sit at the bar, and order Jody Adams' lamb flat bread. It's to die for!
TJ Connelly, DJ for the Red Sox and founder of onthebar : Belly, West Bridge, and Puritan & Company were each fantastic additions to Cambridge nightlife in their own particular ways. jm Curley and Lone Star Taco Bar remain favorites when I'm on the south side of the river. I am also a big fan of Steel & Rye if only for the fact I can now enjoy delicious cocktails and excellent food in my actual home town.