10 New Restaurants We Loved Across America In 2022
photo credit: PHOTO CREDIT: GAB BONGHI
2022 was a big reset. After several years of pandemic-era malaise, we started looking for ways to have fun again. Music venues filled back up, flights were booked (and delayed), and, thanks in part to a Top Gun reboot starring Miles Teller’s mustache, movie theaters made a comeback.
Unsurprisingly, the year’s best restaurants leaned into spectacle and new experiences. From a supper club in Philly that feels like a dinner party to an LA spot with foot-long kebabs and a compulsively watchable scene, the year’s top restaurants helped us remember why we used to voluntarily leave home every day. Even the low-key spots on this list—like a hot pink trailer serving Austin’s best new tacos—feel like events.
Here, you'll find The Infatuation's favorite new restaurants of the year. Each is the top-rated newly opened spot from 2022 in 10 cities across the country, including from our soon-to-be newest city, Houston. Read through the list, check out the full collection of guides, and start planning some trips.
Seattle's best new restaurant of 2022 isn’t technically a restaurant at all. It’s also not exactly new. Stay with us. Beast & Cleaver is a Ballard butcher shop that debuted in 2020, just before the world got fed through a paper shredder. And in addition to selling links, chops, and patties by day, they introduced after-hours “Wine Bar” nights in January. Not only is it the greatest way to experience this meat shrine, but it’s one of the most unique meals you’ll have in Seattle. The menu changes each week, but there’s always a surplus of beef that you should shape your dinner around, like the browned butter-glistened London broil, or ribeye with enough marbling to be a West Elm coffee table. And the meat options stretch beyond steaks, like a hefty smashburger, sausages, and incredible vegetables. Between the outstanding food, relaxed atmosphere, and diverse bottle selection available without any corkage markups, we’re constantly planning our next visit before dessert hits the table.
Her Place Supper Club's chef was previously known for throwing dinner parties so epic that strangers would show up to her NYC apartment, and then the shindig moved to Philly. The result is an incomparably charming 24-seat restaurant whose rotating tasting menu is inspired by French, Italian, and Jewish cuisines. It started off as a pop-up in mid-2021 before going permanent later in the year, and truly blossomed throughout 2022. Once you’re seated in the casual Rittenhouse space, filled with cookbooks and plants, expect dishes like a buttery lobster pain perdu, or crispy sour cream and onion sweetbreads with caviar. The food is world-class, but the entire experience is unforgettable. It feels like the best dinner party of all time.
The galbi from San Ho Won is the best in San Francisco. Each short rib has caramelized edges and lines of fat we can only describe as luxurious. It’s flat-out memorable, but so is the rest of the meal at this Korean restaurant in the Mission. Which is why we've already deemed it one of the very best restaurants in SF. The scallion-covered egg soufflé is so light it could float off the table. Spicy chicken tteokbokki arrives bubbling. And the beef neck fillet and chunjang-glazed pork ribs get a smoky char from the lychee wood charcoal grill. Unless you can hack Tock, set your calendar 29 days in advance to snag a reservation. It's not easy to get a table here.
We had a feeling this Los Angeles spot would be a smash hit well before we set foot inside its dining room. That’s mostly because Saffy’s is the restaurant equivalent of a nepo-baby—it’s from the same people who run Bestia and Bavel, two excellent spots in their own right. But much like Tracee Ellis Ross' career, this glamorous kebab house In East Hollywood exceeded our expectations anyway. Building on the Middle Eastern menu at Bavel, Saffy’s serves food worthy of a special occasion with the energy of a neighborhood fixture. You come here for juicy meat skewers cooked over a wood-fire grill and to scoop up creamy hummus with warm laffa bread. And you’ll inevitably want to linger in a bright yellow booth until they kick you out. Getting a table at Saffy’s might take some work, but the thrill of eating here makes all the fuss worth it.
Located in the original Ace Hotel in New York City, Koloman takes the kind of food you’d expect to find at a fancy hotel in Europe, gives it a 21st-century makeover, and then serves it all up in a surprisingly casual setting. Eating Koloman’s food feels a bit like being wrapped in a fur blanket, and all of it is excellent. We have recurrent dreams about the Brune Landaise, a heritage breed chicken that’s aged for 90 days and served in a copper pan worthy of Julia Child’s personal collection alongside tangy braised cabbage and silky spaetzle. The duck egg creme brulee makes us more excited about this dessert than we’ve been since we were kids.
Krüs Kitchen technically opened during the pandemic doing takeout and lunch, but it wasn’t until this year that the Coconut Grove spot debuted its seasonal dinner menu and became the restaurant it was always meant to be. The list of things we love about Krüs is longer than the spiral staircase you take to get to the dining room. On that list is a crudo so beautiful you’ll be nervous to make eye contact with it, an atmosphere that does for date nights what gamma radiation did for Bruce Banner, and glass block windows that face west and make the entire restaurant feel like one big flickering candle during sunset. We found ourselves recommending Krüs so much this year, because this combination of incredible food, welcoming service, and an interior so comforting it gives one the urge to take off their shoes is incredibly rare in Miami.
For years, One Flew South was the only reason to head to the Atlanta airport hours ahead of departure time. Now, a new location on the BeltLine pedestrian trail means you don’t need a boarding pass for their first-class service and for the city's best soul food- and Asian-fusion dishes, like collard green ramen and black rice pudding. Plus, while the outdoor patio overlooking the busy trail is prime seating, the interior is just as inviting. With floor-to-ceiling imagery of trees and actual trees from the BeltLine just outside, the big oblong bar at the center feels, wonderfully, like it’s been dropped into the middle of a forest.
Daisy’s will do more to improve your quality of life than a team of personal assistants ever could. Not only does this New Orleans-inspired restaurant in Hyde Park have the best po’boys in Chicago, but it’s also a blast. The spacious counter-service restaurant has staff that makes you laugh, live music, and boozy batch cocktails that aren’t too sweet. Along with po’boys, the menu has classics like fried chicken and a rich seafood gumbo that's especially lovable because a little crab claw cheerfully pokes out of it—encouraging us to accept things as they are. And while Daisy’s is extremely casual, it’s still a great place to celebrate a birthday, promotion, anniversary, or your fictitious personal assistant’s birthday.
While the East Side is probably the true center of the Austin taco universe, it's totally worth going out of your way to Con Todo at Celis Brewery in North Austin for the Rio Grande Valley-style tacos. The food here is punishingly good, like the mesquite-grilled cauliflower taco with a nutty salsa macha, or the chori-papa tostada with crispy griddled cheese that’ll make you reconsider what you eat for breakfast every day. The homemade corn tortillas are unforgettable, the kind that will make your hands smell like corn for hours, and you'll never want to wash them. If you're wondering where the best new tacos in Austin are these days, this is it.
By the time you notice the glow of Chopnblok's neon sign in Houston’s Post Market food hall, you’ll also see the crowd out front. And they’re not just here for the free samples. They’re here for the casual spin on traditional West African dishes. Chopnblok combines flavors from Nigeria, East Africa, and Ghana, with a few Creole ones, and creates something new, like an element on the periodic table that hasn't been discovered. You should get the golden bowl, where savory-sweet kelewele, refreshing coconut curry, and smoky jollof jambalaya party together in the same dish. Chopnblok might reel you in with the free samples, but we suggest sticking around for the Tobe Nwigwe records, yaji spices that tickle your tongue, and caramelized ajebutter popcorn. Even though it’s a food stall surrounded by dozens of others, Chopnblok is a destination restaurant.