What a bizarre time in history to be alive. We can have almost anything delivered to our doorstep. We maintain many of our relationships through screens. Entertainment is endless and instant. Books, TV shows, movies; we scarcely have to wait for anything anymore. Everything is on demand. Everything is on our time. And yet, despite all the advances and all the conveniences modern life affords, why do so many of us seem to have so little time these days?
Technology has given us a way out of countless human interactions. But they still haven’t figured out a way for us to eat the same meal together remotely. An evening filled with food and friends is not an item on a delivery menu. Food is arguably one of the last holdouts of human interaction. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or where you’re from, you have to be present to eat. Maybe that’s why the allure of restaurants endures. Chefs create meals we can’t replicate or summon at will. You have to drive to a restaurant and sit down and order. Like in the old days, you have to wait. Restaurants force us to delay gratification and suspend our overloaded lives if only for the duration of a single meal.
As time lurches on, our minutes become increasingly valuable. We’re connected 24/7. Even when we take time off, we’re never truly away. We answer emails from bed soon after we open our eyes, we eat lunch at our desks. All those times that used to be reserved for rest and relaxation are disappearing. Eating together — at home or in a restaurant — is some of the only genuine leisure time we have left.
This year, Creative Loafing’s dining squad wanted to highlight establishments that have stood the test of time and restaurants we believe have what it takes to stick around. For us, the best restaurants favor quality over quantity and are vigilant in their consistency. Restaurants such as Mamak (Best overall restaurant), where you can close your eyes and point to a dish and be certain something great will show up to the table. Not just one time, but week after week after week. In Buckhead, the lavish new Atlas (Best fine dining) redefines what fine dining can be in Atlanta while the Colonnade (Best restaurant frozen in yesteryear) just three miles south continues to chug along, serving tried-and-true Southern food as it has for nearly 90 years.
Ain’t nobody got time for a bad meal.
— Stephanie Dazey, Food Editor