The Best New Restaurants 2012

The Optimist, Atlanta

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By John Mariani

Nearly three decades have passed since Esquire published its first annual list of the Best New Restaurants of the Year. Sweeping trends in the restaurant world have come and gone, but this year has been unlike any other: In place of one trend, there are a whole bunch - and not just trends but also new ideas and personalities and ingredients and entirely novel kinds of cuisine bouncing around every city we visited. We've organized our list accordingly, showing how each restaurant fits into a larger phenomenon in the world of eating out. So get eating. It's a big, exciting, delicious country out there.

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