It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, contributors, rovers of the industry, and professional eaters. Even a year like this one. For 2022, the group were asked 12 questions, covering the best meals and the worst moments alongside 2023 predictions and dining standbys. Their answers will appear throughout this week, with responses relayed in no particular order; cut and pasted below.
So far, Year in Eater has covered the best newcomers, restaurant standbys, best meals, saddest closures, biggest surprises, and key moments of 2022, as well as the restaurant openings and food trends to watch in 2023. Now, it’s time to end Year in Eater on a high note: Some hopes for restaurants in 2023, that might allow them to thrive, more than survive.
Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London: I hope that a new contract is drawn between businesses and customers — restaurant goers in the U.K. need to better understand hospitality and to realise that value is more important than cost and that the point of restaurants is also about appreciating the value of those who make them great — those who cook and serve the things we all love.
Better breakfast sandwiches; better breakfasts and better sandwiches, just generally; better fast food; and more wine bars like Cadet and Hector’s.
A continuation of the decentralisation of the restaurant industry narrative and a wholesale appreciation of the many cuisines and community restaurants in the outer zones of this great city.
Conversely, somewhere really really good opens in Soho.
James Hansen, Associate Editor, Eater London: The impulse is to talk about survival, given the perpetual, yet distinct crises of the last three years. But in terms of hope, it would be that restaurants are able to do more than survive, and actually be able to do what they want. For that to happen, there would need to be another hope realised — that London’s tastemaking landlords can look at themselves a little more self-critically, and ask how they can better the city moreso than their bottom lines. Finally, unionisation.
Anna Sulan Masing, food writer and Eater London contributor: The lineup of restaurants I am excited about for next year makes me think that the conversation around food and culture can only grow and deepen, with new and experienced voices alike taking up, and hopefully given, the space they deserve. I think and hope we are in for a treat.
Jonathan Nunn, food writer and Eater London contributor: Just on a very personal level, I would like more restaurants attached to snooker halls or saunas.
Joel Hart, food writer and Eater London contributor: More wine bars like Hector’s, more restaurant wine lists like Planque’s, and after a very satisfying visit there in March 2022, a little more New York influence in London (Pamela Yung return please, and if someone could open a restaurant like Falansai, I’d be very happy.)
Feroz Gajia, restaurateur and Eater London contributor: That the good parts survive long enough to get the help they need. It also would be nice if it didn’t become impossible for small businesses new and old to thrive. Mediocre homogeneity would be a tragedy.
Sean Wyer, food writer and Eater London contributor: Fair pay, better labour conditions, and an end to greedy landlords. If I can’t have that, I at least hope the new fish and chip shop opening one minute from my flat will be good.
Angela Hui, food writer and Eater London contributor: For the industry to catch a fucking break. COVID-19 recovery, rising rents, gas prices, war, food prices and staff shortages etc etc etc. It’s never ending and bleak af. I really feel for people working in hospitality and I wish people would value and respect the industry more, or dig a little deeper into their pockets to reflect the value of food and labour.
David Jay Paw, food writer and Eater London contributor: That the market for small, independent concepts flourishes, despite all the headwinds. Places like Sarap and Forno are the lifeblood of what make dining in this city exciting.
Shekha Vyas, food writer and Eater London contributor: I hope to see more trends that give people joy, and to see the hospitality industry continue meeting challenges like inflation costs, energy prices, staffing and, of course, upward-only rents, head-on, with creativity prevailing in the face of these.
Isaac Rangaswami, food writer and Eater London contributor: That all my favourite historical caffs stay in business.