Goodbye 2009 and hello 2010! The start of the new year is an exciting one, with so many places to visit and so many culinary adventures to dig into. We asked some our favourite food experts to tell us about the one restaurant they want to hit up this year.

Erin McKenna, Chef and Owner of BabyCakes NYC
Woodfire Grill in Atlanta! I was a big fan of Kevin Gillespie on this season’s Top Chef. Even though I don’t eat pig, he is thoughtful and down-to-earth with his approach to cooking. I want to go to his restaurant so bad!

Daniel Muia, Chef and Owner of Mogette Bistro
I’d like to go eat at Buca in Toronto. Rob Gentile is a talented guy, he was a top guy with Mark McEwan for a long time so he knows his stuff. I’ve read the reviews, heard really good things and I’d like to check it out. I believe I heard somewhere that he was using all his Nonna’s recipes, sounds good to me.

Tessa Liebman, Executive Chef of Shiraz Events
I want go to Paris, France again. Flea markets, hammams, and am running out of spices from Goumanyat. Ever since the Ruth Reichl Paris issue of Gourmet (RIP), I have been itching to go back. I really want to go to some of the smaller places there, although they have gotten so much coverage in the past few years. Le Ami Jean, Christophe, Le Comptoir du Relais, and others.

Suresh Doss, Publisher of SpotlightToronto.com
I would love to eat my way through New Orleans. Locally here in Toronto, I would love a seat at Auberge Du Pommier. Chef Jason Bangerter’s twitter feed is something I can only handle in small doses.

Meghan Coyne, Recipe Writer for The Martha Stewart Show
In 2010 I really hope I get the chance to visit Animal in Los Angeles. I was out there over the summer and didn’t get a chance to go. I am really regretting it. I have heard amazing things about chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. I actually had a share house out in the Hamptons this summer and they came to the east coast for a weekend to serve dinner at a restaurant in Montauk, but of course, it was during one of the weekends I was unable to use the house.

David Lee, Executive Chef of Nota Bene
The Fat Duck in London, England.

Ben Van Leeuwen, Founder of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Marea in NYC for the lunch special because I love fish.

Gordon Mackie, Executive Corporate Chef for SIR Corp
I haven’t been to the Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York yet, and I really want to see what they’re doing. Love their style and I’m intrigued by what I’ve seen and heard about their dishes and concepts.

Greg Bolton & Liz Dnieper Bolton, Owners of Pantry
After all these years, we’ve still never been to Pangaea in Toronto, which is completely ridiculous! Chef Martin Kouprie always gets rave reviews, he’s a great guy, and he’s a tireless supporter of sustainable fish, which is a huge, huge issue right now. Martin, we’ll see you in the new year!

Jaspal, Plato Putas
I’m looking forward to hitting up the Red Hook Ball Fields this summer. Picture this; a massive soccer field filled with Latin food vendors selling everything edible from Mexican huaraches to Salvadoran papusas. It’s only open on weekends from May to September, but now that I have a bike, it’s going to be a regular stop on my summer rides.

Celine, Plato Putas
I’m gonna have to take my late-pass to Foxley on Ossington in Toronto. Seems everyone I know has been, so I’m likely the only one missing out on what I hear are their divine ribs. Just reading the description on their menu makes me drool: “grilled side ribs with caramelized shallot glaze.” I’ve heard different opinions about this restaurant—it’s incredible and well-worth a visit versus it being over-priced with small portions. Either way, I’m stating my intention to find out for myself this year. And a warning to whoever my dining companion may be, if those short ribs are as good as they say, I’ll refuse to share.

Which restaurants are on your Must List for 2010? What meals have you heard raves about and can’t wait to try?

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