Editor's note: The Globe will release its 2015 best new restaurants list on Friday, Dec. 11.
This was the year of simplicity. It was the year that Bestie's currywurst and a $2.85 burger flipped by a no-name food truck became cult sensations.
Sure there were splashes of extravagance, including a rare return to fine dining at Boulevard Kitchen and the shiniest restaurant cladding this side of Las Vegas, courtesy of My Shanti.
Yet for the most part, dining habits were shaped by small, casual neighbourhood haunts slinging upscale meat pies, Southern barbecue, steak frites, tacos and tons of pizza.
Perhaps the most promising sign was the penchant for reinvention. Among my top 10 picks for the best new restaurants of 2014, eight – yes, eight – are owned by restaurateurs who have expanded, moved or launched new concepts. In many ways it feels like after the huge restaurant expansion leading to 2010, the Olympic bubble has deflated, but not necessarily for the worse. It appears that we're settling down, unbuckling our belts and discovering our true appetites again. We're creating the more relaxed dining spaces where we really want to eat, rather than cooking to impress the rest of the world.
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Read the review: Blacktail reborn with revamped lounge and excellent new chef
9. Mr. Red Café
Read the review: Secret Northern Vietnamese gem offers a lighter, subtler taste
8. Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar
Read the review: Too many cooks in the Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar
7. Exile Bistro
Read the review: Plant-forward restaurant makes healthy taste delicious
Read the review: Real Italian food, minus the pasta
5. Ask For Luigi
Read the review: Ask for Luigi: Delicious Italian food in a beautiful room
4. Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant
Read the review: Unassuming façade houses exquisite dim sum
Read the review: Ten years later and Chambar is still turning heads
2. Café Medina
Read the review: Café Medina: Brunch for the ages – or at least for the afternoon
1. My Shanti by Vikram Vij
Read the review: Eclectic menu wanders from Mumbai to Goa