Another packed night at Umi's (#1) bustling bar, a fave among A-listers like Drake, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Usher
Ready, Set, Feast!
With a new year comes fresh perspective, and that’s exactly what we’re offering with the debut of JEZEBEL’s 100 Hottest Restaurants. While taking into consideration the timeless classics we’ve all come to know and love, this list encompasses so much more than just food. We know you, like us, also want to know what’s buzzing right now, where visiting celebrities are pulling up a chair and who can sling a top-notch sipper—in a standout scene no less. In the next 22 pages, we’re giving you an inside look at our unique perspective (with your votes factored in) on which restos take the title of trendiest. Consider it a culinary update of the grandest kind, meant to conquer the inevitable Saturday struggle of where to go (for brunch, lunch and dinner!). Don’t worry—we’ve got you (and the hot scene that awaits you!) covered from dawn till dusk and beyond. Cheers!
$-Dinner entree price range
B-Brunch available [times vary]
R-Reservations accepted [restrictions may apply]
F-Furry friends welcome
Continue to 100 Hottest Restaurants >>
3050 Peachtree Road NW | Buckhead | 404.841.0040 | @umisushiatl | $40-$75 | R
Indulge in a superior level of Japanese culinary preparation and presentation at Executive Chef/partner Fuyuhiko Ito’s Umi—the most happening resto in A-Town, co-owned by longtime Atlantans Farshid Arshid and Charlie Hendon. Their vision was to create a subtly elegant interior that welcomes guests with unique floor-to-ceiling black-washed, burnt-wood panels; polished light-wood furniture; and moss-green banquettes. Orb chandeliers, sculptural chairs and the thoughtful addition of shiny river rocks (to rest your chopsticks on) are all part of the restaurant’s inventive design but still allow the cuisine to take center stage.
Although Ito was trained as a French chef, his black cod misoyaki was inspired by Nobu Matsuhisa’s famous dish. Despite his classical leanings, Ito isn’t afraid to add modernity into his delectable creations. The spicy-tuna crispy rice and yellowtail jalapeno top the list for best starters, followed by the nigiri lineup, which includes superfresh options such as the unagi (barbecue fresh-water eel), hotate (live scallop) and others flown in from Tokyo fish markets five days a week. Specialty rolls that wow include the new page roll with shrimp tempura on the inside, topped with paper-thin sliced lemon and fresh salmon-eel sauce; and the Kobe beef roll with slices of slightly cooked Kobe beef, daikon sprouts, green onion and garlic ponzu sauce. To complement both typical and innovative rolls, expect a bevy of inventive dishes such as the Chilean sea bass yu-an yaki, marinated in a yu-an sauce and wrapped in a cedar sheet that’s set ablaze for a true smoky flavor and presentation that’s full of pageantry.
Take care to save room for a green-tea souffle dessert prepared by Ito’s wife, Pastry Chef Lisa Ito—only 12 are served up per night. Like the rest of the evening’s experience, it inspires wonder with every bite.
Start with: Tempura lobster box-style sushi, spicy tuna tartare or madai carpaccio
Main course: Lobster toban-yaki or chilean sea bass yu-an yaki
Sip on: Americana Royal, Dassai 50 or Dassai Beyond sake
End with: Chocolate kyu
Try the omakase or the Ito-Kase, depending on how deep you’d like to explore Ito’s range.
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2. LE BILBOQUET
3035 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.869.9944 | $25-$38 | B R P
Bienvenue to Le Bilboquet! It’s Buckhead Atlanta’s only freestanding restaurant and sits right in the middle of everything—which is how you’ll feel when you snag a seat here. Packed nightly, the classic French restaurant morphs from a quiet sophisticated crowd earlier in the evening into a young attractive horde by the time 9pm rolls around. It’s quickly becoming the place for the creme de la creme to mingle in Buckhead.
With white tablecloths, velvety midnight blue half-circle booths and a sparkling pewter bar, the fine dining bistro makes an imposing impression from the moment you check in at the hostess stand. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast a lovely glow across the terrazzo floor day or night, but Atlantans can’t wait for warmer months to arrive when the walls and windows retract to transform the dining room into an alfresco space. Prediction: The wraparound patio will be this spring’s haute spot to see and be seen.
Until then, true Francophiles can cozy up inside. The Parisian-inspired eatery actually comes to Buckhead by way of New York City. Charming co-owners Rick Wahlstedt and Philippe Delgrange have had Le Bilboquet on the Upper Eastside for more than 25 years. Lucky for Atlanta foodies, the duo fell in love with the city and have made Buckhead their second home during the construction and opening of their Southern post. The pair brings a European flair combined with their own brand of Southern hospitality to the bistro. They also put brought in NYC executive chef, Julien Jouhannaud, down in Dixie to train the kitchen crew, with 15-year Le Bilboquet vet Chef Jean Louis Sangare leading the Atlanta outpost.
As with most French restaurants, the beginnings and endings steal the show. Start with crab and avocado salad or a charcuterie plate and end with classic French desserts such as profiteroles, creme brulee or a chocolate flour cake.
Somewhere in the middle of these delicious bookends you’ll have a perfectly prepared entree, like the veal scallopini with lemon sauce and mashed potatoes or the beef tartare with french fries. Ask the waiter to bring you a ramekin (or small soup bowl!) of bearnaise sauce to dip your fries in. It’s that good.
For passersby who want a bite but don’t have the time for a sit-down meal, a soon-to-open walk-up cafe serves items such as pressed sandwiches, gelato and espresso. Grab something and walk over to Hermès nearby? How fabulously French!
Start with: Crab meat and avocado salad
Main course: Beef tartare with french fries
Sip on: A glass of dry rosé
End with: Chocolate mousse
Cozy up with your significant other at table 57, the most romantic location in the house according to co-owner Rick Wahlstedt.
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3. GYPSY KITCHEN
3035 Peachtree Road | Buckhead | 404.939.9840 | @gypsykitchenatl | $16-$23 | R P
If any menu’s descriptions read like one of Ernest Hemingway’s stories, it would be the one at Gypsy Kitchen. The adjectives used to describe Executive Chef Randy Lewis’ enticing plates are mouthwateringly detailed: chorizo-stuffed kataifi-wrapped shrimp with piquillo pepper aioli; littleneck clams with white beans, Manzanilla sherry and saffron; roasted mushroom caps with parsley-hazelnut sauce. But if Hemingway, the lover of all things Spain, had his way, he’d surely choose the Spanish Cigars appetizer above all else: medjool dates, Cabrales blue cheese and jamon serrano. Blissfully, they all taste even better than they sound. You can thank the guys behind The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, Smokebelly BBQ and newly bowed The Southern Gentleman next door for bringing Gypsy Kitchen to Buckhead Atlanta and for taking us on a culinary adventure like no other.
The Moroccan-inspired decor, ornate Indian tiles and enormous metal bull behind the bar all add to the handsome ambience of this new hot spot. But it’s the attractive crowd jammed into the bar area and squeezed into every available booth and high-top that really makes the place look good.
Pair all of that with gorgeous views from a rooftop patio (or two) and a stellar cocktail list (knock back The Seville Rose made with dried rose petal), and you’ve found your latest after-work haunt.
The buzzed-about resto draws upon the best cuisine Spain, Morocco and India have to offer, and the menu is bursting with flavor fiestas such as cauliflower and serrano croquetas, or beef tenderloin tips with roulette pepper-potato hash and cava-cabrales blue fondue. Shareable plates (platos a la planxa), like Majorcan style whole branzino with potato, piquillo peppers, kale, tomato, pine nuts and golden raisins or a barrel-cut beef tenderloin with catalan creamed spinach, are the perfect excuse to round up your crew for a night of wining and dining.
And just for kicks, inquire about the amarro and sherry cart. A lovely gentleman will come by with dozens of bottles and advise you on the best ones for your palate. Finish your tour abroad with the light salted caramel flan or the sweet spiced apple empanadas. No passport required.
Start with: Garlic shrimp or kataifi-wrapped shrimp
Main course: Paella with fried Calasparra rice
Sip on: The Seville Rose
End with: Salted caramel flan
Definitely get a reservation. You’ll have no luck getting a table at this buzzy spot without one.
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4. CHOPS LOBSTER BAR
70 W. Paces Ferry Road NW | Buckhead | 404.262.2675 | @chopslobsterbar | $26-$104 | R
Chops Lobster Bar is the American seafood and steakhouse personified. The dimly lit dining room with its dark-wood booths, white tablecloths and big-city bustle sets the stage for a red-blooded meal like no other. Every moment of the experience at Chops (and its downstairs counterpart, Lobster Bar) is luxe: Knowledgeable servers guide you through the extensive menu and decadent specials (lobster mac and cheese, anyone?), and waiters wheel carts of tableside-served specialties like tenderloin steak tartare and fresh Dover sole while enormous towers of fresh seafood are intermittently on parade through the crowd. Diving into one of these towers is a decadent must for seafood lovers: Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, ceviche, cold-water oysters and colossal lump crab reign over a bed of ice. If cold isn’t your thing, warm up for the main course with a signature South African flash-fried lobster tail. Then, “steak” your claim with the resto’s namesake entrees. Each prime cut of meat is perfection, whether you prefer the filet mignon, bone-in New York sirloin dry-aged with Himalayan pink salt or the coveted Kobe: The market price genuine A-5 Miyazaki wagyu is available in filet- or New York strip-style cuts. Take any of these exquisite carnivorous options to the next level by adding foie gras, white truffle butter or traditional bearnaise sauce to the mix.
But the entrees aren’t the only standouts. The sides are easily meals in and of themselves. Indulge in truffle Parmesan fries or thick-cut onion rings with cracked-pepper steak sauce for the table. Veggies get the royal treatment too, thanks to decadent creamed spinach and jumbo asparagus with a Parmesan crust.
And after you’ve reveled in dessert or a glass of port, head downstairs to The Club. But be prepared to only get a glance: This speakeasy-style, invite-only spot is so in-demand, there’s a waiting list to get on the waiting list for membership. Now that’s exclusive.
Start with: Specialty lobster ceviche
Main course: Specialty filet pepper steak or bone-in rib-eye
Sip on: Private Label Four Roses Bourbon (single barrel bourbon)
End with: Warm bread pudding
Grab a seat at Chops for lunch and enjoy a three-course meal in 45 minutes or less. You’ll still get the best Chops service and the exciting atmosphere—but your bill will be a fraction of the dinner prices.
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924 Garrett St. | Glenwood | 404.380.1886 | @gunshowatl | $8-$26 | R
When meat master and Top Chef alum Kevin Gillespie left his post at the helm of perennial fave Woodfire Grill, we were surprised. There were burblings that the guy was starting his own restaurant—some funky little place, just a little off the beaten path, where his creativity could be let off the leash.
And so, we have Gunshow, an utterly imaginative tribute to the chef’s Southern roots. Did we expect it to be good? Of course—this is Kevin Gillespie we’re talking about. But it wasn’t until our reservations were set, and we began taking a look at the menu, that we really got an idea of how unique this Glenwood dining room was going to be.
First of all, there’s the cart. Every few minutes, a multitiered carriage makes its rounds around the large, single-room space, weaving between long communal tables, touting a selection of freshly made delicacies straight from the open kitchen. Chefs also make the rounds with trays of tasty selections from which to choose. Try something daring like Jamaican curried goat or go for funky changeups to old standbys like oyster-mushroom Rockefeller or the West Coast burger: all brought to your table, explained, joked about and, if it’s up your alley, put down in front of you. Empty plates are piled up; food is tallied; and at the end of the evening, you get your bill. It’s fun; it’s different; it’s delicious—and it changes every week.
Speaking of which: Gunshow has expanded its wine and beer offerings to include a limited selection of drinks du jour. Every night, barkeep Mercedes O’Brien comes up with a short list of tasty sippers, loads her drink cart with all the fixings and rounds the room, making small talk with thirsty patrons while she shakes and strains. A bar on wheels: Why has nobody thought of this before?
Want to talk shop? Gillespie himself mixes and mingles with patrons from time to time—because nothing goes with dinner like a little foodie chitchat. This star chef treats his guests like family, which, really, is what it’s all about.
Start with: Beef tartare
Main course: Vietnamese chicken and waffles or low country boil
Sip on: Smoked Old-Fashioned
End with: Old-fashioned warm banana pudding
Gunshow offers limited walk-in spots for those last-minute folks without reservations.
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6. ST. CECILIA
3455 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.554.9995 | @stceciliaatl | $10-$46 | R
In the days leading up to the opening of St. Cecilia, Ford Fry’s latest addition to the Buckhead dining scene, the expectations were palpable: A million dollar-plus renovation to the sprawling Bluepointe space by the world-renowned Meyer Davis Studio was being spit-polished. A menu of coastal European-inspired fare was first crafted by Fry’s hand-chosen uberchef Brian Horn (who recently returned to JCT. Kitchen & Bar as executive chef). A towering bar and superchill lounge space were set to be a new staple for happy hour and beyond. St. C was slated to be the restaurateur’s biggest foray yet, so we can understand why the buzz would be a little intense.
Occasionally, a restaurant is capable of living up to such a difficult level of hype, and our palates are better off for it. And then once in a blue moon, we’re simply blown away. Sure enough, everything about St. Cecilia is exquisite.
Natural light floods a space that successfully walks the razor-thin line between modern elegance and rustic charm, as new Executive Chef Craig Richards brings his own savoir faire simplicity to a meticulously crafted menu of fresh fish and hand-kneaded pasta. Shareable antipasti like hearth calamari and smoked bluefish arancini are savory and refreshing. Similarly, the black & white spaghetti with calamari, shishito pesto and bottarga combines a heartiness with an inescapable delicacy. Georges Bank sea scallops, garnished with cauliflower, brown butter, capers and almonds, reaches simple perfection in a way seldom achieved by seafood in this city. The overall effect of Richards’ new twists are intoxicating.
And Ronnie LeClair calls all the shots on St. Cecilia’s cocktail menu. Gin fans will rejoice with the Green River, which combines muddled arugula, black pepper and cynar for a combination as spicy and sultry as a spring afternoon on the Chattahoochee. A list of small-batch wines has been carefully cultivated and marries the menu precisely. But don’t just take our word for it—the accolades have been pouring in from across the country. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Fry’s on fire.
Start with: Cobia tartare with salt-and-vinegar chips and horseradish cream
Main course: Spaghetti with crab and chiles, agnolotti or red wine risotto
Sip on: Peter and the Ocean
End with: Chocolate budino
Ask for what you want. Chef Craig Richards has been known to make some traditional Roman pastas such as spaghetti carbonara or spaghetti cacio e pepe. According to Richards, “It’s fun to try and nail a traditional dish.”
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969 Marietta St. NW | Westside | 404.607.8226 | @bartacolife | $3-$14 | P
Coastal vacation vibe? Check. Freshly-squeezed margaritas with the finest tequilas around? Check. Brilliant tacos that won’t break the bank and are crazy good? Double check! Ever since Bartaco arrived on the Westside to bring Atlanta taco lovers a much-needed lively jolt, patrons have been packing this Barcelona Wine Bar sister concept like they’re vacationing in the Hamptons (multimillion-dollar estates, not included).
From the whitewashed facade, to the deep ocean-blue hues and wicker furnishings, this trendy taco spot screams beach escape. The open-air environment is reminiscent of poolside restaurants at all-inclusive resorts (minus the crazy spring breakers). A true testament to South American beach culture, vintage tourist-inspired photographs adorn the walls and serve as a powerful backdrop for the expansive patio and outdoor fireplace, where you’ll find yourself, curling up to a cerveza or margarita for many a night (and many a margarita).
And speaking of good libations, the central bar serves as ground zero for a multitude of expertly crafted margs, mojitos and seasonal caipirinhas. The game-changer is the freshly squeezed juices that are made to order. The addition of these bright flavors at the last possible second is what gives Bartaco its edge, not to mention the 25-plus tequilas and delectable wine selection at the ready. Barcelona taught them well.
Executive Chef Anthony Sanders (formerly of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group) delivers worthy upgrades to the taco with incarnations ranging from the ever-mundane but nonetheless tasty chicken and baja fish, to more adventurous forays like sesame rib-eye and wild boar. Sides like grilled corn with lime, cayenne and cotija cheese and chipotle slaw are mere comrades in the flavor battle taking place on your plate. So grab a group of friends; share copious cocktail carafes; and party it up on the patio for a full-on feast of proteins that have no business being on a taco (but we’re really glad they are anyway).
Start with: Grilled corn with lime, cayenne and cotija cheese
Main course: A trio of tacos: sesame rib-eye, fried oyster and baja fish, or the chef’s selection tray
Sip on: A margarita
End with: Churros
Take the party outside—the patio is necessary on a nice day, and the outdoor fireplace keeps things toasty on those cool nights.
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8. KIMBALL HOUSE
303 E. Howard Ave. | Decatur | 404.378.3502 | @kimballhousebar | $15-$29 | P
There’s something indescribably fascinating about watching a true mixologist at work. A thousand barkeeps can whip up a satisfactory Manhattan to be sure, but there’s a line drawn when housemade tinctures and liquor-infused ice cubes begin populating the back bar. At this intersection, the traditional idea of bartending goes out the window. Alchemy is a more suitable term.
Such is the thought process involved in watching Miles Macquarrie at work. Kitchen aside (we’ll get to that in a moment because it’s exemplary), the floor show behind the bar is part of the reason we keep showing up at Kimball House. In the glass tonight: La Sorciére, a dangerous, but sultry combination of absinthe, apricot, strega, lemon and sauternes. We are many, many miles away from a simple recreation of an old standard at this bar. In this vaulted, ancient room along the rail lines of Old Terminus, magic is happening on polished mahogany.
For a while, we were afraid this defunct train depot just on the outskirts of Decatur Square was cursed. Notable restaurants would come, and they would go—such a shame for such a cool location. Then came Kimball House, and our curiosity was sparked. This wasn’t a collective of budding restaurateurs, after all. The men involved—Macquarrie, Matt Christison, Bryan Rackley and Jesse Smith—had a dream to realize and came into town gunning with the collective street cred to get it done.
The kitchen rests on the shoulders of chef Jeffrey Wall, who has crafted an ever evolving selection of bucolic meats and fresh, local veggies, prepared with pinache: We’ll leave the final decision to you, but start with the creamy lobster bisque, and make sure an order of the tannic roasted sunchokes finds it way into the mix.
Unless, of course, your tastes lead you to a more Old World experience: The raw bar at Kimball House boasts an absurd selection of oysters from all three coasts and pairs perfectly with the eatery’s absinthe service, as meticulously assembled as one would find in the most understated backwater bar in Montmartre.
Kimball House is a collective of qualities forged together, almost chaotically, but never unintentionally so. It’s a pristine recapturing of a distant age: of a time when food was lovely; service unpretentious yet luxurious; and the drinks, meticulous. And, if such a time never existed, it does now, here.
Start with: Lobster cocktail or beef tartare
Main course: Smoked duck breast
Sip on: Bottled Old-Fashioned
End with: Absinthe service
Try the three-course Kimball House steak dinner featuring 6 oz. filet mignon, 12 oz. New York strip, celery root soup, grilled escarole caesar salad, potato gratin, charred broccoli raab and sauce bordelaise.
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9. THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN
3035 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.939.9845 | @atlsoutherngent | $16-$28 | R P
When we got word that Southern Proper Hospitality, the slick crew behind some of Atlanta’s biggest breakout stars (The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, Smokebelly BBQ and the aforementioned Gypsy Kitchen), were also opening a man-focused gastropub at Buckhead Atlanta, we were intrigued. What would the scene be like? Would we have to brush up on our Southern grammar and graces? The Southern Gentleman evoked an instant nostalgia and took us back to a time long forgotten—a time when chivalry and manners were king; men arrived at their destination well-suited no matter the occasion; and whiskey was considered a major food group. “We wanted The Southern Gentleman to feel reminiscent of a time gone by in a lot of ways, yet with a modern update,” says co-owner Chris Hadermann.
That update was evident in the meticulous detail NYC-based design firm Lacina Heitler placed into outfitting the space: a slick, modern man cave with furnishings and decor that echoed the feeling of those times with proper panache. Rich and supple leather seating, seersucker window treatments and pristine marble countertops straddle the line between gastropub and fine dining.
It was that balance that served as the catalyst for Executive Chef Randy Lewis’ Southern-inspired menu. Using locally sourced and regional ingredients, the menu takes traditional fare and provides an updated twist in execution. Think: a creative play on chicken and waffles that employs liver mousse and nana’s chow-chow, or head-on shrimp and grits with New Orleans barbecue sauce. It’s these inventive takes that pay homage to source material and elevate the flavors in a playful way. The artistry at the bar is no exception, with a focus on whiskey and barrel-aged cocktails. The East of Hudson channels a traditional Manhattan with bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters and a smoked cherry, while the aptly named Pack of Mules allows the customer to replace the vodka in the lime and homemade ginger beer mainstay with either gin, absinthe or, of course, bourbon. So suit up and practice your “yes, ma’am” and “y’all” because Hadermann describes the experience as “a warm, welcoming extension of our homes that is both impressive, comfortable and about showcasing who we really are in the South.” We couldn’t agree more.
Start with: TSG deviled eggs or mini shrimp andouille corn dogs
Main course: Southern porchetta or the TSG Daily Grind burger
Sip on: East of Hudson
End with: Upside-down peach cornmeal cake
Sip slow on the Chartreuse, a 110-proof elixir reminiscent of absinthe.
Continue to #10 >>
10. TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
3393 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.481.2980 | @truefoodkitchen | $13-$26 | B R P
Atlantans with special diets—think vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free celiac—rejoiced when True Food Kitchen arrived at Lenox Square last summer. Hardcore healthy eaters loved entrees like shiitake and tofu lettuce cups with ginger soy and cashews. The hip West Coast-ambience paired with Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet has been a welcome respite from the chicken-fried Southern fare for which our city is famous.
But comfort food fans aren’t left on the sideline by any means. They’ll delight in plates such as the grass-fed bison burger with umami, mushroom, onion, mayo, watercress, Parmesan and a flaxseed bun, or the flourless chocolate cake that tastes like the real deal. The surprise? They’re both good for you too.
Foodies who won’t allow their palates to forgo pasta, meat and soda have fallen for True Food’s reimagined iterations like flavor-packed turkey lasagna with spinach and ricotta; the chicken sausage scramble at brunch; and sea buckthorn, pomegranate and cranberry natural soda. You can’t help but respect a place that gives you healthy and seriously tasty at the same time.
The warm wood paneling, bright yellow chairs, kelly green tufted leather booths and little plant sprigs popping up everywhere give off a cheery aesthetic all around. But it’s not the only reason people are happy when they walk in. There’s a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen from practically any seat in the house, so guests can see noodles being made from scratch, as well as a flurry of chefs working on kale and avocado dip starters and hollowing out spaghetti squash for casseroles. A sense of security and joy sets in when you see that your food is being prepared on-site, instead of being pulled from a Sub-Zero freezer, unboxed and popped into an industrial-size microwave.
The ever evolving seasonal menu has switched over to include fall and winter sensibilities. A banana, espresso, pistachio and date muffin greets you at breakfast, and a butternut squash pizza with walnut, smoked mozzarella, sweet onion and arugula at lunch or dinner. The rest of the menu has a global flair, offering up everything from panang curry to roasted chicken tandoori to grass-fed beef street tacos to the fit (and fabulous!) crowd that’s always on hand. In another twist, there also aren’t traditional side dishes here.
All healthy and no play would make this a dull newbie, but thankfully for your taste buds, this smart spot is just what the doctor ordered.
Start with: Kale and avocado dip
Main course: Butternut squash pizza
Sip on: Hangover Rx
End with: Chia seed pudding or flourless chocolate cake
True Food Kitchen purifies its own bottled water in-house using the Natura Water System, which eliminates plastic bottle waste. Talk about eco-chic!
Continue to #11-25 >>
11. King + Duke
3060 Peachtree Road NW | Buckhead | 404.477.3500 | $16-$86 | @kingandduke | B R P
Ford Fry’s reign as Atlanta’s culinary king continues with King + Duke. Think early-American cuisine with a wood-fired char, helmed by Executive Chef E.J. Hodgkinson. Menu highlights include the coal-roasted onion soup; rabbit pate; and The Duke: a house-ground burger crafted from carefully aged cuts, with coal-roasted onion and Gruyere. And for dessert? The sinful flourless chocolate cake with sweet cream, blood orange and cocoa nibs is to die for. Wash it all down with The Beautiful and The Damned cocktail while taking in the who’s who of Buckhead on the resto’s ever popular patio. Hey, if it’s good enough for Usher, we’re in!
12. Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant
240 N. Highland Ave. | Inman Park | 404.589.1010 | $4-$25 | @barcelonawineba | B R P F
Serving small and large Spanish plates and some of the most fabulous cocktails in town, this Inman Park resto offers up something for every palate. With this year’s addition of Executive Chef Helton da Silva, tantalizing tapas like sunchokes a la plancha, and Mussels al Diablo with crushed tomatoes, chile flakes and grilled bread are standouts. If you’re dining with a group, try the paella, which feeds two or more. The first come, first seated patio is always packed, so plan ahead for an alfresco dining experience, or take a seat in the dark, sultry wooden bar area and order a signature cocktail like the Bees Wings or the Hot Dahlia.
13. The Optimist
914 Howell Mill Road | Westside | 404.477.6260 | $21-$33 | @theoptimistatl | R P
When visitors stop by A-Town and ask for seafood recommendations, The Optimist quickly rolls off the tongue of most ATLiens. Why, you ask? For starters, this Westside haunt is the brainchild of Ford Fry and Executive Chef Adam Evans. Seafood gumbo with garlic bread, a pickable crop of shell-on Georgia shrimp a la plancha in a creamy white-wine sauce with sopping toast, and hearth-roasted fish will all have you singing the praises of these culinary kings. Insider tip: “Ask for a chef-prepared fish collar. We always have some interesting cuts,” divulges Evans.
14. New York Prime
3424 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.846.0644 | $29-$60 | @newyorkprime | R P
It’s no coincidence that New York Prime has snagged a top spot in our “100 Best Restaurants” feature since 2003. It’s clear upon arrival at this renowned steakhouse that owner Greg Greenbaum, operating partner Michael Smith, managing partner Bobby Donlan and their hospitable team work hard to imbue everything from atmosphere to drinks, with a clever sophistication only found at this Buckhead staple. And the steak? Each one must be certified to the USDA’s highest standards, then aged, cut and charred on a special 1700-degree Southbend broiler. VIP treatment from start to finish, my friends.
3500 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.467.4988 | $7-$19 | @yeboatl | R P
Head to Phipps Plaza for a taste of South Africa. Yebo, the second concept from 10 Degrees South owner Justin Anthony, is a chic safari-style tapas spot with delicious indigenous dishes and wines. Mouthwatering opts include the Bobotie, a bread bowl filled with curry and topped with an egg; The Gatsby, a french fry and sirloin sammie; and the Georgia shrimp, with panseared grit cakes and spicy Chakalaka sauce. All of these pair perfectly with, what else? South African wine. Elevate date night by stopping by Wednesday to Sunday for live music, or go big by booking up to a 30-person party in the concept’s private dining area.
16. Bistro Niko
3344 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.261.6456 | $19-$30 | @bistroniko | B R P
To step into Buckhead’s Bistro Niko is to step back in time to 1920s Paris. French art adorns the walls, alongside photos of the Parisian brasseries that inspired the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s Karatassos family when they created the bistro. True Francophiles will delight in chef Gary Donlick’s authentic delicacies like foie gras with brioche croutons or a simple but delicious classic coq au vin—chicken in red wine, Parisian mushrooms, pearl onions and steamed potatoes. Don’t forget to head outside, where a prime view of Peachtree awaits. Take it all in with a Moscow Mule in hand and profiteroles on deck.
17. JCT. Kitchen & Bar
1198 Howell Mill Road | Westside | 404.355.2252 | $15-$30 | @jctkitchen | R P
After almost eight years, Ford Fry’s Westside resto continues to please locals with its menu of modern Southern cuisine. The truffle Parmesan fries are an indulgence that can’t be passed up, while the angry mussels are a game-changing app, thanks to the addition of serrano chiles. True to Southern form, the fried green tomatoes and deviled eggs are killer, and the famed fried chicken is so good that’ll it make you want to slap your mama. After dinner, head up to the chic second-story bar for a signature JCTea, and be sure to check out the schedule of weekly live music on the terrace.
18. Shake Shack
3035 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 470.809.9201 | $5-$10 | @shakeshack | P F
Don’t let the chain pedigree of Shake Shack force you to pass it over. There’s a reason this Buckhead Atlanta newbie always has a line out the door! The trademark Shackburger is decked out with H&F rolls and Angus beef patties, but the sweets are where the real action lies. Frozen custard shakes are the perfect evolution of the roadside milkshake (try the ATL-only Peachtree shake), and a curtailed list of house beers/wines lift Shake Shack out of the fast food realm and solidly into hangout dining. A custom-crafted selection of dog treats, plastered right there on the menu, drives the point home: You’ve found your new neighborhood burger joint.
19. Thirteen Pies
250 Buckhead Ave. | Buckhead | 678.791.1313 | $9-$17 | @thirteen_pies
Thirteen Pies for the win. Twelve highly-crafted opts from margherita and pepperoni, to more adventurous incarnations with Spotted Trotter meats, spices and farm-fresh veggies make up the core menu with pastas and salads playing second fiddle. The last, the Thirteenth Pie—a wild card that shows up day-of and can run the gamut of local farm-to-table fare to clever mashups—is what sets Thirteen Pies apart from the rest. The warm, wood-clad interior is surrounded by a massive oven churning out pies to order with a bar that’s stocked with an impressive list of Italian wines and bourbon-heavy cocktails. The slice is right!
30 Old Ivy Road NE | Buckhead | 404.261.0025 | $40-$70 | R P
The atmosphere: relaxed elegance with a dash of New Orleans chic. The food: classics like baked escargots, oysters bordelaise and swordfish steak, washed down with an expertly crafted cocktail. You: there. Any questions? This old-school eatery keeps patrons of all generations coming back for more, with a sexy, intimate ambience, first-class service and throwback furnishings that evoke a vintage, black-and-white movie-style vibe. VIPs pack in on the reg (Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is a fan!) to get their drink and dine on. Don’t let the crisp white tablecloths fool you—Hal’s is a cut above.
1075 Peachtree St. | Midtown | 404.793.0144 | $24-$89 | @stkatlanta | R
This Midtown hot spot’s swanky-sexy vibe ushers in some of ATL’s hottest on the reg, by poppin’ Magnum bottles of Champagne every Monday and dishing out some to-die-for fare. Executive Chef Mark Alba offers seasonal fare as well as signature faves. The tuna tartare and lamb loin tataki are flavor-packed. And don’t forget to peruse the raw bar, or, better yet, order a shellfish platter for the table. A strawberry-cobbler cocktail and desserts like the banana cream pie in a jar provide a perfectly sweet finish. Plus, STK has recently partnered with Belvedere and is now offering a new $7 specialty cocktail menu. Bottoms up!
2293 Peachtree Road | Buckhead | 404.254.1973 | $18-$27 | @1kept | R
We’ve seen our fair share of reclaimed hardwood and exposed lighting, but seldom is the combination as cozy as it is at 1Kept. Tucked away from the foot traffic of Peachtree (secret alleyway entrance included), this eatery impresses with a tactfully conceived menu that pays homage to the local protein-focused ingredients it features. But the cocktails—that’s where the talent truly shines. Innovative sippers dot the menu, making this one of our favorite new bars if we’re in the mood for something different. Experimentation is what it’s about here: In other words, don’t leave without inquiring about the pickling lab.
23. Big Sky Buckhead
3201 Cains Hill Place NW | Buckhead | 404.481.5168 | $8-$13 | @bigskybuckhead | B P
Buckhead Triangle. Saturday Night. Barkeep, give us a shot of Buckhead with a Wyoming prairie chaser. Big Sky actually shouldn’t work: as worldly as we are, we would have never pegged Cain Street as the location for a blend of sports bar-meets-hunting lodge, but hey, you just can’t beat the sunsets. Stop by for the wings on Thursday, but make sure to throw an order of sliders into the mix (Chef Hector Santiago knows his stuff). Then, gather around in one of three patios for a pitcher of SweetWater. Big Sky is all about the vistas. Aaron Paul and Waka Flocka are fans, and so are we.
24. The IVY Buckhead
3717 Roswell Road | Buckhead | 404.941.3081 | $10-$13 | @theivybuckhead | B P
There’s no mistaking why The IVY is on the list whilst partaking in whatever version of the Great Buckhead Bar Crawl your crew has deemed fit. Cold drinks? Check. A great, old hardwood manor style of decor that was born for bar use? Check. Some of the hottest bartenders in town? Check on that. But as much as a nightspot as The IVY has come to be, you can’t forget a thoroughly capable kitchen. Juxtaposing the multiple bars is a rundown of utterly tasty pub fare, like the pimento burger, the fried green tomato BLT and a delightful brunch menu. Let the feasting (and imbibing) commence.
25. Tin Lizzy’s Cantina
Multiple locations | @tinlizzys | $4-$10 | P
Mexican meets Southern at these buzzy little cantinas located in seemingly every hot spot in town (the newest pops up in Duluth this season). The tater tots app is served with a side of queso, and nachos come with barbecue pulled pork and chili roja sauce. Maybe it’s because the locals behind this joint own The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill and Smokebelly BBQ too. Whatever the reason, fried pickles sharing space on the menu with $4 house margaritas and 20-plus specialty tacos seems to make sense here. Maybe that’s why Southerner Justin Timberlake has dropped in. Rumor has it he rocked a burrito until the break of day.
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26. Antico Pizza Napoletana
1093 Hemphill Ave. NW | Westside | 404.724.2333 | $18-$21
It doesn’t get much more auténtico than this, y’all—from foodies to A-list celebs, guests of all kinds flock to Antico. As the first of several ventures owner Giovanni Di Palma has opened in his West Midtown “Little Italia” district (Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, Caffe Gio, Bottega Luisa Italian market, Bar Amalfi and the brand-new super exclusive 27), the Naples-style resto boasts pies (with fresh, Italian-sourced ingredients) baked in a 900-degree oven, brought out on large trays in the snag-a-seat-when-you-can dining area that’s shared with the open-air kitchen. Prep yourself for a true taste of Italy, and BYOB, baby!
112 Krog St. | Inman Park | 404.524.8280 | $15-$42 | @rathbuns | R P
From sea scallop Benedict to crispy duck breast, dishes at Rathbun’s are anything but ordinary, thanks to Chef de Cuisine Nick Anderson and owners Kevin Rathbun, Kirk Parks and Cliff Bramble. Plus, the cocktail menu is just as inventive: Try a Bell Tolls for Thee, featuring hibiscus-infused Shellback silver rum. Both the dining room and the patio offer up industrial-inspired decor with a glam twist, so whether you indulge inside surrounded by exposed brick walls and the hum of a bustling bistro, or on the patio under the cover of the Stove Works portico, you’re in for a treat.
28. The Tavern at Phipps
3500 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.814.9640 | $10-$29 | @tavernatphipps | R P
Whether you’re experiencing post-shopping fatigue, in desperate need of an after-hours cocktail on a spacious patio, or just like dining among some of the city’s hottest singles, The Tavern at Phipps has you covered. The see-and-be-seen set flocks here for the high-energy bar, live music (country nights are a new Saturday and Sunday staple) and, naturally, the eats. Think a classic Reuben stuffed with Carnegie Deli pastrami, filet mignon salad and its signature Tavern chips in Cajun and Thai chicken varieties among others. Breeze through the revolving doors, into the shower of napkins, and prepare to be served by their sexy staff.
29. Smokebelly BBQ
128 E. Andrews Drive NW | Buckhead | 404.848.9100 | $9-$25 | @smokebellybbq | R P
Step into this modern saloon and slide into a green tufted-leather booth for some of the city’s most delicious pulled pork sliders, brisket chili and ribs. A group of guys behind Gypsy Kitchen, The Big Ketch and The Southern Gentleman came together to launch the chef-crafted ’cue joint and recently hired Nagib Sued to helm the pit. The Astroturf’d front porch draws an attractive Buckhead crowd in the warmer months for a selection of 30-plus craft beers. Those watching the cals, will love their Skinny Fixin’s, while barbecue devotees can belly up to the sauce bar for housemade flavors like Cherry Cola and Alabama White.
30. Buckhead Diner
3073 Piedmont Road NE | Buckhead | 404.262.3336 | $16-$30 | @buckheaddiner | B R
With its stylishly old-school decor and modern menu, Buckhead Diner has become an Atlanta icon, visited by both locals and celebs alike. Nick Jonas and Ryan Gosling both stopped by for dinner in the last few months! (Hopefully they did so on Wednesdays or Sundays, the only nights the famed fried chicken is served.) Other faves include Maytag blue cheese chips, the housemade pastrami sandwich and the James Beard Award-winning white chocolate banana cream pie. Finish it all off with The Rol & Rye (Aperol, Old Overholt rye whiskey and a splash of soda) and toast to the good life!
31. The One Sushi +
2523 Caldwell Road NE | Brookhaven | 404.869.6988 | $11-$26 | @onesushiplus | R P
At the end of the hip Dresden Drive strip sits this upscale sushi joint. Owners Mali Hu and George Muh, along with chef Jason Liang, are keeping fans like rapper Ludacris and TV chef G. Garvin coming back for superfresh sushi and creative faves, which include misoyaki Japanese black cod, pineapple shrimp and playful yellowtail jalapeno shots. Inside you’ll find a modern, blue-lit bar and sultry dining room with tabletops constructed from Taiwanese wood, tilted glasses and metal chopsticks. Outside, sip a lychee saketini on the patio and watch all of Brookhaven’s attractive revelers roll by.
32. The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill
3279 Roswell Road | Buckhead | 404.474.9508 | $7-$24 | @thebigketch | R P
With a sand-in-your-toes philosophy, decor inspired by some of our favorite resort towns (think Rosemary Beach, the Hamptons and Nantucket) and a menu full of fresh seafood, The Big Ketch feels like destination-dining in the heart of Buckhead. Start with the hush puppies or basil Blue Moon mussels. Then, move on to one of the fresh fish entrees, the hot buttered lobster roll, the blackened grouper sandwich, or the guilt-free Asian quinoa couscous bowl with ahi tuna. And remember to do as the locals do: Hit the deck for half-priced oysters 4 to 6:30pm Monday through Friday, and for live music on the reg. This spot is a shore thing.
40 Seventh St. NE | Midtown | 404.347.9555 | $7-$29 | @eccoatl | R P
This popular, European-influenced resto features fab charcuterie and cheese boards, shareable plates, wood-fired pizzas, fresh pastas and entrees alongside an inventive beverage list. Chef Jonathan Beatty’s gastronomic gifts are on display in favorites like fried goat cheese with honey and black pepper and pancetta wrapped chorizo stuffed dates. Fresh is never a question at Ecco, thanks to a rooftop garden that produces seasonal veggies all year long. Bonus: Pastry Chef Eric Wolitzky is sweetening the deal with a selection of rotating handmade European pastries (among them a multilayer opera cake and a strawberry macaron). How sweet it is!
34. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall
684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. | Old Fourth Ward | 404.458.6838 | $10-$36 | @ladybirdatlanta | B R P F
Made-from-scratch cuisine meets #campvibes (their signature hashtag) at this recently opened BeltLine eatery. Get comfy on the 2,500-square-foot former cotton factory’s large patio or enclosed porch to dine on dishes from chef Kyle Schmidt, such as butternut squash souffle and grilled N.C. trout with bacon stuffing and charred broccoli salad, all with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Top it off with a slice of peanut butter s’mores pie, or wash it down with a seasonal cocktail at the expansive bar before taking in a game of shuffleboard surrounded by a wall-size American flag and a giant mural from local artist Sam Parker.
35. Paces & Vine
4300 Paces Ferry Road | Vinings | 404.205.8255 | $17-$27 | @pacesandvine | B R P
Some things are worth the wait. Paces & Vine is just that. As the sister concept to Va-Hi mainstay Murphy’s, the new Vinings resto is borrowing many of the flavors that have made Murphy’s an Atlanta icon. Owner Tom Murphy has tapped Murphy’s alum Executive Chef Ian Winslade to create offerings that pay homage to its predecessor’s menu faves. Maine lobster cobb salad, a hickory grilled hamburger and, of course, a focus on brunch (hello malted pecan waffles and chorizo frittatas!) are all perfectly paired with the resto’s happening bar. Seasonal cocktail highlights include the Banana Rum, Winter Margarita and the Atlantan Manhattan.
36. Katana Teppanyaki & Sushi
3345 Lenox Road NE | Buckhead | 404.869.1888 |$19-$38 | @katanaatl | R
Whether you’re craving teppanyaki standouts such as Chilean sea bass lying in a pool of tentsuyu, sizzling sesame oil, ginger and scallions or hand-selected, custom-aged certified Angus beef filet mignon, Katana Teppanyaki & Sushi has a little something special for all palates. Owner Mali Hu (who also owns Brookhaven standout The One Sushi +) has created a sleek and sexy environment featuring inventive sushi rolls (try the signature Tic Tac) and tasty teppanyaki prepped right in front of you for a truly unique dining experience. Oh, and the cocktails are amaze. Order the fruity Shisoju (or two!) featuring muddled raspberries.
37. The Iberian Pig
121 Sycamore St. | Decatur | 404.371.8800 | $9-$36 | @iberianpig | R P
Tapas-style dining is always a good time. But in a class of its own, there’s The Iberian Pig, on the square in Decatur. This cavernous, wood-lined space with a keen, laid-back demeanor conjures the ham-touting watering holes of the Spanish peninsula from which the restaurant derives its namesake. The flaky morcilla and mushroom toast is to die for; the aged, cured pork shoulder, shaved razor-thin, is a must-have app; and a standout craft cocktail list rises to the standards set by the meticulously curated list of small-batch vino.
38. The El Felix
1130 Avalon Blvd. | Alpharetta | 678.248.5239 | $12-$34 | @theelfelix | B R P
Restaurant titan Ford Fry has accomplished a lot with successful concepts from Decatur to Buckhead, and it seems that everything he puts his hands into turns to gold, with The El Felix being no exception. Holding court at shopping monolith Avalon, the Tex-Mex concept stuns with a healthy mix of industrial brick, warm tones and modern furnishings. Chef Kevin Maxey’s take on Southwestern fare favors the traditional taco and enchilada tropes (chicken tinga, braised picadillo, spiced ground beef) and heftier gourmet options. The $10 daily lunch specials, and impressive margarita and wine selection prove that Fry’s a man of many talents.
1829 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 678.705.1486| $24-$45 | @luscaatl | R
With EAV’s Octopus Bar a bona fide success, chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Le have branched their eccentric, fusion-heavy approach out onto Peachtree. Lusca touts, in addition to a well-maintained, white-tiled raw bar, a short, seasonal list of main plates that take their inspiration from the sea (the chefs selection of nigiri is fun and mysterious) with a not-out-of-place nod to the charcuterie. A tactfully abbreviated bar (featuring Miller Union alum Stuart White) keeps pace with the menu’s eccentricities, and a Monday to Friday happy hour (5 to 7pm) boasts half price mollusks, so skip the surface traffic over a plate.
40. South City Kitchen
Multiple locations | $12-$36 | @sckmidtown | B R P
Everything here has been Dixie-fied. From the she-crab soup to the famous fried chicken, South City Kitchen has serious Southern charm. It’s why celebs like Jennifer Garner, Brooklyn Decker and LeBron James stop in when they’re in A-Town. But brunch is when SCK really pours on the hospitality, serving up chicken and waffles; crabcake hash; and cheddar biscuits with pepper milk gravy. Part of Fifth Group Restaurants (Ecco, Lure and more) who take their housemade desserts seriously, SCK has a honeysuckle gelato and buttermilk devil’s food cake that are all the closure you’ll ever need.
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887 Howell Mill Road | Westside | 404.815.1399 | $8-$24 | @bocadoatlanta | R P
One of the pioneers of the Westside’s now fully fledged dining scene, casual burger joint Bocado keeps it fun and fresh. Expect a seasonally changing menu of modern American eats with an eclectic twist, care of Executive Chef Adam Waller. New offerings include fried quail with shaved celery and smoked paprika honey, and the hamachi crudo with Oregon truffles and foie gras. Talk about inventive! Oh, and there’s that famous burger topped with melted American cheese and housemade pickles. The best in all of A-Town? We’ll let you decide. Top it all off with a rum-filled Super Tuff or the tequila-driven Shadow Bandit, and you’re in for one wild night.
42. Eclipse di Luna
Multiple locations | $6-$20 | @eclipse_di_luna | R P F
You know how you love to try a bite of each person’s plate at dinner? This place specializes in that. Seasonal small plates allow you to eat outside the lines—try a couple of Spanish-style tapas, like a few dates with chorizo wrapped in bacon or some lightly fried Chesapeake oysters. With live music and dancing every night as a backdrop, the atmosphere is en fuego. Mondays are all-you-can-eat tapas for $18. Any other night of the week, spring for the traditional Spanish paella for the table. Your mom taught you to share—now you can put it to practice.
43. TWO Urban Licks
820 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE | Old Fourth Ward | 404.522.4622| $21-$34 | @2urbanlicks | R P
Long before we were introduced to the wood-fueled hearth as a fixture, TWO Urban Licks was bringing fire to the plate with chef Todd Stein’s interpretations of classic grillable fare. The grilled flat iron steak with garlic spinach and blue cheese goes with a number of selections from TWO’s one-of-a-kind wine wall, and a talented bar keeps the party hopping. Ever heard of salmon chips? This must-try app featuring smoked salmon, chipotle cream cheese, caper and red onion is all the rage among regular TWO attendees. Oh, and this hip-to-be-remote warehouse prides itself on its double life as a music venue. Music to our ears!
44. Livingston Restaurant + Bar
659 Peachtree St. NE | Midtown | 404.897.5000 | $10-$28 | @livingstonatgt | B R P
Brunch at this Midtown hot spot has become as famed as the building it’s housed in (well, so has dinner, for that matter). This dining room at The Georgian Terrace was named for a former mayor who, we’re informed, knew how to have a good time. That spirit of revelry is carried forth by chef Michael Semancik, who knows his way around signature dishes like grilled rabbit wings with blue cheese grits, and cast-iron oxtail marmalade with raclette cheese. Stop in for a craft cocktail and have a go at the theater brunch buffet, which is fast becoming a pre-matinee tradition.
45. Stem Wine Bar
1311 Johnson Ferry Road | Marietta | 678.214.6888 | $7-$19 | @dougturbush
A true OTP gem, this Marietta resto is one of the surprise hits of the year. Its front entrance is so subtle that it can get overshadowed by its full-size sister restaurant next door—Seed Kitchen & Bar. Order up the menu’s latest hit: the Stem burger. Featuring red wine-braised short rib, pork belly, comte, tomato onion jam and thrice cooked fries, this isn’t your average meat-and-cheese combo. On the tapas side, go with the shaved brussels sprouts with warm bacon vinaigrette, apple, pine nuts and Parmesan. Ever changing high-end, by-the-glass wine selections will keep you expanding your palate each time out. Wine not?!
46. Salt Factory Pub
Multiple locations | $11-$28 | R P
New Executive Chef Jacob Adam Theis (at the Roswell location) is raising the bar—get it?—at this corner gastropub with a serious rep for comfort food. When it’s rainy and cold, the chicken potpie—served in a little witch’s cauldron with a handle—is a tasty Rx. Part of the F&H Food Trading Group (Little Alley Steak, Real Fix Pizzeria and more), the casual OTP go-to draws lunchtime and after-work crowds with exposed brick walls, comfy leather booths and colossal onion rings big enough to be worn as bracelets. Hot tip: Look for a Woodstock location to pop up this year as well.
47. Local Three Kitchen & Bar
3290 Northside Parkway | Buckhead | 404.968.2700 | $13-$29 | @localthree | B R P
First you have to find your way in. But once through the clandestine doorway, you’ll discover surprising fare with witty twists and something for everyone. For him? The Hungry Man, a wagyu Salisbury steak over mashed potato drizzled in mushroom gravy. For her? Albacore tuna noodle casserole with green beans, roasted peppers and smoked gouda. Muss & Turner’s Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner partnered with Chris Hall to become the “local three” behind this upscale resto with the ever changing menu. Expect to be wowed with inventive regional riffs on Southern staples.
48. Varasano’s Pizzeria
2171 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.352.8216 | $14-$19 | @varasanospizza | B R P F
Pizza is competitive business in Atlanta. So, if you want to stand out so far that The New York Times gives you a nod, you’d better make sure your game is in top form. Such is the case with Varasano’s, a tidy and modern pizzeria right on Peachtree. Owner Jeff Varasano’s favorite offering is the Nana’s with Pancetta and light garlic, but we’re also major fans of the Chica Bella pie with mozzarella, ricotta, arugula and a spritz of lemon; and the new veggie pizza covered in eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet red peppers, mushrooms and broccolini. Bonus points for brunching on the patio while indulging in doughnuts stuffed with Nutella.
49. The Capital Grille
Multiple locations | $28-$49 | @capitalgrille | R
Enter the white linen-tablecloth dining room and you’re sure to witness power lunches, first dates and anniversaries galore. Here, sophisticated moments happen around plates of gorgonzola and truffle-crusted dry-aged sirloin with cabernet reduction, or seared tenderloin with butter-poached lobster. It’s just that kind of place. At lunch, if you don’t order the lobster roll with truffle Parmesan fries, you’ll spend the rest of the meal wishing you had. Master Sommelier George Miliotes is the brains behind the brawn of this 300-deep wine list, so don’t be shy in asking for a recommendation. Or try the signature Stoli Doli cocktail. Cheers!
50. Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
3500 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.844.4810 | $9-$46 | @daviosatlanta | B R P
This Phipps Plaza staple is a fave of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. It’s easy to see why: Executive Chef Richard Lee has perfected each meal, from brunch (prime top sirloin with over-easy eggs and sweet-potato hash) to classic Italian dinner dishes (the Philly cheese steak spring rolls and center-cut filet mignon have cult followings). Head in for their Sunday Local for Locals special, a shareable meal for the whole fam, or to sample a glass from their extensive wine menu—the resto invested in a Coravin, a steel contraption that keeps opened wine preserved for months on end. Bottoms up!
51. Three Sheets
6017 Sandy Springs Circle NE | Sandy Springs | 404.303.8423 | $8-$21 | @threesheetsatl | R P
Things are heating up in Sandy Springs, and you can credit Three Sheets. This swank spot packs in a seriously sexy clientele on the reg, thanks to their grilled-cheese dinners, flavor tripping parties starring a miracle fruit that alters the taste of different foods, happy hour five days a week... the list goes on, y’all. Plus, this place loves to party—whether it be a Halloween soiree or a fire-and-ice ball. Head upstairs to the breezy patio for a bite, like roasted duck breast with raspberry gastrique, with one of their signature cocktails, like the English Garden with gin and house-pressed apple cider.
52. Watershed on Peachtree
1820 Peachtree Road NW | Buckhead | 404.809.3561 | $18-$34 | @watershedatl | B R P
This temple to all things Southern, owned by Indigo Girls’ Emily Saliers is a must-try. Stylish downhome Smith Hanes decor (rustic wood finishes, industrial details), and a Sunday Creole jazz brunch, which includes sugar-dusted langue de boeufs (Cajun-style beignets) and pimento-cheese cornbread, are some of the reasons this Dixie darling has us coming back for more. But don’t let its laid-back vibe fool you though; Watershed throws a raucous late-nighter one Saturday a month and its fried chicken Wednesdays are always packed out. Did we mention Jennifer Lawrence has been known to frequent this spot a time or two?
53. 10 Degrees South
4183 Roswell Road | Buckhead | 404.705.8870 | $21-$38 | @10degreessouth | R P
If you haven’t been to restaurateur Justin Anthony’s hot spot 10 Degrees South lately, you’re in for a surprise. Interior designer Kelly Wolf Anthony (Justin’s wife) has transitioned the look of the venue into a more modern yet still cozy place to grab a bite. We dig the new look, and, as always, are head-over-heels for the menu. Ostrich medallions are pan-seared with wine and rosemary sauce for a sultry sweetness—a baseline for the native flavors the menu playfully touts. Speaking of which, the South African wine selection is the best in town and don’t miss small plate faves like the peri-peri chicken spring rolls and lollipop lamb chops. Jambo!
54. Cuts Steakhouse
60 Andrew Young International Blvd. NE | Downtown | 404.525.3399 | $11-$39 | @cutsatlanta | R P
Owner Muzo Saritas has impressive credentials as a hotel manager and restaurateur, all of which he pours into this much-welcomed Downtown steakhouse. The 13,000-square-foot space has a chic sunken dining room with cheeky ceramic deer heads, a designated sports bar and a sprawling patio. Executive Chef Donnie Wicker is bringing a subtle Southern touch to the menu through pecan-crusted salmon with chilled quinoa salad and goat cheese-risotto fritters along with requisite prime cuts and standout steakhouse fare. Now, that’s prime dining.
55. Osteria Mattone
1095 Canton St. | Roswell | 678.878.3378 | $15-$43 | @osteriamattone | R P
What was 2013’s newbie is now historic Roswell’s mainstay. Executive Chef Ted Lahey—who’s also behind sister resto Table & Main down the street—spent 2014 wooing local Italian lovers in to try his classic Roman fare. It worked. Regulars flock here to dip addictive risotto balls into Bolognese sauce and spin handmade spaghetti alla carbonara on their forks. The barreled-wood ceiling and white tablecloths of the quaint cottage are the backdrop for clever cocktails such as the fizzy Sgroppino with lemon sorbet, as well as desserts like budino caramellato. Translation? Salted caramel bread pudding.
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56. The Luminary
99 Krog St. NE | Inman Park | 404.600.6199 | $14-$24 | @theluminaryatl | B R P
Among the first to open in Inman Park satellite Krog Street Market, The Luminary is the result of Top Chef alum Eli Kirshtein’s hard work. One part classical French brasserie and one part revived warehouse, the place is streamlined and spit-polished with brass on white. Kirshtein’s menu is a big part of the draw, with interpretations of French classics like duck au poivre, and a knockout croque monsieur. But the bar is in good hands too: Though cocktail architect Ian Cox has moved on, phenomenal newcomer Jeff Banks is at the helm—keep an eye on this one.
1820 Peachtree Road NW | Buckhead | 404.382.8088 | $4-$24 | @saltyard | B R P
This newish Buckhead outpost is a fresh go-to for shared small plates—think heavenly cheddar bay biscuits, deviled farm eggs with bacon and hot sauce, and house-cured salmon chips with lemon-dill mascarpone, to name a few. Pro tip: Call ahead to find out if chef Nick Leahy is serving his crispy Brussels leaves, a tasty twist on Brussels sprouts, that only grace the menu as a special. And to toast the good life, order a signature cocktail like a Swift Kick in the Tito, or pick from the resto’s extensive beer and wine list. Don’t miss brunch either; the mascarpone-stuffed French toast is a must-try.
58. Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub
1410 Dresden Drive | Brookhaven | 404.474.9600 | $6-$19 | @k_pub | B R P F
Owner Joey Riley made his mark as the longtime executive chef at Buckhead Diner before going out on his own to open this beloved Brookhaven bistro in 2010. His righteous mix of Southern (house pimento cheese, shrimp ’n’ grits) and globally inspired dishes (Korean barbecue pork sliders, Berkshire pork pot stickers) is unprecedented in this town. That, and the $13 bottomless mimosas at brunch are exactly why a steady stream of local hotties belly up to the bar on the reg and stake out all-day spots on the patio during sunny days.
59. Cooks & Soldiers
691 14th St. NW | Westside | 404.996.2623 | $13-$32 | @cooksatl | R P
Adding to the Westside’s growing restaurant scene, Cooks & Soldiers was destined to be a winner. Modern, but rustic and adorned with patterned tiles flanked by iron and wood furnishings amplify the worldly vibe. The bar is full of a lush wine and cocktail menu that feeds off inspiration from the Basque regions of Spain and France. Dishes like queso de cabra pintxo with roasted tomatoes and green pepper shallot jam and Spanish octopus with charcoal potatoes are worthy intros. Executive Chef Landon Thompson (formerly, The Iberian Pig) even traveled to San Sebastian, Spain, to hone his skills in preparation. Over-achiever, indeed.
60. The St. Regis Bar
88 West Paces Ferry Road | Buckhead | 404.563.7900 | $12-$25 | @stregisatl | R P
Singles of all ages flock to the upscale environs of The St. Regis Bar. Set against an original mural of a Phoenix rising from the ashes, this dining and drinking destination has shot up our list of see-and-be-seen hot spots. Special cocktail selections include the 2012 St. Regis Special Selection 3.0 bourbon, featuring seasonal notes of eggnog and nutmeg, and the must-try West Paces Mary, the bar’s remix on the traditional Bloody Mary concoction. When the munchies hit order up a lobster BLT (poached Maine lobster, creamy dressing, smoked bacon served with housemade chips), the pork belly banh-mi or French onion fondue. Hello, food coma!
1170 Howell Mill Road | Westside | 404.968.2033 | $6-$20 | @ormsbysatlanta
Most of us remember our first time at Ormsby’s. Intel about this subterranean party hub came through word of mouth: Hey, there’s this place I heard about in the basement of some old warehouse; or, hey, they have bocce, but, like, inside. We keep coming back, of course, for the craft beers and even craftier cocktails at dual bars; for a reliable menu of souped-up pub fare, like the roasted duck breast in mustard sauce; and for long nights spent in the tucked-away game room over a cringe-inducing round of Cards Against Humanity.
62. Bantam + Biddy
Multiple locations | $9-$13 | @bantamandbiddy | B P
Chef Shaun Doty has turned his delicious attention from beef to chicken. He partnered with fellow star-chef Lance Gummere and now B+Bs are popping up everywhere. The concept? Serve regional, all-natural poultry that’s ridiculously juicy (fried chicken and cheddar waffles are a revelation) with seasonal sides (think broccoli farro salad with Vidalia onion dressing). Doty, a celiac, insists gluten-free and vegetarian options abound. Each outpost is slightly different: Crescent and Buckhead locations have an espresso bar; Ansley has $3 sliders on Monday nights; but all haul in Sublime doughnuts on weekends. Sweet!
63. Atlanta Fish Market
265 Pharr Road NE | Buckhead | 404.262.3165 | $15-$31 | @atlfishmarket | R P
This perennial fave serves some of the freshest catches in town, thanks to Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s own boutique seafood company that keeps a steady supply swimming in on the daily. The main dining room is filled with Cape Cod seafood house-style wooden tables and a glowing jellyfish tank. The made-to-order sushi bar serves some of the best in ATL. And having owner I. Pano Karatassos’ retail market on-site means you can order up fresh seafood to experiment with at home. (Though we have a feeling you’ll have a tough time recreating AFM’s signature Maine lobster roll.)
64. Holeman and Finch Public House
2277 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.948.1175 | $4-$19 | @holemanandfinch | B
James Beard award-winning chef/owner Linton Hopkins’ famed Buckhead haunt has been at the top of the ATL dining scene since opening in 2008. The bar gets just as packed as the dining room, thanks in part to the infamous H&F burger—now on the regular menu and available at all times. The chicken liver pate with apple cider gelée and toast is a delicious way to expand your palate, while the carbonara with a farm egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pancetta is elevated comfort food at its best.
1106 Crescent Ave. NE | Midtown | 404.817.3650 | $11-$30 | @lureatl | B R P
A one-stop bait shop for cool drinks and creative catches, here the food is hip and playful without ever being fussy. Highlights include Executive Chef Brent Banda’s pan-fried sole and whole Georgia rainbow trout. Libations are so big, the staff skips glasses and goes straight for punch bowls. Even the names of the drinks are tongue-in-cheek. The Elysian Fields cocktail mixes Hangar One vodka, Aperol, pear liqueur, lime juice and elderflower syrup. Oh, and don’t miss the sweet stuff. Try the warm coconut-guava cake or the citrusy Key lime trifle (these change with the seasons). Stick a yum flag in that!
66. Varuni Napoli
1540 Monroe Drive NE | Morningside | 404.709.2690| $18-$21 | @varuninapoliatl | B P
Old news: the extent to which authentic Neapolitan-style pizza has taken this town by storm. Latest news: how slammed Varuni Napoli has been since it started providing the Va-Hi/Morningside ’hoods with the savory meat-packed pizza Chiattona. In the true tradition of our favorite trattorias across the city, Varuni is stocked with tools of the trade: hardwood furnishing and imported ingredients pepper the bright, streetside venue (venture deeper to the private deck during the warmer months). And lest we forget the man in front of the wood-fired ovens: chef-cum-maestro Luca Varuni comes packed with Antico pedigree.
67. Shuck’s Oyster & Wine Bar
705 Town Blvd. | Brookhaven | 404.846.1777| $5-$18 | @shucksatl | P
Bubbly, oysters and grilled cheese: This popular Brookhaven seafood joint specializes in all three. Communal seating in the small space is on a first-come basis and with $10 PBR pitchers and half-off bivalves at happy hour—plan to get here early. They’ve added a standout hot crab spinach dip and a small cocktail list—Tito’s Dirty Dirty Martini is briny perfection—since opening last year. Pair a dozen specialty shuckers with the deconstructed French onion soup, grilled cheese and prosecco, and you’ve hit the trifecta!
68. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails
270 Peachtree St. | Downtown | 404.524.7200 | $26-$32 | @whiteoakatlanta | R P
Under a pair of colossal Jenga-like chandeliers—made out of wood from the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn.—patrons are drooling over decadent plates of short rib, and monkfish with brown-butter sweet potato at this Downtown spot. Envision a bright, soaring space where the bourbon is plentiful and the crowd is chowing down on New South cuisine from owners Cindy and Alan LeBlanc. Think soft-shell crab, lamb burgers and rock-shrimp beignets. Then, sweeten up with a bourbon pecan bar with milk chocolate and mocha Chantilly. Now that’s some mighty oak.
69. Cibo e Beve
4969 Roswell Road | Sandy Springs | 404.250.8988 | $11-$34 | @ciboatlanta | B R P F
From the owners of Food 101 and Meehan’s Public House sprung this authentic Italian trattoria helmed by the deft hands of chef Linda Harrell. The ai3-designed space takes its name from the boot-shaped country’s words for “food” and “drink.” For cibo, crispy Brussels sprouts with smoked bacon, poached egg and pecorino are the perfetto side to gluten-free lasagna marchegiana with Bolognese. A lighter dish like the minestrone with rigatoni alla vodka is a must-try that never seems to leave the seasonal menu. For beve, live it up and order the Punch Drunk Love.
70. Del Frisco’s Grille
3376 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.537.2828 | $7-$39 | @dfgrilleatlanta | B R P
While the carnivorous cuisine is delicious, it’s Executive Chef Adam Esser’s lighter fare that has us flocking to this Buckhead destination. Ahi tuna tacos with avocado and spicy citrus mayo, and cheesesteak egg rolls with sweet and spicy chilli sauce, are the perfect complement to Del Frisco’s signature VIP cocktail: sweet Hawaiian pineapple-infused Svedka clementine vodka. This winter, we’ll be hitting up the two-story heated patio for new menu additions, such as the fire-roasted artichoke, kale and Brussels sprouts salad, and truffle macaroni and cheese. Delish!
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71. Taqueria del Sol
Multiple locations | $3-$11 | @taqueriadelsol | P
Sure, you have to stand in line with all the other Del Sol devotees, but it’s worth the time spent inhaling the scent wafting from the kitchen. Once at the counter, call out your order in a hurry. We suggest a fried chicken taco with lime jalapeno mayonnaise, shrimp corn chowder and a shredded brisket enchilada with pork green chile. If you’ve come with a crew, splurge and get the guacamole, cheese dip and salsa trio, and wash it down with a pitcher of the famed margaritas. Weekly specials—from nutty shrimp tacos to tamales—are never a miss. Take a chance.
72. YEAH! Burger
Multiple locations | $7-$12 | @yeahburger | P F
Celebs like Owen Wilson, Jake Gyllenhaal and Vince Vaughn have all been spotted getting their grub on at YEAH! Burger. Maybe it’s the fact that the fast-casual concept is basically guilt-free with the use of organic local produce and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. Score! January specials include the patty melt, roasted beet salad, and french toast and bacon shake. The selection of hot dogs (go for the Southern dog) and salads (kale, yeah!) are equally delicious options and quickly make you realize this isn’t your average burger joint. Gluten-free vegan burgers on gluten-free buns for the win!
73. Coast Seafood & Raw Bar
111 W. Paces Ferry Road | Buckhead | 404.869.0777 | $13-$28 | @coastatl1 | R P
This seafood fave is from the same Here to Serve Restaurants team behind Noche, Shucks Oyster Bar, Aja Restaurant & Bar and more. The sea-shanty ambience, while casual, still pulls in the well-heeled West Paces crowd, who flock here for its coastal-chill vibe. Chef Quentin Donnaud (who won Food Network’s Chopped) can finesse lemon sole and blackened salmon just as well as he can handle addictive sweet-corn and jalapeno hush puppies. Two patios (a packed one in the front and a more private one in the back) keep the scene Jimmy Buffet song-ready all year long—and the secret iron skillet seafood nachos are worth staying awhile for.
74. Empire State South
999 Peachtree St. NE | Midtown | 404.541.1105 | $20-$46 | @essouth | B R P F
As Top Chef judge and restaurateur Hugh Acheson continues to build his empire (recently opening The Florence in Savannah), his actual empire—Empire State South—remains one of the buzziest restaurants in Atlanta. Pull up a steampunk-esque stool at the bar, and you’ll often find Bar Manager Kellie Thorn standing on the counter reaching for bottles and bitters to make refreshing cocktails like Aesop Sour with gin, raspberry eau de vie, hay sugar and absinthe. On the dining side, Executive Chef Josh Hopkins is serving up fresh Georgia catfish and delectable stuffed quail. Sweeten the experience with ESS’ signature candy plate.
75. Park Tavern
500 10th St. NE | Midtown | 404.249.0001 | $8-$17 | @parktavern | R P F
Roll with the best of them at Park Tavern, where the menu is as exciting as the crowd. A fresh sushi bar churns out sashimi-grade tuna, chef specials like the sushi boat (six to nine of your favorite rolls to share) and specialty sushi rolls like the Piedmont and Dyno-mite. Plus, it’s all half-priced every night from 10pm to midnight! Not a sushi fan? Check in on Wednesdays for half-priced bottles of wine and try a fresh-ground burger like the gorgonzola bleu ribbon, BBQ or sauteed shroom. Finish it all off on the patio with a Peach on the Beach or Easy Does It in hand while you and your pooch take in breathtaking views of Piedmont Park. Aw!
Multiple locations | $4-$11 | @nochevh_atl | R P
There’s a reason this buzzy tapas spot from Here to Serve Restaurants has locations dotted all over metro Atlanta. From the beloved margaritas and Spanish tapas to Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, you’ll be hard-pressed to walk in with a date or group of pals and not have a blast. The Trailer Park taco with queso and fried chicken is nearly impossible to pass up, while seafood ops like chipotle mango barbecue salmon, along with meat-free items like garlic mushrooms, mean there’s something to please every palate. Add daily drink specials and $2 tacos every Monday and what’s not to love?
77. Krog Bar
112 Krog St. NE | Inman Park | 404.524.1618 | $6-$18 | @rathbuns | R P
Lest we forget, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when Krog Street was not the center of the dining universe. Before KSM opened en masse, Kevin Rathbun reigned supreme, and apparently, still does. Years after Krog Bar opened, we still can’t pull ourselves away from the warehouse-chic elegance of the place. Rathbun’s take on high-end steakhouse bar fare beefs things up enough to make this a Friday night one-stop, but passing through the outrageously talented, wine-heavy bar is suitable for pre-game or nightcap too, when it comes to making your rounds on the outskirts of Inman Park.
78. Fadó Irish Pub
273 Buckhead Ave. | Buckhead | 404.841.0066 | $8-$16 | @fadoatlanta | B R P
With World Cup madness at an all-time high this past year, fans found themselves searching for a pub from which to cheer on their favorite team. Buckhead mainstay and neighborhood institution Fadó Irish Pub was the epicenter, and keeps its patrons happy with cocktails and pints of solid beer selections that include local and international faves, and options to mix your own Guinness with everything from Strongbow, to SweetWater 420. Traditional Irish pub fare with a modern twist is front and center with fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and a deluge of $4 snacks and bar bites for happy hour daily.
79. Verde Taqueria
Multiple locations | $4-$8 | @verdetacos | P
It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since Verde graced us with its presence in Brookhaven (and later, with a second location in Westside). But a good taco spot has a way of sticking around, and Verde’s no exception (especially with the recent addition of Chef Joe Macy!). Patio seating in a chill neighborhood over a margarita and a plate of quirky, tasty tacos has long been on our short list for a perfect Thursday night: Experiment with the tofu or calamari variety, but be content in settling for at least one of the pulled pork—because those things are addictive.
80. Buttermilk Kitchen
4225 Roswell Road NE | North Buckhead | 678.732.3274 | $8-$13 | @buttermilkkitch | B P
There’s breakfast all day, then there’s breakfast all day done right. Buttermilk Kitchen falls in the latter category. Suzanne Vizethann (formerly of ADAC’s The Hungry Peach and Chopped fame) upped the ante on ATL’s brunch scene when she opened this quaint spot on Roswell Road. The Mexican scramble and fried-egg BLT are not to be missed, while the weekday lunch menu boasts a Southern-style lineup, such as the pimento cheese starter and signature Brunswick stew. Plus, you’ll never get bored, with a brunch lineup that changes weekly. Current highlights include fried green tomatoes and gingerbread pancakes.
81. Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Road NE | Buckhead | 404.467.8950 | $7-$25 | @sevenlampsatl | R P F
2013’s new kid in town has quickly become a Buckhead must-try. Chef Drew Van Leuvan, formerly of TAP and One Midtown Kitchen, serves up a lobster roll that can’t be beat, while the mussels in white wine with fennel butter and charred jalapenos are to die for. And because Van Leuvan has a passion for pastries, he makes sure his menu includes plenty of decadent desserts, including baked-to-order blueberry pie with sweet-corn ice cream. The cocktail menu is equally impressive, with inventive sips like Effervescent, Light & Refreshing, Boozy & Spirited, Winter Is Coming and more. Drink up!
500 Pharr Road NE | Buckhead | 404.237.2941 | $20-$30 | @pricciatlanta | R
Since cropping up in Buckhead more than 25 years ago, award-winning Pricci has been a staple dining destination for locals and visitors alike, as well as for private dining, soirees and more. Credit it to chef and Milan native Piero Premoli, who landed in ATL after stints in Miami, New York City and throughout Europe. Premoli, along with new Pastry Chef Christian Castillo, is serving up fine Italian eats, including standouts like Zuccotto, a chocolate dome-shaped cake, and day-made artisanal pastas; and inspired sides, charcuterie ops and hearty meat entrees to boot.
83. Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano
1099 Hemphill Ave. NW | Westside | 404.347.3874 | $15-$43 | P F
Giovanni Di Palma, the man who is building his very own Little Italia in the middle of Westside, wants you to know something: His mom made really good chicken. Lemon chicken was her specialty, in fact, and since this is the guy who brought us Antico Pizza, he deduced that he had the street cred to recreate the recipe, with scarcely a dozen others, in the back of his Hemphill warehouse. Family favorites like the incredible scarpiello, with salsiccia, sweet piccantes and cipolline, are made with fresh ingredients imported from Naples. Truly authentic is the name of the game.
997 Virginia Ave. NE | Virginia-Highland | 404.872.0904 | $12-$29 | @murphysatlanta | B R P
This Va-Hi hot spot is known for fresh, inventive takes on American contemporary dishes and a to-die-for Sunday brunch. Chef Ian Winslade’s passion for cooking and his commitment to using only top-shelf ingredients shine through in entrees like Guinness-braised beef brisket and spinach and sausage meatloaf. Come Sunday morning, there’s a line around the block as diners pine for Eggs T. Murphy, and the decadent malted waffle with warm maple syrup, cinnamon butter and fruit compote. Trust us, there’s a reason they don’t take reservations during brunch hours and decided to open Paces & Vine. Sweet success!
85. F&B Atlanta
3630 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.254.1797 | $7-$36 | @fandbatlanta | R P
Change is a good thing when it comes to F&B. Executive Chef-extraordinaire Philippe Haddad has turned the beloved bistro’s menu on its head—with a Belgian twist. Housed on the ground floor of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Atlanta, Buckhead, new menu ops include pomme frites, chicken paillard salad and mussels from Brussels. Feeling fancy? Book two days in advance for a private off-the-menu dinner soiree ($120 per person), where Haddad will treat you and guests to a seasonal, four-course French meal paired with Champagne. Sign us up!
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Multiple locations | $5-$11 | @tmacrestaurants | P
There’s nothing like sports and a cold beer—and T.MAC (formerly Taco Mac) has one of the longest brew lists in the city. Settle in early to catch the game on a slew of HDTVs; log in to your Brewniversity app (where you can keep track of all the suds you’re sipping... or downing); and order up some wings in new flaves like sweet chile sesame, cracked pepper cayenne or fiery chile citrus. Or sink your teeth into the new bacon cheddar ranch burger featuring housemade ranch and a toasted brioche bun. Plus, the more brews you try, the better. Hit 125 different tastes and you’ll be dubbed a Brewniversity Bachelor and receive rewards on your suds. Drink up!
87. Bistro VG
70 W. Crossville Road | Roswell | 770.993.1156 | $7-$38 | @bistrovg | R P
An enduring epicurean outpost, this OTP gem was opened by Christopher and Michele Sedgwick in the early ’90s. Not afraid to update, the couple has changed with the times and, a few years ago, gave the space a modern East Hamptons-inspired update. Executive Chef Jesus Velasquez kept the beloved crabcake and white bean soup with truffle oil from the resto’s early days but has crafted new faves like hand-cut steaks, fresh fish features daily, sea scallops with rock shrimp risotto, wood-fired pizzas and roasted oysters. The only thing that never changes? The bar spills out a lively scene almost every night.
88. Meehan’s Public House
Multiple locations | $8-$20 | @meehanspubhouse | B R P F
When you’re opening the fifth location of a concept, one could say that you’re pretty well-liked in the community. And that’s exactly the route 101 Concepts Irish tavern institution, Meehan’s Public House, has taken with spots for Guinness revelry and bangers and mash happiness in Downtown, Vinings, Atlantic Station, Sandy Springs and now Buckhead. Classics like fish and chips, lamb stew and the traditional Irish breakfast (be sure to chase this one with the Irish breakfast shot) shine, while late night bar fare includes spicy peach buffalo wings and pork/bacon sammies to keep the party going into the wee hours.
89. Nan Thai Fine Dining
1350 Spring St. NW | Midtown | 404.870.9933 | $18-$36 | @nanthaiatlanta | R P
Garnering a AAA Four Diamond Award eight years in a row is a ridiculous feat, but Charlie and Nan Niyomkul have done it again. It’s no surprise, really, when even native Thai guests declare dishes such as the larb kai—cooked minced chicken with ginger, lime, mint and roasted sweet-rice flavor—the best they’ve ever eaten outside their home country. #TrueStory. When not salivating over the lamb hung lay—chef Nan’s signature slow-braised lamb shank simmered in Northern Thai red curry—you’ll revel in the friendly and contagious nature of the staff. It’s no wonder we can’t get enough!
90. Flip Burger Boutique
Multiple locations | $7-$14 | @flipburger | B P
With quirky Creative Director Richard Blais behind this modern burger concept, expect the patties to be more peculiar than the usual beef and bread number. Long before he became a Top Chef judge, Blais packed them in with his lamburger with feta cheese and the shrimp patty with tempura-fried lemon and Cajun-aise. Here, the sides are too eye-popping to play second fiddle. Out-of-the-box pairings include housemade potato chips with Abita root beer onion dip or sweet potato tots with blue cheese dressing. Stick your straw in a Krispy Kreme milkshake to keep your palate on its toes.
300 Marietta St. NW | Downtown | 404.885.1472 | $10-$24 | @statsatl | R P
Some sports bars peddle so-so food, but not this sleek version, which takes pub fare up a notch. Within walking distance to the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena, STATS pushes plates such as steak frites with Coca-Cola glaze and grilled artichoke wraps. Of course, fans can still score tasty apps such as sweet potato tots and Kung Fu wings. Reopened after a renovation, they’re back in the game with the beloved built-in beer taps still at each table. Let’s run the stats: 70 high-def TVs, five bars, one rooftop patio, two fire pits and one seriously good time.
92. Aja Restaurant & Bar
3500 Lenox Road NE | 404.231.0001 | $12-$28 | @ajaatl | R P
Bow before the Buddha at this Buckhead mainstay—he had to have something to do with the new tempura-fried Benton’s bacon and spicy Thai peanut sauce. Aside from the dim sum addition, chef Charlie “Chucky” Sunyapong put some classics back on the menu—lamb vindaloo and shaken beef rice bowl make a return. Sunyapong’s sushi balls are another original—ahi tuna wrapped around a sphere of rice and drizzled in spicy sauce. It’s no surprise this hot spot’s sexy crimson vibe has played backdrop to soirees such as Bert’s Big Adventure Charity Date Auction and reality-TV fashion shows.
93. Café Intermezzo
Multiple locations | $5-$19 | @cafeintermezzo | B R P F
Thanks to its seemingly endless list of cocktail iterations, tempting sweets and sexy Euro-chic vibe, it’s no wonder Café Intermezzo plans to expand from its spots in Midtown, Dunwoody and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to more of the Southeast: namely Nashville, Charlotte and Charleston. Though billed as a coffeehouse, expect myriad options to satisfy your cravings—from crepes, cheese-platter apps and the winter kale trio, to slow-cooked beef, chicken Florentine and Parisian turkey sandwiches. Wash it down with a classic Harvey Wallbanger, and you’ve got date night in the bag.
94. Joy Cafe
316 Pharr Road NE | Buckhead | 404.816.0306 | $5-$10 | B
Homemade is the name of the game at Buckhead’s Joy Cafe, where every delightful dish and dessert are made from scratch from start to finish. On the breakfast menu (which runs till 3pm!), faves include almond granola, Mama Carol’s buttermilk pancakes (go for the ginger and sage sausage on the side) and Joy’s big berry Belgian waffle. But don’t miss an equally delicious lunch menu with five types of grilled fromage (hello, pimento cheese!), specialty sandwiches, salads and sweet treats like cookies and milk pie, orange creamsicle cheesecake and fleur de sel (three-layer chocolate cake with salted caramel).
95. Stillhouse Craft Burgers & Moonshine
56 E. Andrews Drive NW | Buckhead | 678.244.3601 | $8-$12 | @stillhouseatl | P
Since joining the ranks of the Andrews Entertainment District, Stillhouse has managed to make itself stand out. Could it be the burgers (including Apalachicola fried oysters and fresh-ground duck with housemade confit iterations), piled high with locally sourced ingredients like green-tomato relish and pickled beets, topped with an upside-down bun? Probably. Or could it be the a bar stocked with 50-plus types of moonshine? Definitely. Add that to cozy-cushioned booths with whiskey-barrel tables—and we’ll see you at Stillhouse.
96. Nuevo Laredo
1495 Chattahoochee Ave. NW | Westside | 404.352.9009 | $8-$20 | R
When Chance Evans, formerly of The Coca-Cola Company, opened this authentic eatery on the Westside 22 years ago, it wasn’t about franchising or expanding. Rather, it was about making the cantina a prime spot for locals and visitors to enjoy home-cooked Mexican dishes. And that he’s accomplished—the menu is packed with faves like chicken mole, lobster tacos and first-class refreshing margs and cervezas. Artifacts and handpicked items brought back from Evans’ many trips to Mexico give the interior an authentic feel, making for an all-around delicioso dining experience.
97. Leon’s Full Service
131 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. | Decatur | 404.687.0500 | $8-$23 | @leonsdecatur | P
A stylish patio and bocce-ball court, plus upscale bar bites like goat cheese-stuffed peppadews and to-die-for pomme frites with your choice of two inventive sauces, are just some of the many reasons customers flock to Decatur resto Leon’s Full Service. From the brains behind Brick Store Pub just down the street, the locally driven concept is brought to life by chefs Robert Lupo and Eric Ottensmeyer, and a level of customer service harkening back to the days of full-service gas-station attendants (which inspired its name). We’re not complaining.
98. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Multiple locations | $37-$52 | @ruthschrisatl | R
When the quality of your steak earns you more than 100 locations across the globe (three in the ATL and a brand new one in Alpharetta!), you’re doing something right. For the true devotees, there is no substitute when it comes to Ruth’s Chris’ classic take on the American steakhouse: The meat is aged and cooked to perfection, whether it’s the rib-eye or the signature filet; vintage inspired cocktails are handcrafted with freshly squeezed juices; and the service is always top-tier. The chophouse menu is rounded out by standbys like shoestring fries, creamed spinach and sweet-potato casserole. What can we say? You can do no wrong Ruth’s Chris!
99. Olde Blind Dog
Multiple locations | $6-$16 | @oldeblinddog | B R P
A piece of Ireland ready for the taking in Milton, Brookhaven and food truck format? Yes, please! From the cauldrons of their acclaimed, insanely tasty ale and cheddar cheese dip, to their Tabasco deep-fried pickles, even Caden (their namesake mascot) can see that Olde Blind Dog is the place to be for Irish merriment. Traditional Irish fare and pints of Guinness and Irish whiskey lead the pub scene that screams authenticity adorned in custom woodworking, antiques and Celtic music throughout, with a life-size replica of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart persona serving as the centerpiece for prime selfie ops.
100. Tacos & Tequila Mexican Grill
Multiple locations | $8-$15 | @tandtatlanta
Sometimes we just want to play it low-key with some delicious margaritas and tasty tacos. And for those moments we turn to Tacos & Tequila Mexican Grill, where fajitas, burritos, soups, quesadillas, seafood and vegetarian options await. The latest menu additions include fried avocado tacos, tacos de tinga, chiles poblanos rellenos, quesadillas marinera, enchiladas verdes and nachos tejano style. Muy bien! But the margaritas are where the real fun begins. The Dirty Margarita, Beer Rita, Passion Fruit and Prickly Pear all serve as the perfect ending to a fiesta of flavors.