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Dec./Jan. 2007

Cafe Tu Tu Tango
Holiday Hotspots
Festive, Fun and Fine Dining
by Katie Kelly Bell

Each year the holidays begin the requisite gift-giving and party-going. People complain about the pace and grumble about the endless shopping for the perfect gift for each person on their list. This holiday season, think gourmet, think gustatory, think epicurean, think food. Atlanta is home to plenty of hot spots for fine dining and fun dining, and what better way to celebrate the people you love and appreciate than with a memorable meal!

Your first clue that Café Tu Tu Tango (404-841-6222, 220 Pharr Rd.) is a fun, festive place to celebrate the holidays (and pretty much everything else) is the viewfinder.

Perched on each table, guests are encouraged to pick one up and view the various drink specials. Toys aside, this place is known for its artists-in-residence concept. Various artists are scattered about practicing their trade and creating colorful canvases. All art is for sale—you may even find the perfect Christmas gift for the creative person in your life. This place caters to large, fun-loving groups, and with a menu full of appetizer portions there is bound to be something to please everyone in your group. Be sure to try savory bites such as the Cajun egg rolls with blackened chicken, roasted corn and cheddar cheese or the Cuban grilled steak skewers with lime steak sauce.

The fireplace at South of France (404-325-6963, 2345 Cheshire Bridge Rd.) is legendary and easily one of the coziest in town. Don’t expect a cacophonous din or glitzy décor to compete for your attention. South of France is all about warmth and quietness. This is an ideal place to unwind from holiday stress and enjoy the crackle of a fire and soft conversation with that special person in your life. The menu offers the traditional range of French dishes such as rack of lamp with Dijon mustard sauce or duck a l’Orange. It may not snow at all this winter, but with a meal by the fire at South of France one can dream.Winter not your season? Add some Asian-Hawaiian fusion to your holiday celebrating at

Roy’s (404-231-3232, 3475 Piedmont Rd.). The private rooms are ideal for larger parties and the vast, airy dining room is a lovely setting for the savory cuisine. Roy’s emphasizes seafood with European sauces and bold Asian spices. Look for the daily Hawaiian specialty fish such as misoyaki butterfish in sizzling soy vinaigrette. Menus are created daily so each visit offers new interpretations. Make a toast to your international celebration with one of the many quality sakes on the menu.

Buckhead’s version of the genuine churrascaria, Fogo de Chão (404-266-9988, 3101 Piedmont Rd.), a Brazilian steakhouse, is a skewer-swirling meat-lover’s extravaganza. The gauchos perform dually as chefs and servers and provide a delightful sideshow with their traditional gaucho attire. Every meat imaginable is offered every way you name it. Bring your appetite so you’ll be able to take a turn at the 30-plus item buffet and still enjoy the roasted meats. Interesting sides include fried polenta, fried bananas and cheese bread. Some of the slowroasted meats include picanha (rump steak), pork sausages, lamb, filet mignon, chicken, and a new meat, beef ancho—part of the rib eye.

A variety of musicians help create atmosphere at
Fogo de Chao
Aqua Blue (770-643-8886, 1564 Holcomb Bridge Rd.), both in the holiday season and throughout the year. Aqua Blue’s global menu is known for its incredibly fresh sushi and seafood, with crowd pleasers such as the seared sea scallops and shrimp and pan-roasted sea bass with a parsley clam broth. If you’re interested in planning a holiday party, Aqua Blue’s semi-private dining room may be just the place. Shades of blue and gauzy curtains accent the restaurant, creating a celestial atmosphere ideal for celebrating while you savor delicious food and soul-satisfying music.

Bacchanalia (404-365-0410, 1198 Howell Mill Rd.) continues to garner rave reviews. Owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison serve contemporary American dishes, which are as much a work of art as they are appetizing. Their distinguished culinary flavor is based on creative dishes that feature the freshest seasonal produce, meats and cheeses; thus, the menu is always changing. Their daily creations are distinctive, but not intimidating. This is a perfect holiday restaurant, well suited for special occasions and well worth the four-course prix fixe menu.

Holiday celebrating means many things to many people. Some prefer a nice, quiet night by the fire while others prefer a packed house, brimming with convivial party-goers. No matter what your preference, Atlanta’s restaurants have what you desire to make your holidays memorable—and you don’t have to do the dishes when it’s all over!


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