Eat Your Heart Out
When it comes to food, it’s no secret that Atlanta knows what it’s doing. Indeed, as a future or new Atlanta resident, you are sure to be pleased with the city’s nearly limitless choices. So, if you’re worried about leaving behind that great restaurant in your old town, fear not. It won’t take long for you to find new favorites in Atlanta—where great eateries make dining out a muchloved pastime. Even the sluggish economy hasn’t suppressed Atlanta’s appetite for fabulous fare. According to the 2008-2009 Zagat Atlanta Restaurants survey, 84 percent of surveyors say they are dining out more than or as much as they were two years ago.-class venues?
Another notable fine dining restaurant housed in a luxury hotel is Park 75, located in The Four Seasons Atlanta in Midtown. A large commissioned watercolor complements the warm, inviting interior featuring custom light fixtures and iron candelabras. Executive chef Robert Gerstenecker creates culinary masterpieces such as roasted halibut with summer corn chowder, house-smoked bacon and fennel oil or the eight-hour braised short ribs with summer vegetable succotash, arugula and crisp sweet potato salad. Up to 10 may be seated in the heart of the kitchen at the Chef’s Table, where guests can enjoy Gerstenecker’s cuisine as well as wine to complement every course.
Bring the Kids
Although many may not think of Atlanta’s oldest continuously licensed tavern as the ideal dining experience for kids, Atkins Park certainly makes younger guests feel welcome. The Virginia-Highland location lets adults dine while their children are entertained. Kiddy’s Corner, a children’s play area filled with age-appropriate toys, is the place for young diners. Both younger and older guests will get a kick out of the kids’ menu that features items such as Chicken Toes and Mashed Nuts & Berries (aka PB & J).
American Girl Bistro at North Point Mall in Alpharetta is a doll-lovers’ paradise. Part of the American Girl doll store, which features characters, outfits and accessories, the bistro features fare that typically appeals to the younger crowd—chicken tenders, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs— as well as more adventurous bites such as the grilled veggie panini or the Asian chicken salad. The bistro serves brunch, lunch and dinner, with a Dessert Counter that offers a variety of rich and creamy options.
Another restaurant that is sure to engage the children is housed in an 87,000- square-foot castle featuring a stone façade, dungeon and gift shop—there are also 22 Andalusian stallions in residence. Medieval Times in Lawrenceville certainly gives new meaning to “dinner and a show.” Guests enjoy an elaborate feast delivered by costumed “serving wenches and serfs” while watching knights complete skills tests and battle for honor. Birthday party packages offer children a courtly celebration.
Social hot spots are very much a part of Atlanta’s restaurant scene. LOLA, Here to Serve Restaurants’ first Italian concept, has two outdoor patios that encourage mingling—one patio is for dining and the other is for lounging and enjoying a signature Bellini. Located in the Terminus building in happening Buckhead, the restaurant serves delectable fare such as wood-fired pizzas, salads, seafood and Italian-style American steaks such as steak Florentine. With its great food, views and sleek interior, LOLA indeed offers a vibrant social scene.
Shout offers international flavors in a lively, hip atmosphere. Guests enjoy Mediterranean-inspired tapas, pizzas cooked in wood-burning ovens, as well as noodle bowls and a full sushi bar in the Bamboo Room. But perhaps the highlight of the experience is the rooftop bar, one of the hottest hangouts in Atlanta. A DJ plays Wednesday through Saturday, and the crowd makes good use of the dance floor.
More Bang for Your Buck
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. But as that other saying goes, there are exceptions to every rule. Indeed, at some of Atlanta’s restaurants, you get more than you pay for. Souper Jenny in Buckhead is a very popular neighborhood café headed by self-taught chef Jennifer Levison. Consistently recognized by Zagat Survey as offering great food at a great price, the eatery features a daily-changing menu that typically includes six hot soups (hence the café’s name), a couple of sandwiches, as well as a few salads. Favorites include chicken tortilla soup and turkey chili, but there are also vegetarian and vegan options. Check the Web site for the daily menu, or sign up to have the menu emailed to you every morning.
Another Atlanta café known for great taste and value is The Fickle Pickle, housed in an 1800’s Victorian cottage in Roswell. Along with its famous fried Cajun pickles served with Creole rémoulade sauce, the eatery also offers salads, hot and cold sandwiches, dinner sandwiches (e.g., grouper sandwich, bacon blue cheese burger), and dinner entrees such as buttermilk fried catfish and shrimp and grits. Although typically considered a lunch destination, don’t count this one out for dinner.
Thumbs Up Diner offers the classic diner experience, complete with a curved counter and delicious, hearty fare that’s priced right, including burgers, melts and sandwiches. Breakfast favorites such as pancakes, eggs, French toast, biscuits and waffles are served all day. A menu highlight is the Build Your Own Breakfast plate.
Come As You Are
It’s always fun to dress up for a meal, but sometimes it’s nice to just show up in what you’re wearing. At Village Tavern in Alpharetta, experience exceptional fare in a relaxed, casual Old World tavern-style atmosphere. The chalet-like entrance, soft lighting and fireplace create a comfortable, welcoming space. The something-for-everyone menu is sure to please any palate, boasting appetizers and small plates, soups and salads, steaks, fish, pasta, chicken, burgers, wood-oven pizzas and desserts. There’s also an award-winning wine list, cocktails, martinis, specialty drinks, draft beers, microbrews and spirits.
If you’re looking for fluffy biscuits and a diverse menu, then the Flying Biscuit Café is the place to be. Pleasing patrons at six locations in Metro Atlanta, the restaurant offers delicious breakfast choices such as The Flying Biscuit Breakfast (two large farm fresh eggs, chicken breakfast sausage, a namesake biscuit, and choice of oven-roasted potatoes, grits or a side salad) and the Piedmont Omelette (dressed up with chicken sausage, turkey bacon, sautéed onions and cheddar cheese). The oven-fried chicken, flat-iron steak and the vegan barbecue burrito round out the varied menu.