Wednesday, October 6, 2010

By Popular Demand: Merideth's Favorite Spots in Atlanta

Several friends have asked recently for recommendations on my favorite places to eat in Atlanta. Since that was the original point of this blog and since I have spent most of my time here recently pining away for France in print, I now am obliged to share my top picks for eating out in Atlanta. I may go back and edit this from time to time. There is no guarantee here that you will like my restaurants, or that I indeed have what you would call a sophisticated palate, but here you go.

Favorite All Time Restaurant: Sotto Sotto. I choose this little Italian restaurant every time I can for dates, birthdays and special occasions.

Favorite Italian: Sotto Sotto

Second Place: Almalfi (OTP) located off Atlanta Rd. near Roswell Square, this family style Italian place is a hidden out of the way gem.

Favorite Mexican: Nuevo Laredo Cantina- I don't think you can graduate from Georgia Tech and not learn to love this place. Their salsa is perfect, the brisket is amazing, and they have a delicious mole sauce.

Second Place: Mi Barrio- Located on Memorial Dr. near Oakland Cemetery this small hole in the wall wins points for authenticity. I have been told it is one of the few places inside the perimeter to get good tamales.

Favorite Buford Hwy ethnic: Panahar Bangladeshi Cuisine- they are always friendly and the food has a rich combination of herbs and spices that stand out differently from Indian cuisine.

Second Place: Hae Woo Dae- this no longer secret Korean BBQ hole in the wall has an amazing selection of meats for grilling and other traditional Korean rice dishes.

Favorite Breakfast/ Brunch: Babette's Cafe I can't pass up the tenderloin Benedict on fresh bread with amazing Hollandaise sauce, or the french toast which is to die for.

Second Place: Flying Biscuit Some may argue they are not as good since they went chain, but I still love some love cakes, and you cant beat the biscuits at the Candler Park location.

Favorite Southern Food: The Farmhouse at Serenbe Making a small trip south of Atlanta is well worth it for authentic and flavorful southern food in a picturesque setting.

Second Place: Horseradish Grill or Murphys These Atlanta staples still hold a place in my heart for my favorite southern food done well and with a gourmet twist. The BBQ appetizer and fried okra at HRG and the pork shank and meatloaf at Murphys take my vote, and you can't beat either for their amazing desserts.

Favorite Sandwiches: Toscano and Sons The perfect little out of the way Italian sandwich shop and market of Marietta Street. They know how to do a panini with only fresh Italian cured meats and cheese on authentic bread.

Second Place: Cafe Lily (grilled cheese, lunch menu only) Bar none, the best grilled cheese in Atlanta. Perfect in Fall with the tomato basil soup!

Favorite Romantic Date: Atmosphere Bistro This special little place is tiny, cozy and has a fabulous French menu. Cuddling up at the fire on the outside patio also makes for a nice night.

Second Place: Amuse- Again French food, but this one swings south toward Provence. Amuse is another tiny house with a great menu and cozy charm.

Favorite Casual Date Night: Young Augustines This is my new favorite hang out on Memorial Drive. They have amazing gourmet pub style food with an inventive beer menu as well as bocce ball courts!

Second Place: Iberian Pig If you haven't tried this place on Decatur Square yet, you need to. This Spanish style restaurant is the only place in Atlanta to serve Iberico pork. Their menu is a mix of tapas, flatbreads, and main entrees. They also have a great wine and cocktail list.

Favorite First Date: Rathbuns Consistently one of my favorite places to eat in Atlanta. Kevin Rathbun and friends know how to cook! The atmosphere is nice, and the food delicious. Be sure to try to ask for one of the booths along the wall. They are great fro cuddling and for people watching, plus the main floor tends to be noisy.

Second Place: Shauns Out of the way but not off the map in Inman Park Shaun's has clean southern style cuisine. With an emphasis on the ingredient, you can't beat the hanger steak with duck fat fries, or their shrimp and grits served in what looks like a fish bowl! They also have played host to my family's Easter brunch for the past 3 years, amazing.

Favorite Steak: Kevin Rathbun Steak This place knows how to do steak, and you pay for it! Its pricey, but mouthwatering good. The atmosphere is a modern masculine with dark woods and mood lighting. The food is out of this world. For a girl who loves steak and has eaten at some of the best places in Manhattan, this is still my favorite place to indulge in red meat!

Second Place: Bones The Atlanta boys club standard. I first went here in high school and was impressed with the professional waiters with crumbers! This place is an institution. They know how to cook steaks and cater to the business crowd.

Favorite Cocktail: Holman and Finch I followed Greg Best from his days as bartender (mixologist) at Restaurant Eugene to H&F. This more laid back restaurant lets his interest in experimental food and meats shine. They are famous for the cocktail list and the burger!

Second Place: Ecco (elderflower gin martini) and Leon's  Ecco is known for its wine list and its great food, but I swoon for the Elderflower Martini. It actually won an award from Bombay Gin for best cocktail. Ask the bartender to see the bedazzled gin bottle trophy! Leons is a great laid back hang out in Decatur. They have a fun menu, bocce ball, a great patio and some tasty hand made cocktails.

Favorite Burger: Abittoir  I have written this one up in the past. I keep going back and bypassing the whole wonderful menu for this burger! Made of pork, it is the perfect blend of flavor and juiciness.

Second Place: Highland Tap In the dark basement bar of Highland Tap lives one of Atlanta's best burgers. Sirloin burger made old school with your choice of toppings and some killer onion rings to boot.

Favorite Tacos: Matador Cantina With two locations one in Oakhurst and one within walking distance from my house in Glennwood Park, Matador holds its own in the quest for tacos. I love the Texas and the Carnita the most!

Second Place: Taquiera del Sol If you are willing to wait in line, then you can experience some of the most creative taco flavors in Atlanta. They may not be traditional but they are good. A margarita or two helps to pass the time in line.

Favorite Pizza Antico Pizza Nepolitano With their ingredients, chef, and even the ovens imported from Naples Italy you can't beet Antico for authentic Italian style pizza. Take your own wine and eat in the kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action. Save room for the cannoli.

Second Place: Fritti- A sister to Sotto Sotto Fritti offers an authentic thin crust selection of pizzas with one of the best Italian wine lists in Atlanta.

Favorite BBQ: Fox Brothers Located on Dekalb Ave. this BBQ establishment was a newcomer to Atlanta and is holding their own against some stiff competition. I recommend the pork, and the Tomminator tater tots covered in Brunswick stew covered in cheese. The fried pickles are also addictive.

Second Place: Harolds BBQ- So old school they don't have a website. They are located at   
171 McDonough Blvd SE Atlanta. Best Brunswick Stew in Atlanta. If you want to eat lunch with the guys from the Capitol pull up a seat here. They are in a bad location, with an old interior and little parking, yet always full. I think this speaks volumes about their food!

Favorite Thai: Surin of Thailand- A long time favorite of mine, seems to be less crowded these days which is fine with me. My favorite here is the Pad Prik King.

Second Place Northlake Thai- A sister to Eurasia Bistro in Decatur, this one is out of the way and located in a Kroger shopping center, but its worth the drive and a try. They have Panang Curry nailed!

By Neighborhood
Midtown: Ecco, Top Flr, Tierra, Noon
Decatur: Iberian Pig, Watershed, Cafe Lily
Inman Park: Sotto Sotto, Parish, Rathbuns, Shauns
East Atlanta/ Grant Park/ Cabbagetown: Six Feet Under, Agave, Young Augustines, The Earl
Buckhead: Horseradish Grill, Grand China

1 comment:

Katherine Malone said...

We love Surin of Thailand! YUM!! :) Great list, and great to have you back!