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Restaurant Reviews




We've picked a mix of classics, favorites and bests - a list that will help you navigate our city in all its gastronomic glory. We also asked a few chefs around town to pick one dish they'd eat before they die - one took the question quite literally - to find out what the professionals hunger for. So dig in - first reader to complete the list wins a heart attack and boasting rights. - Besha Rodell


Small Plates, Apps and Sides

Though only the starter course, these delicious dishes may be the best part of your meal

Blue crab fritter at Bacchanalia

Available at Bacchanalia
In many ways this is the OG of Atlanta fine-dining dishes. Bacchanalia's menu is continually changing, and this is one of the few constants. It's light and refreshing while also being rich and decadent - a pile of crab over citrus with hints of vanilla, and Thai pepper that just touches on spicy. Slices of avocado add rich buttery texture. A dish that hits every point and counterpoint on the palate while remaining totally harmonious. $22.
crab    crab fritter   

Bone marrow at Rathbun's

Available at Rathbun's
Three fat marrow bones are accompanied by simple grilled bread and a spoon of high quality salt. Scoop out the wobbly marrow and slather its warm, musky, meaty, fatty funk onto the bread and into your gullet. Many in town attempt marrow, only Rathbun's truly understands it.

Carnita taco on a freshly made tortilla at Taqueria El Rey de Taco

Available at El Rey Del Taco
The ultimate two-bite fast food. Succulent chunks of slow-cooked pork carnitas with a hint of barbecue-esque bark are nestled with chopped cilantro and white onion into a handmade tortilla by the resident abuela. A dollop of the neon-green avocado salsa makes this humble peasant's dish rich with flavor. $2.
tacos    mexican   

Chicken liver pate at La Fourchette

Available at La Fourchette
This lovely quenelle of liver pate could easily be mistaken upon first look as a scoop of chocolate ice cream; it has all the gloss and appeal of dessert. But it's better than dessert, rich and decadent, especially when paired with the riotous rhubarb and ginger preserve that's swept across the plate like a tropical brushstroke. $12.
chicken liver    pate   

Chile relleno taco (or burrito) at El Taco Veloz

Available at El Taco Veloz
This chile relleno is a work of simplicity. The kitchen takes a mildly spicy poblano pepper, stuffs it with creamy cheese and fries it in a thin batter. Then it's wrapped in a flour tortilla that provides a bit of a tug and seals in the warmth. It's all super fresh, and that's what makes the difference. $2.45.
taco    burrito    mexican   

Fish tofu kabob at Te Wei Chinese Kabob

Available at Beijing Kabobs
Tight rolls of white flour tortilla-like pancakes cradle shreds of cabbage, veggies and cubes of firm tofu. It's all brought together with a spicy Szechuan peppercorn-infused oil. Each bite provides crunch and heat that's so addictive, you can expect to experience full-blown food-lust for weeks to come. $7.
kabobs    chinese   

Fried chicken hearts with egg in a basket

Available at The Shed at Glenwood
If you've succumbed to the siren call of chicken livers, the next stop on your offal journey is chicken hearts. Here, they come crispily pan-fried. Springier and less alkaline tasting than their livery counterparts, the hearts pack pure concentrated dark-meat flavor. The accompanying "egg in a basket" — that awesome breakfast treat of an egg fried into a hole cut in the center of a piece of bread — adds a glimmer of childhood delight to this already delightfully grown-up dish. $10.

Fried goat cheese at Ecco

Available at Ecco
Fried goat cheese has been a somewhat hackneyed trick for decades now, but Ecco gets it just right with a feather-light batter and goat cheese balls small enough to become warmed and gushy all the way though. A drizzle of honey on top counteracts the cheesy tang. The crowning glory is a coarse sprinkle of cracked black pepper. It adds a wicked bite to this decadent dish that is basically gourmet, elegant, sexy fair food. $7.

Fried mushrooms at Fritti

Available at Fritti
Yes, white truffle oil has run its course, but the funghi fritti here spares it total extinction. Meaty crimini and portobello mushrooms are fried in a light coating of rice-flour batter. The highly redolent oil, sparely used, is a perfect complement. All the thrill of shroomery without the psychedelic hangover. $8.
mushrooms   

Ikura Don at Sushi House Hayakawa

Available at Sushi Hayakawa
Sunset orange ikura (salmon eggs) ceremoniously piled onto perfectly seasoned sushi rice still warm from the steamer are crowned with slivers of deep-green seaweed. Each popping bite into an egg releases a flood of the sea mellowed with the sweetness of the dish's mirin marinade. $8.
sushi    ikura    japanese   

Jalapeno focaccia at Highland Bakery

Available at Highland Bakery - Midtown
Who says bread has to be bready? Who says it can't be a big cheesy, spicy mess? The jalapeno focaccia is barely bread at all, but rather a means by which to shove spicy-ass cheese in your face. Slices of the scorching pepper stud the cheesy ravines of fluffy, doughy bread. We like it best as a vehicle for the tuna salad sandwich, but it's just as good on its own. $5.99 per loaf.
focaccia bread    jalepeno    bakery   

Mixed maza platter at Cafe Agora

Available at Cafe Agora
Vegetables manipulated into neat mounds crowd the plate: Earthy eggplant rife with smoke. Thick yogurt infused with cucumber. Chopped carrot made creamy with even more yogurt. The warm pita is a perfect vehicle to experience them all, but a fork is an even more direct route. Having owner Al feed them to you like an insistant but sweet older uncle is even better. Small: $7.99; large: $12.99.
vegatables    maza    turkish    mediterranean   

Mofongo at Pura Vida

Available at Pura Vida
You won't find classic Puerto Rican mofongo anywhere else in town. Served as a tapa, it's a mound of mashed green bananas flavored with cracklings and carnitas. Pork jus adds needed moisture. Yep, you get slightly sour bananas mashed like potatoes and studded with crispy bits of flavor-screaming pork. $9.
puerto rican    Mofongo   

Pork rillettes at Abattoir

Available at Abattoir
How do you make pork creamy? By curing it and mooshing it in its own fat, of course! At Abattoir, said creamy, salty porky spread is served on grilled bread with tiny hard-boiled quail eggs for a naughty take on breakfast that's more appropriate for gobbling with cocktails. $9.
pork    rillette   

Steak tartar at Kevin Rathbun Steak

Available at Kevin Rathbun Steak
There's something magical that happens with the best steak tartar, an alchemy that turns high-quality raw beef into a creamy wonder. Punctuated by shallots and capers, and topped with a gooey raw egg yolk, this paragon of protein is pure pleasure. $14.95.

Tlayudas at Taqueria La Oaxaquena

Available at Taqueria La Oaxaquena
A crackly baked tortilla the size of a pizza is loaded with every Mexican topping staple imaginable. Smooth wedges of avocado, long, chewy threads of Mexican string cheese, and crumbled salty chorizo sausage all mingle together in messy harmony. The bold flavors are only amplified by the tactile pleasure that comes from cracking off a piece, piling on a little of what did and didn't fall off, and shoving the bite into your mouth nacho-style. $10.99-$13.99.
Tlayudas    mexican    mexican pizza   

Tomo Uni at Tomo

Available at Tomo Japanese Restaurant
Eating uni is like having sex with the sea - the creamy texture and oceanic flavor are almost kinky. For those of us hooked, nothing else will satiate that particular desire. At Tomo, the experience is ramped up: The uni is wrapped in a shiso leaf and tempura fried. The result? A hot steaming package of lusty seafood creamsicle. Turned on yet? $9.
Tomo Uni    japanese    sushi   

Vietnamese "burnt rice" at Chateau de Saigon

Available at Chateau Saigon
Most every culture likes the crunchy rice at the bottom of the pot. This dish simulates that coveted treat and turns it into a full entree with your choice of a topping. The best is the pork cooked in a clay pot and caramelized in fish sauce. $8.95.

Wood-grilled octopus at Kyma

Available at Kyma
Remarkably tender, streaked with smoky grill marks and served with a salad of pickled red onions and red-wine vinaigrette, this creature from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea transforms the squeamish into octo-addicts. $10.
octopus   


Breakfast

Wake up to the seven best breakfasts in Atlanta

Almond croissant at Bakeshop

Available at Bakeshop
Crackly, brown surface; buttery, soft interior; layers of pastry so delicate and pliable they pull apart like fleshy tissue paper. The croissants at Bakeshop are masterful - the almond, with its toasted nuts on top and properly conservative amount of nutty almond paste within, is the best. Have them heat it up and eat it on the spot for maximum noms. $2.75.
croissant    bakery   

Currant scone at the Bread Garden

Available at Bread Garden
Few scones baked in our city come close to this masterpiece. The exterior has shiny crispness. The interior is dry and barely sweet. Currants interrupt the dryness with little explosions of moist, fruity flavor. Perfect post-coital snack the morning after. $1.25.
scone    bakery   

Granola + yogurt at Octane

Available at Octane Coffee
Octane's house-made concoction will have you forsaking all other granola. Rife with huge walnuts, the slightest hint of cinnamon, and crunchy, pleasantly oily clusters of nutty oats, this breakfast of champions pairs perfectly with the small tub of cooling yogurt provided. If you're feeling super self indulgent, you can also get it with high quality jam and peanut butter. But we prefer the more restrained version. $3.50
granola    cereal   

Omelette at Original House of Pancakes

Available at The Original Pancake House
No matter what you fill it with, these eggy wonders - not the pancakes - may be the reason people brave the hour-long waits. A generous amount of eggs are baked unfolded in a skillet in the oven, resulting in a towering, creamy and fluffy creation that's more like a frittata than the boring dry disk served elsewhere. $7.95-$9.35.
omelette    frittata   

Pecan waffle at Waffle House

Available at Waffle House
What? That waffle is damn good and you know it. And if you don't know it you should. It's nutty and crispy and a goddamned institution. So there.
waffles    pecan   

Pumpernickel bagel with whipped chive cream cheese at BB's Bagels

Available at BB's Bagels
Bite into one of these massive, chewy bagels and you can almost hear the cabs honking and smell the steam rising from the potholes of a Manhattan street corner. So fresh they don't need to be toasted, bagel perfection is achieved with a thick schmear of deftly whipped cream cheese studded with tons of raw green onion. $3.31.
bagel    pumpernickel   


Salads

Atlanta's five best salads you must try now

Chopped vegetable salad at BLT Steak

Available at BLT Steak
A mountain of uniformly chopped vegetables in every color of the rainbow erupts with flavor thanks to sharp bites of bitter lettuce and briny feta. An expertly emulsified dressing lends body and tang to this unforgettably crisp, cool pile of crunch. $15.

Goi salad at Com

Available at Com Dunwoody Vietnamese Grill
This is the easiest way to introduce skeptics to the glory of Vietnamese cuisine. Julienned mango, papaya and green apples are tossed with peanuts, herbs and a dressing that floods every part of the palate - from salty to sweet and slightly spicy. Juicy, crisp and a bit tart, too. $10.
goi salad    vietnamese   

Kitchen sink salad at Community Q BBQ

Available at Community Q BBQ
Leave it to this barbecue place with a commitment to local food to elevate a salad the same way it has barbecue. Local baby lettuce leaves piled into a family-sized commercial grade stainless steel bowl act as a stage for the freshest veggies available. Slices of red beets lend a pink tinge to the boiled egg. Julienned pear adds a kiss of sweetness, while potatoes offer starchy heft. The vinaigrette brings it all together in a tart symphony of flavor. SHOUT-OUT: French fries. $6.50.


Soups

Warm up with Atlanta's five best soups

Chao Ga at Quan Ba 9

Available at Quan Ba 9
When you're feeling so jacked from a night of naughtiness that nothing sounds good enough to eat, this congee-like soup will fix you up in no time. An intensely concentrated chicken stock lends an almost golden taste to the rice porridge it flavors. Heady cubes of chilled blood add an earthiness only boosted by the slinky mushrooms that peek through the surface. $8.31.
Chao Ga    vietnamese   

Duk Bok Gi at Dan Moo Ji

Available at Dan Moo Ji
The answer to all your brothy, burning desires: Dense cylindrical rice cakes cooked with triangles of sliced fish cake, cabbage, and the chewiest noodles ever swim and simmer in a bubbling red spicy chili paste broth. Once you start, the heat will hook you and have you simultaneously begging for mercy and for more. $7.99.
Duk Bok Gi    korean   

Kimchee and pork tofu soup at So Kong Dong

Available at Sokongdong Tofu House
A bowl of bubbling, lava-like red broth comes to the table via a rolling cart. Break the raw egg into the center of it, and stir the quickly cooking yolk into the jumble of pork belly, silken tofu and spicy kimchee leaves. Then let the gobbling, sweating and moaning with pleasure commence. $7.95.
kimchee soup    korean   

New Mexico hatch green chile stew at Agave

Available at Agave Restaurant
Hatch green chiles are one of the most flavorful varieties, and yet we rarely see them used. Luckily, they're the main ingredient of this stew, imparting a bite, a kick and a tingly feeling all over. They share the bowl with potatoes, beef tips, corn and onions. Dilute the stew by gulping down lots of tequila from one of the city's largest collections. Be your own mariachi band. Clank your soup spoon and sing "Bésame Mucho." $6.75.

Tonkotsu ramen at Yakitori Jinbei

Available at Yakitori Jinbei
Buttery and cloudy, the pork bone-based tonkotsu broth is the undisputed star of the bowl with its intense piggy flavor rounded out with the almost milky collagen-rich broth. Tender slices of rolled pork come in a close second. When plucked from the bowl, crinkly noodles bring along al dente rectangles of stewed bamboo shoots and bright pops of green onion. Lunch: $9.90; dinner: $12.90.


Burgers and Sandwiches

Run, don't walk, to try these dishes from Grindhouse Burgers, Bocado and the Earl

Apache-style burger at Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Available at Grindhouse Killer Burgers - Piedmont
A freshly ground hamburger patty (two of them, if you want) is topped with roasted Hatch green chilies, pepper jack cheese and grilled onions. Tangy but not sizzling-hot, the juicy burger allows you to eat the best chilies in America while grooving on a decor and menu that are pleasingly nostalgic if you're old, and retro-campy if you're young. $6.25.

Burger and fries at Bocado

Available at Bocado
Two freshly ground thin patties are griddle-cooked, giving the edges alluring crispy bits. Oozing, melting American cheese and a pillowy soft bun render a supremely squishable burger with just the right amount of grease to make it naughty. It's like someone with an intimate knowledge of the McDonald's double cheeseburger made the quality, grown-up version. Someone supersize me. SHOUT-OUT: Cauliflower and eggplant sandwich. $12.
burger   

Lamb sandwich at Artisan Foods Bakery

Available at Artisan Foods Bakery & Cafe
The menu description sounds straightforward enough: roasted lamb, mixed lettuce, vine-ripe tomatoes, caramelized onion, balsamic vinaigrette on toasted sourdough. But it's that lamb - roasted here daily and cut off the bone to order in tender hot lamby slices, all pink meat and crispy fat - that makes this sandwich the stuff of meaty dreams. $10.70
lamb    lamb sandwich   

Medio Dia sandwich at Super Pan Latino Sandwich Shop

Available at Super Pan Latino Sandwich Shop
Say "hasta luego" to the classic Cuban sandwich and say hello to this stunning version on a pineapple "submarino" roll. In between the bread slices are roasted pork and ham, chayote pickles, Swiss cheese, habanero mustard and clove salt. But here's the killer: Punctuating bites of the highly flavorful, sourced meats are bits of crunchy pork skin, like chicharroacutenes or your mama's cracklins. Way magnifico. $13.

Mega torta at Mega Taco Taqueria y Marisqueria

Available at Mega Taco
A mega hangover calls for mega relief, and this hulking sandwich gets the job done. A crisp bolillo stuffed with everything from ham to egg to breaded and fried beef to gooey white cheese is somewhat intimidating at first glance. But go ahead and stuff your face without shame; it's too delicious not to. $4.77.
hangover    torta    taco    mexican   

Original Philly cheese steak at Roy's Cheesesteak

Available at Roy's Cheesesteaks
As good as any cheese steak you'll get on a Philly street corner. A long, soft hoagie roll stuffed with chopped marinated skirt steak, round and sirloin beef oozes Cheez Whiz. Hot juices soak the roll and run down your hands as you attack it. And you will attack it. >Small: $4.75; large: $6.94.

Pulled pork barbecue sandwich at P'cheen

Available at P'cheen
Available only on Mondays during P'cheen's weekly barbecue extravaganza, this cultural mishmash of a sandwich hits all the sloppy, spicy, piggy notes to satiate that 'cue craving. The whole hog pulled barbecue comes on buttered Texas toast with pickles and slaw; douse it with the North Carolina-style spicy vinegar sauce for the best results. A side is included - we recommend the absurdly hot jalapeno mac and cheese. $8.

Reuben panini at Wienerz Butcher Shop & Deli

Available at Wienerz Butcher Shop & Deli
To be considered a master of Reuben, an establishment must lock down five crucial components: crunchy toasted rye bread, gooey cheese, oozing Thousand Island dressing, biting sauerkraut, and loads of juicy meat. Wienerz gets it all right and ups the ante by pressing the sandwich down panini style. So this notoriously messy specimen is not only easy to eat, but portable as well. $5.69.

Shrimp po'boy at Star Provisions

Available at Star Provisions
It's not exactly a classic po'boy, since it's made on a soft, toasted hoagie roll instead of NOLA's mandatory French-style bread. Who cares, when you're eating six jumbo shrimp fried till crispy, set atop buttery lettuce and dressed with a piquant roumoulade? $9.95.
shrimp    po' buy   


Pasta, Pizza and Noodles

Eight of Atlanta's best noodle and pizza dishes

Black spaghetti at La Pietra Cucina

Available at LPC
Pasta infused with squid ink is tossed with rock shrimp, scallions and hot calabrese sausage, inspired by one of Mario Batali's best-known dishes. The velvety noodles temper the slight sting. All in all, this dish is more intense than a codependent relationship. You'll love it even when it hurts. $18.

Giggioto calzone at Antico Pizza Napoletana

Available at Antico Pizza Napoletana
As your teeth break through the slightly charred, tangy, bready crust, the rich combination of creamy ricotta and mozzarella oozes into your mouth. The crunch and bitter vegetal yum of broccoli rabe asserts itself, and then the slightly sweet, slightly spicy sausage sexes everything up. Dipped in Antico's bright, warm red sauce, this sloppy extravaganza will have you thanking the sweet baby Jesus for Italy and its influence. $19.
calzone   

Gnocchi at Floataway Cafe

Available at Floataway Cafe
Pillowy gnocchi is slightly browned and crisped, and then tossed with the season's freshest goodies. Right now, that means tangy artichokes, snappy asparagus and mellow favas. A light, buttery lemon sauce coats everything, and each bite is punctuated with fresh herbs - a pop of mint, a sweet burst of basil. Eating it is like taking a rollicking gambol through a spring garden. With your tongue. SHOUT OUT: French fries. $20.
Gnocchi   

New Haven clam pizza at Varasano's

Available at Varasano's Pizzeria
You can taste the years of research and pizza geekism in the simplicity of Varasano's thin and crisp pizza crust. The complex flavor of the dough sets the stage for the briny clams, pungent fresh chopped garlic, generous dose of olive oil, and freshly chopped herbs to shine. A trip to New Haven has never been so easy. $14.95.

Tomato and basil spaghettini with veal meatballs at La Tavola Trattoria

Available at La Tavola
A bright, tart red sauce coats impossibly thin spaghettini that just begs to be slurped up greedily. Baseball-sized meatballs combine veal and pork, and manage to achieve that perfect meatball flavor — lighter than sausage, heftier and juicier than meatloaf. Mamma mia. $16.50.


Meatless Entrees

The five best vegetarian-friendly dishes in Atlanta

Dry fried eggplant at Tasty China

Available at Tasty China
People will debate: Is it what it used to be? Is it as good as it once was? Is it is it is it? We'll tell you what it is: delicious. The thick french-fry-like, battered and fried sticks of eggplant have gone through a few incarnations, but the current one is as good as it comes. Crispy on the outside, creamy and piping-hot in the middle, and showered with cilantro, red pepper flakes and Szechuan peppercorns that leave your tongue all abuzz and your water tasting like seltzer. $13.95.
eggplant    vegetables    chinese   

Orange apple tofu at Top Flr

Available at Top Flr
This dish is all about smoosh and contrast - a slab of crispy fried tofu, the bracing fresh chomp of baby bok choy, and the intense tang of a thick Japanese eggplant miso puree. Yummers. $12.
tofu    bok choy    japanese   

Sunchoke puree at the Sound Table

Available at The Sound Table
A bowl of silken, sweet, earthy sunchokes comes topped with a perfectly poached egg, adding richness to decadence. A smattering of sauteed mushrooms lends bite, textural interest and sexy, woodsy appeal. $10.
sunchokes   

Vegetable plate at Restaurant Eugene

Available at Restaurant Eugene
Take the best fresh veggies of the day, cook each one to bring out its absolute best, then pile them high in a skillet of garden delight. Depending on the season, the plate might include caramelized on the outside, creamy on the inside fairy-tale eggplants, or lightly fried rutabaga, or hunks of marinated deep magenta beets. Whatever you find, it'll feel like digging for treasure. $22.
vegetables   


Seafood

Atlanta's two best fishy dishes

Seafood risotto at Sotto Sotto

Available at Sotto Sotto Restaurant
Just call it gourmet baby food for adults. Carnaroli rice is cooked with butter in white wine and chicken-fish stock until it is slightly al dente. Then, heavy cream is added. Shellfish, cooked separately, is placed atop the rice. That adds up to a velvety background foregrounded by springy bites of slightly briny seafood. $19.

Shrimp and grits at Taqueria del Sol

Available at Taqueria Del Sol
This iconic Southern dish is so ubiquitous it deserves to be declared illegal. The only exception is this particular interpretation that features extra-creamy sweet grits and shrimp sauteed in a definitely not-sweet jalapeno-tomato sauce. Unfortunately, like good sex, it's only available occasionally. Sign up for alerts on the TDS website. $10.99.


Meat Entrees

Eat here now: Atlanta's heartiest meaty meals

Bandeja paisa at Presto Latin Restaurant

Available at Presto Latin Restaurant
Your gluttony will fall in love with this overwhelming platter of protein. A middling arepa is overshadowed by a huge hunk of avocado, a thick curl of fried pork, a thin piece of grilled beef, fat sausage, rice, fried plantain and, of course, a fried egg. Every creamy, greasy, meaty, sweet and salty craving satiated on one plate of food. $11.50

Chicken leg at Lunacy Black Market

Available at Lunacy Black Market
This ain't your mama's chicken leg. It's a cleanly sculpted bone with a fat chunk of meat that's served in its juices, redolent of "cinnamon curry cardamom." You get slightly sweet and musky flavors, a bit peppery, a bit astringent. Like all dishes at this restaurant, it's a small plate and - don't question this — you do not want to share. Less than $4.
chicken   

Chicken mole at Zocalo Taqueria

Available at Zocalo
Mole sauce, to its lovers, is as controversial as barbecue is to its fanatics. All Mexican cooks have their own version. Zocalo's, the owners' own Mexican family recipe, has no equal in town. It's complex with nuts, chiles and countless other ingredients, including a bit of chocolate, and emits a mouth-watering fragrance. Zocalo serves it over a chicken breast. The sauce is frequently available in jars at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market. $15.
chicken mole    chicken    mexican   

Fesenjan stew at Falafel Cafe

Available at Falafel Cafe
The term bittersweet is often used to evoke beautiful melancholy, but at Falafel Cafe there is no sadness to the interplay between bitter walnuts and sweet pomegranate in the fesenjan stew. The dark brown sauce clings to chunks of chicken, and when ladled over the fluffy Persian rice, creates a sticky, sour, nutty mess that'll make you long for it like a lost lover. $7.99.

Fried chicken at Busy Bee Cafe

Available at Busy Bee Cafe
A crackly and simple breading coats each piece of uncomplicated fried chicken. Not a trace of grease in sight, every juicy, salty bite will fulfill your Southern-fried food dreams. $10.99.

Fried chicken at the Colonnade

Available at The Colonnade Restaurant
Some things must be eaten for the same reason certain movies must be seen - because they are classic. The Colonnade has been serving gigantic portions of batter-fried chicken since 1927. It's super-crispy, steaming-hot, juicy and served in a dining room full of gays and greys by servers with major mother complexes. $13.

Ginseng and chicken juk at BonJuk

Available at Bonjuk Restaurant
Bits of chicken and a pungent piece of wild-looking fresh ginger dot a large bowl of mild, smooth rice porridge. The silky texture shimmies down your throat, and has the power to soothe the nastiest of colds with every sip. $10.95.
chicken juk    chicken    korean   

Honey pig at Honey Pig

Available at Honey Pig
The sam-gyup-sal, or honey pig, cracks and sizzles on the hubcap-like grill and runs its piggy juices into the kimchee, garlic cloves, and other goodies provided at this upscale Korean barbecue joint. Some of the most tender, flavorful bacon you'll ever have, wrap it up in a cool lettuce leaf, pile on the kimchee, swipe through the salty, savory bean paste, and gobble your porcine self to contentment. $17.95.
pork    korean   

Mac and cheese with pot roast at Carver's Country Kitchen

Available at Carver's Country Kitchen
Go ahead and unbutton your pants now. Fork-tender chunks of salty beef and soft carrots swim in a savory, beefy gravy that would make Gramma proud. A creamy side of Velveeta-rich mac and cheese is the stuff food comas are made of. $11.95.

Merguez sausage at Social

Available at Social
Honest, delicious food that reflects the Tunisian/French ancestry of Social's owners, this dish presents two merguez sausages, redolent of lamb and spices, over hearty, al dente lentils. Two meaty slices of grilled squash complete the dish, which feels like eating Mama's cooking if Mama were a way more cosmopolitan and interesting cook than she actually is. $19.
sausage    tunesian    french   

Pollo dorado salvadoreno at Rincon Latino

Available at Rincon Latino
Long crunchy curls of golden fried chicken look more like pork rinds than fowl. Pull apart the crunchy bits of chicken with your hands or, better yet, tuck a piece of the chicken into a thick fresh tortilla with a dollop of creamy refried beans for a taco that swings both ways (toward the South and Central America, that is). $9.99.
chicken    salvadoran   

Rib-eye at Bones

Available at Bones Restaurant
Pure meat nirvana: blood, fat and tang come together in one hulking slab of flesh. Get it with some sweet and fluffy corn pudding and creamed spinach (which isn't on the menu, but they'll make it on request) and you'll feel the virile thrill of the manliest meal in town. $45.
steak    ribeye   

Spare ribs at Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt

Available at Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt
A zillion barbecue joints have opened around town, but the spare ribs here remain unforgettable. Lean, tender, spicy and spotted with coveted bark, they have an antidepressant effect on the doleful blues often performed at the restaurant. $14.99 for a half slab.
BBQ    ribs    spare ribs   

Spicy fried chicken at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Available at Afc Enterprises-Popeye's
If you're going to indulge in fast food, let this be it. The chicken is juicy and fried in a spicy-hot batter that turns into an uncommonly crispy exterior. If you want to avoid grease, stick to breasts and wings. Still, it is recommended that you do anything necessary to avoid learning the calorie content. Various prices.

The beef rib at Fox Brother's Bar-B-Q

Available at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
The Flintstones would be proud of this monstrous, nicely fatty beef short-rib. One poke with your fork and the beefy goodness falls off the bone. Each smoky shred of is a hefty heaven, especially when it's paired with a bowl of creamy and tangy coleslaw. Half rack: $11.94; whole rack: $22.95.
BBQ    ribs   


Desserts and Sweets

Atlanta's best treats from Cacao, Duck's Cosmic Kitchen and more

Aztec aphrodisia truffle at Cacao

Available at Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company
This tiny, sliver-wrapped truffle packs more flavor per square millimeter than seems possible. Place it on your tongue and allow the outer dark chocolate to melt. Your mouth will be flooded with mellow, rich flavors: cardamom, cocoa, something approaching violet ... and, at the end, a devilishly spicy pepper kick. Swoon. $2.50 each
truffle    chocolate   

Baked doughnuts at Duck's Cosmic Kitchen

Available at Duck's Kitchen
Whether it's the small or large version, these fat cake doughnuts are all wow on the texture front. Moist cake awaits under a magical cinnamon-sugar coating that shimmers like fairy dust. If for some reason you don't devour them immediately, put them in the oven for a few minutes to bring them back to just-baked life. $2. Minis: $0.85.
donuts    doughnuts   

Coconut cake at Wright's Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe

Available at Wright's Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe
Wright's gets it right with real coconut milk and fresh shaved coconut, which intensify the just-shimmied-up-a-tree-and-cracked-open-a-fresh-coconut flavor of this moist and towering layer cake. One slice is so rich it can easily be stretched into two servings, but we won't tell if you eat it all at once. Slice: $3.95; whole cake: $27.95.
coconut cake    cake   

Ginger-lavender ice cream at Morelli's Ice Cream

Available at Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream
At a shop with totally novel flavors, what makes this particular one so compelling? Could it be its powerful link between olfaction and taste? It's sweet, custardy-creamy, musty-perfumy, gingery-sharp. It cures depression and anaesthetizes the spine. Single cone: $3.38.

Grits pie at Home Grown Georgia

Available at Home Grown Restaurant
It's not always available and it sounds awful, but this may be the best use of grits ever. Basically, the usual grits are sweetened and blended into a vanilla custard, poured into a pie crust and topped with whipped cream. The dish evokes trailer parks and prison dessert (YUM!). Dig in and thank the Lord for giving us grits to eat instead of dirt. $2.50.
grits pie    pie   

Hot fried peach pie at Dwarf House

Available at Dwaarf House
Who knew dwarfs made such damn good mini pies? Compact fruit pies come in fresh, flaky lard-based crusts, are filled with tart and sweet peaches and fried to order. It's hard to resist the pain and pleasure of eating a pie straight out of a greasy bag before it cools. $2.09
pie    peach pie   

Orange dream star at Sublime Doughnut

Available at Sublime Doughnuts
Yeasty star-shaped doughnut plus tangy orange-infused cream filling plus delicate orange glaze equals doughnut heaven in all its gut-busting, sugar shock-inducing glory. Indulge slowly and carefully. Ah, screw it. Just buy two. $1.75.
donuts    doughnuts   

Pineapple habanero popsicle at King of Pops

Available at King of Pops
There are many pops to love from the King, but none rivals this riot of tropical chill with its slow-burning spicy pepper undertones. $2.50.
popsicles   

Plum upside-down cake at Aria

Available at Aria
The lightest, airiest crumble of spongy cake; the sweet/tart seduction of fresh fruit; the pure bright flavor of a lemony ice cream: This is dessert as spring imagined it. The plum upside-down cake is a seasonal specialty, so get it while it lasts. $9.

Salted chocolate caramel at the Sugar-Coated Radical

Available at Sugar-Coated Radical
If chocolate is an aphrodisiac, this is triple-strength Viagra. Actually, it's better than sex, so don't complicate your life. Skip the sex, take a bite and let the milk chocolate dissolve in your mouth. Note the salty tang, the slight burn in the back of your throat, the luscious caramel. Now hug yourself and say that you love yourself. Two-piece box: $5.
chocolate    caramel   

Strawberry cake at Piece of Cake

Available at Piece of Cake - Buckhead
Your inner fat kid will go bonkers when he lays eyes on this slice of cake that's large enough for a man, but baby pink enough for the ladies. A towering stack of three layers of moist cake is packed with the flavor of fresh strawberries, which fleck the cake with bits of red. Ethereal pink buttercream frosting is both light and sweet without being cloying. The limited availability (April to August) only adds to its allure. Slice: $5.50; whole cake: $23-$34.
strawberry cake    cake   

Strawberry financier at One Midtown Kitchen

Available at ONE. midtown kitchen
It arrives looking almost austere and certainly more conservative than it tastes: a line of cake and fruit cut into a trendy, long rectangle. But on the tongue, any guise of fad disappears. The cake is hot and buttery and melts on contact. The fruit is tart and lively and tastes like pure summer. The only downside is that this dish isn't available anywhere for breakfast. And lunch. And afternoon tea. And midnight snack. $7.
strawberry cake    cake   


Cocktails

Atlanta's ten best mixed drinks

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