Omnivore - Paul Luna reports his five faves for dinner

Where to eat while Lunacy Black Market goes on holiday


  • Paul Luna and Cynthia Thomet

Lunacy Black Market is closing Jan. 1-18 so that owners Paul Luna and Cynthia Thomet can take a vacation. (They will, however, be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Consult the restaurant’s website.)

The couple sent an email announcing the hiatus, along with a list of five of their own restaurant favorites for dinner. Here it is:

La Grotta, Buckhead — The service is warm and wonderful, the food is delightfully consistent, the wine list is well-varied and sure to meet all flavor profiles. Pricier than Lunacy, it’s still worth every cent—especially, if it’s a date night. They do have a “Stimulus Menu” for those on a budget, which allows you to pick from a limited selection of great starters and main courses at under $25 (price includes a glass of wine).

Elliott Street Deli & Pub — In contrast, you can head to a downtown neighborhood pub that’s a little tricky to find. The vibe, occasional live music and other events are all totally worth curling through some of Castleberry Hill’s one-way streets to get there. Don’t miss the “Graceland” sign and mermaid hanging above the entrance!

Cakes & AleWe had dinner here about a month ago and really enjoyed the clean preparation of all the dishes! We think the culinary techniques are similar to Lunacy’s (we are somewhat partial to the use of olive oils and vinegars, over rich sugars and butters) and lend themselves well towards our preference for simple yet subtly sophisticated dinner fare.

Taqueria del Sol Either the Howell Mill or Cheshire Bridge location will take care of your need for good food at a wallet-friendly price. We both order just about the same thing every time we visit: turnip greens, rice, the Memphis, Carnita, and/or Fried Chicken tacos. Of course, you can’t eat at the Taqueria without chips, guac, salsa and a Margarita!

Hong Kong Harbour We also end up ordering the same two things just about every single time we eat here late at night: spring rolls and steamed pork spare ribs with black bean sauce. Sometimes, we’ll go nuts and order something green, like sautéed snow pea leaves (with their ginger sauce or whole garlic—both ways are good) or string beans with brown sauce. Other times, during the day, we’ll get down and bacchanal with their dim sum. (So many small plates, it’s lunacy!)


Café Jonah Not a dinner establishment, but a great escape for lunch with a nice variety of good, fresh foods, such as salads, sandwiches, psychic readings… Even when it’s grey and rainy outside, Jenny (of Souper Jenny down the street and around the corner) has managed to sprinkle a magic dusting of sunrays that bounce off the paint in the walls. The menu and atmosphere are positively loaded with feel-good.

I feel a little embarrassed that I didn’t include Taqueria del Sol and Hong Kong Harbor on my recent list of top 10 favorites. I eat at both constantly.