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CityGuide - 20 fun first-date restaurants

Where to get your first-date game on in Atlanta

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Photo credit: Joeff Davis

What makes a place great for a first date? First of all, it should be nice. Not like special-occasion-fine-dining nice (unless you’re into that sort of thing), but somewhere fun and relaxed and preferably a notch or two above your neighborhood Waffle House (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Delicious food is obviously the goal any time you go out to eat, but good, strong drinks and engaging ambiance are of particular importance when navigating the potentially awkward first-date situation. It’s all about the experience. A place with games like bocce ball or ping-pong can help break the ice, and outdoor seating or quirky décor can help provide spontaneous talking points to alleviate any weird lulls in conversation. Last but not least, the place should probably be lively, with lots of people around, just in case your date happens to be a stranger from the Internet. Not judging, but safety first!

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UPDATE: Alfredo's permanently closed on April 25, 2016 after 41 years in business. Vintage, Italian-American cuisine is alive and well at Alfredo's. The Cheshire Bridge Road institution has been serving up that old-style, heavily cheesy, tomatoey cooking for more than 40 years. The restaurant's thro... | more...

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Neapolitan-style pizza made with essential ingredients from Italy and sustainable meat and produce sourced from community farms. | more...

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This neighborhood gastropub built in a refurbished filling station formerly known as Young Augustine's is a neighborhood favorite for its vast beer selection, laid-back atmosphere, and oh-so-sweet menu offerings, including the short rib grilled cheese and pimento cheese BLT sandwiches. | more...

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This outstanding neighborhood pub, complete with an upstairs Belgian bar that has potent brews on tap, offers roughly 215 beers. The menu’s beer descriptions are humorous and approachable. The service is so friendly, no one will look you askance if you simply order a bottle of Sweetwater 420. | more...

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This Castellucci Hospitality Group restaurant offers up Basque cuisine. Located between France and Spain, the Basque region draws equally on both nation's culinary traditions. The menu consists of smaller, tapas-style dishes and larger racciones, created by Landon Thompson, from the restaurant group... | more...

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Flip Burger Boutique is Richard Blais' first project since leaving Tom Catherall's restaurant Home, where he stopped by for a while after almost winning Bravo's "Top Chef." The restaurant's mission is contained in its catch phrase: "fine dining between two buns." | more...

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Chef Kevin Gillespie’s dim sum-style restaurant in Glenwood Park serves rustic, New American cuisine from carts and trays making their way around the dining room. | more...

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Looking to drink yourself under the table under the city? Since the late 1980s, this subterranean restaurant billing itself as Virginia-Highland's oldest steakhouse has churned out what are considered some of Atlanta's best martinis (they come with a "sidecar" — a little extra shot of booze). | more...

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An arcade for grown-ups in Old Fourth Ward. Joystick Gamebar features lively bar bites (via its innovative Kitchen Incubation Program), creative cocktails, and a collection of vintage games. | more...

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Located on the ever-expanding Westside, Ormsby's is a favorite of locals looking for an extensive craft beer list and a unique gastropub menu. There's also a downstairs game room with bocce ball, shuffleboard, billiards and more. | more...

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Polaris sits atop the Hyatt Regency and makes a 360 degree rotation every 45 minutes. Executive Chef Martin Pfefferkorn serves a menu influenced by Southern cuisine, and guests may enjoy the sky-high bar, as well. | more...

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Japanese public house serving sushi, sashimi, noodles and more. Shoya's encyclopedic menu, spread over seven crowded pages, will either send you into a rapture of excitement or cripple you with indecision. Dishes tend to be surprising. Order away and see what shows up. | more...

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Around for more than 30 years, this boisterous, no-frills seafood shack has a wrap-around bar and outdoor seating. The draw here is the steamed shrimp and lobster sold by the pound in aluminum bucket with tangy beer butter. | more...

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Ford Fry's intown Tex-Mex eatery serves Austin, Texas-influenced fare cooked partly on wood-burning grills. Superica offers an indoor/outdoor patio with a bar and stage for live music. Expect to see tamales, enchiladas, tacos, and margaritas on the menu.

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UPDATE: The Midtown location at 1180 Peachtree St. N.E. closed on May 20, 2018.

The popular gastropub has reopened at a new location in Harstfield-Jackson International Airport, Concourse D.

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The overt country-club feel meshes with a distinct undercurrent of mellow booziness at this Southern-style restaurant that stands out from its surroundings on one of Midtown's seediest strips. Don't be daring. Go for the basic meat-and-two and choose the hot vegetables for sides. The fried chicken i... | more...

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Excellent pool tables (and other games), big-screen TVs, some of the best bar food in Atlanta; a true local brewpub. Besides brewing its own beer, Twain's also features a sturdy kitchen, with a menu that ranges from pub-food standards like wings, chicken strips and a variety of satisfying burgers to... | more...

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The cinematic chaos and glamour of Two Urban Licks draws a decibel-shattering crowd eager for rambunctious dining and willing to sit out the long wait just for the youthful exuberance that fills the restaurant. For the best dining experience, stick to the appetizers and small plates. Outdoor bocce c... | more...

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Victory Sandwich is a hip bar known for its Jack and Coke slushies, ping-pong table, and a selection of cheap-but-tasty little sandwiches that cost $4 each. The menu changes somewhat regularly, but you can usually count on favorites like the Beast on Yeast (roast beef with horseradish sauce) and the... | more...



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While the Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters, five vowels and seven consonants, dishes with Hawaiian flair can leave you scratching your head. Yet the Hawaiians are on to something when it comes to BBQ, creating the most tender and moist pork using to the islands’ traditional kālua (KA-lua) baking method.

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