No. 1: Bacchanalia - 50 Best Restaurants - Features - Atlanta Magazine

No. 1: Bacchanalia

In the midst of Atlanta’s decimated fine-dining terrain, Bacchanalia, sturdy in its converted Westside meatpacking plant, reigns as monarch. Chefs-owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison safeguarded its survival by connecting to a broader audience than did lofty, defunct sovereigns like Seeger’s and the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Bacchanalia is one of the most tongue-in-cheek spaces in the country for an upscale restaurant: How can you feel uneasy about the modern art and the starched linens when mustard-colored concrete blocks, reminiscent of a public high school cafeteria, form the walls?

Locals embrace Bacchanalia, but it also acts as a gracious ambassador for the city. The four-course prix fixe menu—a celebration of the seasonal and a local reinterpretation of the American culinary revolution ignited in California—makes a knockout first impression. Go classic with foie gras au torchon styled with peach, honey, and brioche (paired with a Sauternes, natch), and then move into gutsier territory with a salad of Flat Creek Lodge’s nutty Georgia Red cheese tangled among pole beans, hazelnuts, flecks of country ham, and pickled shallots.

I wish more edginess surfaced in general. Being a leader bears responsibility. Bacchanalia indeed offers the city’s most memorable dining experience, but the kitchen needs to push itself beyond the safe zone into which it sometimes falls. Why were rainbow trout and Scottish salmon the only fish options at a recent meal? Boring. And the combination of beets and goat cheese appearing twice on the menu (as salad and as agnolotti filling)? Tired. A high-end destination in these times needs to please the masses, but our luminary restaurant also must drive the culinary conversation for those of us looking to be surprised, intrigued, and educated.

What to Drink
The restaurant's "beverage journal" lists cordial Southern cocktails like mint julep or a Pimm's Cup, but a glass of Champagne starts this meal with more sense of occasion. Every appetizer, starter, and dessert comes with a by-the-glass wine pairing suggestion; a much-expanded wine list covers every budget.

1198 Howell Mill Road, 404-365-0410,
Photograph by Alex Martinez

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  1. ElizabethFlorio posted on 10/07/2011 11:10 AM
    That may be the prettiest plate I've ever seen.
  2. rockptc posted on 11/28/2012 12:26 PM
    Very pricy. Food is good, but I wasn't blown away. Atmosphere was nice, but not cozy. Staff was efficient and knowledgeable, but almost too attentive - borderline hovering. Portions are small, but did not walk away hungry. $25 corking fee.
  3. DJ posted on 05/04/2013 04:12 PM
    A bit pretentious and giving the impression that one should be greatful for dining in their establishment.
    Been to the restaurant 3 times and was never "that" impressed.
    A little annoying having a twenty or thirty-something serving me with a culinary "holyer than though" attitude.
    Need to lighten up and be friendlier and REALLY focus on the food. Not the fad.
  4. Janet Hall posted on 08/23/2013 09:34 AM
    We had an absolutely fabulous time at Bacchanalia @StarProvisions last night Summerland Farm Egg was third of the a five-course meal we enjoyed there.
  5. Lenny posted on 11/16/2013 05:51 AM
    I miss Seagers!
  6. Brian posted on 02/04/2014 01:16 PM
    I think that people sometimes get sucked into the self-importance of a restaurant, and are tricked into thinking it is amazing. That is the case with Bacchanalia. It is extremely pretentious and over-priced. The food is good, but not best-in-Atlanta good. Also, you will leave hungry, and with an empty wallet.
    I just don't get what people see in this place.
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