Best of Atlanta 2014 Food & Drink
For 15 years, Kathryn King has shown remarkable confidence and technique in one of Atlanta’s most consistent kitchens.
Intimate and jolly, Atsushi Hayakawa’s counter is a magnet for the Japanese community and for true lovers of exquisitely fresh nigiri sushi paired with some of the best sake in town.
For those looking to break from the usual restaurant ritual, Kevin Gillespie’s corner in Glenwood Park is the answer.
Fourteen years ago, Hugh Acheson opened his flagship restaurant in the college town of Athens, and today, it still cranks out the engaging, thoughtful food we’ve come to expect from him.
Since 1979, Buckhead suits have filed into our city’s oldest steakhouse for deftly seared rib-eyes, polished waiters in starched whites, and a 20,000-bottle wine list that even has a magnum of the cult wine Screaming Eagle.
One part grocery store and one part food court, this Duluth market is a magnet for the local Chinese community.
Give yourself over to the masters behind the brew bar, where baristas—who look too cool but are actually helpful—serve seasonal, single-origin brews.
At an institution that seems a lot older than it is, co-owner Kevin Clark provides an invaluable sense of place and history with classics that highlight our city’s roots.
Four days. That’s all it took for Gomez to rebound after locking the door to Cardamom Hill, which attracted national attention but not enough local allegiance.
Once a quiet sushi bar in a Vinings strip mall and now a glittery mecca in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Tomo is the one place to indulge in a multicourse omakase, which you must order five days in advance.
We aren’t surprised that a bunch of alums from Brick Store Pub and Leon’s Full Service are causing a ruckus—locally and nationally—in a remodeled train depot in Decatur.
Think brunch is boring? Tell that to Robert Phalen, who tops fluffy biscuits with fried chicken and a rich sausage gravy and nestles soft-poached eggs in a bed of curried chickpeas.
In a city obsessed with local ingredients, Billy and Kristin Allin are our shining stars from their charming nook in downtown Decatur.
Because it feels so hip and modern, it would be easy to assume that Meherwan and Molly Irani’s Indian restaurant in Decatur (an offshoot of their Asheville location) caters to Westerners. False.
Before there were fitness nuts running on a ribbon of concrete, there was Kevin Rathbun and his modern steakhouse luring crowds to the Old Fourth Ward with dry-aged rib-eyes and lobster tails.
You haven’t lived until you’ve grilled your own meat tableside over charcoal.
It’s easy to get lost among the bustling shopping centers of Buford Highway, so look closely to find traditional Korean fare like barley bibimbap, seafood pancakes, and a hearty pork neck soup.
Vegetarians and meat eaters alike have long relished the wonderfully aromatic stews and vegetables (red lentils, collard greens, tomatoes) served with spongy injera bread in this Druid Hills staple.
Until Angus Brown, Nhan Le, and Duane Kulers opened a punk fine-dining spot on So Ba’s back porch, the only after-hours options available to chefs, musicians, and night owls were greasy fast food joints.
Few restaurants get better with age, but as Linton and Gina Hopkins celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their flagship venture, it’s clear that they’ve become an exception. In an intimate setting that exudes confidence and class, the ever-evolving menu is an exercise in Southern pride and original cooking.
Bruce Logue’s passion for pasta is impressive: He hand-cuts and extrudes his own and marries it deftly with Calabrian chiles, red shrimp and scallions, or wild mushrooms and Tuscan kale kimchi.
Marriage proposals, anniversaries, graduation dinners—they all happen at Bacchanalia, where chefs-owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison remind us of the dying art of intuitive service and seamless pampering.
Ford Fry’s empire keeps getting bigger, but we remain partial to the oyster bar at his Westside seafood spot.
A righteous burger, crisp salads topped with smoked trout, and a just-plucked vegetable plate ace any other lunch in town.
With aspirations that far exceed the casual deli, Todd Ginsberg has given us a rare dining landmark.
Spicy Sichuan cuisine has just about wiped out milder versions of Chinese cooking.
From its misbegotten Louisiana focus to a dull farm-to-table phase, this Concentrics Restaurants child has seen more change than its Inman Park peers. This year marks its most successful effort: a modern American brasserie in the hands of Zeb Stevenson.
Ford Fry’s most glamorous effort is this tall, sinuous dining room across from Lenox Square that once housed Bluepointe. Local elite meet over solid cocktails for food that evokes the Italian Riviera.
He hasn’t even opened his own restaurant, but we’re already hooked. Stieber pops up in different kitchens and has tenure at Gato, but no matter the place, his cooking exudes both sense and sensibility.
It’s all about the elements at this 100-year-old building that was formerly a Masonic lodge.
Amid the blandness of Atlantic Station dining, Todd Richards’s second restaurant (following the Shed at Glenwood) is a safe haven.
Krog Street Market has found a champion in this Japanese izakaya that pulses with inspired cooking and clubby music.
There’s nothing generic about Atlanta’s only Iraqi restaurant. A lentil soup bright with lemon, unctuous baba ghanoush, and excellent shawarma are just what we wish all Middle Eastern cooking would taste like.
The biggest splash of 2014 came from Angus Brown and Nhan Le of East Atlanta’s Octopus Bar. The new spot enjoys a lofty space, a superior cocktail bar with a proper wine list, a raw bar, and gracious service.