Best of Atlanta 2015 Food & Dining
Antico Pizza Napoletana may still hold the city’s title belt, but this modest operation in the Irwin Street Market has emerged as a serious contender.
The intoxicating aroma of this soul food institution’s signature dish hits you before you’re even halfway to the front door. With a featherlight crust that flakes onto the table and into your lap, and flesh as juicy as potlikker, this chicken is as hallowed as the restaurant itself, which opened in 1947.
Almost every day, Brian Dulisse folds and kneads up to 120 rustic rounds of sourdough, rye, and other breads by hand.
Inside Sweet Auburn Curb Market, a young couple from South Africa turn out savory hand-held meat pies, samosas, and sausage rolls.
We’re told that the recipe is bestowed upon only one person in Kevin Gillespie’s family at any given time. The story could be full of lard, but who cares—his cornbread triangles cooked in a cast-iron skillet are pure genius.
Cora Cotrim’s charming ice cream carts still show up at farmers markets, but now you can find her every day in a brick-and-mortar parlor in the Old Fourth Ward.
Thanks be to new Watershed chef Zeb Stevenson, who has kept one of his predecessor’s greatest triumphs on the menu.
Don’t let the intimidating pronunciation stop you from ordering these satisfying Osaka-style fries, festooned with pickled ginger, fermented chili sauce, toasted seaweed, and Japanese mayo—all topped with pencil shavings of bonito flakes (dried and fermented fish).
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve had one too many cocktails at Kimball House, where the kitchen closes at midnight. Solution? Stumble across the street for one of James Hammerl’s quirky gourmet hot dogs, available until 2 a.m. on weekends.
No dish captures the genius of Steven Satterfield quite like this unassuming veg plate. Summer finds include lima beans and corn cooked in cream and scented with tarragon, served alongside chunky, crisp fingers of fried okra that snap and crunch like green beans.
Hand-pressed, freshly ground masa dough, vibrant salsas, and tender meat spell the difference between good and great tacos. At this hopping grocer-taqueria, lingua (tongue), cabeza (head meat), and goat come straight from the butcher counter in the back.
Nick Rutherford and Molly Gunn’s narrow tavern in Little Five Points gives bites like salt and vinegar popcorn, hushpuppies with organic applesauce, and fried pickles with pimento cheese serious thought.
When this lunch-only half-pounder from Atlanta’s oldest steakhouse topped our burger list last January, some readers were flummoxed. But we’ve yet to find another patty so loosely ground, so supremely beefy, and so consistently cooked (order it medium-rare, always).
The offal at Linton Hopkins’s gastropub may daunt even the most red in tooth. But muster up the nerve and you’ll be rewarded with delicate veal brains cooked in black butter and capers, lightly fried lamb testicles, and Ossabaw hog head cheese.
The best steak we tasted all year was this dry-aged, bone-in ribeye weighing in at a heart-stopping 2.2 pounds. Served with a Tempranillo bordelaise sauce, the hunk arrives with a crusty, smoky sear and meat so velvety that it might as well be custard.
Is that an original Picasso hanging above your booth? You bet your caviar it is. But despite the abundance of museum-quality art, Atlas is more than just a beautifully designed space. It’s also a wonderful place to dine.
The base camp for the bearded, tattooed masses is this rustic watering hole on the Atlanta BeltLine. That’s not a knock against the place—more like a dress code alert, so you don’t saunter in sporting Vineyard Vines or Jimmy Choos.
Narendra Patel, who ran the magical Madras Saravana Bhavan years ago with his wife, Sonal, has returned to the same location, serving South Indian specialties like crisp, buttery dosas stuffed with spicy potatoes and housemade paneer in spinach sauce.
Calling this place a restaurant almost feels too pretentious, given the bare walls and hand-ful of seats. Still, locals flock to the spare space, where you can BYO beer and wine and order a spread of affordable small plates that include shakshuka with fried egg, Green Goddess tagliatelle, and pork belly on leek grits.
Make a beeline up Buford Highway for the sizzle and spice of master chef Liu Ri, whose pocket-sized restaurant blends the beauty of Sichuan and Hunan cooking.
So many Asian restaurants have all of the allure of an East German subway station. Hat tip to Guy Wong, who turns out terrific Vietnamese and Chinese plates in a setting bathed in French Colonial grandeur.
There isn’t much in the way of ambience at this shack, where the food is served strictly in Styrofoam to-go boxes. But go for the tangy smoked jerk chicken, which comes with a proper housemade jerk sauce.
Wander around Krog Street Market and it won’t take long for your nostrils to encounter the heavenly work of this craft chocolatier. Bar flavors rotate frequently, but recent favorites included Oh Nuts!, with roasted almonds and vanilla-infused sea salt.
Inman Park’s newest bakery isn’t just a place to score sweet slices of lemon pound cake, crumbly Linzer cookies, and savory, eggy scones (try the cheddar and chive).
Russians, Croatians, Ukrainians, Mexicans, and Colombians—they all flock here to shop for the breads of their native countries.
Those who shop at Alon Balshan’s submarine of a store in Morningside might be surprised by the scale of his supersized Dunwoody outpost near Perimeter Mall.
There’s no better place to sate your late-night cravings than Ford Fry’s upscale steakhouse on the Westside.
With one of the friendliest smiles in town, Rusty Bowers doesn’t look like someone who breaks down animal carcasses for a living.
Since last November, Fry has launched four restaurants—including his first in Houston, State of Grace—with another three slated to open by 2016.
This Griffin native made his rounds in local kitchens, from Rainwater to Murphy’s to Parish, before joining Ford Fry in 2013: first as the chef de cuisine at JCT Kitchen and, more recently, behind the wood-burning ovens at King + Duke.
Along a narrow strip of asphalt just behind Perrine’s Wine Shop and Yeah! Burger, this Sunday-only market launched last May, featuring Golda Kombucha, breads from West Egg, and fresh produce from vendors like Cosmos Organic Farm and Honeycreek Mushrooms.
From local tomatoes with coffee vinaigrette to wild catfish with oyster mushrooms, you can always count on something quirky and colorful from Jarrett Stieber, who operates this weekend pop-up out of the tiny kitchen of Candler Park’s Gato.
This is a buffet with class, where fluffy eggs and biscuits coated in fennel sausage gravy are often served alongside fresh batches of “Rocky Road” pancakes, triangles of lemon custard French toast, and hoppin’ John with braised Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork.
Toys, a self-service wine station, and orders that come out faster than your two-year-old can say “more snacks!” mean Riccardo Ullio’s Italian outpost is about as family-friendly as a restaurant that doesn’t serve corn dogs can get.
For a neighborhood that has always been short on healthy food choices, the affordable cold-pressed juices and smoothies at this stripped-down Sweet Auburn Curb Market outlet are a refreshing change of pace.
The front room of this Buford Highway treasure is stocked with some of the world’s finest teas. The friendly, knowledgeable employees will gladly steer you to fine pours like matcha green tea, smoky oolong, or a delicate Chinese white tea.
This ITP expansion of the 10-year-old Roswell-based chain is an oasis of calm in the hubbub of Atlantic Station. The slick marble bar and industrial tables can get packed, but the space is full of natural light.
The Marietta Square coffeehouse stocks a wide array of single-origin beans, from fruity Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to mellow Colombia Supremo Huila.
There are plenty of places to find quality wine in Atlanta, but Perrine Prieur is the only shop owner who can claim to have grown up among the grapes that she sells.
La Fonda Latina is not the city’s best Mexican restaurant—or even the second best. But the Westside location is the closest restaurant to my couch.