Carmel, the newest restaurant from Aziza’s Tal Baum, brings coastal cuisine to Buckhead Village

The restaurant, which is the sixth from Baum, opens May 16

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Photo by Skye Lin, Pinker Times

Tal Baum’s restaurants are getting broader in scope. She opened Israeli spot Aziza on the Westside in 2019, followed by the more casual Rina along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. She also founded Ponce City Market Italian restaurant Bellina Alimentari and takeout spot Falafel Nation. Most recently, she launched Atrium in early 2022, serving “modern American cuisine” inspired by Baum’s travels. On May 16, her sixth restaurant opens in Buckhead Village. Named Carmel after her daughter and her family home in Mount Carmel, Israel, the restaurant will serve coastal fare.

“It started as a love letter to the coast,” Baum says. “It’s light and airy and welcoming. We want to bring you that sensation of liberation and relaxation [you get] when you’re on the coast.”

Roasted octopus in chile broth

Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant Group

Roasted cabbage with onion fondue

Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant Group

Baum grew up on the Mediterranean coast, but the menu at Carmel won’t stick to a single region. Instead, it will incorporate favorites from the Yucatan Peninsula and the California shore, too. Baum collaborated on the menu with executive chef Luis Guevara Salgado, who previously led the kitchen at Aziza. Salgado grew up on the coast of Acapulco, Mexico, and brings seafood expertise to the restaurant.

Dinner will be served nightly with a focus on small plates and shared dishes cooked over a wood-burning hearth. Expect lobster cannelloni, whole snapper with house-made tortillas, and vegetable-forward sides like cauliflower with brown butter, anchovy paste, and garlic confit. For lunch, offerings will be lighter and include salads and bowls. Sunday brunch will feature crab fritters, toasts, tostadas, and ceviche. Late-night bites will be available at the bar on the Friday and Saturday evenings, while a DJ spins tunes.

Mario’s Modern Mix (pisco, brandy, pineapple, lime, and vegan foamer)

Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant Group

Welchman Hall Spritz (spicy mezcal, grapefruit, lime, dry sherry, American Aperitivo, and bubbles)

Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant Group

Oliva Restaurant Group beverage director Demario Wallace and Carmel bar manager Baylee Hopings designed the cocktail list with a focus on Latin American spirits (rum, pisco, and mezcal). “Its Old World meets New World. We’re trying to be playful while keeping things familiar,” Baum says. Look for the Basque to Baja, made with Baja Blanc, passion fruit, Bimini, gin, and sloe berry, and the Nahua Daiquiri, made with a rum blend, yellow pepper, and lime. With the rise in sober- or sober-curious diners, every cocktail will be offered in a zero-proof format as well. Wines will highlight organic and sustainable producers from the Pacific Coast, as well as Chile, France, and Italy.

When Baum designs a restaurant, she lets the space, the neighborhood, and the people dictate the concept. “I go inside the space, close my eyes, and envision what could work there,” she explains. She realized Buckhead Village needed something less formal than its existing restaurants—”something more relaxed, yet elegant and refined. Those terms lend themselves to that coastal feeling,” she says.

Caviar potato pave

Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant Group

As with all her restaurants, Baum worked closely with Smith Hanes Studio to set the mood for the space. They landed on hand-textured plaster walls, a rattan-wrapped bar, and warm woods. The bar backsplash is tiled in amber with a large window opening onto the patio sidewalk. In the dining room, green velvet banquettes and leather armchairs provide comfortable seating options. Three sculptural niches offer a bit of privacy.

“I’m grateful to have such an amazing large team behind me,” Baum says. “At the end of the day, I’m a storyteller. Each of my restaurants tells my personal story. The team carries on my vision.”

Reservations are now available on Carmel’s website. Once Carmel is up and running, Baum intends to turn her attention to expanding Rina, starting with an Avalon location in the fall.

Donuts di frutta

Courtesy of Oliva Restaurant Group

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