Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
El Super Pan
After a series of pop-ups and a stint at the now-closed Abattoir, Hector Santiago is running his own kitchen again—this time in a stall at Ponce City Market. Inspired by the Spanish Caribbean, El Super Pan reintroduces the Latin flair that Santiago showcased in the Highlands at Pura Vida, which closed in 2012. Go for Cubans like the Cubano mixto, packed with roasted pork, ham, and salami and served on stellar bread shipped in from La Segunda Central Bakery in Tampa, Florida. The medio dia—featuring adobo roasted pork, chicharròn, and pineapple-habanero mustard—comes on custom bread from H&F Bakery. Daily specials include pork belly buns and sancocho, a rich Colombian chicken soup. 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 404-600-2465.
One doesn’t just walk into this high-end cocktail lounge from the owners of Umi a few doors up. Reservations are required (email email@example.com), as is a secret code for a keypad by the unmarked front door. What’s inside? Dramatic, shadowy lighting that highlights the lustrous copper bar, art by Todd Murphy, and Japanese-inspired cocktails served in Baccarat glasses. Award-winning New York bartender Shingo Gokan collaborated with our own T. Fable Jeon on the cocktails, like the Sakura—made with Junmai sake, pickled plum vinegar, and dried cherry blossoms—and the intoxicating Toryufu made with white truffle, pear vodka, and grapefruit tonic. Select nibbles are available, including scallop tiradito and box sushi with butter-poached lobster. 3050 Peachtree Road.
Allen Suh, who led popular ramen pop-ups at Gato in Candler Park, has found a fittingly low-key spot in East Atlanta from which to explore the fun side of Korean cuisine. Sophisticated renditions of classic dishes—like Korean barbecue (tender short ribs, luscious pork belly) and ssams (wraps made with kimchi and pork trotters)—sync with the modern, joyfully punk decor. Ask your server about bar favorites like soju, Korean soft drinks, and even makgeolli rice wine. 491 Flat Shoals Avenue, 404-835-2126.
Porchlight Latin Kitchen
Rathbun Steak’s former executive chef Andre Gomez draws on his Puerto Rican heritage at this friendly spot in Smyrna. From the bar, peer into the open kitchen and you might spot a whole roasted suckling pig. Tables are packed closely together, the better for you to catch a waft of your neighbor’s plump beer can chicken burrito; torta stuffed with housemade bacon, brisket, and roast pork; or sofrito mac and cheese with pork rind crumbs. The star order is Gomez’s “can can pork,” a massive cut that extends from the loin to the belly, which is grilled and then fried for the
ultimate crunch. 300 Village Green Circle, Smyrna, 678-309-9858.
Update: Fritti (★★★★ – Good)
Riccardo Ullio opened this sleek, high-energy pizzeria in 2000—long before Inman Park became an exclusive enclave of pricey apartments, fine restaurants, and the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Still, some things never change. For 16 years, Fritti has been consistently packed with locals who come for mushrooms fried in rice flour, arancini stuffed with sausage, and pleasing Neapolitan pies crisped in a wood-burning oven. Just like Ullio’s Novo Cucina in Dunwoody, the kitchen moves fast; the food can arrive almost as quickly as the drinks. Although better pies can be found elsewhere, there’s no better source for Italian vino, as Fritti offers a comprehensive list similar to its next-door sister restaurant, Sotto Sotto. 309 North Highland Avenue, 404-880-9559.