You can keep your upscale New American eateries with craft beer and fancy cheeseburgers—give me an upscale Latin/Iberian eatery with pisco sours and an entire menu of tinned-seafood products. Owned by chef and restaurateur Humberto Bermudez—one of the folks behind Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points—this airy three-story restaurant opened on Decatur Square in February, specializing in, among other things, the tinned treasures of Spain and Portugal known as conservas. Spicy baby sardines, razor clams, briny Basque anchovies: They’re served straight out of the package here with grilled lemons, crackers, and hot sauce. The only complaint I could think about mustering is that diners have to commit to the full tin, whereas the selection cries out for some sort of sampler platter—a few bites of each. In any event, tinned-fish heads could easily make a fine dinner from this section of the menu alone—maybe with a salad and a Sucio, a martini-adjacent cocktail whose almost meaty flavor comes from a little hit of anchovy brine. The rest of the menu is as breezy as the seaside: citrusy mahi ceviche piled on tostadas, various tacos, empanadas from Belen de la Cruz, and larger plates like lobster tails and a catch of the day. When I visited, I noticed a number of diners tucking into steaming bowls of caldo verde de marisco—a reason to return, for sure. The bar offers mixed drinks from two hemispheres (Fernet and Coke, caipirinhas) plus a good selection of beer (including the hoary Spanish brand Estrella) and wine, mostly Spanish and South American. Like the food, the decor in this cheerful space is nautical without being corny or heavy-handed. 115 Sycamore Street, Decatur
As spring gave way to summer in Atlanta, one of the hottest plates in town was the first item on the menu at this little jewel box of a storefront: the blackened grouper sandwich, the kind you’ll find on menus all over Florida but, like—better than most of those. Better than all of those? The best sandwich in town? I haven’t eaten every sandwich in town, so I can’t say for certain, but this one—Florida sauce, forthrightly spicy pickled peppers, fish that’s equal parts smoky and juicy, served piping hot—must be up there. Fishmonger is the latest from the dynamic duo of Nhan Le and Skip Engelbrecht, who own 8Arm and are joined here by chef-partner Brad Forsblom. In the prevailing style, it is not so much a restaurant as a casual mishmash of concepts: a sandwich spot, a lunchtime hang, an actual fish market—plenty of gorgeous specimens on ice, ready to be sliced up and taken home—and, once the liquor license materializes, a raw bar. At present, the menu is concise and expertly prepared: In addition to that grouper sandwich, there’s a tuna melt with gruyere and pickled onion, peel-and-eat shrimp with “New Bae” seasoning and slaw, peekytoe crab and avocado on sourdough, fresh oysters, and a daily crudo—on a recent visit, velvety pieces of scallop with slices of honeydew melon and crushed pink peppercorn. Big open windows erase the distance between dining room and sidewalk, where a few convivial tables overlook sunny Highland Avenue—it’s not the beach, but who cares? 674 North Highland Avenue, Poncey-Highland
First there was Staplehouse, and then—after a spell—a succession of restaurants appearing one by one, and side by side, on this stretch of Edgewood: In 2021, the superlative Biggerstaff Brewing opened next door; this past spring, Adele’s showed up on the other side of Biggerstaff; they’ll soon be joined, in the next building down, by the steakhouse and seafood restaurant Socu Prime. A regular restaurant row! Adele’s is the second location of a Nashville original, combining California-inspired seasonality with the “rustic comfort” of wood-fired Italian fare, which makes it sound a bit like a Jonathan Waxman restaurant—and indeed, like Baffi and other restaurants in the Waxman empire, Adele’s also does a roast chicken with Italian-style salsa verde, though it might suffer in the comparison; shy on flavor, this one is nothing to write home about. The menu, from chef Hannah Young, focuses largely on meaty entrees—bone-in pork chop with butter cabbage and apple slaw, duck-leg confit, steak with black garlic mushrooms and grilled bok choy—with a few starters and salads, including one particularly refreshing offering composed of sprightly ribbons of raw zucchini and summer squash dressed in an herb vinaigrette. The wine list also toggles between Europe and the West Coast, with a handful available by the glass; cocktails are a bit on the sweet side. Owned by Red Pebbles Hospitality (they’re also behind the pizzeria chain Emmy Squared), Adele’s took the place of an old auto repair shop—it’s a handsome space suffused with light and fresh air, with a patio spilling onto the lively street. 525 Edgewood Avenue, Old Fourth Ward
This article appears in our July 2022 issue.