The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Breaker Breaker, Grana Dunwoody, and Alta Toro

The BeltLine gets a seafood shack, Grana's Neapolitan pizza and pasta comes to Dunwoody, and a Midtown restaurant serves pan-Latin eats in an exciting atmosphere

The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Breaker Breaker, Grana Dunwoody, and Alta Toro
Breaker Breaker

Photograph by Martha Williams

Breaker Breaker
Walking past Reynoldstown, you can’t miss Breaker Breaker—nestled beneath a massive yellow crane and a repurposed steel canopy. If the BeltLine is Atlanta’s boardwalk, then Breaker Breaker, from the team behind Grindhouse Killer Burgers, is its seafood shack. The restaurant has more outdoor seating than indoor, with counter service on the patio and full service inside. A rooftop bar is forthcoming. Designer Elizabeth Ingram packed the narrow, window-lined interior with aqua blue banquettes, and paid homage to Gulf Coast pier restaurants with wood paneling, plaid curtains, and cheeky touches like a mounted sailfish named Timothy. The menu, overseen by Maximilian Hines (formerly of the Lawrence), specializes in fried favorites and handheld staples, but sneaks in surprising veggie-forward twists, like vegan “calamari” with fried hearts of palm, or crudités with a whipped tofu and lemongrass dip.

Every seafood shack worth its salt has hush puppies, and Breaker Breaker’s are fantastic: crisp, golden orbs with fluffy corn- and onion-flecked interiors, served alongside a Louisiana hot honey butter whose heat sneaks up on you. The pups pair well with a Mucho Nada, a potent frozen concoction of White Claw mango vodka, mango puree, and chamoy, with a Tajín rim. With classic rock tunes pumping, you’ll be transported to spring breaks of yore.

When Pat Pascarella set out to open the second location of Grana in Dunwoody’s Ashford Lane development, everything got bigger—the dining room, the patio, the kitchen. Instead of two pizza ovens like at his Piedmont Avenue spot, there’s one big oven. Bigger may be better—this outpost, which opened this summer, fires on all cylinders as a rowdy yet family-friendly Neapolitan pizza and pasta joint. The dining room invites with parquet-stamped tile and a beguiling mural, painted by Buckhead Murals, of Mona Lisa’s eyes peering through the brick wall. A covered patio offers lots of space to dine alfresco. Standouts here include the garlic bread with mozzarella, the meatball flight—why commit to one ball when you can try all six, including pork with whipped ricotta, traditional beef, and crispy veal?—and the “roni” pizza with pepperoni, pomodoro sauce, mozzarella, and a gently biting Calabrian chili honey.

Alta Toro
I ate at AltaToro in Midtown for lunch, realizing in retrospect that I may have missed out on some of the excitement: This is a restaurant, from 5Church owner Ayman Kamel, that also serves up live music, flamenco dancers, and a “fire show” a few nights a week, and whose outsize spirit is captured in a gigantic colorful metal tree that dominates the dining room. (“We’re going to feed all your senses,” Kamel told Atlanta magazine prior to opening. “Your eyes, your ears, your taste, your soul.”) Slightly more sedate though it may be, the midday meal was still excellent. With plenty of small plates, tacos, empanadas, and more, the pan-Latin menu is made for sharing: My companion and I snacked on a beautifully plated ceviche in tangy passion fruit leche de tigre, served with plantain chips; cactus tacos with spicy, richly colored salsa macha; tender pupusas topped with chicharrón en salsa verde; and an elegant, perfectly cooked salmon entree with almond–celery root puree. The nighttime menu grows somewhat, with heftier offerings like Veracruz-style baked whole red snapper and seafood paella for two. In August, AltaToro (whose name suggests a powerful bull) began doing an equally enticing weekend brunch: churro waffles, chilaquiles, huevos con carne, and so on.

This article appears in our November 2023 issue.