The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Rina at Avalon, Fluffy Fluffy, and Bar Blanc

Rina takes its Israeli fare to the suburbs, internationally renowned pancakes come to Duluth, and what you'll find at Little Sparrow’s sleek sister bar

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The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Rina at Avalon, Fluffy Fluffy, and Bar Blanc
Rina at Avalon

Photograph by Martha Williams

Rina
When an Atlanta restaurant opens a second location in the suburbs, it can sometimes feel like they just clicked copy and paste. Such is not the case with Rina, Tal Baum’s elevated-casual Israeli restaurant, which originally opened on the BeltLine in 2020. The new outpost of Rina, at Alpharetta’s Avalon shopping center, bears some similarities to its older sister. It was also designed by Smith Hanes Studio, and therefore has some of the same beachy charm in its blue and white accents and colorful pennant flags, but is perhaps a little more polished in its suburban setting. Those beach vibes were appreciated on a recent visit during a January day that felt anything but warm or sunny. Rina’s colorful atmosphere sets a fun tone for standout dishes, like the Hummus No. 2, with roasted butternut squash, dukkah, and harissa. The hummus was whipped so smoothly, it made me wonder why the store-bought stuff is even allowed to be called the same thing as Rina’s. The squash topping popped nicely on the creamy hummus canvas. The eggplant sabich, served over lettuce (though pita and rice are options, too), proved a star for this lover of textural variety: Crispy eggplant presented beautifully alongside a hard-boiled egg, fries, sumac-spiced slaw, tangy peach amba, and Israeli salad. The lamb and beef burger, served on a challah bun with herb tahini, also satisfied. But it’s the Israeli street food dishes, like the shawarma and sabich, that really shine. When it warms up a bit, I look forward to enjoying one of those dishes alongside a frozen cocktail. Alpharetta

Fluffy Fluffy
Normally, an international chain wouldn’t be something to write home about, but Fluffy Fluffy is special. As the name hints at, it’s all about spectacularly thick, fluffy pancakes here. The dessert cafe opened in Duluth in December, bringing soufflé-like pancakes to the hungry masses. They may seem like pure Instagram and TikTok fodder—the pancakes come in a high stack, coated in toppings like strawberries and matcha tiramisu in saturated hues—but they are actually quite light and enjoyable. There are other items on the menu, like croffle sandwiches (that’s a croissant and waffle, of course) and a play on Basque cheesecake, but it’s really all about the pancakes. Just be prepared to wait: On a recent visit, it took about 90 minutes to order and receive the pancakes. Duluth

Bar Blanc
While Little Sparrow in the Westside Provisions District runs the gamut of bistro dishes, its sexy upstairs sister, Bar Blanc, is far more streamlined. Bar Blanc opened above Little Sparrow in November, presenting a sleeker, more intimate alternative to the busy restaurant downstairs. The cocktail list is tighter, with an emphasis on the classics, and when it comes to food, there’s but one option: steak frites. It’s actually a three-course meal, with green salad, bread, and the steak frites. The frites are unlimited, though you may want to save room for the decadent flourless chocolate cake. Westside

This article appears in our March 2024 issue.

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