Kamayan Feast at Upper Room
Andrew Bantug launched Upper Room inside Buckhead’s Tomo Restaurant in October 2015, serving classic Filipino dishes like lumpia, or fried spring rolls; adobo-braised pork ribs; and pancit (a dish made with thin noodles), all placed directly onto the table for feasting Kamayan-style (“with your bare hands”). The pop-up moved this spring to Decatur’s Taiyo Ramen, where Bantug is now the executive sous chef. 130 Clairemont Avenue, Decatur, 404-996-6504
Tibs at Desta
Ethiopian cuisine is usually served sans utensils, and this restaurant is no exception. The most popular order is the classic tibs, a stew-like meat dish flavored with a mixture of ground cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, dried basil, ginger, garlic, and chile powder called berbere. The workhorse of this kind of feast is injera, a sponge-like flatbread that you can use to scoop up your food. The bread tastes slightly sour on its own, but that tang helps temper the spicy tibs when eaten together. 3086 Briarcliff Road, 404-929-0011
Shack-tastic Platter at Crawfish Shack
This boiled seafood feast, which can be ordered to serve up to four diners, comes to your communal table in a large metal bowl. That’s as fancy as it gets here. (Wait—there’s also a red-checkered tablecloth.) Chef-owner Hieu Pham grew up spending summers in New Orleans, and it shows: He serves snow crab, blue crab, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, corn, Andouille sausage, and red potatoes. 4337 Buford Highway, 404-329-1610
Mind Your Manners
“Eating with your hands makes me think about Yoda from Star Wars,” says Bantug. “There’s no try; there’s only do.” Finish with flan and the lemon-scented hand wipes on hand.
Refrain from reaching across the table—eat what’s closest to you—and use your right hand. Left hands are considered unclean in traditional Ethiopian culture.
Warning! Your hands will get dirty, so collect all drinks, paper napkins, and plastic bibs before you start eating. And make sure you’ve got plenty of elbow room—you’ll need it.
This article originally appeared in our August 2017 issue.