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75 Best Restaurants in Atlanta: Bacchanalia

6. Bacchanalia

Bacchanalia has defined the way we eat (and where).
Anne Quatrano

How Anne Quatrano has stayed in the restaurant business for so long

“You must embrace change to be a really good chef or restaurateur,” says the Bacchanalia chef. “You have to be flexible, and then you also have to always be positive that the change is going to be better than it was before.”

Snapshot: Meet the breadmaster of Star Provisions

Dorothy Copenhaver walks into the underground kitchen at Star Provisions every morning at 4 a.m. to prepare bread for Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s numerous restaurants.

Floataway Cafe

Restaurants in Atlanta have a knack for latching onto trends and clutching them furiously--much longer than in other cities--until the vitality completely withers. So many tapas palaces opened last decade that I can still barely face a martini glass brimming with ceviche without wanting to replace it with straight gin. I’m beginning to have a similar reaction to Neapolitan pizza.

Anne Quatrano discusses forthcoming Sunday Supper South event

ATL Food Chatter: October 4, 2010 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)On Sunday, October 31, Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison will host Sunday Supper South at Westside Provision, a charity dinner featuring a Who’s Who of Southern chefs (check out the list of names on the website). Modeled after the successful Sunday Supper event held in New York’s Chelsea Marketplace, the dinner raises funds for the James Beard Foundation and the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program. In an email Q&A, Anne Quatrano gave us a quick rundown of the event details:

Bacchanalia

A server at Bacchanalia set down an orb of crabmeat bound in a bronzed coating of breadcrumbs, arranged over splayed avocado slices, and stippled with orange and grapefruit sections. Vanilla beans speckled a shallow pool of vinaigrette at the bottom of the bowl; the maternal warmth of their aroma and flavor calmed the precocious jolts of Thai pepper essence that bounced among the ingredients. Every sweet, hot, mellow, and tingly nuance harmonized with the crab. The effect of the dish was akin to the reprieve after an evening thunderstorm that dissipates the Atlanta summer heat. My heart felt lighter afterward.

Quinones at Bacchanalia

I walked into Quinones at Bacchanalia, glanced around, and realized I was the only fellow wearing a suit. This surprised me. After all, Quinones is the most formal restaurant experience left in Atlanta. Situated on the lower level of the Westside complex that houses Bacchanalia and Star Provisions, the hushed Southern Gothic dining room holds only eleven tables. It serves a nine-course set menu (no choices, but it changes weekly and includes several bonus noshes) that costs $125 per person—$195 if you opt for wine pairings with seven of the dishes. It is a restaurant engineered for lavishness. Why not dress for the occasion?

Abattoir

To Anglo ears, the word "abattoir" has an almost spiritual chime. Without knowing its meaning, one might guess that it refers to a labyrinth of monastic cloisters, or the dwelling of a particularly devout ascetic. But it’s French for "slaughterhouse," the term being derived from the verb abattre, meaning to shoot, knock down, or demoralize. Abattoir is one of the least onomatopoeic words ever adapted into the English language.

Two ATL restaurant power couples ponder new ventures

ATL Food Chatter June 26, 2009In the year that foodinistas chirped about Atlanta’s “pizza wars” (spurred by the opening of Varasano’s and a new Italian pizzaiolo at Fritti), here’s an intriguing possible addition to the mix: Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison are considering the possibility of a pizza spot in the White Provisions building, where their latest restaurant, Abattoir, resides. After a cooking demonstration at Morningside Farmers Market last weekend, Quatrano mentioned that there is a space in White Provisions that is “calling our name.” And though no lease is signed yet, they’ve also been pricing Italian pizza ovens.

Anne Quatrano dishes about Abattoir and the future

Anne Quatrano is the talented chef behind Bacchanalia, widely considered Atlanta’s best restaurant. In late May, she and her husband, fellow toque Clifford Harrison, added Abattoir to their small local empire (they also own Quinones at Bacchanalia, an intimate restaurant-within-a-restaurant; the adjoining gourmet market Star Provisions; and Floataway Cafe in Virginia-Highland). Instead of $75 prix-fixe menus a la Bacchanalia, the new spot features rustic dishes meant for sharing, and many cost less than $10.

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