Places I'd like to try:
- Au Pied de Cochon
Classic French. I've heard they do a really great Croque Monsieur.
- Biscuits & More
This is apparently a little hole in the wall at 3162 Johnson Ferry Road, but in addition to excellent biscuits, they're known for cheese grits. Mmm, cheese grits.
I can't quite believe that I haven't been to Bluepointe yet, as I've visited quite a few of the Buckhead Life Group's restaurants. Somehow, I haven't made it there. The Asian fusion menu looks promising.
It's supposedly been one of Atlanta's best steakhouses for years. I was quite disappointed with Chops, so I'd like to try this for comparison, although I will be surprised if it is better than Prime.
- Chicken & Waffles
I have wanted to try this restaurant for ages, ever since their fried chicken received acclaim in a Southern Living article in which the author traveled all over the Southeast, searching for the best fried chicken.
- The Chocolate Bar
This one won't be easy for me to reach, but it does sound really good. Roquefort sorbet with sherry and Georgia pecan toffee? Oh, my. Why does Decatur get so many good eateries when it's one of the more inconvenient locations to get to in the metro Atlanta area?
It was named the Best New Restaurant in America in the edition of Esquire magazine. I'd like to see if it lives up to such accolades.
- French American Brasserie
Also known as FAB, this is essentially Brasserie le Coze reincarnated. I was very fond of the cozy BLC, and I hope FAB is more of the same. I definitely want to get here sooner rather than later.
- The Little Cake Bakery
After reading this review in Creative Loafing mentioning the Elvis cupcake - banana cake filled with Nutella and covered in peanut butter buttercream - how could I not want to visit?
- Love Letter Pizza and Chicken
According to the Loaf, 10820 Abbots Bridge Road is the place to be for Korean fried chicken, which is apparently shatteringly crunchy.
- Matthew's Cafeteria
With their limited hours (not open on the weekends), it's pretty much a given that I'm never going to make it to Matthew's unless I take a day off to go there. Even so, it's supposed to be the real deal in terms of an old-fashioned meat and two vegetables Southern food joint.
My heart belongs to Pho 79 for Vietnamese, but I'm such a cheater -- I want to try other places for comparison, just so I can say, "It's not as good as ..." Still, this place comes from the MF folks, so if it's anywhere near the quality of their other offerings, it might be pretty tempting.
- NM Cafe
Formerly known as the Zodiac, I've always wanted to have lunch here. They're known for their she-crab soup, popovers served with strawberry-infused butter, and orange soufflé.
This was recommended by a friend, and the menu looks very appealing. Pork belly with sea scallops? Yum!
TAP bills itself as Atlanta's first gastropub. The web site makes it seem a little enamored with itself, but I have to admit that the menu has some appealing items.
- Ted's Montana Grill
Laugh if you like, but a co-worker of mine swears by their burgers. I figure it's worth a shot.
Places to which I want to return:
I am always worried when I go to Angan because we are usually one of three occupied tables on weeknights. This is good Indian food, and it deserves some traffic! After the passing of our much-loved Maharajah, David and I looked and looked for good Indian food, and we finally found it here. Every single thing I've had here has been good, and they do some things that you don't find everywhere, but my favorite is the dal makhni. Total comfort food.
- Bagel Palace
I never get to go here anymore because it is way over in Toco Hills, but it's one of my favorite breakfasts in Atlanta. Serious matzo ball soup, and terrific bagels, as you may have ascertained from the name.
- Blue Willow Inn
This one is a little bit of a cheat, because they're out in Social Circle, but it's well worth the drive. This place is almost the Platonic ideal of Southern cooking. The sweet tea is perfect.
Okay, a disclaimer here: I know the sommelier. That being said, my friend is seriously talented. The wine list is absolutely spectacular.
- Eclipse di Luna
Although Eclipse di Luna wasn't the first tapas I had in Atlanta, the meal I had at the original Miami Circle location remains one of the most memorable. Even better, they now have a location across from Perimeter Mall, which is a lot closer, and just as solid. It's always packed in the evenings, so either go at lunch or be armed with a reservation.
- Figo Pasta
Figo is an excellent value. I walked in and had attentive service with complimentary bread and olive oil, frequent drink refills, and a portion ample enough for leftovers for a little over $11. The space on Howell Mill Road is airy, but also cozy. I can't seem to locate the picture I took of my artichoke ravioli sauced with wild mushrooms in a cream base, but it was very tasty. Rumor has it that they may be adding a location at the north end, which would suit me just fine.
- Fogo de Chao
The first Brazilian steakhouse in Atlanta, and still the very best, as far as I know, and I've eaten at several.
I don't get to Fuego nearly as often as I'd like. Their Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce is a fave, as well as their totally nommable Dream Dates. It's a comfy place for a cocktail and a nosh, and I never feel rushed. It always pains me that the place is generally near-empty when I go, although admittedly, I tend to go before prime time hours.
- La Petite Maison
This is a fresh one on my radar - we just went there a little over a week ago. They were jampacked at prime time, and service was a bit slow. However, the food was delicious! I loved my linguini pistou, and the charcuterie was very good. If they can get their kitchen-to-table relay straight, this newcomer could establish itself.
- La Tavola Trattoria
A co-worker introduced me to this little gem. Although I still want to try Antica Posta and some of the other newcomers, this is consistently satisfying Italian with a solid wine list. I'd gladly return any time. It was one of the AJC's top picks for 2007, and with good reason.
- Melton's App & Tap
It's just a little pub not too far from Emory, but they have surprisingly good food for a bar. I could eat multiple baskets of their cheese puffs, I think. I don't, but I'm pretty sure that I could if my self-restraint decided to take its leave. :)
- MF Buckhead
The best sushi I have ever had at the time of this writing. I won't go so far as to say that it is to sushi what Seeger's was to other restaurants (I'm sure that Morimoto and Nobu are in that tier of excellence, but I haven't yet been), but it's pretty remarkable. The robata grill offerings, especially the cod, are also a treat. I want to try their other location as well.
- The Oceanaire
I have to admit, I was entirely wrong about this place. In my defense, the menu on their web site at the time looked like it was designed to appeal to ... well, let me just say that those with very unadventurous palates would have liked it; the sample menu has since been updated, and it changes daily at the restaurant. It was quite a pleasant surprise to find a great bar, ultra-fresh seafood, and knowledgeable, friendly, and professional service. I'd be glad to go back.
- OK Cafe
The OK Cafe (my husband and I pronounce it ock-cayfe because we are very silly)! Their veggie plate ... mercy me. I can't make squash souffle that good. I don't know anyone's mama that can make squash souffle that good. I'd sure love to have the recipe, but as far as I know, they don't have a cookbook.
- Pho 79
I'm totally addicted to this place. Yes, it's inexpensive, but it's also the best Vietnamese food I've had. I've celebrated two Valentine's Days here, and I'm glad that our move put us a little closer. If I don't get my Bun Bi Cha Gio (noodle salad topped with slices of fried spring rolls and barbecued pork) fix periodically, I go into withdrawal. If I've had a bad day, eating this always makes me feel better. Seriously, I think the combinations of spices activate endorphins or something.
Prime remains my favorite Tom Catherall restaurant. The trendy yuppie crowd that used to frequent it has mostly moved on, leaving a consistent, solid performer with perhaps the best steak deal in the entire city. The AJC critics tend to get a little snippy about Catherall's offerings, and he'll never be a Seeger or a Hopkins, nor does he aspire to be. However, he is a good businessman who understands his niche, and frankly, I've never had a bad meal at any of the restaurants I've tried in his group. Prime is my dependable go-to choice when I need a restaurant recommendation that my friends will enjoy without me having to worry whether or not I'm scaring them in the process. :)
- Raging Burrito
Remember my earlier whine about Decatur getting great restaurants? Here's another one that I never get to visit. Terrific burritos, though.
- Restaurant Eugene
My favorite restaurant in the city right now. I haven't been back to the Dining Room at the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton since Arnaud Berthelier took the helm (in fact, the last time I was there was under Chef Seeger's watch, so that will tell you how long it has been), so I don't have that for comparison, but I'd still put money on Eugene being one of the best restaurants in the city right now. Chef Linton Hopkins was just nominated for a James Beard award, so it's a pretty safe bet. In my opinion, Atlanta is lucky to have an establishment with such understated elegance, outstanding staff, and consistent quality. And oh, the cheeses. This is the place that put Pont l'Eveque on my personal culinary map to the point that I wished to personally thank the cows of Normandy. :)
- The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead
An obvious choice, but when a really big treat is called for, when civilization is a must ... whether it's dessert in the Lounge, their spectacular brunch, or the near-legendary Dining Room ... well, it's simply in a class of its own, and probably doesn't even need to be on this list because it goes without saying.
- The River Room
It's a little off the beaten path, but we tried The River Room based on recommendations from several of my co-workers, and found it a pleasant surprise. In addition to an award-winning wine list, Chef Joseph Rahme delivers the goods. The scallops are cooked and seasoned immaculately. If I had $5 for every overcooked scallop I have eaten in my life, I'd have enough to buy my own chef to cook them properly. These were delicious. The Australian lamb is exactly the way that lamb is supposed to be. Portions are generous as well. The only thing I'd skip is the bar: it's pretty hard to screw up a Belvedere martini, but the bartender that night apparently had a very liberal hand with the vermouth. I'm spoiled, though, because my husband seriously makes one of the best martinis in Atlanta. Honest.
- Sushi Huku
It was the best sushi I'd had in the city before I found MF Buckhead, and it's still well worth a trip.
You can read about my experience here. I still want that eggplant.
I'm sure I'm forgetting someplace important, but this is a start.