If you’re a foodie lover, you’re probably noticing that we’re doing more and more Foodie Guides in addition to our coverage of food/wine events and of course restaurant reviews. We try to curate an eclectic list of eateries, markets, cafes and upscale restaurants where you can find a blend of authentic and local, sustainable, organic and farm-to-table, and dive joints that serve dishes you’ll remember for weeks after your experience. We did an Atlanta Foodie Guide last year which largely focused on the lesser known Atlanta neighborhoods, at least if you’re a tourist who is new to exploring this southern American city. We covered Castleberry Hill, Five Points, Fairlie Poplar and Sweet Auburn, including Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Our focus last year was on Tasting the South, from Appalachia, Barbecue, Creole and Cajun to Gullah and Low Country Cuisine and one of our picks from last year is on this list.
I spent more time in Buckhead (also stayed there), this past Fall, so more of my discoveries are in this trendy chic more popular area of Altanta although I cover some other foodie gems as well, including the Buford Highway Farmer’s market which is a bit of a drive out of town.
Located on Paces Ferry Road in Vinings along the banks of the Chattahoochee, The Canoe is supposedly one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country. While I didn’t have an opportunity to visit it this time around, it’s on my “must-dine” list as I’m dying to taste any of Chef Matthew Brasford’s creations which has earned them a spot on the OpenTable’s Top 100 Best Restaurants in America list. Bravo!
They’re all about farm-to-table New American cuisine in an elegant garden setting that overlooks the river to boot. Imagine unusually creative but southern-influenced dishes, from fresh marinated Golden and Red Beet Salads with Whipped Goat’s Cheese and Candied Walnuts to Smoked Duck Pastrami and Endive Salad and a Quail Egg on the appetizer list to Peppercorn Crusted Kangaroo Loin for something a little different, which they serve with Onion & Olive Jam, Puff Pastry and Black Pepper Agrodolce.
Photo credit: twoforachew.com.
For more decadence, go for Beer Braised Pork Shank, Anon Mills Hominy and Root veggies,Sage Roasted Pheasant with Braised Leg Ragout and Truffle Whipped Parsnip,Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Butter Braised Potato, Asparagus in a Basil Pesto Butter, Pepper Corn Crusted ‘Block Island’ Swordfish,Gulf American Red Snapper, Grilled Duck Breast with Bourbon-Cherry Jus, Rainbow Trout with Spicy Crab Ravioli, Slow Roasted Rabbit with Sunchoke Bacon and Swiss Chard Ravioli or theirDuck N’ Beef Burger with an egg, spinach, pickled onions and Truffle Pommes Frites – wow, right?
We did a tour of the Ponce City Market, which has no shortage of great foodie delights, including a Biltong Bar (South Africans take note). There are countless restaurants worth trying at Ponce City Market that span across a few floors, however we liked the ambiance at The Mercury, so decided to have lunch there on our second day. This 60s-inspired American steaks and seafood-focused restaurant is also known for their cocktails sits in chic, mid-century-style digs. Delicious bites for lunch included smaller portion options like seafood chowder, French onion soup with Gruyere / Emmethaler, mixed salads, a Crab Louie, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Tempura Avocado Fries (yum!), and a decadent Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. They also do cheeseburgers, an old fashioned BLT as well as more classics like Reuben, Club House and Fried fish sandwiches.
While we didn’t try their dinner entrees due to the time of day, their mains are decadent and as you can see, they don’t serve skimpy portions.
One of the things that makes Portofino so special is its location. Imagine authentic Italian dining in a rustic intimate former home but right in the center of chic and upscale Buckhead. Offering an extensive wine list as well, it’s a romantic, great for a couple’s night out spot, and its dishes are delicious to boot. Starters include more comfort style dishes like Butternut Squash Soup in a Mulled Wine Reduction, Veal and Ricotta Meatballs, Eggplant Lasagnette with goat cheese, Steamed Mussels in white wine and garlic or their Warm Goat Cheese with roasted mushrooms, white truffle oil and grilled Focaccia. There’s also lighter options such as Lily Crusted Tuna, Seared Octopus and plenty of salad options.
For mains, you’ll get excited by their Mushroom Ragu with Hen of the Woods and Oyster mushrooms, Roasted Red Pepper Radiatore,Black Spaghetti Vongole, Lamb Bolognese with Rigatoni and their Seafood Brodetto with Tagliatelle, Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Octopus and Lobster Brodo – can you say Divine?
Located at Paces Ferry Place (NW), this gem won’t disappoint Italian food lovers, especially those who want a romantic, old world ambiance.
The Cook House at the W Buckhead
I dined at the Cook House on my first night in Buckhead which worked out well given how late I got in. Still on west coast time, I decided to taste and offer to share with my neighbors next to me at the bar. Located at the W in Buckhead, it’s a nice late night spot as there’s also their top floor trendy bar which stays open till 2 am. With a Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup on the menu, how could I say no? They serve it with curry roasted pumpkin seeds – it had a whole lotta wow!
Buford Highway Farmer’s Market
It’s been around for over thirty years and has provided more ethnic food varieties under one roof than any other single-location grocery store in Atlanta, ranging from Korea, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, West Africa, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Eastern Europe and more.
Del Frisco’s Grille
Some of the bites include cheese steak eggrolls with sweet and spicy chili sauce and honey mustard, Tuna Tartare with avocado and spicy citrus mayo (above), deviled eggs, fire roasted artichokes with meyer lemon vinaigrette and a parmesan-black pepper aioli, lollipop chicken wings with avocado ranch dressing, crabcakes with a Lobster cajun sauce, roasted corn bisque, and Asian Street Bao sliders with pickled daikon and carrot with cucumber, cilantro and chilies. Other choices include shrimp and grits with lobster sauce, chicken pot pie, Tso’s chicken, Baby Back ribs, fish and chips and a slow-roasted prime rib.
They also make a mean flatbread, with choices ranging from roasted tomato with mozzarella and basil, wild mushrooms and fresh fontina cheese with arugula and caramelized onions.
South City Kitchen
Some of the options include She-Crab Soup, Local smoked trout crostini, Pimento cheese with B&B pickles, celery and benne seed crackers, Jumbo lump crab cake with pickled carrots and sunflower sprouts, roasted oysters with fennel cream, charred lemon and andouille crumble, Duck Confit with squash salad, charred cipolini and chili gastrique, Pickled Shrimp with shaved vegetables, pickled jalapenos, and watercress and a delicious Rabbit Liver Terrine with pickled vegetables, apple mostarda and grilled semolina. Also, they have fried green tomatoes with goat cheese, pan fried chicken livers with country ham and caramelized onions, pulled pork BBQ, shrimp and red mule grits, braised lamb with creamed spaghetti squash, Carolina trout with heirloom bean salad and hazelnut romesco and grilled pork chops.
Kevin Rathbun Steak
This trendy, fun place is located along the Beltline in Inman Park, so you can stop by for drinks and appetizers after a lovely walk past murals, nature and take in all that it has to offer, from kids playing to cyclists. The inside is chic with brick walls and cool art and when the weather is warm, you can sit outside on their lovely patio which we did when I was there last month. It has apparently been recognized as one of the top steakhouses in the states — I loved the ambiance inside….and out!!
This elegant and upscale hotel restaurant on West Paces Ferry Road serves artfully plated American food made from seasonal ingredients. Menu tastes and plates includes a wild mushroom soup with leeks and chanterelle mushrooms, a young sprouts salad with Pea Shoots, Radish Sprouts, Parmesan, Housemade Buttermilk Ricotta, Dill and Toasted Sunflower Seeds, Truffle Potato Pierogi Dumplings with Slow-Braised Wagyu, Roasted Carrot, Crisped Parmesan and Herb-Roasted Mushrooms.
A little heavier but equally delicious is their Fettucine Alfredo withUGA Caviar, Créme Fraîche and Lemon Chive, Crispy Gulf Oysters with Panko, Pickled Peppers, Pepper Jelly, Avocado Mousse and Shishito, Lobster Boudin Blanc with a Warm Potato Salad, Green Apple, Dill, Celery Root and Potato Mousseline and a fresh Heirloom Tomato Salad with Honey Wheat Croutons, Mizuna, Coriander Salt, Field Peas, Woodsman and Wife Feta and Moore Farm’s Sweet Peppers. Oh so divine!
Sweet Auburn Seafood
I went here last year and loved it so much it’s back on this year’s list. Located in a neighborhood I didn’t spend any time in on this trip — Sweet Auburn, they serve fabulous seafood, including more casual fare like Seafood Burgers, Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, and an Award Winning Shrimp and Grits. Owner Paul Williams is behind the restaurant and his values are rooted in the south, straight from the soil and lakes of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Classic appetizers include fried calamari, lamb racks, and kale salad with toasted quinoa, strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, raisins and candied walnuts (YUM!). They do have a classic gumbo on the menu although I didn’t have a chance to try it, crab soup with corn and spicy cream, clam chowder with clams and bacon, grilled steak and asparagus rolles and smoked turkey ribs with a mango BBQ glaze.