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The Finest 50

We’ve seen it happen before—as the mercury rises, things start to sizzle at restaurants all over the city. We’ve got 50 hot new eateries to consider, well-known favorites that haven’t lost their fire, cocktails and desserts that can’t help but raise our body temperatures and talented chefs who know how to stay cool under pressure. The question is, diner: Can you take the heat?

Hicham Azhari and Fikret Kovac are the power team behind Roswell’s Little Alley Steak, Salt Factory Pub and the newly bowed Opulent.

The Chilean sea bass Yu-an yaki at Umi wrapped in paper and set on fire

 

 

Arianne Fielder of Seven Lamps

Veal tongue and lavender milk-braised beef cheek with blackberries, black bread, smoked beet purée, turnip and pickled onion at Woodfire Grill.

Vingenzo’s stuffed mozzarella

Canoe is a dining scene stalwart.

5 COOLEST MIXOLOGISTS

1. Arianne Fielder
She’s been queen of Atlanta’s craft cocktail scene since she created the first beer cocktail menu in the South and shined at Southern Art & Bourbon Bar. Rather than rest on her laurels, Fielder is busy at Seven Lamps whipping up boozy slushies, playing with a carbonated shaker and cooking up sous vide sippers. 3400 Around Lenox Road NE, sevenlampsatl.com

2. Andy Minchow
A 2013 James Beard finalist, Minchow, formerly of Holeman & Finch, has recently let it slip that he will be tending bar at The Drafting Table in Decatur until his new concept, Ration & Dram, opens. Try Minchow’s scandalous creation, The Dastardly Deed, with St. George dry rye, basil, muddled lime, simple syrup and absinthe. 349 Decatur St. SE, thedraftingtable.net

3. Meghan Wagner
Her love for wine and spirits has had Wagner managing bars from St. Louis to Montgomery. Thankfully the cocktail whiz has found a home as the mixologist at The Spence; drink a dessert cocktail like her innovative Milk Punch and Cookies—spiced brandy, lemon, sugar, whey and white chocolate chip crisps. 75 Fifth St. NW, concentricsrestaurants.com

4. Miles Macquarrie
This barman credits an obsessive mind with his cerebral cocktails and precise technique. After a stint at Holeman & Finch, Macquarrie landed at Leon’s Full Service, where his beverage program has produced hordes (two and three layers deep) of loyal patrons at the bar. 131 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur, leonsfullservice.com

5. Stuart White
This native Southerner keeps the beverage program at Miller Union shaking with eclectic ingredients—blanco tequila, pisco and rum—along with vintage techniques. White’s emphasis on seasonal ingredients has the cocktail menu rotating quickly—so order another round! 999 Brady Ave. NW, millerunion.com

5 FINE DINES

The days of yearlong waits for a booking at one of the prime tables at Nikolai’s Roof high above Atlanta are gone—but there’s no reason they shouldn’t return: The service is exquisite; the wine list, deep (curated by Master Sommelier Daniel Rudiger, whose pedigreed past includes 10 years at Bacchanalia and the Quinones Room); and newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Stephanie Alderete creates pristine cuisine that marries the restaurant’s famed Russian beginnings (osetra caviar, piroshki) with a decidedly modern—and feminine—touch, even in manly offerings of grilled elk loin with Yukon gold potato puree. Wash it down with a flight of the flavored vodkas; sit back; and enjoy one the city’s best nighttime views of Atlanta’s ever-expanding skyline. 255 Courtland St. NE, nikolaisroof.com

Few places in Atlanta exude the bright lights, big dishes served in style that you get at Ocean Prime. This is where high rollers come for the signature cocktails, fine scotch, steaks and fresh wild and naturally harvested fish, and stick around for the elegant service, savvy surroundings and housemade desserts. 3102 Piedmont Road NE, oceanprimeatlanta.com

It’s hard to think of another local restaurant that has reinvented itself more than Woodfire Grill. The kitchen helm of chef Michael Tuohy’s farm-to-table legacy (Atlanta’s first) was left to Kevin Gillespie when Tuohy left for California in 2008. Gillespie had his own Top Chef reign of influence in its ever-evolving existence. Now, Tyler Williams, an Anne Quatrano prodigy, has staked claim. This game of musical toques hasn’t harmed its reputation; in fact, it has only grown. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, woodfiregrill.com

Linton Hopkins’ ode to refined Southern cuisine at Restaurant Eugene has gingerly muscled its way to the top of Atlanta’s fine-dining A-list, one seared okra spear at a time. The intimacy of the dining room and everything from old-fashioned bar offerings to the impeccable wine list resonates as to why, but it’s really Hopkins’ discriminating philosophy of honoring food pathways that has brought this lovely gem so many accolades, including the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast in 2012. 2277 Peachtree Road NE, restauranteugene.com

Bacchanalia—Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s grand dame of fine dining—still exudes an elegance that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere in the city, from fine wine (and the service that accompanies it) to the cheese cart that tempts between the fourth and fifth courses. The two have built a small empire over the last 20 years, but it’s Quatrano’s insistence on fine ingredients and the delicate, well-trained hand of newly appointed Executive Chef Andy Carson that maintain the level of sophistication at this mainstay. 1198 Howell Mill Road NW, starprovisions.com