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100 Hottest Restaurants 2015
By The Editors | Photo: Angie Mosier | With contributions from Alison Abbey, Wendell Brock, Austin Holt, Stephanie Davis Smith and Chris Watkins | January 16, 2015
Our new-and-improved rundown of the most talked-about restos of the moment!
887 Howell Mill Road | Westside | 404.815.1399 | $8-$24 | @bocadoatlanta | R P
One of the pioneers of the Westside’s now fully fledged dining scene, casual burger joint Bocado keeps it fun and fresh. Expect a seasonally changing menu of modern American eats with an eclectic twist, care of Executive Chef Adam Waller. New offerings include fried quail with shaved celery and smoked paprika honey, and the hamachi crudo with Oregon truffles and foie gras. Talk about inventive! Oh, and there’s that famous burger topped with melted American cheese and housemade pickles. The best in all of A-Town? We’ll let you decide. Top it all off with a rum-filled Super Tuff or the tequila-driven Shadow Bandit, and you’re in for one wild night.
42. Eclipse di Luna
Multiple locations | $6-$20 | @eclipse_di_luna | R P F
You know how you love to try a bite of each person’s plate at dinner? This place specializes in that. Seasonal small plates allow you to eat outside the lines—try a couple of Spanish-style tapas, like a few dates with chorizo wrapped in bacon or some lightly fried Chesapeake oysters. With live music and dancing every night as a backdrop, the atmosphere is en fuego. Mondays are all-you-can-eat tapas for $18. Any other night of the week, spring for the traditional Spanish paella for the table. Your mom taught you to share—now you can put it to practice.
43. TWO Urban Licks
820 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE | Old Fourth Ward | 404.522.4622| $21-$34 | @2urbanlicks | R P
Long before we were introduced to the wood-fueled hearth as a fixture, TWO Urban Licks was bringing fire to the plate with chef Todd Stein’s interpretations of classic grillable fare. The grilled flat iron steak with garlic spinach and blue cheese goes with a number of selections from TWO’s one-of-a-kind wine wall, and a talented bar keeps the party hopping. Ever heard of salmon chips? This must-try app featuring smoked salmon, chipotle cream cheese, caper and red onion is all the rage among regular TWO attendees. Oh, and this hip-to-be-remote warehouse prides itself on its double life as a music venue. Music to our ears!
44. Livingston Restaurant + Bar
659 Peachtree St. NE | Midtown | 404.897.5000 | $10-$28 | @livingstonatgt | B R P
Brunch at this Midtown hot spot has become as famed as the building it’s housed in (well, so has dinner, for that matter). This dining room at The Georgian Terrace was named for a former mayor who, we’re informed, knew how to have a good time. That spirit of revelry is carried forth by chef Michael Semancik, who knows his way around signature dishes like grilled rabbit wings with blue cheese grits, and cast-iron oxtail marmalade with raclette cheese. Stop in for a craft cocktail and have a go at the theater brunch buffet, which is fast becoming a pre-matinee tradition.
45. Stem Wine Bar
1311 Johnson Ferry Road | Marietta | 678.214.6888 | $7-$19 | @dougturbush
A true OTP gem, this Marietta resto is one of the surprise hits of the year. Its front entrance is so subtle that it can get overshadowed by its full-size sister restaurant next door—Seed Kitchen & Bar. Order up the menu’s latest hit: the Stem burger. Featuring red wine-braised short rib, pork belly, comte, tomato onion jam and thrice cooked fries, this isn’t your average meat-and-cheese combo. On the tapas side, go with the shaved brussels sprouts with warm bacon vinaigrette, apple, pine nuts and Parmesan. Ever changing high-end, by-the-glass wine selections will keep you expanding your palate each time out. Wine not?!
46. Salt Factory Pub
Multiple locations | $11-$28 | R P
New Executive Chef Jacob Adam Theis (at the Roswell location) is raising the bar—get it?—at this corner gastropub with a serious rep for comfort food. When it’s rainy and cold, the chicken potpie—served in a little witch’s cauldron with a handle—is a tasty Rx. Part of the F&H Food Trading Group (Little Alley Steak, Real Fix Pizzeria and more), the casual OTP go-to draws lunchtime and after-work crowds with exposed brick walls, comfy leather booths and colossal onion rings big enough to be worn as bracelets. Hot tip: Look for a Woodstock location to pop up this year as well.
47. Local Three Kitchen & Bar
3290 Northside Parkway | Buckhead | 404.968.2700 | $13-$29 | @localthree | B R P
First you have to find your way in. But once through the clandestine doorway, you’ll discover surprising fare with witty twists and something for everyone. For him? The Hungry Man, a wagyu Salisbury steak over mashed potato drizzled in mushroom gravy. For her? Albacore tuna noodle casserole with green beans, roasted peppers and smoked gouda. Muss & Turner’s Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner partnered with Chris Hall to become the “local three” behind this upscale resto with the ever changing menu. Expect to be wowed with inventive regional riffs on Southern staples.
48. Varasano’s Pizzeria
2171 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.352.8216 | $14-$19 | @varasanospizza | B R P F
Pizza is competitive business in Atlanta. So, if you want to stand out so far that The New York Times gives you a nod, you’d better make sure your game is in top form. Such is the case with Varasano’s, a tidy and modern pizzeria right on Peachtree. Owner Jeff Varasano’s favorite offering is the Nana’s with Pancetta and light garlic, but we’re also major fans of the Chica Bella pie with mozzarella, ricotta, arugula and a spritz of lemon; and the new veggie pizza covered in eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet red peppers, mushrooms and broccolini. Bonus points for brunching on the patio while indulging in doughnuts stuffed with Nutella.
49. The Capital Grille
Multiple locations | $28-$49 | @capitalgrille | R
Enter the white linen-tablecloth dining room and you’re sure to witness power lunches, first dates and anniversaries galore. Here, sophisticated moments happen around plates of gorgonzola and truffle-crusted dry-aged sirloin with cabernet reduction, or seared tenderloin with butter-poached lobster. It’s just that kind of place. At lunch, if you don’t order the lobster roll with truffle Parmesan fries, you’ll spend the rest of the meal wishing you had. Master Sommelier George Miliotes is the brains behind the brawn of this 300-deep wine list, so don’t be shy in asking for a recommendation. Or try the signature Stoli Doli cocktail. Cheers!
50. Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
3500 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.844.4810 | $9-$46 | @daviosatlanta | B R P
This Phipps Plaza staple is a fave of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. It’s easy to see why: Executive Chef Richard Lee has perfected each meal, from brunch (prime top sirloin with over-easy eggs and sweet-potato hash) to classic Italian dinner dishes (the Philly cheese steak spring rolls and center-cut filet mignon have cult followings). Head in for their Sunday Local for Locals special, a shareable meal for the whole fam, or to sample a glass from their extensive wine menu—the resto invested in a Coravin, a steel contraption that keeps opened wine preserved for months on end. Bottoms up!
51. Three Sheets
6017 Sandy Springs Circle NE | Sandy Springs | 404.303.8423 | $8-$21 | @threesheetsatl | R P
Things are heating up in Sandy Springs, and you can credit Three Sheets. This swank spot packs in a seriously sexy clientele on the reg, thanks to their grilled-cheese dinners, flavor tripping parties starring a miracle fruit that alters the taste of different foods, happy hour five days a week... the list goes on, y’all. Plus, this place loves to party—whether it be a Halloween soiree or a fire-and-ice ball. Head upstairs to the breezy patio for a bite, like roasted duck breast with raspberry gastrique, with one of their signature cocktails, like the English Garden with gin and house-pressed apple cider.
52. Watershed on Peachtree
1820 Peachtree Road NW | Buckhead | 404.809.3561 | $18-$34 | @watershedatl | B R P
This temple to all things Southern, owned by Indigo Girls’ Emily Saliers is a must-try. Stylish downhome Smith Hanes decor (rustic wood finishes, industrial details), and a Sunday Creole jazz brunch, which includes sugar-dusted langue de boeufs (Cajun-style beignets) and pimento-cheese cornbread, are some of the reasons this Dixie darling has us coming back for more. But don’t let its laid-back vibe fool you though; Watershed throws a raucous late-nighter one Saturday a month and its fried chicken Wednesdays are always packed out. Did we mention Jennifer Lawrence has been known to frequent this spot a time or two?
53. 10 Degrees South
4183 Roswell Road | Buckhead | 404.705.8870 | $21-$38 | @10degreessouth | R P
If you haven’t been to restaurateur Justin Anthony’s hot spot 10 Degrees South lately, you’re in for a surprise. Interior designer Kelly Wolf Anthony (Justin’s wife) has transitioned the look of the venue into a more modern yet still cozy place to grab a bite. We dig the new look, and, as always, are head-over-heels for the menu. Ostrich medallions are pan-seared with wine and rosemary sauce for a sultry sweetness—a baseline for the native flavors the menu playfully touts. Speaking of which, the South African wine selection is the best in town and don’t miss small plate faves like the peri-peri chicken spring rolls and lollipop lamb chops. Jambo!
54. Cuts Steakhouse
60 Andrew Young International Blvd. NE | Downtown | 404.525.3399 | $11-$39 | @cutsatlanta | R P
Owner Muzo Saritas has impressive credentials as a hotel manager and restaurateur, all of which he pours into this much-welcomed Downtown steakhouse. The 13,000-square-foot space has a chic sunken dining room with cheeky ceramic deer heads, a designated sports bar and a sprawling patio. Executive Chef Donnie Wicker is bringing a subtle Southern touch to the menu through pecan-crusted salmon with chilled quinoa salad and goat cheese-risotto fritters along with requisite prime cuts and standout steakhouse fare. Now, that’s prime dining.
55. Osteria Mattone
1095 Canton St. | Roswell | 678.878.3378 | $15-$43 | @osteriamattone | R P
What was 2013’s newbie is now historic Roswell’s mainstay. Executive Chef Ted Lahey—who’s also behind sister resto Table & Main down the street—spent 2014 wooing local Italian lovers in to try his classic Roman fare. It worked. Regulars flock here to dip addictive risotto balls into Bolognese sauce and spin handmade spaghetti alla carbonara on their forks. The barreled-wood ceiling and white tablecloths of the quaint cottage are the backdrop for clever cocktails such as the fizzy Sgroppino with lemon sorbet, as well as desserts like budino caramellato. Translation? Salted caramel bread pudding.