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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!
56. The Luminary
99 Krog St. NE | Inman Park | 404.600.6199 | $14-$24 | @theluminaryatl | B R P
Among the first to open in Inman Park satellite Krog Street Market, The Luminary is the result of Top Chef alum Eli Kirshtein’s hard work. One part classical French brasserie and one part revived warehouse, the place is streamlined and spit-polished with brass on white. Kirshtein’s menu is a big part of the draw, with interpretations of French classics like duck au poivre, and a knockout croque monsieur. But the bar is in good hands too: Though cocktail architect Ian Cox has moved on, phenomenal newcomer Jeff Banks is at the helm—keep an eye on this one.
1820 Peachtree Road NW | Buckhead | 404.382.8088 | $4-$24 | @saltyard | B R P
This newish Buckhead outpost is a fresh go-to for shared small plates—think heavenly cheddar bay biscuits, deviled farm eggs with bacon and hot sauce, and house-cured salmon chips with lemon-dill mascarpone, to name a few. Pro tip: Call ahead to find out if chef Nick Leahy is serving his crispy Brussels leaves, a tasty twist on Brussels sprouts, that only grace the menu as a special. And to toast the good life, order a signature cocktail like a Swift Kick in the Tito, or pick from the resto’s extensive beer and wine list. Don’t miss brunch either; the mascarpone-stuffed French toast is a must-try.
58. Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub
1410 Dresden Drive | Brookhaven | 404.474.9600 | $6-$19 | @k_pub | B R P F
Owner Joey Riley made his mark as the longtime executive chef at Buckhead Diner before going out on his own to open this beloved Brookhaven bistro in 2010. His righteous mix of Southern (house pimento cheese, shrimp ’n’ grits) and globally inspired dishes (Korean barbecue pork sliders, Berkshire pork pot stickers) is unprecedented in this town. That, and the $13 bottomless mimosas at brunch are exactly why a steady stream of local hotties belly up to the bar on the reg and stake out all-day spots on the patio during sunny days.
59. Cooks & Soldiers
691 14th St. NW | Westside | 404.996.2623 | $13-$32 | @cooksatl | R P
Adding to the Westside’s growing restaurant scene, Cooks & Soldiers was destined to be a winner. Modern, but rustic and adorned with patterned tiles flanked by iron and wood furnishings amplify the worldly vibe. The bar is full of a lush wine and cocktail menu that feeds off inspiration from the Basque regions of Spain and France. Dishes like queso de cabra pintxo with roasted tomatoes and green pepper shallot jam and Spanish octopus with charcoal potatoes are worthy intros. Executive Chef Landon Thompson (formerly, The Iberian Pig) even traveled to San Sebastian, Spain, to hone his skills in preparation. Over-achiever, indeed.
60. The St. Regis Bar
88 West Paces Ferry Road | Buckhead | 404.563.7900 | $12-$25 | @stregisatl | R P
Singles of all ages flock to the upscale environs of The St. Regis Bar. Set against an original mural of a Phoenix rising from the ashes, this dining and drinking destination has shot up our list of see-and-be-seen hot spots. Special cocktail selections include the 2012 St. Regis Special Selection 3.0 bourbon, featuring seasonal notes of eggnog and nutmeg, and the must-try West Paces Mary, the bar’s remix on the traditional Bloody Mary concoction. When the munchies hit order up a lobster BLT (poached Maine lobster, creamy dressing, smoked bacon served with housemade chips), the pork belly banh-mi or French onion fondue. Hello, food coma!
1170 Howell Mill Road | Westside | 404.968.2033 | $6-$20 | @ormsbysatlanta
Most of us remember our first time at Ormsby’s. Intel about this subterranean party hub came through word of mouth: Hey, there’s this place I heard about in the basement of some old warehouse; or, hey, they have bocce, but, like, inside. We keep coming back, of course, for the craft beers and even craftier cocktails at dual bars; for a reliable menu of souped-up pub fare, like the roasted duck breast in mustard sauce; and for long nights spent in the tucked-away game room over a cringe-inducing round of Cards Against Humanity.
62. Bantam + Biddy
Multiple locations | $9-$13 | @bantamandbiddy | B P
Chef Shaun Doty has turned his delicious attention from beef to chicken. He partnered with fellow star-chef Lance Gummere and now B+Bs are popping up everywhere. The concept? Serve regional, all-natural poultry that’s ridiculously juicy (fried chicken and cheddar waffles are a revelation) with seasonal sides (think broccoli farro salad with Vidalia onion dressing). Doty, a celiac, insists gluten-free and vegetarian options abound. Each outpost is slightly different: Crescent and Buckhead locations have an espresso bar; Ansley has $3 sliders on Monday nights; but all haul in Sublime doughnuts on weekends. Sweet!
63. Atlanta Fish Market
265 Pharr Road NE | Buckhead | 404.262.3165 | $15-$31 | @atlfishmarket | R P
This perennial fave serves some of the freshest catches in town, thanks to Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s own boutique seafood company that keeps a steady supply swimming in on the daily. The main dining room is filled with Cape Cod seafood house-style wooden tables and a glowing jellyfish tank. The made-to-order sushi bar serves some of the best in ATL. And having owner I. Pano Karatassos’ retail market on-site means you can order up fresh seafood to experiment with at home. (Though we have a feeling you’ll have a tough time recreating AFM’s signature Maine lobster roll.)
64. Holeman and Finch Public House
2277 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.948.1175 | $4-$19 | @holemanandfinch | B
James Beard award-winning chef/owner Linton Hopkins’ famed Buckhead haunt has been at the top of the ATL dining scene since opening in 2008. The bar gets just as packed as the dining room, thanks in part to the infamous H&F burger—now on the regular menu and available at all times. The chicken liver pate with apple cider gelée and toast is a delicious way to expand your palate, while the carbonara with a farm egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pancetta is elevated comfort food at its best.
1106 Crescent Ave. NE | Midtown | 404.817.3650 | $11-$30 | @lureatl | B R P
A one-stop bait shop for cool drinks and creative catches, here the food is hip and playful without ever being fussy. Highlights include Executive Chef Brent Banda’s pan-fried sole and whole Georgia rainbow trout. Libations are so big, the staff skips glasses and goes straight for punch bowls. Even the names of the drinks are tongue-in-cheek. The Elysian Fields cocktail mixes Hangar One vodka, Aperol, pear liqueur, lime juice and elderflower syrup. Oh, and don’t miss the sweet stuff. Try the warm coconut-guava cake or the citrusy Key lime trifle (these change with the seasons). Stick a yum flag in that!
66. Varuni Napoli
1540 Monroe Drive NE | Morningside | 404.709.2690| $18-$21 | @varuninapoliatl | B P
Old news: the extent to which authentic Neapolitan-style pizza has taken this town by storm. Latest news: how slammed Varuni Napoli has been since it started providing the Va-Hi/Morningside ’hoods with the savory meat-packed pizza Chiattona. In the true tradition of our favorite trattorias across the city, Varuni is stocked with tools of the trade: hardwood furnishing and imported ingredients pepper the bright, streetside venue (venture deeper to the private deck during the warmer months). And lest we forget the man in front of the wood-fired ovens: chef-cum-maestro Luca Varuni comes packed with Antico pedigree.
67. Shuck’s Oyster & Wine Bar
705 Town Blvd. | Brookhaven | 404.846.1777| $5-$18 | @shucksatl | P
Bubbly, oysters and grilled cheese: This popular Brookhaven seafood joint specializes in all three. Communal seating in the small space is on a first-come basis and with $10 PBR pitchers and half-off bivalves at happy hour—plan to get here early. They’ve added a standout hot crab spinach dip and a small cocktail list—Tito’s Dirty Dirty Martini is briny perfection—since opening last year. Pair a dozen specialty shuckers with the deconstructed French onion soup, grilled cheese and prosecco, and you’ve hit the trifecta!
68. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails
270 Peachtree St. | Downtown | 404.524.7200 | $26-$32 | @whiteoakatlanta | R P
Under a pair of colossal Jenga-like chandeliers—made out of wood from the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn.—patrons are drooling over decadent plates of short rib, and monkfish with brown-butter sweet potato at this Downtown spot. Envision a bright, soaring space where the bourbon is plentiful and the crowd is chowing down on New South cuisine from owners Cindy and Alan LeBlanc. Think soft-shell crab, lamb burgers and rock-shrimp beignets. Then, sweeten up with a bourbon pecan bar with milk chocolate and mocha Chantilly. Now that’s some mighty oak.
69. Cibo e Beve
4969 Roswell Road | Sandy Springs | 404.250.8988 | $11-$34 | @ciboatlanta | B R P F
From the owners of Food 101 and Meehan’s Public House sprung this authentic Italian trattoria helmed by the deft hands of chef Linda Harrell. The ai3-designed space takes its name from the boot-shaped country’s words for “food” and “drink.” For cibo, crispy Brussels sprouts with smoked bacon, poached egg and pecorino are the perfetto side to gluten-free lasagna marchegiana with Bolognese. A lighter dish like the minestrone with rigatoni alla vodka is a must-try that never seems to leave the seasonal menu. For beve, live it up and order the Punch Drunk Love.
70. Del Frisco’s Grille
3376 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.537.2828 | $7-$39 | @dfgrilleatlanta | B R P
While the carnivorous cuisine is delicious, it’s Executive Chef Adam Esser’s lighter fare that has us flocking to this Buckhead destination. Ahi tuna tacos with avocado and spicy citrus mayo, and cheesesteak egg rolls with sweet and spicy chilli sauce, are the perfect complement to Del Frisco’s signature VIP cocktail: sweet Hawaiian pineapple-infused Svedka clementine vodka. This winter, we’ll be hitting up the two-story heated patio for new menu additions, such as the fire-roasted artichoke, kale and Brussels sprouts salad, and truffle macaroni and cheese. Delish!