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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!
71. Taqueria del Sol
Multiple locations | $3-$11 | @taqueriadelsol | P
Sure, you have to stand in line with all the other Del Sol devotees, but it’s worth the time spent inhaling the scent wafting from the kitchen. Once at the counter, call out your order in a hurry. We suggest a fried chicken taco with lime jalapeno mayonnaise, shrimp corn chowder and a shredded brisket enchilada with pork green chile. If you’ve come with a crew, splurge and get the guacamole, cheese dip and salsa trio, and wash it down with a pitcher of the famed margaritas. Weekly specials—from nutty shrimp tacos to tamales—are never a miss. Take a chance.
72. YEAH! Burger
Multiple locations | $7-$12 | @yeahburger | P F
Celebs like Owen Wilson, Jake Gyllenhaal and Vince Vaughn have all been spotted getting their grub on at YEAH! Burger. Maybe it’s the fact that the fast-casual concept is basically guilt-free with the use of organic local produce and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. Score! January specials include the patty melt, roasted beet salad, and french toast and bacon shake. The selection of hot dogs (go for the Southern dog) and salads (kale, yeah!) are equally delicious options and quickly make you realize this isn’t your average burger joint. Gluten-free vegan burgers on gluten-free buns for the win!
73. Coast Seafood & Raw Bar
111 W. Paces Ferry Road | Buckhead | 404.869.0777 | $13-$28 | @coastatl1 | R P
This seafood fave is from the same Here to Serve Restaurants team behind Noche, Shucks Oyster Bar, Aja Restaurant & Bar and more. The sea-shanty ambience, while casual, still pulls in the well-heeled West Paces crowd, who flock here for its coastal-chill vibe. Chef Quentin Donnaud (who won Food Network’s Chopped) can finesse lemon sole and blackened salmon just as well as he can handle addictive sweet-corn and jalapeno hush puppies. Two patios (a packed one in the front and a more private one in the back) keep the scene Jimmy Buffet song-ready all year long—and the secret iron skillet seafood nachos are worth staying awhile for.
74. Empire State South
999 Peachtree St. NE | Midtown | 404.541.1105 | $20-$46 | @essouth | B R P F
As Top Chef judge and restaurateur Hugh Acheson continues to build his empire (recently opening The Florence in Savannah), his actual empire—Empire State South—remains one of the buzziest restaurants in Atlanta. Pull up a steampunk-esque stool at the bar, and you’ll often find Bar Manager Kellie Thorn standing on the counter reaching for bottles and bitters to make refreshing cocktails like Aesop Sour with gin, raspberry eau de vie, hay sugar and absinthe. On the dining side, Executive Chef Josh Hopkins is serving up fresh Georgia catfish and delectable stuffed quail. Sweeten the experience with ESS’ signature candy plate.
75. Park Tavern
500 10th St. NE | Midtown | 404.249.0001 | $8-$17 | @parktavern | R P F
Roll with the best of them at Park Tavern, where the menu is as exciting as the crowd. A fresh sushi bar churns out sashimi-grade tuna, chef specials like the sushi boat (six to nine of your favorite rolls to share) and specialty sushi rolls like the Piedmont and Dyno-mite. Plus, it’s all half-priced every night from 10pm to midnight! Not a sushi fan? Check in on Wednesdays for half-priced bottles of wine and try a fresh-ground burger like the gorgonzola bleu ribbon, BBQ or sauteed shroom. Finish it all off on the patio with a Peach on the Beach or Easy Does It in hand while you and your pooch take in breathtaking views of Piedmont Park. Aw!
Multiple locations | $4-$11 | @nochevh_atl | R P
There’s a reason this buzzy tapas spot from Here to Serve Restaurants has locations dotted all over metro Atlanta. From the beloved margaritas and Spanish tapas to Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, you’ll be hard-pressed to walk in with a date or group of pals and not have a blast. The Trailer Park taco with queso and fried chicken is nearly impossible to pass up, while seafood ops like chipotle mango barbecue salmon, along with meat-free items like garlic mushrooms, mean there’s something to please every palate. Add daily drink specials and $2 tacos every Monday and what’s not to love?
77. Krog Bar
112 Krog St. NE | Inman Park | 404.524.1618 | $6-$18 | @rathbuns | R P
Lest we forget, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when Krog Street was not the center of the dining universe. Before KSM opened en masse, Kevin Rathbun reigned supreme, and apparently, still does. Years after Krog Bar opened, we still can’t pull ourselves away from the warehouse-chic elegance of the place. Rathbun’s take on high-end steakhouse bar fare beefs things up enough to make this a Friday night one-stop, but passing through the outrageously talented, wine-heavy bar is suitable for pre-game or nightcap too, when it comes to making your rounds on the outskirts of Inman Park.
78. Fadó Irish Pub
273 Buckhead Ave. | Buckhead | 404.841.0066 | $8-$16 | @fadoatlanta | B R P
With World Cup madness at an all-time high this past year, fans found themselves searching for a pub from which to cheer on their favorite team. Buckhead mainstay and neighborhood institution Fadó Irish Pub was the epicenter, and keeps its patrons happy with cocktails and pints of solid beer selections that include local and international faves, and options to mix your own Guinness with everything from Strongbow, to SweetWater 420. Traditional Irish pub fare with a modern twist is front and center with fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and a deluge of $4 snacks and bar bites for happy hour daily.
79. Verde Taqueria
Multiple locations | $4-$8 | @verdetacos | P
It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since Verde graced us with its presence in Brookhaven (and later, with a second location in Westside). But a good taco spot has a way of sticking around, and Verde’s no exception (especially with the recent addition of Chef Joe Macy!). Patio seating in a chill neighborhood over a margarita and a plate of quirky, tasty tacos has long been on our short list for a perfect Thursday night: Experiment with the tofu or calamari variety, but be content in settling for at least one of the pulled pork—because those things are addictive.
80. Buttermilk Kitchen
4225 Roswell Road NE | North Buckhead | 678.732.3274 | $8-$13 | @buttermilkkitch | B P
There’s breakfast all day, then there’s breakfast all day done right. Buttermilk Kitchen falls in the latter category. Suzanne Vizethann (formerly of ADAC’s The Hungry Peach and Chopped fame) upped the ante on ATL’s brunch scene when she opened this quaint spot on Roswell Road. The Mexican scramble and fried-egg BLT are not to be missed, while the weekday lunch menu boasts a Southern-style lineup, such as the pimento cheese starter and signature Brunswick stew. Plus, you’ll never get bored, with a brunch lineup that changes weekly. Current highlights include fried green tomatoes and gingerbread pancakes.
81. Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Road NE | Buckhead | 404.467.8950 | $7-$25 | @sevenlampsatl | R P F
2013’s new kid in town has quickly become a Buckhead must-try. Chef Drew Van Leuvan, formerly of TAP and One Midtown Kitchen, serves up a lobster roll that can’t be beat, while the mussels in white wine with fennel butter and charred jalapenos are to die for. And because Van Leuvan has a passion for pastries, he makes sure his menu includes plenty of decadent desserts, including baked-to-order blueberry pie with sweet-corn ice cream. The cocktail menu is equally impressive, with inventive sips like Effervescent, Light & Refreshing, Boozy & Spirited, Winter Is Coming and more. Drink up!
500 Pharr Road NE | Buckhead | 404.237.2941 | $20-$30 | @pricciatlanta | R
Since cropping up in Buckhead more than 25 years ago, award-winning Pricci has been a staple dining destination for locals and visitors alike, as well as for private dining, soirees and more. Credit it to chef and Milan native Piero Premoli, who landed in ATL after stints in Miami, New York City and throughout Europe. Premoli, along with new Pastry Chef Christian Castillo, is serving up fine Italian eats, including standouts like Zuccotto, a chocolate dome-shaped cake, and day-made artisanal pastas; and inspired sides, charcuterie ops and hearty meat entrees to boot.
83. Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano
1099 Hemphill Ave. NW | Westside | 404.347.3874 | $15-$43 | P F
Giovanni Di Palma, the man who is building his very own Little Italia in the middle of Westside, wants you to know something: His mom made really good chicken. Lemon chicken was her specialty, in fact, and since this is the guy who brought us Antico Pizza, he deduced that he had the street cred to recreate the recipe, with scarcely a dozen others, in the back of his Hemphill warehouse. Family favorites like the incredible scarpiello, with salsiccia, sweet piccantes and cipolline, are made with fresh ingredients imported from Naples. Truly authentic is the name of the game.
997 Virginia Ave. NE | Virginia-Highland | 404.872.0904 | $12-$29 | @murphysatlanta | B R P
This Va-Hi hot spot is known for fresh, inventive takes on American contemporary dishes and a to-die-for Sunday brunch. Chef Ian Winslade’s passion for cooking and his commitment to using only top-shelf ingredients shine through in entrees like Guinness-braised beef brisket and spinach and sausage meatloaf. Come Sunday morning, there’s a line around the block as diners pine for Eggs T. Murphy, and the decadent malted waffle with warm maple syrup, cinnamon butter and fruit compote. Trust us, there’s a reason they don’t take reservations during brunch hours and decided to open Paces & Vine. Sweet success!
85. F&B Atlanta
3630 Peachtree Road NE | Buckhead | 404.254.1797 | $7-$36 | @fandbatlanta | R P
Change is a good thing when it comes to F&B. Executive Chef-extraordinaire Philippe Haddad has turned the beloved bistro’s menu on its head—with a Belgian twist. Housed on the ground floor of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Atlanta, Buckhead, new menu ops include pomme frites, chicken paillard salad and mussels from Brussels. Feeling fancy? Book two days in advance for a private off-the-menu dinner soiree ($120 per person), where Haddad will treat you and guests to a seasonal, four-course French meal paired with Champagne. Sign us up!