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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!
Multiple locations | $5-$11 | @tmacrestaurants | P
There’s nothing like sports and a cold beer—and T.MAC (formerly Taco Mac) has one of the longest brew lists in the city. Settle in early to catch the game on a slew of HDTVs; log in to your Brewniversity app (where you can keep track of all the suds you’re sipping... or downing); and order up some wings in new flaves like sweet chile sesame, cracked pepper cayenne or fiery chile citrus. Or sink your teeth into the new bacon cheddar ranch burger featuring housemade ranch and a toasted brioche bun. Plus, the more brews you try, the better. Hit 125 different tastes and you’ll be dubbed a Brewniversity Bachelor and receive rewards on your suds. Drink up!
87. Bistro VG
70 W. Crossville Road | Roswell | 770.993.1156 | $7-$38 | @bistrovg | R P
An enduring epicurean outpost, this OTP gem was opened by Christopher and Michele Sedgwick in the early ’90s. Not afraid to update, the couple has changed with the times and, a few years ago, gave the space a modern East Hamptons-inspired update. Executive Chef Jesus Velasquez kept the beloved crabcake and white bean soup with truffle oil from the resto’s early days but has crafted new faves like hand-cut steaks, fresh fish features daily, sea scallops with rock shrimp risotto, wood-fired pizzas and roasted oysters. The only thing that never changes? The bar spills out a lively scene almost every night.
88. Meehan’s Public House
Multiple locations | $8-$20 | @meehanspubhouse | B R P F
When you’re opening the fifth location of a concept, one could say that you’re pretty well-liked in the community. And that’s exactly the route 101 Concepts Irish tavern institution, Meehan’s Public House, has taken with spots for Guinness revelry and bangers and mash happiness in Downtown, Vinings, Atlantic Station, Sandy Springs and now Buckhead. Classics like fish and chips, lamb stew and the traditional Irish breakfast (be sure to chase this one with the Irish breakfast shot) shine, while late night bar fare includes spicy peach buffalo wings and pork/bacon sammies to keep the party going into the wee hours.
89. Nan Thai Fine Dining
1350 Spring St. NW | Midtown | 404.870.9933 | $18-$36 | @nanthaiatlanta | R P
Garnering a AAA Four Diamond Award eight years in a row is a ridiculous feat, but Charlie and Nan Niyomkul have done it again. It’s no surprise, really, when even native Thai guests declare dishes such as the larb kai—cooked minced chicken with ginger, lime, mint and roasted sweet-rice flavor—the best they’ve ever eaten outside their home country. #TrueStory. When not salivating over the lamb hung lay—chef Nan’s signature slow-braised lamb shank simmered in Northern Thai red curry—you’ll revel in the friendly and contagious nature of the staff. It’s no wonder we can’t get enough!
90. Flip Burger Boutique
Multiple locations | $7-$14 | @flipburger | B P
With quirky Creative Director Richard Blais behind this modern burger concept, expect the patties to be more peculiar than the usual beef and bread number. Long before he became a Top Chef judge, Blais packed them in with his lamburger with feta cheese and the shrimp patty with tempura-fried lemon and Cajun-aise. Here, the sides are too eye-popping to play second fiddle. Out-of-the-box pairings include housemade potato chips with Abita root beer onion dip or sweet potato tots with blue cheese dressing. Stick your straw in a Krispy Kreme milkshake to keep your palate on its toes.
300 Marietta St. NW | Downtown | 404.885.1472 | $10-$24 | @statsatl | R P
Some sports bars peddle so-so food, but not this sleek version, which takes pub fare up a notch. Within walking distance to the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena, STATS pushes plates such as steak frites with Coca-Cola glaze and grilled artichoke wraps. Of course, fans can still score tasty apps such as sweet potato tots and Kung Fu wings. Reopened after a renovation, they’re back in the game with the beloved built-in beer taps still at each table. Let’s run the stats: 70 high-def TVs, five bars, one rooftop patio, two fire pits and one seriously good time.
92. Aja Restaurant & Bar
3500 Lenox Road NE | 404.231.0001 | $12-$28 | @ajaatl | R P
Bow before the Buddha at this Buckhead mainstay—he had to have something to do with the new tempura-fried Benton’s bacon and spicy Thai peanut sauce. Aside from the dim sum addition, chef Charlie “Chucky” Sunyapong put some classics back on the menu—lamb vindaloo and shaken beef rice bowl make a return. Sunyapong’s sushi balls are another original—ahi tuna wrapped around a sphere of rice and drizzled in spicy sauce. It’s no surprise this hot spot’s sexy crimson vibe has played backdrop to soirees such as Bert’s Big Adventure Charity Date Auction and reality-TV fashion shows.
93. Café Intermezzo
Multiple locations | $5-$19 | @cafeintermezzo | B R P F
Thanks to its seemingly endless list of cocktail iterations, tempting sweets and sexy Euro-chic vibe, it’s no wonder Café Intermezzo plans to expand from its spots in Midtown, Dunwoody and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to more of the Southeast: namely Nashville, Charlotte and Charleston. Though billed as a coffeehouse, expect myriad options to satisfy your cravings—from crepes, cheese-platter apps and the winter kale trio, to slow-cooked beef, chicken Florentine and Parisian turkey sandwiches. Wash it down with a classic Harvey Wallbanger, and you’ve got date night in the bag.
94. Joy Cafe
316 Pharr Road NE | Buckhead | 404.816.0306 | $5-$10 | B
Homemade is the name of the game at Buckhead’s Joy Cafe, where every delightful dish and dessert are made from scratch from start to finish. On the breakfast menu (which runs till 3pm!), faves include almond granola, Mama Carol’s buttermilk pancakes (go for the ginger and sage sausage on the side) and Joy’s big berry Belgian waffle. But don’t miss an equally delicious lunch menu with five types of grilled fromage (hello, pimento cheese!), specialty sandwiches, salads and sweet treats like cookies and milk pie, orange creamsicle cheesecake and fleur de sel (three-layer chocolate cake with salted caramel).
95. Stillhouse Craft Burgers & Moonshine
56 E. Andrews Drive NW | Buckhead | 678.244.3601 | $8-$12 | @stillhouseatl | P
Since joining the ranks of the Andrews Entertainment District, Stillhouse has managed to make itself stand out. Could it be the burgers (including Apalachicola fried oysters and fresh-ground duck with housemade confit iterations), piled high with locally sourced ingredients like green-tomato relish and pickled beets, topped with an upside-down bun? Probably. Or could it be the a bar stocked with 50-plus types of moonshine? Definitely. Add that to cozy-cushioned booths with whiskey-barrel tables—and we’ll see you at Stillhouse.
96. Nuevo Laredo
1495 Chattahoochee Ave. NW | Westside | 404.352.9009 | $8-$20 | R
When Chance Evans, formerly of The Coca-Cola Company, opened this authentic eatery on the Westside 22 years ago, it wasn’t about franchising or expanding. Rather, it was about making the cantina a prime spot for locals and visitors to enjoy home-cooked Mexican dishes. And that he’s accomplished—the menu is packed with faves like chicken mole, lobster tacos and first-class refreshing margs and cervezas. Artifacts and handpicked items brought back from Evans’ many trips to Mexico give the interior an authentic feel, making for an all-around delicioso dining experience.
97. Leon’s Full Service
131 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. | Decatur | 404.687.0500 | $8-$23 | @leonsdecatur | P
A stylish patio and bocce-ball court, plus upscale bar bites like goat cheese-stuffed peppadews and to-die-for pomme frites with your choice of two inventive sauces, are just some of the many reasons customers flock to Decatur resto Leon’s Full Service. From the brains behind Brick Store Pub just down the street, the locally driven concept is brought to life by chefs Robert Lupo and Eric Ottensmeyer, and a level of customer service harkening back to the days of full-service gas-station attendants (which inspired its name). We’re not complaining.
98. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Multiple locations | $37-$52 | @ruthschrisatl | R
When the quality of your steak earns you more than 100 locations across the globe (three in the ATL and a brand new one in Alpharetta!), you’re doing something right. For the true devotees, there is no substitute when it comes to Ruth’s Chris’ classic take on the American steakhouse: The meat is aged and cooked to perfection, whether it’s the rib-eye or the signature filet; vintage inspired cocktails are handcrafted with freshly squeezed juices; and the service is always top-tier. The chophouse menu is rounded out by standbys like shoestring fries, creamed spinach and sweet-potato casserole. What can we say? You can do no wrong Ruth’s Chris!
99. Olde Blind Dog
Multiple locations | $6-$16 | @oldeblinddog | B R P
A piece of Ireland ready for the taking in Milton, Brookhaven and food truck format? Yes, please! From the cauldrons of their acclaimed, insanely tasty ale and cheddar cheese dip, to their Tabasco deep-fried pickles, even Caden (their namesake mascot) can see that Olde Blind Dog is the place to be for Irish merriment. Traditional Irish fare and pints of Guinness and Irish whiskey lead the pub scene that screams authenticity adorned in custom woodworking, antiques and Celtic music throughout, with a life-size replica of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart persona serving as the centerpiece for prime selfie ops.
100. Tacos & Tequila Mexican Grill
Multiple locations | $8-$15 | @tandtatlanta
Sometimes we just want to play it low-key with some delicious margaritas and tasty tacos. And for those moments we turn to Tacos & Tequila Mexican Grill, where fajitas, burritos, soups, quesadillas, seafood and vegetarian options await. The latest menu additions include fried avocado tacos, tacos de tinga, chiles poblanos rellenos, quesadillas marinera, enchiladas verdes and nachos tejano style. Muy bien! But the margaritas are where the real fun begins. The Dirty Margarita, Beer Rita, Passion Fruit and Prickly Pear all serve as the perfect ending to a fiesta of flavors.