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100 Hottest Restaurants 2015

Our new-and-improved rundown of the most talked-about restos of the moment!

Another packed night at Umi's (#1) bustling bar, a fave among A-listers like Drake, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Usher

7. BARTACO
969 Marietta St. NW | Westside | 404.607.8226 | @bartacolife | $3-$14 | P

Coastal vacation vibe? Check. Freshly-squeezed margaritas with the finest tequilas around? Check. Brilliant tacos that won’t break the bank and are crazy good? Double check! Ever since Bartaco arrived on the Westside to bring Atlanta taco lovers a much-needed lively jolt, patrons have been packing this Barcelona Wine Bar sister concept like they’re vacationing in the Hamptons (multimillion-dollar estates, not included).

From the whitewashed facade, to the deep ocean-blue hues and wicker furnishings, this trendy taco spot screams beach escape. The open-air environment is reminiscent of poolside restaurants at all-inclusive resorts (minus the crazy spring breakers). A true testament to South American beach culture, vintage tourist-inspired photographs adorn the walls and serve as a powerful backdrop for the expansive patio and outdoor fireplace, where you’ll find yourself, curling up to a cerveza or margarita for many a night (and many a margarita).

And speaking of good libations, the central bar serves as ground zero for a multitude of expertly crafted margs, mojitos and seasonal caipirinhas. The game-changer is the freshly squeezed juices that are made to order. The addition of these bright flavors at the last possible second is what gives Bartaco its edge, not to mention the 25-plus tequilas and delectable wine selection at the ready. Barcelona taught them well.

Executive Chef Anthony Sanders (formerly of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group) delivers worthy upgrades to the taco with incarnations ranging from the ever-mundane but nonetheless tasty chicken and baja fish, to more adventurous forays like sesame rib-eye and wild boar. Sides like grilled corn with lime, cayenne and cotija cheese and chipotle slaw are mere comrades in the flavor battle taking place on your plate. So grab a group of friends; share copious cocktail carafes; and party it up on the patio for a full-on feast of proteins that have no business being on a taco (but we’re really glad they are anyway).

DIG IN
Start with: Grilled corn with lime, cayenne and cotija cheese
Main course: A trio of tacos: sesame rib-eye, fried oyster and baja fish, or the chef’s selection tray
Sip on: A margarita
End with: Churros

INSIDER TIP 
Take the party outside—the patio is necessary on a nice day, and the outdoor fireplace keeps things toasty on those cool nights.

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