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100 Hottest Restaurants 2016
Produced by Allison Mitchell | Photo: Cape Dutch photo by Heidi Geldhauser; Himitsu photo by Angie Mosier | Written by Kate Abney, Kelly Jordan, Kate Parham Kordsmeier, Allison Mitchell, Kelsey Ogletree, Amelia Pavlik, Elissa Rosen and Chris Watkins | February 29, 2016
In a city as well-versed in food as Atlanta, it takes much more than a perfectly cooked steak or an artfully stacked cheeseburger to impress. That’s why we’re back with the 2016 edition of JEZEBEL’s 100 Hottest Restaurants, a list that takes into account not only what dishes we had to post on our Instagram page, but also which concepts are pulling in a fleet of posh patrons week after week. Thanks to you, our in-the-know readers, a record 30,000 votes, combined with the expert knowledge of our editorial team, has helped to create one of our most competitive lists yet (with six new concepts holding a spot in the top 10!). Read on to find out which restaurants to make a reservation at ASAP. Check, please!
$-Dinner entree price range
B-Brunch available [times vary]
R-Reservations accepted [restrictions may apply]
F-Furry friends welcome
Owner Greg Greenbaum, Managing Partner Bobby Donlan and Operating Partner Michael Smith continue to wow year after year (since 2003 to be exact) with a top spot on our “100 Hottest Restaurants” list. Whether it’s the swank atmosphere (that draws some of ATL’s most elite) or the high standards its steaks must meet (USDA prime, then aged, cut and charred on a special 1700-degree Southbend broiler), New York Prime is not to be missed. Start with prime beef tenderloin carpaccio; order a New York Strip (with cheese mashed potatoes, of course); then sweeten the deal with white-chocolate banana cream pie. Food coma, commence!
This Buckhead newbie makes its debut on JEZ’s “100 Hottest” list for good reason. A sprawling 50-person patio and prime spot on Piedmont beckon, while dry-ice cocktails and charcoal-grilled meats cut tableside mean you’ll be staying awhile. Founded in San Antonio, Texas, the impressive space’s centerpiece, designed by Restaurant Consulting Group, is an over-the-top salad bar brimming with smoked salmon, cilantro-sprinkled shrimp cocktail, tabbouleh and more than 30 fresh items hand-picked daily. And about that meat, it’s seasoned and cooked to perfection (think picanha, filet mignon, prime sirloin and rack of lamb). Steak your claim!
30 Old Ivy Road NE | Buckhead | 404.261.0025 | $40-$60 | R P
This old-school steakhouse and lounge boasts a New-Orleans-inspired menu that continues to draw loyal patrons and new diners year after year. While signature dishes like the swordfish steak, roasted chicken, prime bone-in rib-eye and the blackened filet are divine, it’s the atmosphere that really makes this steakhouse a star in its own right. Snack on mussels bathed in white wine sauce or fried calamari while sipping on classic cocktails and rubbing elbows with Buckhead’s elite. Falcons star Matt Ryan has been known to grace the tables of “The Steakhouse” (as it’s been dubbed) a time or two.
You want to hit the brunch scene post-Barre class, but where can you go that won’t undo all the hard work you’ve just put in? Head to True Food Kitchen. Founded by Dr. Andrew Weil in partnership with Phoenix restaurateur Sam Fox, this spot’s menu highlights anti-inflammatory foods that happen to be delicious. During warm months, grab a spot on the patio and sip on the Kale-Aid, made with kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger. The roasted seasonal vegetable board with avocado green goddess dip is perfect for sharing, and the “Inside Out” quinoa burger topped with hummus, tzatziki and feta is one of our all-time faves.
Ford Fry’s wood-fired fete, King + Duke, continues to showcase itself as in instant classic in the Atlanta dining scene. From its nods to classic literature to its contemporary-cool motif, K+D is a modern throwback to a way of cooking that lets the ingredients tell the story. The meat-laden menu of duck, lamb, pork and, of course, steak are all cooked to unadulterated perfection over the warm embers of the resto’s 24-foot open-fire hearth. JCT. Kitchen & Bar alum and Executive Chef EJ Hodgkinson’s sustainable sensibility and creativity into locally sourced dishes propel the palate into unknown territory that’s truly delicious.
Dying for a melt-in-your-mouth steak served up in a chic Midtown lounge? Then, STK (which has locations sprinkled in top cities around the globe) is the answer to your meat-loving prayers. Sip a Tickle Me Ginger cocktail while grooving to the tunes of the resto’s live DJ. Tempt your taste buds with the clever creations of Executive Chef Mark Alba, which range from bite-sized lil’ burgers made with wagyu beef to lobster mac and cheese. And head to the weekly Lip Service party on Thursdays to enjoy bubbly Magnum specials and an all-night happy hour menu. After all, at STK, Thursday is the new Friday.
Atlanta’s best kept secret for sexy, seasonal and locally sourced American comfort food is 1KEPT. Soak in the utterly cool vibes of this South Buckhead nosh spot that’s brimming with elusiveness and creativity from owner Thaddeus Keefe (of Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft fame), who’s more than willing to take chances in the kitchen. Expand your palate with inventive fare like fennel pork meatballs, confit duck leg and sweetgrass mussels before indulging in the decadent chocolate and marshmallow creme brulee. Oh, and don’t miss the black truffle popcorn dusted with Parmesan that we’d happily eat by the bucket.
Eats that are low on cost and high on flavor? Head to one of Tin Lizzy’s Cantina’s numerous ATL locations. Start with an order of the Three Amigos (guacamole, queso and salsa—aka the Holy Grail) before ordering a Low Country Boil taco (grilled shrimp, spicy chorizo and Tater Tots?!) or Korean barbecue pork nachos (what calories?). Warm skillets are also a top pick (Southern Comfort-, Mediterranean-, cantina-, churrasco- or fajita shrimp-style), and a pitcher of refreshing housemade margaritas is always a good choice. Throw in some live music, sports-blaring TVs and Tin Lizzy’s is a party in itself.
10 Degrees South’s hip younger brother, Yebo (a trendy American-Southern-meets-South Africa small plates spot), is going off to college this spring when it moves from its Phipps Plaza location to an intimate home off West Paces Ferry (the former Coast space, for foodies keeping score at home). Expect many of the same inventive tapas (think peri peri Parmesan popcorn; The Gatsby, a french fry and sirloin sammie; and ostrich sliders with rosemary aioli), but thanks to a much larger kitchen, an expanded menu (look for peri peri prawns!) and craft cocktail program will coincide with the move, alongside a sweeping patio.
Avalon got a major upgrade when this Italian eatery from the owners of O-Ku moved in last winter. Following a summer sojourn in the boot-shaped nation, Executive Chef Michael Perez returned with loads of inspiration, whipping up seasonal pizzas (try the Brussels sprouts with fontina, pecorino romano and apples), housemade pastas (the pappardelle is a dream) and dishes like half chicken, all roasted in a wood-burning oven in full view of the glittering, white-brick dining room. The Affogato de Colletta is divine anytime, but return weeknights for happy-hour specials or Sundays for a wine flight and light bites ($16). Clink!
Wanting an eatery where you’re as likely to find housemade mozzarella made with milk sourced from a local dairy as you are to find hand-sliced prosciutto from Parma, Italy? Then you’ll love Buckhead mainstay Pricci, which features white tablecloth tastes and deco— minus the pretention. Chef Piero Premoli, a third-generation Italian chef from Milan, has been delighting patrons for years with dishes like handmade pastas, risottos and wood-fired pizzas. And if you’re looking for the perfect girls’ night or dinner-date option, don’t miss Pricci’s Jazz Thursday. With half-price bottles of wine and live jazz, it’ll leave you saying “grazie!”
Modern farm-to-table cuisine is alive and well at neighborhood nosh spot Chicken and the Egg. Full of Southern charm, the concept delivers a new modern take on sustainable cuisine. From tufted black leather banquettes to reclaimed wooden tables, this contemporary farmhouse isn’t your typical farmstead. Just try the shrimp and grits with smoked Gouda and tasso ham, or the roasted and buttermilk fried chicken that your grandmother will be jealous of. A bevy of spirited cocktails like the seasonal rum-heavy spiked sweet tea liven up the night, while old-fashioned doughnuts and Snickerdoodle French toast sweeten the morning brunch menu.
Looking for the perfect spot to celebrate an anniversary, birthday or just being plain fabulous? Head to Canoe, Vinings’ 20-year riverside mainstay where Executive Chef Matthew Basford is making taste buds sing. The house-smoked salmon appetizer with crispy potato cake and Vermont goat cheese is a must, while entrees like slow-roasted rabbit with mushroom and goat cheese ravioli or the duck ’n’ beef burger with truffle pommes frites make it impossible to visit just once. Finish the meal with the popcorn ice cream sundae sprinkled with homemade Cracker Jacks. Divine!
Sometimes there’s nothing better than noshing on a lobster roll—while grooving to the sweet sounds of the ’70s. Behold BeetleCat, the latest addition to Ford Fry’s food empire. Head to the Inman Park hot spot to enjoy a bevy of fresh oysters and savory seafood cooked up by chef Andrew Isabella (formerly of Decatur’s no. 246) in the nautically inspired upstairs dining room. Or sip on a Sex on the Beach while hanging out below deck at the downstairs bar. There’s even a late-night menu (try the shrimp chips featuring lime creme fraiche and sweet and spicy pineapple with a Sea Breeze sipper) for night owls looking for a hip spot to roost. All aboard!
Nevermind the posh interiors and cool mosaic tile; this Basque-inspired eatery from Castellucci Hospitality Group makes a faithful—and tasty—tribute to the cuisine of Spain’s France-bordering region, right from the ground floor of Elan Westside. Chef Landon Thompson, who cut his teeth under the likes of Richard Blais, Linton Hopkins and Tom Colicchio, keeps dishes like Georgia white shrimp fideuà paella, black truffle bikini grilled cheese and vegan tomato “tartare” coming to the tables of the swarthy patronage, who tend to favor the late Friday- and Saturday-night “Pintxos” menu, which serves up a selection of Spanish bites on toasted bread.