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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
The Indigo Road restaurant group continues to churn out new ATL winners this year (see Colletta and O-Ku Atlanta,) and Oak Steakhouse is no exception. Executive Chef Eric Zizka is celebrating local ingredients with a menu chock-full of innovative classics, including duck confit potato gnocchi, Grassroots Farms GA buttermilk fried chicken, Atlantic market cod and lobster donuts. Share plentiful sides such as duck crackling mac and cheese; or fingerling potatoes with bacon cream, aged white cheddar and chives, before diving fork first into coconut layer cake or seasonal bread pudding.
Though it’s one of the Westside’s newest eateries, it’s quickly becoming an Atlanta institution for impeccable sushi in a sophisticated yet not overly swank setting. Creative presentations from Umi alum Jackie Chang include fried oysters and otoro spoons laden with tuna tartare, truffle oil and caviar. We’re also hooked on the half-off sushi happy hours (Monday and Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm) and the 45-piece Jackie Kase tasting platter—perfect for sharing with a group or solo adventuring. Libations like the passionfruit-puree Sugar & Spice martini are ideal companions for rooftop nights.
Garnering numerous accolades since opening in 2007, Kevin Rathbun Steak is the essential Atlanta fine dining experience from restaurant titan Kevin Rathbun. Chef de Cuisine Andre Gomez showcases USDA selections of prime beef in surrounds adorned with stained glass artwork and tree-branch lighting. Dry-aged to the pinnacle flavor, these beauties come out of the gate sizzling while shrimp, crab and lobster keep things chill. Take on the expansive wine menu or find your sweet spot with the pièce de résistance, the baked Alaska featuring peanut butter crunch; banana parfait; and chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice creams.
Shake Shake has exploded in the last two years and ATL was lucky enough to get its own location at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. This two-story, eco-friendly Shack pays homage to the original location in NYC, with walls clad in reclaimed industrial pine and tabletops made from recycled bowling alleys. But lest we can’t forget the food. In addition to its famous burgers, Shake Shack recently released a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, the Chick’n Shack. Pair it with the Pecan Pie Oh My (aka, really thick frozen vanilla custard with a slice of H&F Bread Co. pecan pie), and you’ll never go back to Chick-fil-A again. Try it if you don’t believe us!
Picture fried goat cheese coated in honey and black pepper, piquillo peppers stuffed with braised beef, and pappardelle with braised pork all served up in a sexy and intimate eat spot—thanks to Executive Chef Michael Patria, these are just a few of the reasons Ecco continues to be a go-to for celebs and ATLians alike. It even appears in the Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman flick The Change-Up. When the weather warms up, enjoy a bottle of rosé on the perfect patio. Or on those icier nights, try a nightcap at the cozy bar inside. It’s the ideal way to end a Midtown day. Bonus: Buckhead will soon get its own Ecco location in mid-2017.
Sure, it’s a chain—but a darn good one at that. Optimally located adjacent to Perimeter Mall, the Dunwoody outpost is the ideal place to unwind with a Manhattan 46 afterhours, if you work in or around the King and Queen (or just want to mingle with the well-groomed business travelers, ladies). If Buckhead is your post-work stomping ground, sidle up to the bar and place an order of pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers to share while enjoying views of the skyline. At either location, you’re sure to find strong drinks, friendly bartenders and a heck of a steak—though the sushi-grade sesame seared tuna with gingered rice is a close second.
Get an ITP experience without ITP prices at this ai3-designed resto helmed by chef-owner Doug Turbush. Known for its spectacular service and multicultural fare, Seed is a place you can be honest with your server if you don’t like your order—though that’s highly unlikely. Apps like iron skillet cornbread or pimento cheese crostini kick things off on a Southern note, and entrees such as chicken schnitzel or gulf shrimp and grits continue the theme. Don’t throw in the napkin until you’ve tried at least a bit of the hot chocolate chunk skillet cookie, topped with homemade vanilla ice cream and hot fudge.
48. FOUNDATION SOCIAL EATERY
1570 Holcomb Bridge Road | Roswell | 770.641.8877 | $13-$28 | R P
Don’t let its OTP location fool you: FSE is bumpin’ on the weekend, and the crowd gets better as the night goes on. Credit the absinthe cocktails (try a FSE Reviver)—you’ll see everyone from casual bachelorettes to new parents out on their first post-baby date unwinding at this contemporary Roswell hot spot. Dress casual and come for chef-owner Mel Toledo’s housemade fettuccini with chicken bolognaise, herbed ricotta and arugula; stay for FSE “Twix,” Pastry Chef Kaley Hill’s clever take on the popular candy bar. Toledo cut his teeth in the kitchen of Bacchanalia, so you know it will be worth the trek up 400.
When it comes to smokehouse ’cue, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q always satisfies with its finger-lickin’ good ribs, wings, beef brisket, smoked chicken and pulled pork. And it’s not just the entrees that this family-owned biz do right (brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox are co-pitmasters and chefs). Sides like macaroni and cheese, Brunswick stew and spicy stewed green beans can all stand on their own. Add in a supercasual environment and you’ve got a perennial winner in our book. But don’t take our word for it—even Guy Fieri had to get a bite of the famous Fox. Bros brisket burger on an episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.
If that long walk down the BeltLine has left you dying of thirst and hunger, Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall has got you covered with its elevated campfire cuisine and craft cocktails. Do a happy hour hang Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 7pm on the killer patio, which will soon expand to include an outdoor “grove” with a bar, and sip on the shareable Patio Punch or go solo with a California Chrome. Or grab one of the mess hall-esque tables inside and order yourself some grub (the drunken mussels or “chicken fried” chicken can cure all that ails you). And don’t forget dessert. The triple chocolate s’mores will leave you ready for the happy trails ahead!
Meat lovers looking for a respite after a day on the BeltLine, rejoice. Located in Inman Park’s Krog Street Market, this resto aims to celebrate charcuterie and meat cookery, something near and dear to Executive Chef Kevin Ouzts’ heart (he’s best known for his other biz, The Spotted Trotter). The Cockentrice features an on-site butcher and amazing tastes like rum-braised pork shoulder and beef shank- and brisket-stuffed onion (perfect to pair with a half price Wine Wednesday deal). Looking for something lighter? Head to Thursday night’s half-price charcuterie happy hour from 5:30 to 7:30pm. You’ll be in hog heaven.
Elevated bar bites are all the rage at Big Sky Buckhead thanks to acclaimed chef Hector Santiago (of Ponce City Market’s El Super Pan). Day-drink to your heart’s content on Saturdays and Sundays while soaking up the bevs with buttermilk waffles (in naked, boozed or crunched varieties) or the chicken sandwich featuring a housemade bacon jalapeno biscuit. The food frenzy continues into the evening with pork belly steamed coconut buns and slow-cooked beef barbacoa. Word to the ladies: Food is half off just for you on Tuesdays! We’re also partial to #BigSkyTrivia on Wednesdays and 60-cent wing night on Thursdays—just sayin’.
Bocado has been all about providing the Westside with delicious bites (and beverages!) since 2009. Simplicity is the name of the game at this resto, which is housed in a former woodworking shop. Thanks to Executive Chef Adam Waller (a former Sotto Sotto star) you can relish creative taste wants with dishes like monk fish with cranberry beans and Brussels sprouts. Or head to Bocado on Tuesdays where you can snag the mouthwatering double-stack burger smothered in American cheese paired with garlic herb or traditional fries (your pick!) with a pint of draft beer for the bargain price of $13. Sometimes basic is just better.
Unforgettable meals take place at this Inman Park staple where owners Kevin Rathbun, Kirk Parks, Al Parnel and Cliff Bramble and Chef de Cuisine Nick Anderson have concocted a menu that makes our mouths water just reading it. Yaya’s eggplant fries with sugar and Tabasco are the perfect place to start, while sea scallop Benedict, roasted spaghetti squash, lobster tacos and a whopping 20-ounce cowboy rib-eye (with Maytag blue cheese butter and onion rings) await on the entree side. If you can’t bare to undo the button on your pants, keep it light with the equally delicious sweet corn soup, watermelon crudo or Greek wedge salad.
For more than 20 years, Bacchanalia has been a choice spot for engagements, birthdays, anniversaries and more thanks to chef-owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison. While prix fixe dining has been the name of the game at this Star Provisions staple, Executive Chef Joseph Schafer is now serving the full menu a la carte (that’s right, no prix fixe dinners required!). Choice options include crab fritters, sweetbreads, 28-day dry-aged New York strip, Jamison lamb and gulf red snapper. And don’t forget dessert. Grapefruit souffle, shaker lemon pie and chocolate cake are all fab finales.