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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
This Smith Hanes-designed space serves epic Southern cuisine and never disappoints. Chef Zeb Stevenson, who worked under Jean-Georges Vongerichten, continues to add new items and improve on longtime favorites such as the fried chicken, pimento cheese and chocolate cake, using locally sourced ingredients. The elegant centerpiece bar and intimate banquettes only add to the allure of the highly acclaimed restaurant, owned in part by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. Take note: Wednesdays are legendary thanks to the famous friend chicken and biscuits special. Just ask Jennifer Lawrence.
It’s a family affair at Westside sushi house, Eight Sushi Lounge, where Executive Chef Handy Ho showcases traditional Japanese dishes with presentation that rivals an art gallery. Take in the brilliant wood interiors that are reminiscent of a high-end dojo and expect to find meticulously crafted bites of sushi, nigiri and sashimi. With a menu that includes beautifully crafted cocktails and sake, a bevy of rolls (try the filet mignon-topped Shinobi roll with crab salad and tempura crunch), and shareable treats like calamari ringlets and shrimp saku-saku, you’re in for something truly special at this sushi hot spot.
A custom mural of a phoenix rising from the ashes is the signature mark of this hotel bar where singles and guests of the hotel gather for the cocktails, food and see-and-be seen vibe. Start small with bites such as sweet-potato tots, kettle popcorn and housemade lamb meatballs, then nosh on dishes like the St. Regis burger, made with a short-rib and brisket blend and the roasted pear and Brie flatbread. Champagne, cocktails and fine wines are all part of the menu, but daytime beckons for one of three famous Bloody Marys. Our pick? The West Paces Mary, made with a unique blend of spices and a pickled green tomato garnish.
With a two-story home on Peachtree, complete with an indoor-outdoor bar on one of two covered patios, Del Frisco’s Grille is the perfect after-work happy-hour destination. Get the good libations going with an order of the whimsical Sangria Pop (a sangria popsicle in a wine glass of white sangria); then share a round of cheesesteak eggrolls and ahi tacos before saddling up for the main course. Choice options include the two-fisted grille prime cheeseburger, Bay of Fundy salmon or any of the crispy flatbreads (wild mushroom, please!). Head back Saturdays and Sundays for red velvet Belgian waffles and a build-your-own Bloody Mary.
Fresh seafood and a hot crop of patrons abound at this coastal eatery, where crab and shrimp dip, crisp hush puppies and Basil-Blue Moon mussels start the night off right. From there, dive fork first into a variety of fish entrees and signature dishes such as the Mediterranean quinoa bowl, jumbo lump crabcakes and the seasonal hot buttered lobster roll (order immediately when it’s available). In fact, this Buckhead go-to has caught on so much, the brand added a second location for the OTP set in Roswell. Don’t miss the weekday Oyster Hour (4 to 6:30pm in Buckhead and 5 to 6pm in Roswell) when the sandy suckers are half off!
Foodies and locals alike flock to this hard-to-find gem for its upbeat atmosphere, craft-cocktail menu and, of course, killer bites. Chef-owner Chris Hall and Chef de Cuisine Ben Barth use local ingredients for their ever-changing seasonal dishes that leave us salivating for more. Prepare yourself and bring your A-game appetite for the rotating Hungry Man dinner, served in a cafeteria- style tray, which currently includes an Angus short-rib stroganoff with iceberg wedge salad and thin beans. Skip the weekend crowd and book a res on Monday nights when your server will flip a coin for a $1 bottle of wine. You win—it’s a dollar. Game on!
Prepare to be swooned by Kyma—from the dazzling constellation display on the ceiling and stunning blue and white interiors to the fresh seafood imported daily and served to perfection. Chef Pano I. Karatassos changes the menu regularly but always keeps the signature favorites available. In fact, the most popular dish, the grilled octopus, even impresses A-listers like Tom Cruise, who reportedly said he would be back for more. Insider tip: Grab some friends and indulge in small mezze-style bites and creative libations like the Morpheus martini in the newly designed Octopus Lounge.
78. GIO'S CHICKEN AMALFITANO
1099 Hemphill Ave. NW | Westside | 404.347.3874 | $13-$17 | P
The two-and-a-half-year-old cafe from mercurial, mysterious Antico Pizza founder Giovanni Di Palma, keeper of all things cheesy and delizioso, is just one component of his folkloric Little Italy. Tucked into a back corner of this culinary compound, the classic Italian eatery serves up specials like Sorrento lemon chicken, savory panini and Zuppa Di Pollo (an exceptional pearl-pasta chicken soup that’s certain to cure whatever ails you). Round up the crew for a Sunday nosh fest, or hunker down on the adjacent patio for a quick picnic. Just make sure it’s not Monday, when this spot is sadly chiuso (closed).
Ormsby’s takes the traditional bar model and turns it on its head with a game selection that rivals the best toy store. Round up the crew and imbibe the night away with a selection of wine, beer and spirits while playing backgammon, bocce ball, darts, pool, shuffleboard and more. (You can even sign up to be in the official Atlanta Bocce League). After you’ve worked up a competitive sweat, reward yourself with pimento cheese and corn fritters, baked shrimp and crab dip, baja fish tacos and a bevy of sammies and hot dogs. Winner takes all with the epic fried PB&J sandwich with housemade whipped cream. Faint of heart need not apply.
Looking for a place where the delicious bites pair just right with the libations? If you’re in the Buckhead ’hood, head to this delectable destination. The beauty of the bistro is its chic but cozy surrounds (think weathered wood tables accented with comfy white leather chairs and cushy gray banquettes). Must-tastes from chef Brandon Peterson and Chef de Cuisine Doug Rouen include steak frites, charcuterie and daily fresh $1 oysters from 5 to 7pm. Or stop by just for the sips, which include an extensive wine list, cheeky cocktails, six taps of rotating local craft beer and more. Book a newly offered vino class while you’re at it!
The yearly go-to for St. Patrick’s Day revelry, Guinness-charged soccer madness and UFC melees is Fado Irish Pub. Fado’s array of traditional Irish pub fare—like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and $6 snacks and drinks for happy hour—will make you think you’ve caught the luck of the Irish. Whether you’re in the house for feverishly fun team trivia on Wednesdays, rollicking live music Friday and Saturday nights or its weekend “rehab” brunch to get you back in the game after a night of whiskey shenanigans, Fado is an Irish-inspired party that doesn’t stop.
From shrimp and grits to a mouthwatering burger served up in casual but chic surroundings, Murphy’s is Va-Hi’s go-to for comfort food. The neighborhood mainstay has held its spot in ATLians’ hearts for more than 35 years now, thanks to its taste-making menus. Head in to enjoy chef Ian Winslade’s signature Murphy’s brunch, which includes faves like crabcake Benedict and chilaquiles; then head back for dinner and indulge in the much-loved spinach and sausage meatloaf. Or, grab the girls and head to one of the weekly themed wine tastings at the resto’s wine shop. Cheers to that!
83. THE BLIND PIG PARLOUR BAR
128 E. Andrews Drive NW | Buckhead | 404.931.2169 | $3-$12 | R
The Blind Pig Parlour Bar takes the party to the 1920s in this Prohibition-inspired speakeasy. Nestled behind Smokebelly BBQ, this intimate Victorian era lounge is draped in tufted leather and old tchotchkes that make you feel like you’re in a contemporary saloon. And in true speakeasy style, a password is required for entrance. Mosey on up to the bar and nosh on cubanitos, spicy tuna tartare toasts or herbed goat cheese while a seasoned barkeep preps a classic vesper or Sazerac cocktail. Feeling extra saucy? Play things loose with whiskey and black tea sipper Fine Thing to Say or the gincentric The Long Play.
It’s worth the wait at this charming breakfast and lunch spot that serves up Southern dishes made from scratch featuring locally sourced ingredients. Chef and owner Suzanne Vizethann continues to keep regulars impressed with her ever-changing weekend brunch items. Must-try eats include the savory made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes and the signature chicken biscuit slathered with housemade red pepper jelly and served with pimento cheese grits and house pickles. The heated patio, open on the weekends, is reason enough to get up extra early to secure the best spot in the house.
Bellina Alimentari is an immediate welcome upon entering Ponce City Market’s gleaming Central Food Hall. Just ask visitor Owen Wilson. Inside, the Italian market and eatery brims with authentic products (olive oils, sauces, dried pastas) and entrees. Grab a prepared salad to-go from the counter, or sit at the bar and order from chef David Berry’s menu of comfort dishes, many of which feature housemade pastas. His pappardelle al ragù is hard to beat; so too is the bar’s wine program (featuring several orange vinos). Love rolling up your sleeves in the kitchen? Join Bellina’s Culinary Club for cooking classes, tastings and workshops.