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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
After a day of shopping at Perimeter Mall, skip the food court and head to this stunning restaurant at Le Méridien Atlanta Perimeter Hotel, where floor-to-ceiling glass walls and an epic outdoor terrace (fireplace included) await. Expect expertly crafted global fare from Executive Chef Fabien Biraud (a Parisian-born culinary whiz whose most recent stints include The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch and Half Moon Bay). Current highlights on the seasonal menu include homemade short-rib ravioli, braised lamb shank and ahi tuna. An array of wines make whiling away the hours a breeze.
Vietnamese faves like pho and flash-fried whole fish with ginger, garlic and egg floss served up in picturesque surrounds—that’s the Le Fat recipe for success. Chef and restaurateur Guy Wong (of Miso Izakaya and the forthcoming Ton Ton Ramen + Yakitori Bar and Big Boss Chinese) created this Westside concept as a tribute to his mother’s Vietnamese roots. Head to the bar to enjoy cocktail creations like the Hotel Metropole, which features exotic ingredients like Darjeeling, curacao, and coconut water or the sweet Chelsea Flower. Come hungry and don’t miss Wong’s famous rotisserie chicken served with ginger scallion oil and jasmine rice.
Think modern and palatial at this restaurant featuring high ceilings and a 360-degree bar, great for getting a much needed cocktail fast. Owners Cindy and Alan LeBlanc and Executive Chef Todd Richards turn out contemporary Southern fare that changes with the season. Nosh on small plates and entrees like the Cornish hen, hot chicken-style shrimp and lobster mac and cheese. The patio is the best spot in the house, and the extensive bar menu offers more than 70 whiskeys and an array of creative libations. Sweet tooth? Order the chocolate tasting (cake, pot de crème, white chocolate ganache and pistachio brittle).
This traditional New Orleans steakhouse—where business deals are made and friends nosh on quality steak after a golf game—has upped the ante with a new menu, which includes fresh takes on classics like lobster mac and cheese. Don’t worry, the impeccable service, attention to detail and the most-popular dishes including the 40-ounce bone-in tomahawk rib-eye and chilled seafood tower all remain. We also suggest an order of the refreshing crab stack appetizer featuring colossal lump blue crab, avocado, mango and cucumber. And that’s just to get started! End with the decadent chocolate sin cake. No confessions required.
Take two parts rock ’n’ roll (the parts being Yacht Rock Revue band members Nicholas Niespodziani and Peter Olson) and two parts culinary genius (chef Nick Melvin of Rosebud, Parish and Empire State South fame; and bar master Pieter Guilbault of Restaurant Eugene), and you get Venkman’s, an eatery and music venue rolled into one. Concerts happen nightly and comfort food classics make the experience all the more enjoyable. Don’t miss smoked trout beignets, mushroom lettuce cups, and the custom tomato jam- and pickled slaw-topped burger served on a sweet-potato bun.
Don’t be deterred by the ever-present line marking the front of Taqueria del Sol locations. This unique, low-key Mexican joint will have you fed and watered in no time. Chef Eddie Hernandez creates the menu of exceptional eats, including crowd-pleasers like the shrimp and corn chowder, the unexpectedly satisfying veggie taco (the queso and refried bean combo is a winner!) and the enchiladas (in cheese, brisket, refried bean and roasted chicken varieties). They pour the margaritas strong (try a pitcher of the Westside Specialty) and keep the prices low—hence that line out front.
Dining takes on a theatrical aspect when you’re chowing down at Katana Teppanyaki & Sushi. Modern, Japanese art-inspired interiors complement the stylish resto, which is divided into a teppanyaki room (each table is fitted with a grill and manned by an expert chef), a main dining room, a sake-stocked bar and a private events room. Just ask fan Selena Gomez. If you’re feeling like a show, watch your table’s chef slice, dice and sizzle choice cuts (think filet mignon or Chilean sea bass). Sushi fans, likewise, can indulge on made-to-order rolls crafted from seafood flown in fresh from Japan.
Food Network fave Richard Blais continues to please with this innovative burger joint that’s anything but predictable. And Blais takes the “flip” portion of the resto’s name seriously with upside-down tables that mimic the scene below. Start with sweets first and order a Nutella and burnt marshmallow or Cap’n Crunch milkshake; then go big with a butcher’s cut, lamb, shrimp, chorizo or turkey burger (and that’s just a sampling). Sides hold their own here as well with top marks going to the Dr. Pepper baked beans, sweet-potato tots and beef fat fries. Did we mention the pomegranate ketchup for dipping? How sweet!
Dine like a VIP and drink like a rock star at Hard Rock Cafe located in the heart of Downtown. Chef Andrew Denaro sets the house on fire with American classics, including the much-desired Local Legendary burger, topped with an over-easy egg, hot sauce and a golden fried onion ring. A newly updated menu offers even more must-have dishes, such as the Twisted Mac, Chicken and Cheese; spinach artichoke dip; and Tupelo chicken tenders. It’s always a packed house—so check out the one-of-a-kind music memorabilia or take in live tunes while you wait for your table.
It’s Oktoberfest every day at this authentic German watering hole where the German draft beer flows freely and the schnitzel and sausages will take you on a trip through flavor town. Classic dishes such as Wiener schnitzel, rinderrouladen and Jägerschnitzel paired with sides like sauerkraut, spätzle and potato salad will instantly make you feel like you’ve hopped the pond. Serious drinkers can join the limited-membership stein club ($50), and sports enthusiasts will love the bevy of TVs dotting the walls. End the experience on a sweet note with warm apple strudel or German chocolate cake. Yum!
Midtown is alive with a coastal vibe as soon as you step into upscale fish house Lure. The seafood-heavy Fifth Group Restaurants concept reels in the deliciousness and balances its casually cool bungalow facade with fine-dining moxie in the pristine offerings from Executive Chef Brent Banda. Oysters are always a good idea, especially topped with Mornay sauce, andouille and breadcrumbs, and don’t forget highly addictive grilled octopus and pork lettuce wraps. After sinking your teeth into a fresh-caught bounty of catfish, trout and swordfish, gather around the table for a communal punch bowl, perfect with friends and even better solo.
Live DJ every Friday and Saturday night? Check. Monthly five-course grilled cheese and wine dinners? Double check (and a hell yes for good measure). This Sandy Springs staple is much more than a restaurant, functioning as a happy-hour destination, lounge and date hot spot. An upstairs patio provides primo alfresco dining during warm months, while moody, velvet-clad interiors are the perfect surrounds for a sultry night out. Get the party started with The Cure cocktail or a blackberry julep; then order the shareable charcuterie and cheese board, ahi tuna wontons and mini ice cream sandwiches (for your sweet tooth).
98. ARTICLE 14
1180 Peachtree St. NE | Midtown | 404.443.8432 | $10-$29 | B R P
Occupying one of Midtown’s most coveted locations—the ground floor of the shining Symphony Tower—its name is an evident nod to legal culture (a theme that becomes evident once you glimpse the wall of attorney portraits). This bastion of business lunches and bourbon libations boasts a backlit bar to showcase the impressive selection of spirits, which are even found in the spiked bourbon pecan pie. But before dessert, chef Christopher Blobaum’s classic fare—think duck confit sliders and Angus burgers—are sure to impress. Return for Sunday brunch on the patio; the Eggs Savannah are even more scrumptious in spring air.
Lips is the ultimate in entertainment dining. This colorful space is filled with drag queens and the nightly shows never fail to impress. Perfect for a girls’ night, Lips hosts a variety of fun events including Dinner With Divas hosted by Savannah Leigh, Glitz and Glam hosted by Mr. Charlie Brown and the Sunday Dragolicious Gospel Brunch. Whatever you choose, prepare to be wowed by the talent and the cuisine, featuring items like the popular crabcake and wild mushroom ravioli. No table reservations? No problem. Just head to the bar, where the view is just as good and the drinks come fast (and strong!).
Serving a delightful menu of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine created by chef Mustafa Dilekoglu, Café Istanbul, which first opened 20 years ago in Decatur, is the real deal. Belly dancers regularly perform in the dining room under the painted ceilings, and a sweet hookah scent fills the exotic air, transporting you to Turkey (no passport required). Fridays and Saturdays draw a big crowd with live DJs spinning international tunes, so bring your dancing shoes. Just cushion the evening with an order of the meze plate, a mix of apps served with zaatar bread, before starting the party with a sip of raki, the traditional Turkish cocktail.