I was surprised to find out that Atlanta is teeming with talented chefs.Â Another shocker is that vegetables are really hard to come by in the “farm-to-table” looking eateries.Â Their southern food is flavorful, rich, and mostly devoid of anything green.
That being said, I love the fare I have found around town.Â So many new places are opening as well, I’m working hard to discover them all as well as the classics.Â The following are the city’s latest and greatest.
The Lawrence (Midtown)
You can tell the boys in the kitchen were not so pleased at my request for a picture, but I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to snap a pic of famed chef Shane Devereux and his all-bearded crew!Â I’m a fan of his other restaurants, TOP FLR and Sound Table, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Shane had elevated his game for The Lawrence, a casual, yet sophisticated, Midtown venue.Â After my veggie intro above, I need to say that The Lawrence menu has the biggest selection of veg I’ve seen in ATL.Â I have no complaints about The Lawrence.Â It’s my current favorite!
Barcelona (Inman Park)
New to Inman Park, this tapas restaurant and wine bar already has a great buzz going.Â Unfortunately I can’t find the picture of my paella, but I can tell you I did sit at the table above and enjoy every dish that was served on our 4-top.Â The service is a bit slow and the noise level (as well as the bill) is high, but the energy in the room kept our spirits high.Â I would go to Barcelona again for a spread or simply grab a glass of wine and a snack at the bar.
Decatur’s Watershed (started by Indigo Girl Emily Sailers) moved across town to the southern tip of Buckhead on Peachtree and 28th.Â The neighborhood could not be more delighted to have a trendy spot!Â Think Local Three menu in a “southern contemporary” decor. Â Reservations are hard to come by, but the bar is huge so you should be able to find stools and enjoy dinner.Â Since they’re new, they’re still working out the kinks, but the food doesn’t need any tweaking.Â Whatever the pasta dish is, order it!
Octane Coffee Bar (Grant Park)
My favorite coffee shop opened its third and largest location in Grant Park (next to Six Feet Under).Â It’s a tough decision in the afternoon - coffee and sweets or beer and chips - but it can be done.Â Right now Octane is outlet-less, but I’ve put a word in with management to open at least a couple! Here you’ll also find a bigger bar and a bake shop that makes delicious things you should enjoy but eat sparingly.
Others you need to know:
- Lure - The new hot spot with great fish and a fun scene.Â Or so I hear. The decor and patio look amazing and the location should make it successful.
- Spence - Top Chef winner Richard Blais’ new place is a let down in terms of both food and decor.Â On paper it should be perfect; hopefully the execution will come around.
- F & B - From Holeman & Finch, this french bistro is already bustling in Buckhead.Â I haven’t tried it yet.
- Cib0 e Beve - Way up north on Roswell, this cozy Italian spot is not new, but no one really knows about it.Â Sit at the bar and tell Matt and Justin I sent you.
- Abbatoir - This chophouse has been around even longer, BUT it’s got a new chef.Â I should say THE chef: Tyler Williams of Baccanalia (Altanta’s best restaurant) to make the food more approachable.Â It worked.Â I love it!
- Aria - Another one that is not new, just wanted you to know it’s still alive and kickin’.Â The food was fresh, not too heavy, and all-around fabulous.