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Atlanta recommendations?

Boston hounds headed for a convention in Atlanta next month. We'll be staying near the convention center, but I get the impression from searching this board that most of the good restaurants are a cab ride away. I hope taxis are plentiful in Atlanta, because this is a gigantic meeting (over 30,000 people).

Would appreciate dinner suggestions -- pricey is fine, exotic is fine. Sifting through previous posts I see people have mentioned Rathbun's, MF Sushi, Restaurant Eugene, Floataway Cafe, and Globe.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. if your only downtown..eat at the ritz downtown..if you can get out...hit joel, canoe

    5 Replies
    1. re: intrepid

      thanks intrepid. By the ritz, do you mean the Ritz Carlton Hotel? That's actually where we'll be staying.

      I'll add Joel and Canoe to my list.

      1. re: daigle

        If you are not averse to taking the metro (marta) then you don't have to worry about taxis. what are you looking for experience-wise ?

        1. re: ob2s

          Oh and btw OB2S we are very happy to take Marta. We don't even own a car here in Boston, so public transport is right up our alley. We just didn't assume it could get us anywhere down your way. Stereotypes die hard!

          Experience-wise, we are looking for fun, good food and drink to enjoy with people we tend to see once a year at this convention. I should mention that the convention was relocated from New Orleans after Katrina, but none of us hold Atlanta (or anywhere else) up to NOLA culinary standards.

          We are happy to splurge, if the meal is worth it! thanks again.

          1. re: daigle

            marta is fine (not as unreliable as the infrequent rider would make it), just half a block south of your hotel. You can take it north to North Ave station. Walk North on West Peachtree to 5th ave, turn left, on the right in 2 blocks is the Globe. I ate there today for Brunch, was very nice, but I didn't have steak or tandoor (I'd leave that to indian places). You can make a res at opentable.com. It will be a good place to meet up with friends. Tues 5:30-7 is 4 wine tastes, 4 tapas for $10. Most of the other places are not well served by mass transit. Atlanta certainly doesn't have the rep as NOLA for cuisine, and I hate living here for the most part, but it does have variety. If you are a fan of Greek food, then Kyma in Buckhead would be a good choice (high end greek, with seafood flown in from greece). Part of the overwrought Buckhead life group, but a standout. Res required....

        2. re: daigle

          yes ritz hotel downtown,also in buckhead try blue point

      2. I probably wouldn't include the Globe in the same category as the places you are looking at. I went there last week and loved the laid back atmosphere, sangria, and the tempura vegetable app., but the steak with the steak frites was very tough and the tandoori duck was bland (not something you can usually say about tandoori). Maybe it would be more a lunch place for you, as it's not that far from downtown.

        I might also add Two Urban Licks to your list. It's not as fancy as Joel or Canoe, but I used to live in Boston myself, and there was nothing like Two there. It's a really cavernous place in an old warehouse that serves sort of updated comfort food stuff. I would also recommend Pura Vida for Latin American tapas or Watershed for Southern food. Just trying to think of some things you won't find in Boston...

        I don't really know about the cab situation in Atlanta, you might want to consider renting a car to get to the best chow. Note that most restaurants in Atlanta have free parking of some sort.

        1. Thanks for all the suggestions. Renting a car to get to dinner is totally out, however. Parking is not the issue. We like to sample a lot of fine wine before, during, and after dinner, and we are quite averse to DUI. We'll just have to stake out the cabstand in front of our hotel mighty early to beat out the competition.

          Pura Vida, Watershed, and Two Urban Licks are now on our list. Updated comfort food sounds splendid! We have rez at Joel for our first night there. And we'll look forward to a sangria lunch at Globe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: daigle

            Given that I now know you are a wine connoisseur, I would probably not recommend the sangria at the Globe. I liked it because it tasted more like juice than wine, but if you really like wine, that would probably annoy you. Also, all the drinks at the Globe are served in plastic tumblers, but you can request a regular wine glass.

            Pura Vida has good sangria, wine, and cocktails.

          2. You might want to add Ecco to your list. Im Midtown 8th and West Peachtree area. MF excellent for sushi but realize only sushi-no tempura, noodles, etc for the sushi-averse. Aria in Buckhead is excellent and highly recommended. Rathbun's for sure. Seeger's is still open for business after it looked like it was history-has it's fans as well as detractors. Taurus in midtown has been getting strong reviews but I have not personally been there to recommend though hope to try soon. No one has mentioned Bacchanlia and I would encourage you to put that high on your list.
            Atlantans-is Shaun's (Shaun Doty's new place) open yet? Any feedback?
            Don't count on MARTA for transportation. Coverage is limited. You may get lucky and get close to a destination but typically will not find cabs at the stations.
            Hope you have a great time in Atlanta.

            1 Reply
            1. re: merbel

              this is all such great info. "sushi only" is fine -- we are quite adventurous and would probably devour "still alive" Klingon food if it were proferred.

            2. Restaurant Eugene is my number one suggestion. The chef is going to be on Iron Chef. Local ingredients with a Southern accent.

              Floataway Cafe is another good choice. They just underwent a change of chefs so I can't speak to their quality. I just ate there in August and it was good but not as great as it has been in the past.

              Aria is another great place. Very good food.

              The Globe is a bit tired. My last meals there have been less than stellar.

              MF Sushi is great. I suggest you try the deep-fried river crabs and uni custard. Divine.

              South City Kitchen has a nice brunch with a bunch of southern options.

              I have a bunch more ideas including ethnic eats on my website if you are interested: www.blissfulglutton.com

              1. Wow. Great website, blissfulglutton. Thanks.

                1. daigle, many thanks for doing a little research before posting.

                  Yes, MARTA is unreliable (especially on weekends), but people from cities with indigenous public transportation traditons generally have minimal issues with it.

                  I agree with blissfulglutton that the Globe has gone downhill. It's got real-city ambience that's rare in Atlanta, but the food wouldn't stack up to any hip place in Boston.

                  Watershed is easily walkable from the Decatur MARTA station. I've complained about the inconsistent service and the unchanging menu, but it's a good place to take out-of-towners to experience southern cuisine. And they do great brunch.

                  It's nowhere near a MARTA stop, but I'd have to praise Woodfire Grill as my favorite place in town. Michael Tuohy deserves major accolades for sourcing well-farmed ingredients, preparing them imaginatively (over the eponymous heat source), serving them in a welcoming but unpretentious space, and providing excellent service. And I'm sure they'd call you a cab.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pastramiking

                    I second Woodfire. I have never had a single thing that wasn't well prepared and presented. I reminds me of a couple of places in Portland, Oregon that I miss so much. I go there to escape and find that prices reasonable for the quality.

                  2. If you like indian. In an area called Smyrna. Its xit 15 on 285 west. Swapna. Very good food great atmoshpere. Get your favorit entree with Thali dinner. Your entree will come with about 5 or 6 little cups of extras various sauces, dips and appetizers. Not very expensive. Also you should do the Varsity once. Old style car hop diner you can also eat inside. Front Page news downtown. Great vibe food not to bad. I am working in Atlanta till mid nov. If you want get intouch we can meet for a drink, food or both. Red and Judy

                    1. If you are staying downtown, Rathbun's is the closest and only a couple of miles and easy to get to from a taxi. They also have this place called Krog Bar that is a wine bar. They are in Inman Park. I thing their website is Http:/www.rathbunsrestaurant.com
                      Good luck and have fun!

                      1. First, I want to express my appreciation to all of you who suggested dining spots. For our 4 nights' dinners I have made reservations at: Eugene, Two Urban Licks, Joel, and Floataway. However, I'm noticing that Rathbun's has some serious fans on this board.

                        If I were to cancel one rez and supplant it with Rathbuns, which one is expendable?

                        1. That's quite a string of meals. If you want better food, Rathbun's should replace Two. If you want a fun night out, keep Two. The other places are very good choices, though Floataway and Eugene are somewhat similar in their ingredient focus (Eugene being a bit more Southern, Floataway a bit more Mediteranean/Italian).

                          Personally, if I had four nights and didn't mind spending money every night, I'd probably do Eugene for the southern influences, Two for the vibe (preferably on a night they have music), Nam for upscale Vietnamese and some variety, and then either Floataway or Woodfire Grill.

                          I've been underwhelmed by Joel twice, and would feel no need to do anything as fancy as the Ritz or Seeger's.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: biskuit

                            I agree about Joel being underwhelming. Replace it with Rathbun's and you won't be disappointed. Plus Joel will be a long cab ride from Downtown. Not sure about what night's you'll be in town but try to get to Eugene on a Friday. They have what they call Friday Night Flights with three insanely creative cocktails and matching appetizers for $25. Their in-house "mixologist" Greg Best is fantastic and lots of fun to talk to about spirits.

                            1. re: hcrary

                              Ineresting. For what it is worth: I have had mediocre experiences at Rathbun's (at least four) and very good to excellent experiences at Joel (at least seven). The space at Joel is also much more attractive and comfortable than Rathbun's. Floataway has some recent detractors although it used to get raves. Also, I have had one bad eperience at Nam and much prefer Nan for fine Thai dining. Still have to make it to Eugene, but would recommend it based on lots of other's reviews. Sorry to throw that in the mix...

                          2. I'll add some more confustion, with a preface that few places are consistently excellent in Atlanta. All I can go on is my own experiences.

                            I've had one quite good and one so-so meal at Rathbuns, it does get mixed reviews. I guess I've been lucky with my Two Urban Licks experiences as I've had three good ones, but so many people have found it woefully lacking. Likewise, I've had two very good meals at Floataway (one that was outstanding except for an overly salted dish which they corrected, just about a month ago). Nan is also very good, but Thai rather than Vietnamese - similar upscale takes on Asian cuisines. Nam is a bit "trendier" and Nana is a bit "classier." Again, I've had two very good meals at Nam, but others have been disappointed. Woodfire can be great, but can have off moments as well.

                            Eugene is probably the most consistently well regarded of the bunch mentioned.

                            1. Originally I selected Joel over Rathbun's because it was the easy way out: Rathbun's does not seem to do OpenTable. But now that someone mentioned differential taxi distances I'm reconsidering. That kind of thing never occurs to me because Boston is so compact -- we rarely go anywhere that wouldn't be feasible to walk home from in a pinch.

                              Thanks again for all the suggestions on this board.

                              1. If I were you, I'd replace Floataway with Baccanalia. They're owned by the same people but Baccanalia is a bit higher-end, and a bit more creative (and a bit more expensive). For a real splurge, try Quinones (again, same owners). Expect a 10-course tasting menu with emphasis on Southern flavors fresh from the owners farm. The place only seats about 30 people, but it's really great. Expect to pay $150-$200/person, but its a very memorable meal.