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ATLANTA - one night - three choices? your vote!

A Maine hound taking a small group from Maine out for one night in Atlanta - most are not really foodies, but I am and I get to decide.
I've narrowed the choices to:
Emeril's
South City Kitchen
Restaurant Eugene

Where should we go?

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  1. NO NO NO NO NO on the Emeril's. Until you come up with another selection that isn't a cheesy chain, I won't answer.

    .....OK - Eugene it is.

    1. Of those 3, Eugene hands down.

      If you have criteria, we could offer a few more suggestions...

      1. Eugene.

        No self respecting Atlantan eats at Emeril's. They DO NOT cater t the locals.

          1. An easy decision: Restaurant Eugene.

            South City Kitchen is a distant second, and Emeril's isn't even on the radar. Emeril's <shudder>

              1. Is the Buckhead Diner still around? I enjoyed meals there a number of times in the 90s.

                La Fonda (sp? Cuban restaurant) was another favorite.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mbeatle

                  Buckhead Diner is still around, still part of the Buckhead Life group of restaurants. Fine, but far from the best or most interesting food in town (though it is pretty expensive). If you wanted to go out to dinner wearing a sequined hoody and too-tight sweat pants, this would be the place.

                  La Fonda is a downmarket local chain that also includes Fellini's pizza. Several locations (including one on Ponce de Leon with a patio in front and a second story open area that's nice in pleasant weather). Sandwiches, paella, sangria.

                2. This is not even a competition. South City used to be one of my favorites - and I still love it - but it pales in comparison to Eugene, which is now officially my favorite restaunt in Atlanta. Emeril's shouldn't be on this list - too many authentic, local restaurants.

                  1. Ditto on the opinions re: Emeril's and Restaurant Eugene. I would take South City Kitchen and Emeril's out of the running and add Rathbun's and Bacchanalia. Then you are choosing from three of the best restaurants in Atlanta. Restaurant Eugene is important for new Southern cuisine. Chef Linton Hopkins has been widely recognized for his commitment to preserving Southern culinary traditions. The restaurant is upscale, intimate and a great place for good conversation. The restaurant is easy to find on Peachtree Street in Buckhead.

                    Chef Kevin Rathbun opened Rathbun's on Krog Street near Inman Park in an area that was previously industrial bu now converting to residential lofts and more restaurants. I think that the food there is fantastic.even though the restaurant can be difficult to find, particularly for those from out of town. While Restaurant Eugene is intimate and quiet, Rathbun's is big and loud.

                    Bacchanalia is consistently named the best restaurant in Atlanta and justifiably so. The freshest ingredients paired unpretentiously with great wines. Also a little off the beaten path in an area now known as West Midtown, but truly a great dining experience.

                    Hope this helps.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nelson32

                      I agree Bacchanalia is the BEST restaurant in Atlanta.

                    2. Agree on all, except I don't think that Rathbun's is one of the three best restaurants in Atlanta. Bacchanalia is incredible --- in my top five restaurants list of all time.

                      1. The owners of South City Kitchen took their GM's to Eugene. Nuff said.

                        1. No question about it--Rathbun's, Eugene, and then I'd suggest Bacchanalia, Aria, or the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead

                          1. Sorry to disagree but we vote for Emeril's. Always interesting food, great service and a great show if you sit at the food bar. Rathbuns was thrilling first time around but return visits felt like been there, done that. I know it's not cool to like Emeril's but we've always found the food to be spectacular.

                            1. If Gerry Klaskala is still cooking at Aria he gets my vote!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: drpny

                                Could not agree more! Gerry is AMAZING!

                              2. Eugene and Bachanellia are the best. I also like Joel