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NYC chowhounds ISO Atlanta suggestions

Hey there, sorry for the long post, but here's the situation I hope you guys can help with:
3 NYC chowhounds are going to be in Atlanta for an all too short weekend, next weekend, and are trying to find some great places to try. We like pretty much anything that's great food, atmosphere, service & value. We're native NYers and eat out a lot, and always like to try what's new, maybe trendy, and good. Willing to go to more expensive places, if they are truly wonderful, but overall we want good food & good experiences. Anywhere interesting and different is always great too.

Keep hearing Rathbun's is recommended, but not sure about it. From some research, here's a list below of what seems interesting and keeps coming up. Comments, suggestions on this list, any any other excellent places please?

Two Urban Licks
Enoteca Carbonari
Bacchanalia (is it only prix-fixe available?)
element (no website? still open?)
aria
feast
rathbun's
Antica Posta
Restaurant Eugene
French American Brasserie (FAB)
atlanta fish market
Avra Greek Tavern (lunch?)

Especially intereste in hearing: If you had to pick one great dinner to have, where would it be???
If we won't be able to get to dinner until late, (9-9:30, or maybe later) one night, is there a great place that serves late?
We especially need 1 dinner place, one late lunch/very early dinner (pre-flight home), and would love some great brunch/lunch suggestions.

We will be staying in Buckhead and will have a car, so getting around isn't a problem. I've never spent any time there except taking the train thru the city once, so don't know how quick getting around will be, but we're pretty open to going anywhere.

Also, any places/stores/food related outings you can suggest we might want to go on as well?

Thanks so much for any advice! We know very little about Atlanta and want to make the most of it!

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  1. If you do a search on your topic, I am sure you will find a lot of info. One not-to-miss place may be the Dekalb Farmer's Market. It is not really a farmer's market, but it may be fun for you. Nothing you couldn't find in NCY, but it is a lot under one roof.

    As for higher-end, I would still recommend Joel, although they have just renovated and I don't know what the space is now like. Folks around here tend to like Bacchanalia ( not just prix fixe) and Quinones. Element is now closed.

    Personally, I don't recommend Rathbun's. But that is just MHO. We have found it lound and overly salty.

    You should check out atlantacuisine.com for more info.

    1. I second the suggestion to hit YDFM- it's fantastic. If you cook (which your eating out a lot may mean 'no') it'd be worth it to pack a bag w/ super cheap spices to take back. Decatur, in general, has a neat, small-town feel, though most of the chow choices are elsewhere. If you like beer at all, The Brick Store is one of the best beer bars in the country. If the weather's nice, getting lucky and grabbing one of their outside tables for lunch is a beautiful thing.

      You could also try Alon's bakery in Morningside for baked goods in general, and great take-away sandwiches in particular.

      On your list (bully for you for posting with a list instead of asking for a spoon feed), Restaurant Eugene is my most recent outing. I can't say enough good about their bar- if you're into great cocktails, they're leading the pack in ATL, I'd say. And I really enjoyed my meal, also. But it also was a pricey night out, with most of the entrees north of $30.

      As for late night eating- there was a thread back before Labor Day by someone looking for late dinner options. Search for Dragon Con (or maybe 'klingon')- that's what they were in town for.

      1. hay there :) glad to hear you're visiting our city!

        First off the bat...let me try and edit the places you shouldn't bother with. Two Urban Licks...no way. Cool space but mediocre food and service. Element would have been a great destination but it, unfortunately, closed on Thursday. The Fish Market is often considered overrated...and Feast is nothing special and a long way from Buckhead.

        I cannot speak about Avra or FAB as I have not been there...but early reports from FAB were average at best.

        Bacchanalia - and its higher priced sister, Quinones - are the best meals I've had in my years in Atlanta. They're not cheap and they are long meals...but darn are they amazing. Quinones is one set menu. Bacchanalia is prix fixe with options for each course...unless you can snag a seat at the (very small) bar where you can order a la carte.

        Eugene is also good...but the recent mumblings from there have indicate som erratic results from the kitchen. Aria is good...but a LOUD dining room and quite expensive. I have always enjoyed my meals there...but I am not sure its worth the money when you could go to Bacchanalia, etc.

        Rathbun's is a place I have always enjoyed...especially when a group of people go and order apps/small plates and drinks. The dining room is quite loud...but I have always had good experiences there and the service is quite good.

        Instead of Antica Posta (also ungodly loud and expensive, IMO), try Sotto Sotto or La Tavola for Italian. They're in Virginia- HIghlands, a very charming part of town.

        A few other dinner recommendations would be Ecco in Midtown. Everyone I know has had great meals there (have the fried goat cheese with honey or the stuffed piquillo peppers. The Globe in Midtown would be a good spot for lunch or dinner....cool interior, nice cocktails, good food. An interesting dining experience is also Pura Vida, which is unusual South American Tapas.

        For lunch, you could try Taqueria Del Sol - cheap and fast eats, great jalepeno corn chowder. There are 3 locations. Also, sandwiches from Star Provisions (the gourmet store at Bacchanalia) are always a sure bet.

        Hope this helps! Enjoy your trip :)

        5 Replies
        1. re: runningwithtweezers

          wow, thanks so much everyone- i'll have to do some more research and check eveyrthing out!

          i do actually cook a lot as well, and i do like a great cocktail, so those suggestions are all wonderful. the Dekalb Farmer's Market sounds liek a great idea too!

          is there anything special as far as brunch?

          1. re: PhishFoodie

            Runningwithtweezers is correct. I have always enjoyed Anitca Posta. I would like to add Woodfire Grill, great food there. You would like the Virginia Highlands area too.
            Have a great time in Atlanta. There is always the Ritz for brunch too!

            1. re: PhishFoodie

              I forgot to put Aria in my 2-cents worth....absolutely can't go wrong with Aria. And you would be remiss not to research Joel as a possible choice. Bones for steakhouse is great. My last great NY meal was Il Mulino.
              Please comeback and post your choices and what you thought of them.

            2. re: runningwithtweezers

              I like Avra a lot - Kyma is another Greek restaurant that's in Buckhead. Kyma is more upscale, fancy-shmancy, while Avra is a bit more low-key but still really good. (Altho had terrible service at Kyma last week.)

              Also like FAB - not quite as polished in its new incarnation, but still great food.

              Italian - Portofino or La Tavola.

              There was a post on brunch a few weeks/months back..........

              1. re: runningwithtweezers

                Thanks for saying what I was thinking about Eugene. Last meal there was spotty.

              2. Bacchanalia and Restaurant Eugene would be my 2-cents worth. Atlanta fishmarket is very tasty/fresh, but not an experience like the Bacch. and Rest. Eugene. Bacchanalia also has Star Provisions, which is a mini market, where you can puchase great bottles of wine at reasonable prices, many of which you can't find/small wineries, as well as gift shop, meats, spices, this giving you a way to kill time while waiting, also the chef owner won james beard award and continues to excell...how is that for a run-on sentence?

                1. Restaurant Eugene's chef won the Iron Chef America challenge in Atlanta against the chefs from Bacchanalia, Rathbun's and I can't remember the fourth chef. He, Linton Hopkins, is supposed to be on the show competing sometime this year?