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Most Overrated Atlanta Restaurant

In the hopes of sparking a debate, let me propose two overrated Atlanta restaurants:

1. Among restaurants with an established reputation: Woodfire Grill. I know it has a devoted following, but I just don't get it. I've eaten there twice and been disappointed both times. The first time was colossally bad, with overcooked salmon and vegetables that must have been boiled, without salt or other seasoning, for upwards of an hour. Since I've moved away from Atlanta, friends have reported similarly sad experiences. But a few friends still defend it. They say it's the truest observer of slow food in the city and that I should go in expecting less wow and more soul. You tell me...

2. Among newcomers: Trois. Sacre bleu! To be fair, I've only eaten there once. Still, one of my dinner companions had the worst duck dish I've ever tasted: Prepared sous-vide (or maybe microwaved--who knows?) with a watery, limp and flavorless green papaya salad, it was slightly more disappointing than my flounder "Parisian." Servers were also arrogant and displayed a geologic sense of time--25 minutes before first approaching the table, 30 minutes to bring the check, etc. Afterward, I wondered if I wronged the chef in a past life. Alas, two friends have been equally unimpressed. Based on the hype and near-universal acclaim, I expect more. What do you think?

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  1. My vote for most overrated would be Rathbun's. Had a pretty awful meal there, but have only been once.

    Also been to Woodfire once and was not impressed.

    The service at Trois is pretty bad, would agree there, but I have had some very good food there. The sliders served on the bar menu are interesting and delicious.

    1. My only experience at Woodfire was a good one, although we had quite an annoying server, but I'd agree with the rathbun's vote. My meal was so unremarkable that I can't even remember it- and I always remember any meal that expensive.

      1. We had both good food and a helpful server at Trois. Couldn't figure out how to flush the john in the bathroom, though...

        My nomination for most overrated is Pano's and Paul's. We went there on a LIFE restaurant discount card, but found the food poorly done and the waitstaff hanging around our table and joking around in the early evening. Won't be back.

        1. Well Torchon, I have to disagree on one and agree on two. Trois (where due to location and my specific business meal needs I have eaten perhaps a dozen times - mostly dinner but a couple lunches too) is fine - but that is as far as it goes. I really do not understand the excitement. I laughed when I read the toilet thing. I spent about 20 minutes in there the first time I went trying to figure out how to flush. I was so embarassed when I came out and there was a line!

          I love Woodfire. Every meal I have had there - maybe 6 or 8 over the years, has been great. I am a particular fan of the duck.

          My pick for most overrated in Pricci. Downright awful food. A close second is Buckhead Diner. This is another place I end up going to frequently for business reasons, and I don't feel the need to object since the food is not bad (simply not good). I can get much better food nearby, but this is where everyone wants to go. If I am served another undercooked homemade potato chip with maytag I will scream. Runners up in the overrated catagory, Two Urban Licks, and the holy Trinity of Twist, Shout and Strip.

          A last note, I love Rathbun's and would walk a mile for the eggplant fries with powdered sugar and tabasco. Anyway, I thought it surprising that someone here would say they remember meals that expensive since it is comparitively pretty darn cheap for the type of food experience it offers. I was thinking maybe that person went to Rathbun's Steak which is definitely expense account territory. Just a thought.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Narshkite

            I agree with you on Pricci...just not worth it, very disappointing, however I don't think it's really talked about that much so it's not really overrated, if you know what I mean.
            Now with that said, YES, the Buckhead Life Group is the most overrated restaurant group in town. I've never really enjoyed Atlanta Fish, Pricci, Nava...had decent experiences at Buckhead Diner and Chops though.
            Twist, Shout and Noche are pretty bad, but I don't think that the Here to Serve restaurant group gets much hype, so in that sense they are not overrated, just not that good.
            South City Kitchen is talked about a lot and probably overrated, but again not one of the big hitters.

          2. Based on one dinner at Rathbun's, I also think it's overrated, but I didn't include it because friends in Atlanta have said it's gotten progressively better over the past six months. True?

            I didn't include Pricci, Buckhead Diner, Shout, Twist, etc. because I think they're generally bad and most people (at least folks on this blog) know they're bad.

            I will go out on a limb and defend Pano's and Paul's. Knowing it was past its prime, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food the last time I visited (about 18 months ago). Of course, I realize a lot of people still consider it the gold standard, and in that sense it's certainly overrated.

            1. Good discussion. To each his own of course. Comments on several of the places mentioned...

              Trois - ate there once and had an excellent meal, including one of the best foie gras dishes I've had in a long while

              Rathbuns - been there twice, I think it is overrated, though not terrible by any means, and I hear comments over and over again about too much salt (though, yes, the eggplant is really yummy)

              Woodfire - I am a fan, though admit to up and down experiences - I can see someone walking away disappointed, but the good meals I've had there have been VERY good

              Twist, Shout, etc - not possible to be overrated, I think anyone who cares about food and spends time on places like chowhound knows better than to even go there

              Buckhead Life - I gotta tell ya, Pricci has one of the best pizzas in town. I think it's better than Fritti or Baraonda (which would be my runners up). I've had surprisingly good meals at Buckhead Diner, a terrible meal at Nava, and very enjoyable meals at Lobster Bar. They all have a certain style that is not exactly my taste, but I don't think they're bad if you choose well.

              Biggest overrated meal I ever had in Atlanta was Seegers. Very disappointing. I wish he was still around because I know the talent is there, but I would never go back on my own dime for sure.

              2 Replies
              1. re: biskuit

                Just glancing at another thread reminded me... I have no idea what the attraction of Cafe at Pharr is. Ate there twice, terribly boring and bland and forgettable. Yes, we tried a few versions of the chicken salad - meh.

                1. re: biskuit

                  It's good that you mentioned Seegers. It was always a very polarizing place. I ate there twice--once was wonderful, once was decent. But I knew many people who were passionate admirers and just as many who hated it (more often for the attitude than the food).

                2. Twist has good calamari and thats pretty much it. I think people just go there for the fun or it not for the food. I think Fogo de chao is overrated.