Top Wine Lists in Atlanta?
Hi - I'm going to be down in Atlanta for a wine tasting event with Georg Riedel (of the glassware family) in January. I'm not sure where the event is being held, but I'd like to get a booking for a dinner afterwords somewhere in Midtown or Buckhead area. I really like wine; what places are there with top wine lists for a proper meal?
I had a great wine/dinner experience last week at Woodfire Grill. The food was excellent and the wine that had been suggested was great.
The pairings were on the mark.
How much do you want to spend? There are some high end spots like The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead or Quinones at Bacchanalia. In fact, there are few restaurants in America like the Dining Room at the Ritz. From their website: "Only three restaurants in the United States have received the Mobil Five-Star award for more than 10 years, including The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. This is our 12th Mobil Five-Star award and we are the only restaurant in Atlanta to receive this honor." That's going to be a really, really nice dinner but they will have just about everything you want in terms of wine. Bone's Steakhouse is a good steakhouse with a good wine list. It is far less formal than the Ritz but is by no means akin to a Longhorn or Outback. Woodfire Grill is a nice option that might split the difference there but I'm not sure if they really have an extensive wine list - not to say that their pairings are below par. Other restaurants to look at would be Restaurant Eugene, or the "regular" Bacchanalia.
If you love French cuisine, JOËL's (3290 Northside Pkwy NW) features French cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean influences. The wine list there is extraordinary and I have always enjoyed the service. As the person below (above?) mentioned, the Dining Room at the Ritz- Carlton, Buckhead is one of the only five star restaurants in the entire state. Chef JOËL was the executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton. I would recommend that you make reservations far in advance.
On a slightly different note, if you're a fan of Riedel wine glasses and you have time, you should head a bit north of Atlanta to Kennesaw to a home goods store called Juniper Home. They carry all the typical Williams Sonoma stuff (Viking, All-Clad, etc.) but that isn't why I'm sending you there. They have had a website on the Internet for years at www.wineglassguys.com and they tend to have rare imported decanters and unusual glasses that are difficult to find anywhere. They're also super helpful (sometimes too helpful - it can be tough to get out of there if you get them talking about wine glasses!). It sounds like you're a serious oenophile. If you are, you owe it to yourself to check them out. The bonus is that after you meet them, you can always call them directly for whatever you need and they'll take good care of you. I buy all my stemware from them.
Anywho, let's get back to restaurants. The Vine (1190 N. Highland Ave) offers an uneven dining experience to be honest but they offer hundreds of bottles and have a store attached so there may be a bit of an appeal to this space. If you're coming from out of town, it's also a great place to people watch. The owners clearly focused on creating a creamy, luxurious space that is super plush so you should have a wonderful time.
Joel does have a good wine list, but Chef Joel is long gone (not that that's a bad thing necessarily). I've never loved the place.
Repast is a great restaurant with a small but very eclectic and interesting wine list.
Top Flr has a similarly interesting list and also good food, more casual.
LOL. What a small world...it was Wineglassguys that got me the invite to the private event with Georg Riedel in the first place. I'm going to fly down for the event, then see some other friends for dinner. I've never been to their store, but I have five different decanters that I've bought from them so I think I'm on their VIP list now. I didn't even realize they had a store, I'll go by. How far is Kennesaw from Buckhead?
In terms of restaurants, is the Ritz Dining room really that good? I've stayed at that hotel a few times (getting a face lift at present, which was long overdue), but never eaten in the fancy room. When was the last time you ate there?
Kennesaw is a little bit of a drive from Buckhead but Atlanta isn't exactly a little compact city. You'll probably be on the road for 30 minutes assuming you don't hit traffic. In other words, if you're going to go anywhere out of the 2 or 3 miles from your hotel you're likely going to have to drive for a few minutes.
The Ritz Dining Room is a very nice restaurant. There's no joking about it making the Mobil ratings and it is always at the very top among the top 50 restaurants in the entire metro area. There have been some very well respected chefs that have come out of that kitchen. Most of it started when Guenter Seeger started working there and put the restaurant on the map.
With all that said, Quinones at Bacchanalia is also a very well respected spot for high end dining so read some other, probably more professional reviews online and make a decision between those 2.
Of course, that's just my opinion! There are obviously other restaurants like Restaurant Eugene and Woodfire Grill, and while those are nice, they just aren't in the same league as the Ritz or Quinones, nor do they try to be.
Watershed has an excellent, mostly-American wine list. Beard Award-winner Scott Peacock's twist on classic southern is wonderful.
Top Flr in Midtown does not have a very large wine list and is on the downscale side, but the wines Adam picks are all winners. Rated #3 "wine bar" (a misnomer) in the country by Bon Apetit.
Bachannalia, The Ritz all can't be beat. Take out a loan if you go....
Check out www.dirtysouthwine.com for an amazing over view of Atlanta's wine scene. Hardy's got his finger on the pulse!
For wine, Nikolai's Roof Restaurant at the Atlanta Hilton. Their wine list includes everything from the 5 first growths of bordeaux, to Domaine de la Romanee Conti, to Harlan, to vintage Krug.
They also used to have 50% wines on Tuesdays. I don't know if they still do. When was the last time you were able to buy an '82 Mouton Rothschild for $750 in a restaurant?
I would definitely choose Ritz Carlton in Buckhead. Outstanding dining, excellent Chef's Tasting Menu and they (or they used to) use Riedel on a regular basis. I haven't been there in a few years, but I recall Riedel being used in the Main Dining Room. Good Luck on your choice and if you need a dining partner, I will be the first to suggest you select me!!