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Aug 20, 2009 01:59 PM

ANYTHING decent in downtown Atlanta?

So, in another two weeks the SO and I will be in Atlanta for our annual DragonCon trek (god help us...I only go to sell merchandise otherwise I couldn't put up with the crowds).

I'm just wondering if, by miracle, there's actually anything decent to eat in the downtown area that we may have missed and might not be swarmed by convention crowds. It always seems like we end up with endless waits to eat mediocre chain food in the area...would love to know if there are better alternatives. Any/all ethnic cuisines welcome, price range moderate to no more than say $100-120 for 2 people. We'd definitely prefer to stay in the downtown area or somewhere easily/quickly accessible via Marta, as after dinner we do usually like to go back to the con to gawk at all the insanity for a while...

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  1. Take MARTA to Decatur, not that far: plenty of ethnic choices as well as other restaurants walkable from the MARTA station. Or spring for a cab and go to FLIP on Howell Mill Rd., which besides its fab beef burgers has a menu full of "alternative" burgers, some with a definite ethnic twist. The liquid-nitrogen chilled milk shakes (chocolate mocha, peaches-and-cream) are to die for. Really. So are the fries, onion rings, fried okra--all greaseless and fried shatteringly crisp. Do not confuse this with your ordinary burger joint; it is about as hip and cool as it gets, but more importantly, the food is delicious. And inexpensive. Two of you could eat there a few times, tax & tip included, for $100.

    1. Actually there are decent restaurants downtown. Ruth's Chris Steak House, Ted's Montana Grill, Legal Seafoods, Peasant Bistro, McCormick and Schmick's, RISE Sushi lounge and Ray's in the City. A short cab ride to Bacchanalia my favorite restaurant in town and JCT Kitchen, oh and there' 5 Season's Brewing a very short cab ride. Lot's of places to try out.
      Good luck and have fun!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Katj

        These are all either pricey and/or part of a chain. (Though 5 Seasons, only a local "chain," is a good rec--more than decent food, moderate prices.) I may have misunderstood, but I got the impression OP was looking for restaurants that were not chains and were moderately priced.
        BTW, Bacchanalia is also my favorite restaurant, but I doubt a couple could get out of there for $100-$120. I guess, possibly, eating only appetizers and without drinking. But it's a true fine dining, high end place, not moderate. (Last time I went, three of us shared one bottle of wine, and we spent almost $400). However, I say to OP, if you can afford Bacchanalia, go there!

        1. re: nomadchowwoman

          >I got the impression OP was looking for restaurants that were not
          >chains and were moderately priced.

          Pretty much, yeah, though I don't mind Ted's and that's usually on our list to hit. Places like Ruth 's Chris, not so much. Never could tell if Ray's was worth a shot or not...often it's one of the only restaurants in the area WITHOUT a huge crowd on DC nights, and I couldn't tell if that was because of the price (which seemed quite high) or the maybe not-so-great quality.

          But yeah, looking for non-chain choices if possible.

      2. Social, on West Peachtree Place, is a short walk from the DragonCon festivities but out of the way enough to not be noticed by the crowds. It's French, with a N. African influance, and they have lots of small plates and reasonably priced wines. My boyfriend and I ate there a few weeks back and loved it. It was $60 for the two of us, with wine and a shared dessert.

        4 Replies
        1. re: DeeCee

          I'm going to DC too, with hubby and friends. Social sounds great. I was also looking for a good happy hour place for Thursday or Friday; I've gotten a lot of Midtown recommendations but is there any place locals go for HH downtown? We're looking for a place to decompress between forays into the social crush of Dragoncon. The hotel bars have their appeal but a less-artifice-laden alternative would be nice.

          1. re: glowworm

            There is a rooftop bar at French American Brasserie on Ivan Allen that is quite nice.

            1. re: DeeCee

              This sounds like a definite possibility. Thank you!

            2. My wife recently ate at a pho place next to Georgia State and was quite happy with what she got but didn't remember the name of it. Could've been Dua Vietnamese.


              1 Reply
              1. re: quimbaya

                Confirmed it was Dua Vietnamese Noodle Soup. Have now eaten there myself, and it is a solid B imho. The top choice when in the area.

              2. I have to go to Atlanta four times a year for various shows at the Gift Mart- all the places right around the hotels are packed! But if you walk just a couple of blocks down Peachtree, there is a brewpub called Max Lager's that is almost never busy, has great beer, and ok bar food- and it's cheap! A great place to unwind and get away from the crazies...


                5 Replies
                1. re: Clarkafella

                  Max Lager's sounds great - will definitely bookmark for the trip. Thanks!

                  1. re: sockii

                    I was there last night (and it was packed, suprisingly). The beers are very good. They've got a back porch, though.

                    1. re: Reignking

                      You're kidding! Glad to hear it though- I was always afraid that they would close!

                      Did they have the upstairs bar open too? Several years back, the night manager would let our group hang out upstairs even when it was closed- we could smoke, shoot pool, etc. It even got to the point where he would open one of the taps and let us just pour our own beer- we kept tabs (and were honest about it- who would want to blow a deal like that), and at the end of the night we would just let him tally it up, add in a big tip for the waiter (who didn't really have to do anything), and leave go on our merry way! Ahhh, good times!

                      1. re: Clarkafella

                        Nope, that wasn't open, but who knows this weekend...

                        DragonCon seems a little bit smaller this year -- I just walked around during lunch, and there just weren't as many costumes.

                        1. re: Reignking

                          Ugh, DragonCon was pretty effing big this year. Having William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart on the bill meant massive crowds. However, the Hyatt had crowd control in effect and some things were dispersed over to the Sheraton, so that might have made it FEEL less crowded...

                          That said, I did make it over the Max Lager's with some friends Sunday night during the con and it was a very good change of pace from the regular (chain) food routine of the con. Good food and my companions loved the beer (I enjoyed a very nice red wine, not being a beer fan myself.) Will definitely remember it for next year. Thanks for the rec!