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Feb 25, 2011 12:18 AM

First time in Atlanta

Hey everyone,

I'm traveling to Atlanta for the first time in June and I was hoping to get some feedback/suggestions on can't be missed restaurants.

I'll only be in town for 3 or 4 days, so I'm looking for anything I shouldn't miss, whether it's a $200 tasting menu or a $3 hot dog. I'll eat just about anything so suggest away.

This is what I'm currently planning on - let me know what you think.


Quinones @ Bacchanalia OR Bacchanalia - The food lover in me screams for me to go to Quinones... but I don't want to miss the vaunted blue crab fritter either. Which would you recommend? Or is it so good I should think about trying both menus rather than another restaurant?

Woodfire Grill - I've read the mixed reviews, but I'm a sucker for Top Chef.

Bone's, Rathbun's... other suggestions? Completely unsure for my 3rd and 4th nights.


Flip Burger - See Woodfire above...

Antico Pizza

Star Provisions - Is this the best place for me to shop for cheese in Atlanta? I'll be staying with a friend, so I'm thinking maybe I'll buy some cheese and charcuterie for a light lunch back at her place?

Thanks in advance!

Star Provisions
1198 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Rathbun's Restaurant
112 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Woodfire Grill
1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324

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  1. Good choices. I love sitting at the bar at Bacchanalia because you then get more freedom to pick and choose vs. a prix fixe. My past two visits to Woodfire have been great (another prix fixe though). I'm not a steakhouse fan, so I would choose something else - Holeman & Finch, Cakes & Ale, Miller Union, Abbatoir are all very good but also kinda similar to each other and to Woodfire and Bacchanalia in that they are all variations on the Southern farm to table theme. You might consider Chinese (Peter Cheng's or Tasty China), Korean, Vietnamese, etc. which all have great options along Buford Highway.

    Lunch - Star is great for sandwiches (po boys especially) and for cheese/charcuterie. Other great lunch options would be Carver's (southern), Busy Bee (soul), or Community Q/Fox Brothers (bbq and great southern sides). Or banh mi up on Buford Highway (Quoc Huong or Lee's Bakery).

    Cakes & Ale Restaurant
    254 W Ponce De Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030

    Busy Bee Cafe
    810 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314

    Tasty China
    2750 Buford Hwy Ste 2D, Duluth, GA 30096

    Miller Union
    999 Brady Ave Suite 106, Atlanta, GA 30318

    4 Replies
    1. re: biskuit

      Love the Holeman & Finch suggestion! Is the burger really worth the hype? I remember seeing it on a show a while back and thinking I had to try at some point.

      And would you recommend brunch there? The brunch menu looks pretty delicious.

      Thanks for the lunch ideas, it's so much more difficult to find good solid lunch recs. I'll probably pass on the Asian food, had quite a bit when I lived in LA for a couple years, but the other places all look wonderful. I'll probably go to whichever one I'm closest to while I'm out during the day.

      Oh, sorry! one more question.... Does Bacchanalia offer the blue crab fritter as a solo app at the bar?

      1. re: jsa056

        The Holeman burger is phenomenal, and if you go for lunch, they make considerably more. Great cocktails too.

        I loved Woodfire, thought everything was super flavorful, well thought out. The one weak point there tends to be desserts, IMO.

        Brunch at local three is pretty awesome, and fun too. It is $18 all you can eat, but you walk through the kitchen, and there are probably a total of 15-20 pastries/composed dishes/desserts that you can sample.

        Highland Bakery would be a good option for lunch, and their baked goods are pretty delicious.

        Highland Bakery
        655 Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

      2. re: biskuit

        You can cross Woodfire off the list. We watch TC as well but that place underwhelmed. The chief issue was tiny portions. Flavor and preperation were fine but I belive you should never leave a restaurant hungry and both my wife and I did!! The service on our visit was a bit pretentious. I am aware of the whole farm to table thing and I support it but our server spent way too much time on it. I don't care if the pigs were read bedtime stories and the veggies were serenaded each morning and night, if they are so damn special and precious try putting more on the plate so I can apprecaite them!!! My wife and I travel a lot and have enjoyed top notch meals in many cities around the world, this place needs to get off its pedestal and start feeding its customers.

        Holeman and Finch is a great choice and I have also enjoyed Star and JCT Kitchen which is in the same complex.

        1. re: Kevin C

          Thanks for the update! Woodfire has slowly slipped off my list of options for this trip...

          Turns out I'll only have a couple nights to eat pricier dinners in Atl, so I'm pretty set on Bacchanalia and Holeman & Finch. The other two nights I think we're going for BBQ (Community Q or Fox Bros.) and hopefully some traditional Southern food.

          I'm hoping I get to Star, and I'll definitely be putting JCT on my list of places to try and check out.

      3. Bachh and woodfire are good choices.Im not a Rathbun fan--its all hype there--if you want the best steak/veal/lamb in town anyway you want it,with whatever sauce you want,its McKendricks at Perimeter--ill set you back 100/head,but worth it. On the other end,theres a new incredible Szechuan place on Buford highway called Gu"s bistro--its the best Ive evr had and worth the drive. They dont have a liquor iicense yet,but you can bring your own

        Rathbun's Restaurant
        112 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

        8 Replies
        1. re: bobstripower

          Thanks for the response! I was worried about Rathbun's being a lot of hype.

          McKendricks was/is on my short list for a steakhouse, have you been to Bone's? It was a toss up between them.

          Rathbun's Restaurant
          112 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

          1. re: jsa056

            yup--been to Bones many times-- a bartender there is a friend. Id take McKendricks for couple reasons--i think service is better, eg i can order a filet, stuffed with lobser, with a bernaise sauce,even though its not on the menu. I think the steak is cooked better at McKs---very high temp seals the flavor---side dishes are outstanding,eg au gratin potatoes--great wine selection. We tend to eat fancy on weekends, McKendricks has aot of business folks for lunch/dinner during the week--weeknds are quiet,so place doesnt have much background noise--Bones can be crowded and noisy.Finally, we love the banquet tables you can get at Mcks--hope that helps

            1. re: bobstripower

              All good suggestions. I am a steakhouse fan and I've had some incredible meals at Rathbun's but unfortunately it is somewhat inconsistent. I agree with the above poster that McKendrick's has great steaks but I think I would recommend Bones over it just for local color and atmosphere. McKendrick's looks so generic and strip-mallish, and that is exactly what it is. Bones is odd and old-school funky, which I think would be more interesting to me if I were visiting. Plus they have a $10 corkage fee,. Hal's is pretty fun as well, as long as you don;t mind sitting next to a lot of sugar-daddy couples where the women are young enough to be daughters, or granddaughters!

              Please report back.

              Rathbun's Restaurant
              112 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

              1. re: LizATL

                Thank for all the tips!

                It seems like I'll avoid Rathbun's, and maybe flip a coin over whether to go to Bone's or McKendrick's. Both sound very good, I'm guessing I'll be pretty happy no matter which way I go... maybe I'll leave it up to my friend for just moved there.

                My friend mentioned Honey Pig, but after living in LA for a few years and Hawaii most of my life, I'm a little skeptical. I'm sure they're great, but I'm wondering if it will be all that much different the Korean food I've had on the west coast. Anyone have an opinion about them?

                Rathbun's Restaurant
                112 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

                Honey Pig
                3473 Old Norcross Rd Ste 305, Duluth, GA 30096

                1. re: jsa056

                  Honey Pig is good, but if you have good Korean BBQ options or aren't specifically craving that, not worth going out of your way for.

                  Honey Pig
                  3473 Old Norcross Rd Ste 305, Duluth, GA 30096

                2. re: LizATL

                  Mckendricks is no where near a strip mall--its off by itself as opposed to Bones location--and its modelled after the NY steak houses of the day.Agree both are very good, but service is better at Mcks

                  1. re: bobstripower

                    I know that this is delayed, but I still think that McKendrick's has a very corporate feel, like it could be a restaurant in a hotel. It may not be technically in a strip mall itself, but it may as well be given all of the mall traffic from Perimeter. Last time I was there for lunch they were actually sweeping the floor in the dining room while we were eating. And watering the plants. The food is fabulous but I think the atmosphere at Bone's is more enjoyable.

                    1. re: LizATL

                      Not that delayed, I won't be going until late May-early June. Thanks for the report on McKendrick's. Atmosphere doesn't matter as much as food for us, but it does matter somewhat.

                      Seems like we'll eat well no matter which one we choose. All the extra info will help us make a better decision, so thanks again.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. My husband and I went to Soul city Kitchen when we visited Atlanta. Really liked it! Check and see if it is something you may be ineterested in.

              1 Reply
              1. The Clermont - just don't eat anything!

                2 Replies
                1. re: chezdy

                  Wasn't on my list, and now I know to just say no if someone suggests it. Thanks!

                  1. re: jsa056

                    I realize this post is too late for the original poster but hopefully it will help a future Hound visiting Atlanta. IMHO, McKendrick's has a better steak than Bone's whereas Bone's is more the "in-crowd" steakhouse due to its Buckhead location. They are both fine restaurants but I prefer McK. Heck, the coconut cream pie is worth the trip!