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Mar 1, 2012 04:59 PM

Vegan Friendly Fine Dining?

DH and I will be in Atlanta the week of March 12th, and are hoping to eat at some of your fair city's finest establishments. He is an omnivore, but I am (recently) vegan. Would love to find a few places that (with advance notice) could provide an exciting plant-based meal, not just a plateful of veggie side dishes. I've had surprisingly good luck locally in this regard, but don't have a clue how to proceed in Atlanta.

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  1. I cheated and did a search of vegan friendly restaurants on Urbanspoon. From their list, I'd suggest Wisteria (one of my favorites), Woodfire Grill, Ecco, or 4th and Swift. I also wonder if Rathbun's might work for you--I often order all small plates rather than main dishes there, and there may be enough variety there for you. But I'd suggest calling first so you aren't disappointed, for any of these.

    Please post where you end up and if it was good--this would be helpful info.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ebennettatl

      Thank you for your reply; I was beginning to think that this was not possible. Our daughter suggested Woodfire Grill, where she had an amazing (non-vegan) meal last year. I will contact the other restaurants on your list and see what they have to say. Will definitely report back.

      1. re: pikawicca

        i borught an Indian friend who is vegan to McKendricks a few weeks ago---i didnt know he was vegan, so felt silly when he looked at the menu (at a steak house). Our waiter Taco siad no big deal and asked what hed like to have as his vegan meal--he loved it-- bottom line, i think most very good places will make a vegan meal, but for sure McKendrciks does

        1. re: bobstripower

          Good to know. What did your friend have?

          1. re: pikawicca

            I'm not sure about Empire State South, but The National in Athens (also from Hugh Acheson) has a great veggie plate at lunch (the "power lunch"). Not sure if it's vegan, but ESS may have something similar.

            Restaurant Eugene might also be able to accommodate.

            I'd check with wherever you decide on to let them know you're coming.

            1. re: ted

              Thank you. I will definitely call before making reservations.

            2. re: pikawicca

              HMMM lets see if i can recall French beans in garlic butter,wild mushroom risotto,asparagus with holandaise sauce,grilled veggies, some kind of special rice, maybe butternut squash

              1. re: bobstripower

                That sounds wonderful, but (sadly) neither garlic butter nor Hollandaise is vegan.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  my firend is a seriuos vegan so my faulty memory is at work here--i remember the beans and asparagus though--im surethyed make a real vegan meal if you tell them what you want

      2. Just made reservations at Wisteria, Empire State South, and Woodfire Grill. They all sound lovely. Thanks to all for the recommendations. Will report back.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pikawicca


          Charming space -- brick wall, exposed beams. Quite small, though, wit tables close together, high noise level (they were full).

          Apps: (DH) Fried Oysters on toasted Baguette with Sherry Cream Sauce ($9)
          Nice oysters, but sauce tasted of raw flour, not sherry.

          Me: Special Salad of Carrots, Sugar Sanps, Arugula and Tangerine Segments, tossed with an Asian Vinaigrette and topped with chopped curried peanuts. ($8) Easily the best dish of the evening, refreshing and delicious.


          DH Trout with Almonds on a bed of succotash ($20) Meh. Bland and uninteresting. Could have been greatly improved by a sauce of somekind.

          Me - Vegetable Plate ($16) Little piles of tiny green beans, collards, corn, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes with baby okra, topped with a few stalks of grilled asparagus. The primary flavor that came through was salt, so much so that I couldn't eat more than a few bites. (They took this dish off our bill.)


          DH - Sweet Potato Praline Pie ($4) Very nice, with a dreamy consistency.

          Me - Strawberry/Lemon Granits ($4) Also enjoyable, with great flavor and crunch.

          I would not dis-recommend this place, as some of the passing food looked great (fried chicken, lamb (?) shank, for example). I would ask questions about seasoning/sauces, etc., before ordering.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Have you considered other cuisines such as some of the really good szechuan in town? Tasty China are Gu's Bistro are the top two right now. Definitely stuff there for your omnivore husband. As for your vegan diet, I would imagine some Dry Fried Eggplant and Ma Po Tofu would work. You can check out Gu's menu here ( Plenty of Tofu and Vegetable options.

          2. re: pikawicca

            Empire State South

            Another attractive space, not quite so loud, a little more space between tables.

            DH - Smoked Duck Breast with green strawberries, yellow foot mushrooms, watercress, wild leeks and Carolina Gold rice. He enjoyed this perfectly balanced dish a lot. The meat had a nice degree of smokiness, and was cooked medium-rare throughout.

            Me (off menu)

            The chef here obviously spent some thought on my meal, and really hit the spot. A narrow rectangular plate had a river of smoked farro meandering through it, punctuated in several places by little islands of sauteed greens, mushrooms, and charred Brussels sprouts, finished with a charred onion/tangerine glaze. Fresh, local, seasonal fare, beautifully presented.

            DH had a wonderful dessert: Rhu Baba, a small savarin, topped with butter pecan ice cream and garnished with a wisp of cotton candy, poached rhubarb, and rhubarb puree. Fanciful and delightful. Very good service.

            1. re: pikawicca

              South City Kitchen (lunch)

              When I asked for a lunch destination between the zoo and the High museum, our concierge enthusiastically endorsed SCK. Glad he did!


              Fried Catfish Reuben with Country Ham on Rye with Slaw. Do I really need to say more? Wowza!

              Me -

              Best-darned fried green tomatoes I've ever eaten. Green tomato slices are sprinkled with chevre (leave out for vegan version, of course), breaded, then fried until shatteringly crisp. Stacked up and set onto a pool of red pepper coulis, accented with fresh basil. As spectacular as this dish was, I abandoned it three-quarters finished, in favor of the garlicky collards, a dish not so common where I come from. This was a superb rendition, especaiily considering that it was not enhanced by any pork product or vinegar.