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College visit with teens

We'll be staying at Omni CNN Center this Wed (arrive 1:35pm) thru Sat. Seeking good food with bustling atmosphere (DH & I love cocktails).

May be Decatur or Buckhead for Saturday night; looks like some chow recs in Decatur have limited menu (not sure if it would appeal to my girls, one of whom is allergic to shellfish & abstains from beef). Currently have Iberian Pig for Saturday night...too "old" for teens? Would rather not go above 20's for entrees.

Would love to try "new Southern". Miller Union? I have JCT Kitchen for Friday. If I do Miller on Thursday, is that too similar? ESS looks good but pricey.

Also have General Muir & Flip Burger on my radar. Would appreciate pizza/pasta, Asian, Indian & other burger recs too (17 yr old dd is just getting back from school UK trip, wants FLAVOR). Picking up pupusas before airport pickup today :)


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  1. Some thoughts....

    For new Southern, either JCT or Miller Union would be great, and both have strong cocktail programs. No need to do both in my view.
    For Italian, Bocca Lupo -- also has great cocktails.
    For pizza, Antico or Don Antonio -- more options at the latter, including cocktails.
    For Burgers, everyone has there own favourites, but I prefer Holeman & Finch and Bocado. Love H&F's cocktails.
    For Sushi, Umi and Tomo are quite good but pricey.
    For Ramen, try Raku on the Westside.
    For Vietnamese, try Nam Phuong on the Buford Hwy
    For Thai, maybe Tuk Tuk.
    Finally, don't miss The General Muir.


    1. Without knowing where you hail from, here are some thoughts:

      Decatur is great. I think Brickstore or Leon's would serve you well all things considered. My favorite spots in Decatur don't meet your criteria. I would skip Iberian ... lots of people love it ... i'm not one of those people.

      I think all of the new southern spots leave a lot to be desired in some capacity, primarily in value and consistency. If pressed, I'd choose Empire State South. JCT is a train wreck & Miller Union is far more expensive than ESS.

      I would consider Flip a waste. Definitely go to General Muir. If you want a burger ,that's a great option. However, there are other items that are great at Muir, so I'd do the burger at Bocado. It's a restaurant that puts out a competent menu, not illuminating by any means, but you can get a fantastic burger there and your girls will find something there as well.

      I consider BoccaLupo required eating -> pasta/italian.
      If you're looking for Neapolitan pizza, the two premier spots in town are Antico & Varasanos. People will swear up and down by Antico. I find it highly overrated. But, it's got a ton of energy and is for that reason "fun" for a lot of folks. Their toppings are great, but their consistency is lacking. Varasano's, with a sour dough starter, gets my vote even though the space can be a bit of a dud.

      Chinese: Gu's Bistro on Buford Highway for Szechuan & Bobo for "cantonese-esque" although they are a bit of a treck for you.
      Vietnamese: Nam Phuong on Buford Highway much closer in, though still a trek.
      Korean BBQ: Based on the idea that the farther out places are too far from where you're coming from, Han Il Kwan or Hae Won Dae are your best bets. They are both right close to Bobo & Gu's

      The other categories of asian food leave a lot on the table. If you're pressed for sushi, Tomo & Umi offer wallet busting options that while good, don't stack up with similarly price options in other markets. Hayakawa (near Gu's), Taka, & Huku offer the best chance for a solid meal in the more reasonable price range. Still, I'd skip sushi.

      Indian: Hard to find good indian in this city, run as far away from Cardamom hill as you can. Perhaps Planet Bombay ... i guess??? I dunno - Panahar on Buford Hwy is bangladeshi and decent ... i suppose.


      2 Replies
      1. re: foodiebuddha

        I'm curious- please elaborate on your thoughts on Cardamom Hill.

        I went to the ramen popup at Gato Bizco last week with a friend and enjoyed it. You'd need to get there early before the 7 o'clock open to get a spot in the first seating (or wait til later). It wasn't as good as Momofuku, a little different but on par with Umaido. Anyway it was a fun thing to do that was offbeat for me.

        Full disclosure- I actually ate at the Gato hot chicken popup too last week. Liked the sides better than the chicken itself b/c it was a bit greasy and not as hot as I've had in Nashville (even 'medium' hot). That place needs ventilation of some description badly. We walked out after the hot chicken meal soaked in fried chicken aroma, and I remember being just miserable eating Ivan Orkin's ramen a couple years ago b/c it was so hot.

        1. re: ted

          How much time do you have? :-)

          The short of the very long -> the food is significantly overpriced and it is prohibitively expensive. Meanwhile, the execution there leaves a lot to be desired in the way of consistency.

          The food falls flat, especially at the price point and often times it just doesn't taste good. Meanwhile, I've found both the service (aka how servers interact & handle things go at the table) and the customer service (the general treatment of the patrons by the staff) to be piss poor. The number of my close friends who have had similar experiences there is alarmingly high.

      2. Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. ESS seems to be an unanimous choice, will think about it. Was also thinking of something a little simpler/more comforting (Wisteria's menu LOOKS perfect).

        Tomo & Gu's look great but former is too expensive & latter too far away. Will skip Asian...coming from the 'burbs of San Francisco.

        One of the reasons for Flip Burger was so that DD#2 can enjoy a lamb burger as she does not eat beef. Burger isn't a must; just trying to avoid $150+ bill every night.

        Love the runaway comment about Cardamom Hill, but sad to hear as there are so few good, creative Indian restaurants in the U.S. Looking forward to Suvir Saran's arrival in SF!

        Will definitely get to General Muir & I think the girls will love Bocca Lupo.

        10 Replies
        1. re: ceekskat

          For a Lamb burger, I LOVE the one at the Mix'd Up food truck, which has a bricks and mortar location as well.

          1. re: SJMDownunder

            Thanks, will keep in mind but have become disenchanted with Food Trucks as the ones here are generally mediocre.

            1. re: ceekskat

              I'm no food truck fan either -- but I love this single dish....

          2. re: ceekskat

            I wouldn't rule out Flip. For a teenager, I think the atmosphere has a fun, modern vibe and the menu has a lot of diverse options (even if it's not the best burger in town). And what 17-yr old wouldn't like a Krispy Kreme milkshake? Plus it's going to be gorgeous weather and the patio will be fantastic at the end of this week.

              1. re: ceekskat

                that's actually an excellent point. I find it highly overrated but given what your goals are ... what Jboeke said is spot on.

                1. re: foodiebuddha

                  I agree in my meh feelings about Flip. The patio setting comment made me think of the rooftop patio at Six Feet Under on 11th St as an alternative. The food (think seafood shack with slightly better veggies and good beer) isn't the greatest, but the view of Midtown is awesome. Except for the desire for a lamb burger, I'd take that over the overly-precious (and priced) Flip menu.

                  1. re: ted

                    I agree that 6 Feets Patio has a nice view but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend that anyone from out of town use that as a justification for visiting there :-)I think they both leave a lot to be desired, but in thinking that the OP is coming with kids - i think they'll be far more enamored with Flip than 6 Feet. Add that to the consideration that San Fran is the baseline - seafood in this town leaves a loooot to be desired. What do you think?

                    1. re: foodiebuddha

                      For a fried-whatever basket with split-in-half fried okra (i.e. not the usual Sysco stuff), I think they do a good job. I had catfish the last time there, and I think they do a good job of that, too. I think they execute at least as well as Crawfish Shack, but people write them off b/c they do volume.

                      And, like I said, you can't beat the view. Sometimes, it's about more than just having a mind-blowing food experience.

            1. re: ceekskat

              I can't think of a single restaurant in Atlanta that would end up on "the best of category" spot in San Fran. That said, if you're in to oysters, Kimball House in Decatur is right up there with Swan & Hog Island etc...etc.. It's not just an oyster bar, so there are plenty of dishes for your kids.

              General & BoccaLupo are right up there though! So I think you'll really enjoy those spots.

            2. Last question: what are the must tries at General Muir for dinner (Wed)?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ceekskat

                Not sure what the Wednesday night special is, but they are typically very good and very reasonably priced. I love the specials on Tuesday (Corned Beef and Cabbage) and Friday (Fried Chicken). Off the regular menu, I very much like the deviled egg and pickle plate, the Brussels Sprouts, the pastrami sandwich or Reuben, the burger, the matzoh soup and the cheesecake. Honestly, hard to go wrong!

              2. so where did you land? reviews?

                1. Had a great trip & was pleasantly surprised how green and beautiful Atlanta was. Our dinners were at General Muir, BoccaLupo, JCT Kitchen, and Flip Burger.

                  What a gorgeous space GM is! And what a beautiful area Druid Hills - reason enough to look for a job at the CDC :) Enjoyed the food & cocktails here with the exception of the Wednesday special, the whole megillah- matzoh balls were dense and soup didn't have the depth of flavor. Also, they ran out of a pecan dessert we really wanted to try; instead had a dense chocolate cake which was good but just didn't hit the spot.

                  BoccaLupo - pasta, while good, was perhaps not as refined as what we've had in SF. Standouts were the appetizers- fried romanesco cauliflower, porchetta bruschetta (so light!) and of course, the never ending breadsticks. Really liked this space & location too.

                  JCT Kitchen - great service, were even given tastes of wine sold BTG which doesn't happen in Bay Area. The girls loved the space [dd1 recognized a boy's sweatshirt (opposite table eating with dad) as that of a private school from NYC & deduced he was here for a college visit too]. Food was hit & miss...deviled eggs & fried chicken were very good. DD's steak was dry, dh said shrimp & grits was okay and sticky coffee pudding was also just okay.

                  DD2, my discriminating little chowpup, discovered there was a Jeni's Ice Cream in this complex so we had to go there after JCT. She had the salty caramel, I had the brown butter almond brittle. Both had good creamy texture but mine was a tad too sweet for me; overall ranks well!

                  Flip Burger, new location- It was wet, DH was hungry, running out of patience so handed the car to the valet. I said, really?? Alas, turned out to be complimentary. Decor was more casual than I expected; should have gone to the one with white booths(?). Lamb burger, onion rings & shakes were great, fries were disappointing. Beef burgers were fine, but nothing more. DD1 had tuna tartare burger and said it was good but gave edge to Umami Burger's version back home. I asked her to think about it & she said Flip's had "more things" in it which she didn't care for.

                  We were extremely pleased with the service in all the restaurants and generally how friendly everyone was in Atlanta.

                  Upon returning home, DD2 did lament (read whine) how we went to Georgia & didn't have any biscuits, peaches or pies. "...and not one single peach in the fruit basket the hotel gave us!". Yes, she's a peach :)

                  Last but not least, DD1 has decided she will not be studying here. Wah...someone, as in dd2, niece or nephew, has to come here to study and yes I loved this place that much!! Thanks all!

                  Oh, we almost went to Gu's Bistro instead of Flip but timing didn't work out. We also did take out of biscuit* with egg, sausage, etc. from West Egg on Easter Sunday morning before heading out to airport. It was fine but probably would have been much better had we eaten in; also, was expecting over medium egg in the sandwich but turned out to be omelette. LOVED the hot sauce, wish I had bought a bottle. *this didn't count for dd2 as we didn't have it with gravy.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ceekskat

                    thanks for the update, it's nice to get feedback from people when they go to places mentioned! :-)

                    1. re: ceekskat

                      Yes, thanks for reporting back.

                      FYI, the reason you didn't see a peach was because they aren't in season yet. The cling stone ones will hit before too long, and then the free stone ones start out in late June and into July. The best ones I've eaten had a shelf life of roughly 24 hours and you had to eat them over a sink to contain the juice running off your chin.

                      You have no excuse for missing out on pie of some description. That said, a long-gone pie place I tried in SF (Miss Bepple's?) was really good.

                      1. re: ted

                        I did tell my daughter about peaches not being in season. As for other missed southern specialties, I will try to rectify during my upcoming NOLA trip!

                    2. Yes thanks for feedback..we lived in Palo Alto for couple years--food in SF is hard to compare with almost any other city,expcept NY as far as quantity and quality of food spots.Atlanta is a fairly "young" city and doenst have the embedded food culture of cities that have been around .Weve been here since 85 and its vastly better here since then, but still not a great food city,IMHO. We do have a few that compare,but they are not cheap,and werent on your list

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bobstripower

                        I realized later I should have just bit the budget bullet & gone to Empire State :(

                        "We've been here since 85 and its vastly better here since then, but still not a great food city,IMHO"

                        These days, lines are blurring when it comes to finding good food whether in SF or NYC or Dallas (admit wine selection can be weak outside SF). Of course there's more of it in SF & NY but the latest & greatest are also quite difficult to get into & I for one am weary of playing the booking two months ahead or waiting in line for 2 hrs game (State Bird SF).

                        Talented chefs are everywhere (witness BoccaLupo). I wish more of them would show up in Palo Alto (live in Menlo Park)!! Rent is so prohibitive, feel only deep pocketed establishments will be able to enter market/survive. Would you believe downtown Redwood City is becoming a hotbed for Saturday nights? OK, rant over.

                        Going to Pesce in NOLA on my upcoming trip...won last week for James Beard's best new restaurant in South.

                      2. Im a native Nyer and still have ties back there that advise me on where to eat--a friend owns the COPA,granted not known for their food,but he knows all the great localspots.We visit every year and dont go to the latest and greatest ever--we make reservations like 2 weeks out at most and get great food every time. One of my favs is Morrells right across the street from Rockefller center--- incredible lunch menu and eat outside.And the best Italian is in the Bronx,right across from Fordham University.I

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bobstripower

                          Atlanta is still sorely underdeveloped for any number of reasons, though i also agree it is better than it was in '85!