Our friends had not yet experienced the glories of Buford Highway so we decided to join them on a restaurant crawl. Instead of limiting ourselves to just one foreign delight, we selected 3 different cuisines and limited ourselves to sampling their very best dishes.
First up: Havana Restaurant. Until I started researching where to go, I hadn't realized that there was a battle royale going on as to which Havana restaurant was the legitimate heir to the burned down restaurant of the same name. We opted for Havana Restaurant, the one owned by the founder's widowed daughter-in-law. Much like every other divey Buford Highway restaurant, Havana Restaurant is low on atmosphere. I did love that it is next door to some Pirate Bar, which seemed to be populated by a huge crowd of fifty-something Buffet fans. Classic!
The empanadas were a heavenly combination of flaky crust and savory filling. I could quite honestly eat several of these by myself, but we were pacing ourselves, so I was left wanting more. These are definitely worth going back for, and since the restaurant is on the south end of Bu-Hi, it's a viable quick dinner option.
We ordered chicken empanadas and a Cuban sandwich at the counter and Mr. At treated himself to a Latin soda made of some unnatural red dyes and vats of real sugar.
The Cuban was also particularly good. These sandwiches are ubiquitous at many a non-Cuban restaurant these days, but it was the bread that made these stand out. The delectable melding of pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard was served atop sweet Cuban bread that managed to be simultaneously crunchy and fluffy. Yum!
Still hungry due to diligent self-denial, we headed to our last stop - Bamboo Hot Pot, a newish Vietnamese spot we'd heard great things about. Sad to see the place empty, we were pleased to find that we still got great service. Our waitress was the most charming mix of Southern diner (all flowing hair and shirt buttons bursting at the seams) and Vietnamese. In her bizarrely adorable Southern/Vietnamese accent she gave us the scoop on all the specialties, and Mr. AT and I chose to split a beef hot pot.
If you're heading from Atlanta, first up is
3979 Buford Highway Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30319
The comes Bamboo Hot Pot (we passed it and doubled back after El Rincon Latino)
Bamboo Grill and Hot Pot
El Rincon Latino
5055 Buford Highway Northwest
Doraville, GA 30340-1102