Thursday, March 22, 2012

The AJC's Atlanta Spring Dining Guide - Who Didn't Make the Cut?

John Kessler has just published his first top 50 restaurants in Atlanta since 2004. His list doesn't just focus on the high-end, rather, it's a mix of neighborhood favorites, authentic ethnic cuisine, and the usual suspects.

These lists are bound to leave some favorites off, but I think Kessler has created a list that does a good job of representing the breadth of the Atlanta dining scene. People always ask what my favorite restaurant in town is. Drumroll's Holeman and Finch. But I was also happy to see lesser known favorites like Sushi House Hayakawa, Honey Pig, and Tasty China make the list.

A few of my faves that didn't make the cut:
  • La Tavola - everything we ever eat there is just really well prepared and tasty. Add to that, an inviting atmosphere, friendly staff, and a reasonable corkage fee, and you'd got yourself a neighborhood favorite!
  • Floataway Cafe - If I want some Quatrano/Harrison deliciousness, I'm heading to Floataway. Their gnocchi and the pizza they sometimes have with egg on it are comforting and always inspire satisfied moans.

      Sliders at the Shed at Glenwood
  • Shed at Glenwood - Kessler cited some restaurants for connecting emotionally. That's what I think the Shed does so well. Lance and Cindy are just about the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and you always feel like a welcomed friend there. Menu items like $1 oysters, sliders (an ever changing array might include elk, schnitzel, or fried catfish on any given night), and homemade ding dongs keep us coming back for more.
  • Farm Burger - there are many worthy competitors to the burger wars in Atlanta. The ones that made the AJC list, Bocado and H&F, are more known for serving a specific burger. Others that focused on customizing burgers - Flip, Yeah Burger and the Vortex - didn't make the cut. But for my money, if I want to pick and choose, I'm heading to Decatur's Farm Burger. With a local and natural ethos, and a bevy of yummy accouterments (oxtail marmalade, bone marrow or pimento cheese fries, anyone?), it's hard to beat when the burger craving hits. 
    Las Brasas Rotisserie Chicken
  • Las Brasas - there isn't much to this little Peruvian chicken shack, but man, what they lack in breadth, they make up for in flavor. Their rotisserie chicken with aji sauce is always quickly devoured, and the potatoes with huancaina sauce are too good to resist.
  • JCT - Atlanta has plenty of Southern influence restaurants, too many in fact, but when I have a guest in town who wants a regional taste, I take them to JCT.  Great cocktails, craveable fried chicken. and a nice roof deck don't hurt either. 
  • Fox Brothers BBQ - I'll be honest, I don't go for the BBQ. Their brisket burger blows my fricking mind, and the tommenator (tots covered in cheese and brunswick stew) is alternately disgusting and the most wonderful thing I've ever eaten.
If nothing else, this serves as a good reminder that I haven't been to many of my favorites in way too long! 



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