Many people think of Southern Food as “hearty, heavy and fattening.” And, you’d be right. We love our fried chicken, bar-be-que, cobblers and other classic dishes. But, we’ve come a long way in terms of gourmet goodies. You don’t have to look further than the menagerie of options available in Atlanta, Georgia to see we’re fans of all food, especially fine dining. During a recent visit to Atlanta, we sampled some these gourmet treats to bring you delicious dining experiences in downtown Atlanta. Yes, it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. Who am I kidding? I’d never turn down a chance to dine at one of these restaurants.
Gourmet Restaurants in Downtown Atlanta:
These restaurants are located in the Buckhead District. If you plan on dining at one of these restaurants, be sure to factor in congested traffic during rush hour. You don’t want to miss a reservation! These are places to celebrate or enjoy a date night, not places you would want to take the kids. But, sometimes you might want a special treat!
1. Atlas Buckhead– This is a classic special occasion restaurant. Located in the St. Regis, the decor is gorgeous. You’ll want to stop and examine their collection of 20th century artwork, selected from The Lewis Collection, one of the largest private art collections in the world. Chef Christoper Grossman has designed delicious menu option that change daily based on his collaboration with more than a dozen local farms. It’s true farm to table dining!
We spent a cozy evening on the patio, sampling starters and being treated to their seasonal drink, While I didn’t try the drink, I was a huge fan of the Atlas sliders, prepared with Ground Wagyu, Smoked Gouda-Pimento Cheese, Tucker Farms Green Leaf, Toasted Brioche Bun. The atmosphere is intimate and cozy, allowing for a relaxing evening with friends, but large enough you don’t feel crowded by other patrons. The staff was impeccable and knowledgeable about the dishes. If you plan to dine at Atlas, reservations are available, as well as valet parking. Self serve parking is also available if you prefer. Be prepared- entrees range from $28 to $70.
2. South City Kitchen– This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Seriously, I could eat here everytime I go to Atlanta. With two locations in Atlanta, Midtown and Buckhead, plus another in Smyra, South City serves “sophisticated Southern classics with a contemporary spin.” You’ll find the classics, like their amazing Fried Green Tomatoes, except they’ve upped the ante and added goat cheese and red pepper coulis. It’s like grandma’s cooking done with a gourmet touch.
The best part of this restaurant is their many gluten free options, making it a great place to dine when you have Celiac or gluten intolerance. There’s even a special gluten free menu! I have never had a dish I didn’t enjoy at South City, but I recommend the Springer Mountain Farms Fried Chicken with collard greens, red bliss potatoes and honey-thyme jus or for lighter fare, the Pimento Cheese with bread & butter pickles, celery and benne seed crackers. You can make reservations and see for yourself why the Midtown South City Kitchen has been voted the voted the Best All Around Restaurant in Atlanta. Most entrees range from $19 to $30 each. Note: The Midtown location does not have onsite parking and is not handicapped accessible.
3. Del Frisco’s Grill– is located in the “heart of Buckhead.” It’s an easy walk from several of the area hotels. This restaurant has a “hip and happening vibe” combined with tasty goodies, including a limited gluten free menu. We sampled their starters, flatbreads and desserts. I was pleased to see all flatbreads could be prepared with a gluten free crust, if requested.
If you visit, you can’t go wrong with the Ahi Tacos prepared with Tuna Tartare, Avocado and Spicy Citrus Mayo or the Deviled Eggs with Truffle-Chive Vinaigrette. There’s parking available on site and they take reservations. I would recommend them because we visited on a Friday night and the restaurant was packed. Entrees range from $19 to $31.
4. Doraku Izakaya and Sushi– Located in the Shoppes at Buckhead, Doraku is designed to resemble “a classic Japanese teahouse with an American vibe.” If you are a sake fan, this is the place to be. They have one of the most extensive sake menus in the United States. If you are not a fan of Sake, like me, they also have a drink menu and a selection of soft drinks.
We visited on a Saturday evening and this place was hopping. There was not an empty table in the house. The service is attentive and the food is delicious. My favorite was the private sushi making demonstration we were given where we learned how to craft our own sushi. And, if you are wondering, it is not as easy as it looks! This is the perfect place to order several small plates, as we did, and share. One of my favorites, suprisingly as this is a Japanese restaurant, was the fried Brussel sprouts. Even if you think you won’t like Brussel Sprouts, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by these.
What are your favorite restaurants in Atlanta?