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Vol. 8, No. 6 | Where to Eat + Drink Atlanta
This is the newsletter that I’ll send to people when they text me where to go. Because normally when people ask me on the spot, I can never think of anything. To be clear, this is my list. The categories are different than what you might be used to, but it’s the only way they make sense to me. Also, while I’ve been to many places in Atlanta, I haven’t been everywhere. This is also not a list of all the places that I think are good. These are the places that I think are excellent for the category I’ve lumped them in. This is also the longest newsletter that I’ll probably ever write. Without further adieu…
The Places That I Recommend to People That I Know Like Great Food and Drinks and Won’t Embarrass Me
These are the places that never get it wrong (or as infrequently as is humanly possible). The food, cocktails, and service are equally as amazing. These are the places that make me scream when people say Atlanta doesn’t do cocktails. These are the places that I go to if I’m having a bad day or I simply want to remember why I love this industry. You’ll notice further down that I write little blurbs for a lot of the other things on the list. These places don’t need that.
This is the category I have the hardest time with. I don’t want or need twerking with my pancakes. Atlanta loves the turn-up brunch with frozen Ore-Ida potatoes, DJs and hookah. I want great food and a cocktail or two.
Mission + Market - I’d honestly recommend Mission + Market for every meal and it’s also great for large groups. Their brunch menu is extensive and delicious. You can get classic items as well as more inventive twists.
Bread + Butterfly - It took me entirely too long to visit Bread and Butterfly. It’s a quaint little French cafe. No reservations and there is usually a wait, but it’s worth it.
Poor Calvin’s - Overboard in the most way possible. Massive flavor and large portions. I don’t necessarily need large portions, but someone else might care about that.
Vibe can be hard to describe. It can mean good energy or even good music. It can also be a place that transports you somewhere else. Whatever it means to you, these places have it.
Storico Vino - I can’t put my finger on what it is about Storico. Maybe it’s the coziness. It’s moody while still being warm. I just always feel like I’m in a great little wine bar in Italy. That is a difficult feat when you realize it’s located in the heart of the Buckhead Village.
Delbar - I was sold with the Turkish rugs and giant plants. Delbar is consistently packed and that’s not my normal type of place, but the energy feels so good that I’ll wait patiently at the bar until a seat opens up.
Apt4B - I remember when Sim first showed me the centerpiece records area. Apt4B has vibe even when the building is empty. It’s not a place that I go often but if someone tells me to pull up, I’m pulling up. I know it will be a good time and feel like a dope house gathering, just like how they intended it to be.
My Favorite Neighborhood Bar Not In My Neighborhood
Poor Hendrix - This has become my Cheers. I only started going there after I started St~Germain but it’s become one of my favorite spots. This is the place that I wish was in my neighborhood. I wish I could walk to it every day. The food is amazing and they make rice crispy treats in house. Do you understand how good a housemade brown butter rice crispy treat is?! The service is laid back and the music is good. They’ll make your drinks however you like them without any snobbery.
These are the places that I find solid all of the time and I don’t think they get enough shine. Most of them have also been around for a while and remain consistently solid.
Truva - Someone asked me once who has the best fries in the city. For the classic, but elevated it’s Marcel. For the truly unexpected and insanely delicious, it’s Truva’s garlic cilantro fries. Everything on their menu is actually delicious. I talked about my love of baklava a few years ago and Truva’s is the best I’ve found in the city.
Nick’s - Chef Nick Leahy is so talented. The food is amazing, thoughtfully sourced, and always seasonal. I’ve never been able to explain why this restaurant is always so empty. In addition to the food being great, the space is gorgeous. I fear we’ll lose this restaurant and it’s a shame.
Seven Lamps - I think there was more buzz when Seven Lamps first opened, but I rarely hear about it anymore. It’s another place offering seasonal delicious food. New openings can overshadow solid options, but this is still one to me that shouldn’t be missed.
Chai Yo - I took my mom here on Mother’s Day a few years ago. It’s amazing modern Thai food. It’s always delicious and the bar manager Linda is hospitality at its finest.
Where My Friends Work
I have a lot of friends in the industry but these are my aces…my family. However, they aren’t just on the list because they are my friends. It’s because when it comes to their craft they are excellent and no matter where they are I know I’ll be able to get something delicious. Since we’re all friends, maybe I can just spark the idea that they should just do something together.
Thompson - Thandi Walton is the head of beverage at Thompson. I’d go anywhere Thandi is. The cocktails will always be delicious and there will surely be lots of laughs. Additionally, no one is more poised or tempered in their approach to making cocktails. Even though we’re friends, she still treats me as a guest if that makes sense.
Continent - I’ve written a lot about Chef Scotley Innis. I think he’s one of the most talented chefs in Atlanta. The way he modernizes classic Jamaican dishes and ingredients is just genius to me. Oxtail ramen. Enough said.
Sweets are my weakness. There are many places to find great desserts in Atlanta, but for this list, only one matters.
Miller Union - Miller Union is great for many reasons, but once pastry chef Claudia Martinez went there, it gave me a reason to go often. She’s my favorite pastry chef in the city and just an incredible human. Wherever she is, they will be on my list.
My Favorite Chai
If you ever hear me say I’m grabbing a coffee, 95% of the time I’m actually getting a chai. Yes, I understand that they’re not the same thing. There are entirely too many coffee shops that I enjoy for me to list. Atlanta actually does coffee shops very well and most are a solid option. RIP Octane Coffee.
Muchacho - I’ve tried many a chai in the city but this is my go-to. Usually, when I have another I’m always disappointed that it’s not Muchacho’s.
Chai Pani - For the classic, Chai Pani’s is great. Perfectly spiced. I also like that it’s unsweetened so I can adjust it to my liking.
Randomly, My Favorite Dish
I don’t know why this is my favorite, but I can’t think of another that I’d put here that isn’t already somewhere else.
Forza Storico - I’ll never understand why people go crazy on Instagram over alfredo dishes with dried parsely when cacio e pepe exists. (Seriously, how do these videos have thousands of likes?!?) Forza has my favorite cacio e pepe in the city. I’ve heard that Lyla Lila has the best, but I haven’t been. I’ll make it a point to visit and update if it changes my mind. The one at Forza was equally as good or better than any that I had in Rome. It’s the humblest of dishes but a perfect example of how simple great ingredients can make something extraordinary.
Not Sure Where To Put This, But Don’t Miss It
Lucian - This is another place that can fit in so many of the other categories, but it just feels like it’s too precious to put anywhere else. A bookstore wine bar just deserves its own space. Best wine bar felt too easy. Favorite bookstore also wasn’t quite right. It’s the place that I intentionally don’t make a reservation for so that I can sip a glass of wine and browse the book selection for as long as it takes. It’s the place that makes me feel like I’m the only one in the world. It’s the place nobody knows my name.
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