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Best of Atlanta 2011 Oral Pleasures

 

Best Of Atlanta 2011 Oral Pleasures Large


Oral Pleasures

Recently, my world-traveling uncle has been making frequent trips to Atlanta. Over the past couple of months, I've been taking him out, always conscious that he regularly eats in Tokyo, Paris and New York. What do we have in Atlanta that can compare to those world-class cities?

A lot, it turns out. My uncle has been consistently surprised and impressed by the restaurants he's visited here. At Empire State South, the wine list blew him away (and this is a guy who can't put me up in his guestroom any more because it's full of wine). At Miller Union, he swooned over the blueberry upside-down cake. All over town, cocktails have had him wishing aloud that other cities he visits had our booze prowess.

We've long known Atlanta is a dining city worthy of our love and devotion, but this year it seems as though the rest of the country realized that as well. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival brought journalists, chefs and diners from all over the country, and the thing I heard most from those visitors was surprise and delight at the food our city has to offer. 2011 felt like a coming-out party for Atlanta's restaurant scene. We're happy to be a part of that celebration.

— Besha Rodell

Best Caribbean

Stir It Up takes its name from the well-known Bob Marley song that evokes hot stuff, but not cooking. While you won't get that kind of hot stuff at this Jamaican restaurant in Little Five Points, you will get food sensual enough to make you lick your tablemates' fingers. Owners Christopher and Vivianmore...
Stir It Up takes its name from the well-known Bob Marley song that evokes hot stuff, but not cooking. While you won't get that kind of hot stuff at this Jamaican restaurant in Little Five Points, you will get food sensual enough to make you lick your tablemates' fingers. Owners Christopher and Vivian Williams say they also chose the name because Jamaican cuisine is a stirred-up mix of cultural influences. The Williamses won't compromise their food's quality with the steam trays common in most Jamaican restaurants. Everything is cooked to order and nothing is toned down to placate timid palates. Standouts are the salted, diced cod tossed with warm cabbage slaw, and the richest, glossiest oxtail stew on the planet. 1083 Euclid Ave. 404-963-2384. stiritupatl.com. less...

Best coffeehouse

Octane isn't just our favorite coffeehouse in town, it's one of our favorite places in town. The staff is friendly (and hot). The music is awesome. It serves craft beer. The atmosphere is conducive to working or dating or meeting or creating. And most importantly, the baristas still make the best damnmore...
Octane isn't just our favorite coffeehouse in town, it's one of our favorite places in town. The staff is friendly (and hot). The music is awesome. It serves craft beer. The atmosphere is conducive to working or dating or meeting or creating. And most importantly, the baristas still make the best damn coffee and coffee drinks in town. Never change, Octane. Never change. 1009-B Marietta St. 404-815-9886. octanecoffee.com. less...

Best modern cocktails

4th & Swift's bar manager James Ives' drinks employ all manner of house-made tinctures, essences and bitters, often in combinations that sound insane. Ginger-infused rum, basil, lemon grass-black sesame syrup, lemon tincture and pink peppercorns? But Ives' brilliance is in creating perfect balance withmore...
4th & Swift's bar manager James Ives' drinks employ all manner of house-made tinctures, essences and bitters, often in combinations that sound insane. Ginger-infused rum, basil, lemon grass-black sesame syrup, lemon tincture and pink peppercorns? But Ives' brilliance is in creating perfect balance with his medleys, making for the most interesting and delicious drinks in town. 621 North Ave. 678-904-0160. 4thandswift.com. less...

Best new beer

We've always been proud of our local bottled beers, it's just that there's so few of them. Well that's beginning to change, starting with Wild Heaven, a new brewery from Nick Purdy. Along with consulting brewmaster Eric Johnson, Wild Heaven has so far released two beers: Invocation, a Belgian-style goldenmore...
We've always been proud of our local bottled beers, it's just that there's so few of them. Well that's beginning to change, starting with Wild Heaven, a new brewery from Nick Purdy. Along with consulting brewmaster Eric Johnson, Wild Heaven has so far released two beers: Invocation, a Belgian-style golden ale, and Ode to Mercy, an Imperial Brown Ale. Try a glass of the deep, bitter toffee-tinged Ode to Mercy with a stinky cheese, or the slightly fruity and spicy Invocation with roast pork or chicken. wildheavencraftbeers.com. less...

Best barbecue

Leave it to barbecue veteran David Roberts, a co-founder of Marietta's Sam & Dave's, to open a restaurant that can take away the guilt of indulging in what's normally, well, an indulgence. At Community Q, Roberts and his partners make their barbecue with local ingredients whose just-picked freshnessmore...
Leave it to barbecue veteran David Roberts, a co-founder of Marietta's Sam & Dave's, to open a restaurant that can take away the guilt of indulging in what's normally, well, an indulgence. At Community Q, Roberts and his partners make their barbecue with local ingredients whose just-picked freshness somehow eliminates the gut bomb after-effects most 'cue can have on a person. Smoky and moist pulled pork, tender brisket with that perfect pink halo, and ethereal smoked chicken take center stage, although the sides are not background dancers. Don't miss the gooey, signature mac and cheese made with shells, or the hand-cut fries tossed with an addictively sweet and salty seasoning, or anything from the specials menu made with local vegetables. 1361 Clairmont Road, Decatur. 404-633-2080. communityqbbq.com. less...

Best emerging neighborhood for Mexican food

There's an unspoken exodus happening on Buford Highway. What was once our city's destination for anything and everything ethnic has become the birthplace of our ethnic scene, bound to be left for fairer fields. As the years go by, you're likely to find more Korean in Duluth. More Indian in Decatur. Andmore...
There's an unspoken exodus happening on Buford Highway. What was once our city's destination for anything and everything ethnic has become the birthplace of our ethnic scene, bound to be left for fairer fields. As the years go by, you're likely to find more Korean in Duluth. More Indian in Decatur. And now, more Mexican in Tucker, where you can't drive half a mile without spotting at least three taquerias. Good taquerias. Great taquerias. Standouts to get you started on your very own weekend taco crawl include Taqueria Los Hermanos, Taqueria San Pancho, and El Taco Naco. You may be the only English-speaker there, which bodes well for the flavor of that taco you're about to scarf. less...

Best pre-hangover padding

Conveniently located just up the road from Edgewood Avenue's nightlife row, the late-night ramen at Miso Izakaya provides everything your inebriated heart ... well, guts ... could desire. Served only after 10 p.m., Miso's ramen offers a broth milky with porcine goodness, a generous strip of crispy, meltymore...
Conveniently located just up the road from Edgewood Avenue's nightlife row, the late-night ramen at Miso Izakaya provides everything your inebriated heart ... well, guts ... could desire. Served only after 10 p.m., Miso's ramen offers a broth milky with porcine goodness, a generous strip of crispy, melty pork belly, an egg with a runny center, just enough crinkly, chewy noodles, and somewhat odd but somehow perfect pops of sweet corn kernels. The warm, steaming elixir just begs for you to stick your drunken face in it and slurp away. For dessert, we recommend one of Miso's sticky/sweet/salty crispy duck buns, also served as part of the limited late-night menu. Noodles, broth, crispy duck, two aspirin, a glass of water and you'll be spry as a bunny in the morning. 619 Edgewood Ave. 678-701-0128. misoizakaya.com. less...

Best Vietnamese

"Authentic" is a word that gets thrown around so much, it's easy to forget what it means. Quan Ba 9 will make you remember. This isn't your standard brusque pho house. Expect home-style Vietnamese packed with soulful, herbaceous flavor. Tart salads made with shreds of green papaya and laced with tinymore...
"Authentic" is a word that gets thrown around so much, it's easy to forget what it means. Quan Ba 9 will make you remember. This isn't your standard brusque pho house. Expect home-style Vietnamese packed with soulful, herbaceous flavor. Tart salads made with shreds of green papaya and laced with tiny dried shrimp start the meal off on a light note and pave the way for more hearty fare. The signature spicy red chicken soup, Mi Quang Ba 9, is so soothing (in that fiery sort of way), it should be the only thing anyone's allowed to eat when sick. The pho rings clear with beefy flavor and bright herbs. The Chao Ga is basically an intensely chicken-y porridge. Like, the most delicious porridge you've ever had. Even Goldilocks wouldn't push this bowl away. Quan Ba 9 will have you swearing off that other place across the street for good. 4285 Buford Highway. 404-636-2999. less...

Best evolution for Decatur

OK, we get it Decatur: You love beer. You love food that goes with beer. We love beer and beer-related bites as well. But variety is the spice of a neighborhood, and No. 246 has provided you with some much-needed diversity. Of course, Decatur has long been a bastion for upscale food, from (the closedmore...
OK, we get it Decatur: You love beer. You love food that goes with beer. We love beer and beer-related bites as well. But variety is the spice of a neighborhood, and No. 246 has provided you with some much-needed diversity. Of course, Decatur has long been a bastion for upscale food, from (the closed and moving out of the 'hood) Watershed to Cakes & Ale, but 246's modern, mature Italian has gone a long way toward making Ponce de Leon Avenue feel like a real restaurant row that could justifiably be referenced as one of the most exciting culinary areas in town. Lunch at 246 is a special treat, particularly the juicy indulgence of the porchetta sandwich, which may be our favorite thing between sliced bread these days. No. 246 didn't put Decatur on the culinary map, but it sure made it a destination that's harder to miss. 129 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 678-399-8246. no246.com. less...

Best new (old) restaurant

We were slightly aghast when we learned that Cakes & Ale was moving from its original storefront location on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Decatur to a newly renovated spot on the square. But as it turns out, the new, airier space has actually made one of our favorite restaurants even more welcoming.more...
We were slightly aghast when we learned that Cakes & Ale was moving from its original storefront location on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Decatur to a newly renovated spot on the square. But as it turns out, the new, airier space has actually made one of our favorite restaurants even more welcoming. In fact, the addition of a bakery next door, plus the brilliant move of bringing former Dynamic Dish owner David Sweeney on as master of lunch, has heightened C&A's offerings significantly. Remember those brilliant Dynamic Dish sandwiches and quinoa salads? They're baaack. In the dining room, chef Billy Allin continues his legacy of melding simplicity and creativity. A recent playful take on tuna salad was a study in textural contrasts, pairing meaty cured tuna with soft potatoes, waxy pole beans and the snap of cooling cucumber. Cocktails come in the coolest vintage glassware around, and the wine list is both ambitious and affordable, with many selections available by the glass, carafe and bottle. Cakes & Ale 2.0 lives up to and surpasses its predecessor, much to our relief and delight. 155 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-377-7994. cakesandalerestaurant.com. less...

Best bartender

Back when Paul Calvert worked at the Sound Table, he was a great mixologist. His drinks were remarkable, but when the place filled up, the frenzied pace of a dance club didn't match the careful construction of Calvert's drinks. He could seem a little ... grumpy. Now that Calvert's at Pura Vida, he'smore...
Back when Paul Calvert worked at the Sound Table, he was a great mixologist. His drinks were remarkable, but when the place filled up, the frenzied pace of a dance club didn't match the careful construction of Calvert's drinks. He could seem a little ... grumpy. Now that Calvert's at Pura Vida, he's a whole new man. His drinks are as good as ever, and he now has the time to be the gracious, knowledgeable, friendly host we always knew he could be. Calvert has gone beyond mixology to become a great bartender. 656 N. Highland Ave. 404-870-9797. puravidatapas.com. less...

Best desserts

Pastry chef Pamela Moxley has emerged as a beacon of light in the dark morass of mediocre chocolate lava cakes and soggy pies. Moxley, who worked pastry from the opening to the closing of Craft and Craftbar, is in charge of all things sweet at Miller Union. Everything the disarmingly passionate chefmore...
Pastry chef Pamela Moxley has emerged as a beacon of light in the dark morass of mediocre chocolate lava cakes and soggy pies. Moxley, who worked pastry from the opening to the closing of Craft and Craftbar, is in charge of all things sweet at Miller Union. Everything the disarmingly passionate chef makes is seasonally driven, unpretentious and expertly executed. Fat, juicy blueberries dribble over an upside-down-style buttery cake encrusted with crumbly brown sugar walnuts and oat-laced streusel topping. Highlights from the summer fruit season included a tart filled with sticky fig jam, and sliced figs tossed in wine reduction with homemade Earl Grey ice cream. These desserts showcase Moxley's moxy in their quiet beauty and precise simplicity. 999 Brady Ave. 678-733-8550. millerunion.com. less...

Best Sichuan

When Peter Cheng announced he was opening his eponymous restaurant, fans of Tasty China worried that Atlanta's first standout Sichuan spot would suffer. But seven months after opening Peter Cheng's in Smyrna, the chef's original restaurant is still the best our city has to offer. Classics such as crunchymore...
When Peter Cheng announced he was opening his eponymous restaurant, fans of Tasty China worried that Atlanta's first standout Sichuan spot would suffer. But seven months after opening Peter Cheng's in Smyrna, the chef's original restaurant is still the best our city has to offer. Classics such as crunchy dry-fried eggplant with custardy centers, confit-like tilapia served in neon red broth with silken tofu, and the tightly rolled and perfectly balanced crunchy hot and numbing beef offer that signature tingle and heat we've come to crave with crackhead-like devotion. The restaurant's Spartan digs just go to show that spicy substance always wins out over style. 585 Franklin Road, Suite B3, Marietta. 770-419-9849. tastychina.net. less...

Best spot for a first date

On a couch or a table? This is typically more of, say, a third-date question. But if you and your honey venture downtown to Lunacy Black Market on your first date, come prepared with a response. Intimate clusters of sofas, loveseats and armchairs, as well as a smattering of tables, fill the restaurant'smore...
On a couch or a table? This is typically more of, say, a third-date question. But if you and your honey venture downtown to Lunacy Black Market on your first date, come prepared with a response. Intimate clusters of sofas, loveseats and armchairs, as well as a smattering of tables, fill the restaurant's living room-like interior. Chef Paul Luna's rotating menu of small plates arrives scrawled in Sharpie on torn-up cardboard wine cases. But rather than looking sloppy, it feels personal and charming. Best of all? None of the dishes costs more than $5. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find any of the dozen or so menu items priced more than $3. Neither of you will look like greedy pig faces thanks to the petite portions and tidy presentations of dishes such as short ribs with house-made ricotta, chickpea curry or a charcuterie plate. If things don't work out, you won't have spent a load. And if things do work out, you'll have enough money left over for cocktails at your place. Couch or table? 231 Mitchell St. 404-736-6164. lunacyblackmarket.com. less...

Best veggie meal at a non-veggie restaurant

Here in the hallowed halls of CL's food department, we are partial to pig. But despite our affection for meat, we harbor a serious craving for the veggieloaf at Leon's Full Service. Made with a combination of quinoa, lentils, mushrooms, bulgur wheat and sun-dried tomatoes, it's at once rich, hearty,more...
Here in the hallowed halls of CL's food department, we are partial to pig. But despite our affection for meat, we harbor a serious craving for the veggieloaf at Leon's Full Service. Made with a combination of quinoa, lentils, mushrooms, bulgur wheat and sun-dried tomatoes, it's at once rich, hearty, nutty, savory and intensely satisfying. The tangy romesco sauce and roasted cauliflower, shiitake and sun-dried tomato salad provide more intense earthy flavor than is present in many of the city's best meat dishes. That, paired with a recession old-fashioned ($6!) makes for one of the most gratifying meals in the A. 131 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-687-0500. leonsfullservice.com. less...

Best all-around Korean

Korean restaurants are tricky. You pretty much need to go somewhere different for every specific craving. Myung Ga Won is one of the few Korean joints in town that covers all the bases, and covers them remarkably well. The marinade on the barbecued meats achieves that perfect salty sweetness. Goat stewmore...
Korean restaurants are tricky. You pretty much need to go somewhere different for every specific craving. Myung Ga Won is one of the few Korean joints in town that covers all the bases, and covers them remarkably well. The marinade on the barbecued meats achieves that perfect salty sweetness. Goat stew cooked tableside swells with gratifying umami funk. More basic items like dolsot bibimbap (rice, vegetables and beef) cooked in a sizzling cast-iron bowl are an easy sell for kids as "fried rice," but exceptional enough for connoisseurs seeking crispy rice slathered in spicy sauce. The banchan is all made fresh in house and is crisp, murky and wonderfully mysterious. The drive may be murder but sometimes you have to sacrifice a little gas money for the good stuff. 1960 Day Drive, Suite 100, Duluth. 770-622-1300. less...

Best food truck

Who does that hot dog think he is, coddled in a slice of golden brown French toast and smothered in apple slaw, spicy mustard and maple syrup? And what business does a cold curry salad have being nestled into a freshly made waffle cone? These are the questions that race through your mind while perusingmore...
Who does that hot dog think he is, coddled in a slice of golden brown French toast and smothered in apple slaw, spicy mustard and maple syrup? And what business does a cold curry salad have being nestled into a freshly made waffle cone? These are the questions that race through your mind while perusing the Good Food Truck's handwritten menu. These are also the questions that vanish instantly once you smoosh your face into the Poodle's outrageous hot doggery or chomp away at any other of the rolling restaurant's hand-held culinary mashups. Easy on the pocket (most goodies ring up in the $2 to $6 range) and even easier to find at the growing number of street food and art events around town, the Good Food Truck will make you go, "Mmmmm. I wish I was drunk." goodfoodtruckatl.com. less...

Best health-conscious policy change

When Highland Tap opened in 1989 at the corner of Virginia and Highland avenues, it broke the tradition of super-high expensive meat with its high-quality steaks at prices we could afford. Unfortunately, it was perilous to set foot in the subterranean space without toting an oxygen tank. The smoke, driftingmore...
When Highland Tap opened in 1989 at the corner of Virginia and Highland avenues, it broke the tradition of super-high expensive meat with its high-quality steaks at prices we could afford. Unfortunately, it was perilous to set foot in the subterranean space without toting an oxygen tank. The smoke, drifting from the bar to the dining room, was suffocating and eye-burning. But last spring, the restaurant banned smoking. Yee-haw! Now we can eat all the affordable bloody red meat we want without danger of asphyxiation, cancer or stinkiness. 1026 N. Highland Ave. 404-875-3673. nnnwcorp.com. less...

Best ice cream

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream
We vow never to divorce Morelli's as long as it keeps spreading the ginger-lavender and salted caramel flavors on our tongues. Over-the-top sundaes created by Kevin Gillespie at the new Edgewood location further seal our love. 749 Moreland Ave., Suite B-102. 404-622-0210; 1220 Caroline St. 404-584-2500.more...
We vow never to divorce Morelli's as long as it keeps spreading the ginger-lavender and salted caramel flavors on our tongues. Over-the-top sundaes created by Kevin Gillespie at the new Edgewood location further seal our love. 749 Moreland Ave., Suite B-102. 404-622-0210; 1220 Caroline St. 404-584-2500. morellisicecream.com. less...

Best breakfast

Flying Biscuit Cafe - Midtown
And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best burritos

Willy's Mexicana Grill
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best cajun

Henry's Louisiana Grill Henry's Louisiana Grill

Best deli

Goldberg's Bagel Company & Deli
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best hotdog

The Varsity The Varsity
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best locally brewed beer

SweetWater Brewery

Best Mexican

Nuevo Laredo Cantina

Best place to dine alone

And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best restaurant to take visitors

The Vortex - Little Five Points|The Vortex Bar and Grill - Midtown

Best sandwiches

Victory Sandwich Bar Victory Sandwich Bar

Best Southern

Mary Mac's Tea Room Mary Mac's Tea Room

Best sushi

Ru-San's
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best veggie Burgers

Grindhouse Killer Burgers - Midtown

Best barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Best chocolates

Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best cuban

Papi's Cuban & Caribbean Grill
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best cupcakes

CamiCakes Cupcakes CamiCakes Cupcakes
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best Ethiopian

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

Best grits

Flying Biscuit Cafe - Midtown
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best ice cream

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream - East Atlanta

Best Middle Eastern

Mediterranean Grill - Midtown
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best tacos

Taqueria del Sol - Westside Taqueria Del Sol
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best Thai

Spoon|Spoon Spoon

Best bar food

The Porter Beer Bar The Porter Beer Bar

Best beer selection

Brick Store Pub

Best coffeehouse

Octane Coffee Westside Octane Coffee

Best dim sum

Canton House

Best frozen yogurt

Yoforia Yoforia
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best Korean

Hankook Taqueria Hankook Taqueria

Best mixologist

Leon's Full Service

Best pizza

Antico Pizza Napoletana

Best seafood

Six Feet Under - Grant Park

Best tapas

Pura Vida Pura Vida

Best vegetarian

Cafe Sunflower - Buckhead|Cafe Sunflower - Sandy Springs Cafe Sunflower

Best Vietnamese

Com Dunwoody Vietnamese Grill

Best waitstaff

Leon's Full Service Leon's Full Service

Best bakery

Highland Bakery - Old Fourth Ward

Best brew pub

Wrecking Bar Brewpub|Brick Store Pub Wrecking Bar Brewpub
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Best Caribbean

Stir It Up takes its name from the well-known Bob Marley song that evokes hot stuff, but not cooking. While you won't get that kind of hot stuff at this Jamaican restaurant in Little Five Points, you will get food sensual enough to make you lick your tablemates' fingers. Owners Christopher and Vivianmore...
Stir It Up takes its name from the well-known Bob Marley song that evokes hot stuff, but not cooking. While you won't get that kind of hot stuff at this Jamaican restaurant in Little Five Points, you will get food sensual enough to make you lick your tablemates' fingers. Owners Christopher and Vivian Williams say they also chose the name because Jamaican cuisine is a stirred-up mix of cultural influences. The Williamses won't compromise their food's quality with the steam trays common in most Jamaican restaurants. Everything is cooked to order and nothing is toned down to placate timid palates. Standouts are the salted, diced cod tossed with warm cabbage slaw, and the richest, glossiest oxtail stew on the planet. 1083 Euclid Ave. 404-963-2384. stiritupatl.com. less...

Best coffeehouse

Octane isn't just our favorite coffeehouse in town, it's one of our favorite places in town. The staff is friendly (and hot). The music is awesome. It serves craft beer. The atmosphere is conducive to working or dating or meeting or creating. And most importantly, the baristas still make the best damnmore...
Octane isn't just our favorite coffeehouse in town, it's one of our favorite places in town. The staff is friendly (and hot). The music is awesome. It serves craft beer. The atmosphere is conducive to working or dating or meeting or creating. And most importantly, the baristas still make the best damn coffee and coffee drinks in town. Never change, Octane. Never change. 1009-B Marietta St. 404-815-9886. octanecoffee.com. less...

Best modern cocktails

4th & Swift's bar manager James Ives' drinks employ all manner of house-made tinctures, essences and bitters, often in combinations that sound insane. Ginger-infused rum, basil, lemon grass-black sesame syrup, lemon tincture and pink peppercorns? But Ives' brilliance is in creating perfect balance withmore...
4th & Swift's bar manager James Ives' drinks employ all manner of house-made tinctures, essences and bitters, often in combinations that sound insane. Ginger-infused rum, basil, lemon grass-black sesame syrup, lemon tincture and pink peppercorns? But Ives' brilliance is in creating perfect balance with his medleys, making for the most interesting and delicious drinks in town. 621 North Ave. 678-904-0160. 4thandswift.com. less...

Best new beer

We've always been proud of our local bottled beers, it's just that there's so few of them. Well that's beginning to change, starting with Wild Heaven, a new brewery from Nick Purdy. Along with consulting brewmaster Eric Johnson, Wild Heaven has so far released two beers: Invocation, a Belgian-style goldenmore...
We've always been proud of our local bottled beers, it's just that there's so few of them. Well that's beginning to change, starting with Wild Heaven, a new brewery from Nick Purdy. Along with consulting brewmaster Eric Johnson, Wild Heaven has so far released two beers: Invocation, a Belgian-style golden ale, and Ode to Mercy, an Imperial Brown Ale. Try a glass of the deep, bitter toffee-tinged Ode to Mercy with a stinky cheese, or the slightly fruity and spicy Invocation with roast pork or chicken. wildheavencraftbeers.com. less...

Best breakfast

Flying Biscuit Cafe - Midtown
And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best burritos

Willy's Mexicana Grill
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best cajun

Henry's Louisiana Grill Henry's Louisiana Grill

Best deli

Goldberg's Bagel Company & Deli
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best hotdog

The Varsity The Varsity
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best locally brewed beer

SweetWater Brewery

Best Mexican

Nuevo Laredo Cantina

Best place to dine alone

And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best restaurant to take visitors

The Vortex - Little Five Points|The Vortex Bar and Grill - Midtown

Best Southern

Mary Mac's Tea Room Mary Mac's Tea Room

Best sushi

Ru-San's
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best veggie Burgers

Grindhouse Killer Burgers - Midtown

Best barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Best barbecue

Leave it to barbecue veteran David Roberts, a co-founder of Marietta's Sam & Dave's, to open a restaurant that can take away the guilt of indulging in what's normally, well, an indulgence. At Community Q, Roberts and his partners make their barbecue with local ingredients whose just-picked freshnessmore...
Leave it to barbecue veteran David Roberts, a co-founder of Marietta's Sam & Dave's, to open a restaurant that can take away the guilt of indulging in what's normally, well, an indulgence. At Community Q, Roberts and his partners make their barbecue with local ingredients whose just-picked freshness somehow eliminates the gut bomb after-effects most 'cue can have on a person. Smoky and moist pulled pork, tender brisket with that perfect pink halo, and ethereal smoked chicken take center stage, although the sides are not background dancers. Don't miss the gooey, signature mac and cheese made with shells, or the hand-cut fries tossed with an addictively sweet and salty seasoning, or anything from the specials menu made with local vegetables. 1361 Clairmont Road, Decatur. 404-633-2080. communityqbbq.com. less...

Best emerging neighborhood for Mexican food

There's an unspoken exodus happening on Buford Highway. What was once our city's destination for anything and everything ethnic has become the birthplace of our ethnic scene, bound to be left for fairer fields. As the years go by, you're likely to find more Korean in Duluth. More Indian in Decatur. Andmore...
There's an unspoken exodus happening on Buford Highway. What was once our city's destination for anything and everything ethnic has become the birthplace of our ethnic scene, bound to be left for fairer fields. As the years go by, you're likely to find more Korean in Duluth. More Indian in Decatur. And now, more Mexican in Tucker, where you can't drive half a mile without spotting at least three taquerias. Good taquerias. Great taquerias. Standouts to get you started on your very own weekend taco crawl include Taqueria Los Hermanos, Taqueria San Pancho, and El Taco Naco. You may be the only English-speaker there, which bodes well for the flavor of that taco you're about to scarf. less...

Best pre-hangover padding

Conveniently located just up the road from Edgewood Avenue's nightlife row, the late-night ramen at Miso Izakaya provides everything your inebriated heart ... well, guts ... could desire. Served only after 10 p.m., Miso's ramen offers a broth milky with porcine goodness, a generous strip of crispy, meltymore...
Conveniently located just up the road from Edgewood Avenue's nightlife row, the late-night ramen at Miso Izakaya provides everything your inebriated heart ... well, guts ... could desire. Served only after 10 p.m., Miso's ramen offers a broth milky with porcine goodness, a generous strip of crispy, melty pork belly, an egg with a runny center, just enough crinkly, chewy noodles, and somewhat odd but somehow perfect pops of sweet corn kernels. The warm, steaming elixir just begs for you to stick your drunken face in it and slurp away. For dessert, we recommend one of Miso's sticky/sweet/salty crispy duck buns, also served as part of the limited late-night menu. Noodles, broth, crispy duck, two aspirin, a glass of water and you'll be spry as a bunny in the morning. 619 Edgewood Ave. 678-701-0128. misoizakaya.com. less...

Best Vietnamese

"Authentic" is a word that gets thrown around so much, it's easy to forget what it means. Quan Ba 9 will make you remember. This isn't your standard brusque pho house. Expect home-style Vietnamese packed with soulful, herbaceous flavor. Tart salads made with shreds of green papaya and laced with tinymore...
"Authentic" is a word that gets thrown around so much, it's easy to forget what it means. Quan Ba 9 will make you remember. This isn't your standard brusque pho house. Expect home-style Vietnamese packed with soulful, herbaceous flavor. Tart salads made with shreds of green papaya and laced with tiny dried shrimp start the meal off on a light note and pave the way for more hearty fare. The signature spicy red chicken soup, Mi Quang Ba 9, is so soothing (in that fiery sort of way), it should be the only thing anyone's allowed to eat when sick. The pho rings clear with beefy flavor and bright herbs. The Chao Ga is basically an intensely chicken-y porridge. Like, the most delicious porridge you've ever had. Even Goldilocks wouldn't push this bowl away. Quan Ba 9 will have you swearing off that other place across the street for good. 4285 Buford Highway. 404-636-2999. less...

Best chocolates

Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best cuban

Papi's Cuban & Caribbean Grill
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best cupcakes

CamiCakes Cupcakes CamiCakes Cupcakes
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best Ethiopian

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

Best grits

Flying Biscuit Cafe - Midtown
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best ice cream

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream - East Atlanta

Best Middle Eastern

Mediterranean Grill - Midtown
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best tacos

Taqueria del Sol - Westside Taqueria Del Sol
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best Thai

Spoon|Spoon Spoon

Best bar food

The Porter Beer Bar The Porter Beer Bar

Best beer selection

Brick Store Pub

Best evolution for Decatur

OK, we get it Decatur: You love beer. You love food that goes with beer. We love beer and beer-related bites as well. But variety is the spice of a neighborhood, and No. 246 has provided you with some much-needed diversity. Of course, Decatur has long been a bastion for upscale food, from (the closedmore...
OK, we get it Decatur: You love beer. You love food that goes with beer. We love beer and beer-related bites as well. But variety is the spice of a neighborhood, and No. 246 has provided you with some much-needed diversity. Of course, Decatur has long been a bastion for upscale food, from (the closed and moving out of the 'hood) Watershed to Cakes & Ale, but 246's modern, mature Italian has gone a long way toward making Ponce de Leon Avenue feel like a real restaurant row that could justifiably be referenced as one of the most exciting culinary areas in town. Lunch at 246 is a special treat, particularly the juicy indulgence of the porchetta sandwich, which may be our favorite thing between sliced bread these days. No. 246 didn't put Decatur on the culinary map, but it sure made it a destination that's harder to miss. 129 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 678-399-8246. no246.com. less...

Best new (old) restaurant

We were slightly aghast when we learned that Cakes & Ale was moving from its original storefront location on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Decatur to a newly renovated spot on the square. But as it turns out, the new, airier space has actually made one of our favorite restaurants even more welcoming.more...
We were slightly aghast when we learned that Cakes & Ale was moving from its original storefront location on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Decatur to a newly renovated spot on the square. But as it turns out, the new, airier space has actually made one of our favorite restaurants even more welcoming. In fact, the addition of a bakery next door, plus the brilliant move of bringing former Dynamic Dish owner David Sweeney on as master of lunch, has heightened C&A's offerings significantly. Remember those brilliant Dynamic Dish sandwiches and quinoa salads? They're baaack. In the dining room, chef Billy Allin continues his legacy of melding simplicity and creativity. A recent playful take on tuna salad was a study in textural contrasts, pairing meaty cured tuna with soft potatoes, waxy pole beans and the snap of cooling cucumber. Cocktails come in the coolest vintage glassware around, and the wine list is both ambitious and affordable, with many selections available by the glass, carafe and bottle. Cakes & Ale 2.0 lives up to and surpasses its predecessor, much to our relief and delight. 155 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-377-7994. cakesandalerestaurant.com. less...

Best coffeehouse

Octane Coffee Westside Octane Coffee

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