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Best of Atlanta 2013 Oral Pleasures

 

Best Of Atlanta 2013 Oral Pleasures (large)


Oral Pleasures



Every night is a busy night at Holeman & Finch Public House. Burger pilgrims arrive hours early to reserve one of the limited-edition, double-patty delights in advance. They camp out at the bar or around high-top tables, waiting elbow to elbow for an amplified voice to announce that Burger Time has arrived at last. Regulars chuckle at the nightly spectacle.

Atlanta diners are an enthusiastic bunch. Hip to the latest hot spots, the fooderati flock to newly opened restaurants, always hungry for what's next. Holeman & Finch was no exception when it opened to a packed house and much fanfare back in 2008. But five years later, it's still tough to find a seat in the house that former bar manager Greg Best, Linton Hopkins, and team built.

In the last few years, we've seen Atlanta's restaurant culture evolve and reinvent itself with an explosion of exciting new restaurants. In many ways, staying power is a restaurant's true currency these days. This year, when setting out to highlight the best Atlanta has to offer, we searched for restaurants that anchor our current dining scene and will continue to mold it for years to come.

Empire State South remains a bastion of modern cooking in the South, tackling three meals a day like nowhere else. Tasty China in Marietta reminds us that we're still willing to venture OTP in the name of incredible ethnic food. We were once again seduced by the harmony of Octane Coffee and Little Tart Bakeshop. There are newcomers, too. This year we found smart, memorable cocktails at Paper Plane, daring and authentic Italian at BoccaLupo and Storico Fresco Pasta. Deft hands at the General Muir brought us a refined take on the Jewish deli.

Every year, it gets harder to create the list of Best of Atlanta winners. But having too many great restaurants to choose from is a problem we're happy to have.

— Stephanie Dazey

Best Caribbean BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best coffeehouse BOA Award Winner

Octane Coffee

Best deli BOA Award Winner

Best food festival or event BOA Award Winner

Taste of Atlanta

Best food truck BOA Award Winner

Yumbii

Best frozen yogurt BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best hamburger BOA Award Winner

Grindhouse Killer Burgers
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best Indian BOA Award Winner

Bhojanic

Best Japanese BOA Award Winner


Best Middle Eastern BOA Award Winner

Mezza Lebanese Bistro AND Rumi's Kitchen

Best restaurant to take visitors BOA Award Winner

The Vortex

Best supper club BOA Award Winner

PushStart Kitchen

Best tacos BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best vegetarian BOA Award Winner

Cafe Sunflower

Best Cantonese BOA Award Winner

Canton House

Best Chinese BOA Award Winner

Best chocolates BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best dessert BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best hot dog BOA Award Winner

Best ice cream BOA Award Winner

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream

Best local food company BOA Award Winner

The Spotted Trotter

Best OTP restaurant BOA Award Winner

Moderna AND Seed Kitchen & Bar

Best patio dining BOA Award Winner

Six Feet Under

Best place to fill your growler BOA Award Winner

Hop City

Best tapas BOA Award Winner

Barcelona Wine Bar

Best wine list BOA Award Winner

Barcelona Wine Bar
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Best new restaurant BOA Award Winner

When we heard that the folks from West Egg and Bocado's then-chef Todd Ginsberg were teaming up to open the General Muir, a tribute to a classic New York deli, we knew to expect some serious pastrami and matzoh ball soup. But no one anticipated such exotic dishes as the breakfast laffa (Israeli flatmore...
When we heard that the folks from West Egg and Bocado's then-chef Todd Ginsberg were teaming up to open the General Muir, a tribute to a classic New York deli, we knew to expect some serious pastrami and matzoh ball soup. But no one anticipated such exotic dishes as the breakfast laffa (Israeli flat bread) stuffed with stewed lentils, charred eggplant, and a thick spread of spicy harissa. Or that the cortados would be so damn bold. Or that the poutine would turn out to be the best combination of fried potato, pastrami, gooey cheese, and meaty gravy this city has ever seen. This newcomer is still evolving, but there's a long list of things it does as well as - or better than - anyone in town, including the burgers, espresso, cheesecake, bagels, lox, sticky buns ... Shall we go on? Because we certainly can. less...

Best OTP restaurant BOA Award Winner

Even after all these years, the fiery nuances of Szechuan cuisine at Marietta's Tasty China - and the mild intestinal discomfort that can accompany it - is still totally worth the drive. Despite many personnel changes since opening in 2006, Tasty China has managed to keep churning out the kind ofmore...
Even after all these years, the fiery nuances of Szechuan cuisine at Marietta's Tasty China - and the mild intestinal discomfort that can accompany it - is still totally worth the drive. Despite many personnel changes since opening in 2006, Tasty China has managed to keep churning out the kind of hot and numbing, tongue-tingling fireworks that keep us venturing back out to the 'burbs for more. Try the burning ma la burrito-like beef roll or a bowl of bubbling red peppers and tender white fish. And don't forget the crispy cilantro fish rolls. Sure Tasty China has a just-barely ITP sister restaurant in Sandy Springs, but the trek out of town and the divey, strip mall feel of the original only make the Szechuan treasures that much more enticing. less...

Best place to dine alone BOA Award Winner

Roxx Tavern & Diner

Best service BOA Award Winner

Restaurant Eugene AND Woodfire Grill

Best Sichuan BOA Award Winner

Best tacos BOA Award Winner

Located in a Smyrna shopping center, Tacos la Villa has Atlanta's most legitimate tacos thanks to exceptional fillings such as chorizo, asada, and carnitas. The soft corn tortillas will rival your abuela's homemade ones.

Best veggie burgers BOA Award Winner

Yeah! Burger

Best Vietnamese BOA Award Winner

Com Vietnamese Grill AND Lee's Bakery

Best Caribbean BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best coffeehouse BOA Award Winner

Octane Coffee

Best deli BOA Award Winner

Best food festival or event BOA Award Winner

Taste of Atlanta

Best food truck BOA Award Winner

Yumbii

Best frozen yogurt BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best hamburger BOA Award Winner

Grindhouse Killer Burgers
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best 'hood for food lovers BOA Award Winner

Decatur
We have Decatur envy. The small epicenter of downtown Decatur is home to some of the most creative and downright delicious restaurants and bars in town. It's been a longtime beer geek destination thanks to the fabled Brick Store Pub, which opened 16 years ago. The last several years have seen a steadymore...
We have Decatur envy. The small epicenter of downtown Decatur is home to some of the most creative and downright delicious restaurants and bars in town. It's been a longtime beer geek destination thanks to the fabled Brick Store Pub, which opened 16 years ago. The last several years have seen a steady procession of new (and equally destination-worthy) watering holes joining in the Decatur fun. All within a few blocks of each other you'll find Paper Plane's retro-vibe cocktail den, the beer/cocktail dual threat of Leon's Full Service, and the neighborhood cocktail bar nearly perfected at the Pinewood Tippling Room. And don't forget Mac McGee's impressive collection of more than 350 whiskeys. (The pub's list is heavy on bourbon, Irish, and Scotch varieties, so, you've been warned.) As for eats, try the tender chicken with smoky gravy at Paper Plane or stop by the Iberian Pig for crispy eggplant fries, tender pork cheek tacos, and other tasty tapas. You'll find contemporary Italian cuisine at No. 246 (try the meatball), elegant, farm-driven fare at Cakes & Ale, and tasty bar food and sandwiches at Victory Decatur. The rich and diverse Your Dekalb Farmers Market beckons down the way for all the food lovers who can resist eating and drinking out seven nights a week. www.decaturga.com. less...

Best Indian BOA Award Winner

Bhojanic

Best Japanese BOA Award Winner

Best Middle Eastern BOA Award Winner

Mezza Lebanese Bistro AND Rumi's Kitchen

Best restaurant to take visitors BOA Award Winner

The Vortex

Best show of support in the restaurant community BOA Award Winner

The Giving Kitchen
Our local restaurant community's willingness to collaborate has been vital to the growing national prominence of Atlanta's dining scene. The most remarkable example of the community's strength, spirit, and vision in the last year has been the Giving Kitchen. What started as a rally around Staplehousemore...
Our local restaurant community's willingness to collaborate has been vital to the growing national prominence of Atlanta's dining scene. The most remarkable example of the community's strength, spirit, and vision in the last year has been the Giving Kitchen. What started as a rally around Staplehouse chef Ryan Hidinger after he was diagnosed with cancer has evolved into a nonprofit dedicated to supporting those in the hospitality industry like Hidinger who are experiencing hardships. Over the last year, chefs throughout the city have hosted (and continue to host) dinners and events that benefit the Giving Kitchen. This powerful display of public togetherness has sparked a passionate discourse in Atlanta, not only on the value of community, but on the value of dining together and the healing role that food can play in our lives. As Hidinger told CL, "I've become a different person through the experience of cancer, but even more so through the sheer outpouring of support and emotion from the Atlanta restaurant community." www.thegivingkitchen.org. less...

Best Sunday brunch BOA Award Winner

Brunch at Robert Phalen's One Eared Stag is still one of Atlanta's best kept secrets (read: little to no wait). Brunch is where Phalen and crew seem to have the most fun and experiment with dishes that sometimes find their way onto the regular menu. Yes, there are brunch standards such as pastry basketsmore...
Brunch at Robert Phalen's One Eared Stag is still one of Atlanta's best kept secrets (read: little to no wait). Brunch is where Phalen and crew seem to have the most fun and experiment with dishes that sometimes find their way onto the regular menu. Yes, there are brunch standards such as pastry baskets and black pepper biscuits with sausage gravy. But soft-as-custard scrambled eggs with trout roe and a fried shrimp head po'boy will get even the most hardened foodie's heart pounding. If you have a more substantial appetite, the Chef's breakfast takes odds and ends from the previous night's service and combines them together for the type of meal Phalen wants to eat on a Sunday. On any given day, you may find yourself with a piece of quail, bone marrow, foie gras, or grits and eggs on your plate. Oh, and did we mention it's served on a silver platter with a can of Schlitz? less...

Best supper club BOA Award Winner

PushStart Kitchen

Best tacos BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best vegetarian BOA Award Winner

Cafe Sunflower

Best all-around Vietnamese BOA Award Winner

Nam Phuong Restaurant
The breadth of choices at either location of Nam Phuong Restauant is almost overwhelming. But the wide variety of Vietnamese dishes means everyone at your table can find a favorite to enjoy. Nam Phuong's pho is clean, simple, and fresh. Beyond the soups, the showstopping ba vi delights platter is a smallmore...
The breadth of choices at either location of Nam Phuong Restauant is almost overwhelming. But the wide variety of Vietnamese dishes means everyone at your table can find a favorite to enjoy. Nam Phuong's pho is clean, simple, and fresh. Beyond the soups, the showstopping ba vi delights platter is a small feast that tickles all of the senses with chopped beef wrapped in smoky grape leaves, ground shrimp skewers, and grilled pork balls with a gorgeous mound of fresh herbs, rice noodles, cucumber, and more for wrapping. less...

Best all-day dining BOA Award Winner

Empire State South is the Leonardo da Vinci of Atlanta restaurants, a true master of everything from breakfast to cocktails to house-made charcuterie. The thought of making a day out of dining here, starting with slowly sipping a perfectly pulled espresso on the patio, lounging between meals by the outdoormore...
Empire State South is the Leonardo da Vinci of Atlanta restaurants, a true master of everything from breakfast to cocktails to house-made charcuterie. The thought of making a day out of dining here, starting with slowly sipping a perfectly pulled espresso on the patio, lounging between meals by the outdoor bocce court, enjoying adventurous cocktails late into the night, has all the makings of a micro luxury vacation. The menu is constantly changing, but you can always count on Southern-tinged dishes made with super-fresh local produce and other regional ingredients. Aside from the mains, lovingly baked biscuits in the morning and an array of jarred wonders such as puckery house-made pickles, earthy boiled peanut hummus, and rich and peppery pimento cheese at night, are excellent. The wine list is impeccable, including gems such as a bottle of La Chablisienne's unusual sauvignon blanc from Burgundy (menu description: "deliciously nerdy"). No matter the occasion, the meal, the drink, Empire State South does it all while capturing the very best of modern cooking in the South. less...

Best brewpub BOA Award Winner

In two years, Wrecking Bar Brewpub has created more than 120 different beers. That's 1.15 new beers every week. The Inman Park brewpub offers up a wood-aged brew every Wednesday, a cask selection every Friday, and a rotating tap lineup of 10-15 fantastic and stylistically varied beers, all made in-housemore...
In two years, Wrecking Bar Brewpub has created more than 120 different beers. That's 1.15 new beers every week. The Inman Park brewpub offers up a wood-aged brew every Wednesday, a cask selection every Friday, and a rotating tap lineup of 10-15 fantastic and stylistically varied beers, all made in-house by owner and head brewer Bob Sandage. The bracing, resinous Hop Noggin Imperial IPA and the big-dark-and-boozy Siberius Maximus Russian Imperial Stout are standouts. And judging by early tastes at the brewpub's recent two-year anniversary, Wrecking Bar's upcoming Flanders Red will be a welcome addition to a Georgia market all but completely lacking in sour beers. The establishment recently expanded to include a beer garden, and has started distributing to select bars and retail shops in Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah, which means you can enjoy the beers with a meal or from a growler on your couch. The brewpub's frequently praised cocktail program and revamped menu - courtesy of former Farm Burger chef Terry Koval - has elevated Wrecking Bar to household-name status. less...

Best Cantonese BOA Award Winner

Canton House

Best Chinese BOA Award Winner

Best chocolates BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best dessert BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best hot dog BOA Award Winner

Best ice cream BOA Award Winner

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream

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