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Best Of Atlanta 2007 Oral Pleasures Large


Oral Pleasures



There will come a day when what’s trendy now will be thought of as timeless. Timeless plasma-screen TVs. Timeless minimalist, throbbing music. Timeless stick-thin waitresses in teeny-tiny uniforms that wouldn’t pass dress code at most high schools.

OK, perhaps some of what’s trendy now will just one day become passé. But you can bet Atlanta’s restaurant scene will have moved on, and in the blink of an eye whatever is trendy in the future will be exactly what the city’s eateries are offering up.

Atlanta is a city of history and a city obsessed with trends. While Atlanta’s restaurants strive to become ever more modern and to-the-moment, they’re also embracing their Southern roots. And beyond barbecue and soul food, we’re a city with restaurants that embody the classic dining experience, from outstanding service to perfectionism in the kitchen.

In this year’s Oral Pleasures, we look at the trendy and the timeless and celebrate both. And for once, we celebrate where they meet in the middle — check out this year’s Best Trend winner to see a perfect example of the past and present colliding in the most pleasing fashion.

As always, we are exceedingly proud to live in a city with such a varied and exuberant dining scene. So whether you’re a trendsetter or a classicist, there’s plenty here to tempt your palate.

— Besha Rodell

Best meat-and-three BOA Award Winner

Mary Mac's Tea Room

Best Southwestern BOA Award Winner

Agave

Best Pizza BOA Award Winner

Fellini's Pizza (7 ATL Locations)
Multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best Restaurant to Take Visitors BOA Award Winner

Watershed on Peachtree
You’ve heard it countless times when visitors come to town: “Where can I get a real taste of Atlanta?” The answer is WATERSHED. Chef Scott Peacock’s cooking is classic Southern without the usual kitsch and without the excessive “updating” and fusion.more...
You’ve heard it countless times when visitors come to town: “Where can I get a real taste of Atlanta?” The answer is WATERSHED. Chef Scott Peacock’s cooking is classic Southern without the usual kitsch and without the excessive “updating” and fusion. The Tuesday-night fried chicken dinner is the quintessential Watershed experience, but the daily menu includes plenty of classics, too: salmon croquettes, okra pancakes, fried catfish and barbecued chicken. In fact, dishes like those earned Peacock a James Beard award as best chef in the Southeast this year. less...

Best Restaurant Trend BOA Award Winner

Southern Cooking
It seems absurd, but until the last year or two it was difficult to find good SOUTHERN COOKING outside the city’s soul-food cafes. The exceptions were Watershed and Horseradish Grill, but they’ve been joined now by JCT Kitchen and Bar, Rare, and Sweet Lowdown. Restaurant Eugene’smore...
It seems absurd, but until the last year or two it was difficult to find good SOUTHERN COOKING outside the city’s soul-food cafes. The exceptions were Watershed and Horseradish Grill, but they’ve been joined now by JCT Kitchen and Bar, Rare, and Sweet Lowdown. Restaurant Eugene’s Sunday suppers pay homage to our regional tradition, and Quinones at Bacchanalia also features a Southern accent. All these restaurants endeavor to use local ingredients and, besides preparing traditional dishes, most also do creative riffs on the food of our mothers and fathers. less...

Best Soul Food BOA Award Winner

Son's Place

Best Sunday Brunch BOA Award Winner

Shaun's
It’s been a huge year in Atlanta for new restaurants, but none has captured our hearts quite like SHAUN’S, the Inman Park bistro from Shaun Doty. Serving clean, inspired New American food in a beautiful old street-front building, Shaun’s caters to a real need in Atlanta —more...
It’s been a huge year in Atlanta for new restaurants, but none has captured our hearts quite like SHAUN’S, the Inman Park bistro from Shaun Doty. Serving clean, inspired New American food in a beautiful old street-front building, Shaun’s caters to a real need in Atlanta — upscale neighborhood dining. Brunch is especially impressive, with deliciously refined takes on brunch classics. Try the trout over grits along with a mistral mimosa. less...

Best Bakery BOA Award Winner

Bread Garden
Not only does BREAD GARDEN provide bread to some of Atlanta’s best restaurants, it sells its perfect loaves directly to the public as well. The small shop in the Amsterdam Walk shopping center also sells sandwiches, pastries and amazing cookies. Now, if only owner Katharine Krasnow would startmore...
Not only does BREAD GARDEN provide bread to some of Atlanta’s best restaurants, it sells its perfect loaves directly to the public as well. The small shop in the Amsterdam Walk shopping center also sells sandwiches, pastries and amazing cookies. Now, if only owner Katharine Krasnow would start selling those incredible almond croissants to the public … less...

Best Caribbean BOA Award Winner

Bahama Breeze
Multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best Cheap Eats BOA Award Winner

Eats

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kajjers/2623824087/
It’s seriously hard to find a decent inexpensive meal in Atlanta these days. EATS has been around about 15 years — long enough that it was there before Ponce de Leon became the kind of place that would host a Home Depot and Whole Foods. The restaurant serves excellent jerk chicken, lemon-pepper chicken and pasta dishes. What’s more, the vegetables — especially the corn and collards — are terrific. The atmosphere is … well, they remodeled the men’s room this year. It looks great!

Best Chef BOA Award Winner

Arnaud Berthelier
ARNAUD BERTHELIER is deeply symbolic of the Ritz-Carlton’s tradition of bringing Atlanta its best chefs (Guenter Seeger and Joel Antunes also once held the head chef position there). Berthelier is cooking some of the best food this city has ever seen, and his technique is both bold and delicate.more...
ARNAUD BERTHELIER is deeply symbolic of the Ritz-Carlton’s tradition of bringing Atlanta its best chefs (Guenter Seeger and Joel Antunes also once held the head chef position there). Berthelier is cooking some of the best food this city has ever seen, and his technique is both bold and delicate. Dishes such as chilled Parmesan and bean cream with pesto ice cream show his boundless creativity at creating luxury with unexpected components. Put your palate in his hands for a special occasion and prepare to be delighted. less...

Best Chef BOA Award Winner

Rathbun's

Best Chinese BOA Award Winner

Tasty China (Marietta)
The much-lauded chef Peter Chang has left TASTY CHINA, but the kitchen staff hasn’t missed a beat. In fact, they’ve introduced a whole new slew of dishes even while retaining the Szechwan favorites that made Tasty China Atlanta’s ultimate foodie destination for Chinese. Trymore...
The much-lauded chef Peter Chang has left TASTY CHINA, but the kitchen staff hasn’t missed a beat. In fact, they’ve introduced a whole new slew of dishes even while retaining the Szechwan favorites that made Tasty China Atlanta’s ultimate foodie destination for Chinese. Try any of chef Liu’s new lamb dishes, or go for any of the old favorites — hot and numbing beef rolls, wontons in chili oil, fish and coriander rolls. There are more delicious dishes on the menu here than you’ll ever have time to eat, so go soon and go often. less...

Best Coffeehouse BOA Award Winner

Starbucks
Multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best Deli BOA Award Winner

Jason's Deli
Multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best Gumbo BOA Award Winner

Pappadeaux - Marietta
Gumbo is one of those rare dishes where the more stuff you add, the merrier: shrimp and crab and oysters, chicken and duck and andouille sausage, lots of spice or a little, load up the rice or don’t. The charm is in the mix, but so is the challenge. Gaining a sense of proportion becomes key.more...
Gumbo is one of those rare dishes where the more stuff you add, the merrier: shrimp and crab and oysters, chicken and duck and andouille sausage, lots of spice or a little, load up the rice or don’t. The charm is in the mix, but so is the challenge. Gaining a sense of proportion becomes key. Atlanta is blessed with a range of gumbo offerings from independently owned restaurants, but the chain PAPPADEAUX gets it just right in its seafood gumbo. The broth is just thick enough, the roux just the right shade of brown, the debris of crab just tattered enough, the spice just hot enough. (Someone knows how to tap that cayenne dispenser!) less...

Best-Looking Waitstaff BOA Award Winner

Grant Central
There are plenty of restaurants in Atlanta where you have to provide a headshot when you apply for a job, and where the waitstaff uniform is some kind of microscopic miniskirt and super-high heels. That is so not hot. What is hot is the scruffy gaggle of servers and cooks at GRANT CENTRAL in East Atlanta.more...
There are plenty of restaurants in Atlanta where you have to provide a headshot when you apply for a job, and where the waitstaff uniform is some kind of microscopic miniskirt and super-high heels. That is so not hot. What is hot is the scruffy gaggle of servers and cooks at GRANT CENTRAL in East Atlanta. The tattoos, the dreadlocks, the sneers, the lopsided smiles, the crooked teeth, the spiky belts are all adorable, and even more so because the last thing they’re going for is recognition of their hotness. Our hearts are aflutter. less...

Best Margarita BOA Award Winner

Element
The margarita at ELEMENT would be cool if it were only what it appears to be on first look: a Slurpee for grown-ups. But the liquid-nitrogen frozen cocktail works as more than a novelty when you take into consideration that the low temp of the scientific technique used to make it means no ice is required.more...
The margarita at ELEMENT would be cool if it were only what it appears to be on first look: a Slurpee for grown-ups. But the liquid-nitrogen frozen cocktail works as more than a novelty when you take into consideration that the low temp of the scientific technique used to make it means no ice is required. Your frozen treat is made up entirely of tequila and Element’s special sour mix. The result is smooth, almost creamy, and dangerous. Dangerously delicious! Sorry, this drink inspires dorky catchphrases… less...

Best Pastry Chef BOA Award Winner

Kathryn King
Not only has KATHRYN KING consistently turned out fantastic desserts at Aria for years, she also consulted on the dessert menu at JCT Kitchen, where the gingerbread pudding could be the best thing to happen in Atlanta desserts all year. Her capacity to meld traditional recipes and flawless techniquemore...
Not only has KATHRYN KING consistently turned out fantastic desserts at Aria for years, she also consulted on the dessert menu at JCT Kitchen, where the gingerbread pudding could be the best thing to happen in Atlanta desserts all year. Her capacity to meld traditional recipes and flawless technique with unexpected flavors — such as tapioca pudding with basil ice cream — make for unforgettable sweets. less...

Best Thai BOA Award Winner

Surin of Thailand
Multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best vegetarian: Tie BOA Award Winner

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant
And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best Vietnamese BOA Award Winner

Com Dunwoody Vietnamese Grill
We’re still wholly enamored with COM VIETNAMESE GRILL more than two years after it opened and set foodie hearts ablaze with grilled meats, bold herbs and a swanker atmosphere than you’ll find at the pho houses that populate the rest of Buford Highway. It’s still the best inmore...
We’re still wholly enamored with COM VIETNAMESE GRILL more than two years after it opened and set foodie hearts ablaze with grilled meats, bold herbs and a swanker atmosphere than you’ll find at the pho houses that populate the rest of Buford Highway. It’s still the best in town at marrying home-style dishes with high-quality ingredients and friendly service. When you’re in the mood for spice, mint, basil, charred meat and vermicelli, this is the place to go. less...

Trendy: Best Place to Experience the Restaurant Scene BOA Award Winner

TWO urban licks
Even after three years in business, there’s still nowhere like TWO URBAN LICKS for wowing a date or out-of-towners with the fabulously trendy Atlanta dining scene. The futuristic warehouse valet line is impressive enough, but nothing beats the rush of energy that comes when you enter that monumentallymore...
Even after three years in business, there’s still nowhere like TWO URBAN LICKS for wowing a date or out-of-towners with the fabulously trendy Atlanta dining scene. The futuristic warehouse valet line is impressive enough, but nothing beats the rush of energy that comes when you enter that monumentally dramatic dining room. The music, the beautiful people, the view of the city, the oversized light shades, the rotisserie, the open kitchen, the painting of wild beasts, the meat lollipops all meld into a frenzy of perfectly trendy mayhem. There will come a day when this isn’t the hottest place in town, but we have not seen that day yet. less...

Best Gumbo BOA Award Winner

Pappadeaux - Marietta
10795 Davis Drive 770-992-5566 Gumbo is one of those rare dishes where the more stuff you add, the merrier shrimp and crab and oysters, chicken and duck and andouille sausage, lots of spice or a little, load up the rice or don't. The charm is in the mix, but so is the challenge. Gaining a sense of proportionmore...
10795 Davis Drive 770-992-5566 Gumbo is one of those rare dishes where the more stuff you add, the merrier shrimp and crab and oysters, chicken and duck and andouille sausage, lots of spice or a little, load up the rice or don't. The charm is in the mix, but so is the challenge. Gaining a sense of proportion becomes key. Atlanta is blessed with a range of gumbo offerings from independently owned restaurants, but the chain PAPPADEAUX gets it just right in its seafood gumbo. The broth is just thick enough, the roux just the right shade of brown, the debris of crab just tattered enough, the spice just hot enough. (Someone knows how to tap that cayenne dispenser!) less...

Best Cheap Eats BOA Award Winner

Eats
600 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-888-9149 It's seriously hard to find a decent inexpensive meal in Atlanta these days. EATS has been around about 15 years - long enough that it was there before Ponce de Leon became the kind of place that would host a Home Depot and Whole Foods. The restaurant serves excellentmore...
600 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-888-9149 It's seriously hard to find a decent inexpensive meal in Atlanta these days. EATS has been around about 15 years - long enough that it was there before Ponce de Leon became the kind of place that would host a Home Depot and Whole Foods. The restaurant serves excellent jerk chicken, lemon-pepper chicken and pasta dishes. What's more, the vegetables - especially the corn and collards - are terrific. The atmosphere is ... well, they remodeled the men's room this year. It looks great! less...

Best Chinese BOA Award Winner

Tasty China (Marietta)
585 Franklin Rd Se 770-419-9849 The much-lauded chef Peter Chang has left TASTY CHINA, but the kitchen staff hasn't missed a beat. In fact, they've introduced a whole new slew of dishes even while retaining the Szechwan favorites that made Tasty China Atlanta's ultimate foodie destination for Chinese.more...
585 Franklin Rd Se 770-419-9849 The much-lauded chef Peter Chang has left TASTY CHINA, but the kitchen staff hasn't missed a beat. In fact, they've introduced a whole new slew of dishes even while retaining the Szechwan favorites that made Tasty China Atlanta's ultimate foodie destination for Chinese. Try any of chef Liu's new lamb dishes, or go for any of the old favorites - hot and numbing beef rolls, wontons in chili oil, fish and coriander rolls. There are more delicious dishes on the menu here than you'll ever have time to eat, so go soon and go often. less...

Best Deli BOA Award Winner

Muss & Turner's - Smyrna
1675 Cumberland Parkway 770-434-1114 http://mussandturners.com MUSS & TURNER'S is much more than a classic deli, but even if you strip away the cooking classes, the vacuum-sealed gourmet meals and the evening menu of such dishes as wild stripe bass bouillabaisse and grilled hanger steak, you're stillmore...
1675 Cumberland Parkway 770-434-1114 http://mussandturners.com MUSS & TURNER'S is much more than a classic deli, but even if you strip away the cooking classes, the vacuum-sealed gourmet meals and the evening menu of such dishes as wild stripe bass bouillabaisse and grilled hanger steak, you're still left with the best deli meats and sandwich menu in the city. Well, it's not exactly in the city. It's in Smyrna, but it's certainly good enough that people from all parts of Atlanta journey there. However, if you order at least $100 worth of food, the deli will deliver (with 48 hours notice). less...

Best Italian BOA Award Winner

Sotto Sotto Restaurant
313 N. Highland Ave. 404-523-6678 http://www.sottosottorestaurant.com Riccardo Ullio, the owner and executive chef of SOTTO SOTTO in Inman Park, is a perfectionist who hasn

Best Mexican BOA Award Winner

Zocalo Mexican Kitchen & Cantina
187 10th St. 404-249-7576 http://www.zocalocreativemex.com This is a difficult call every year because metro Atlanta has so many authentic Mexican restaurants. Most of them, however, are taquerias. In fact, ZOCALO operates a taqueria itself in Grant Park. But its Decatur and Midtown locations offermore...
187 10th St. 404-249-7576 http://www.zocalocreativemex.com This is a difficult call every year because metro Atlanta has so many authentic Mexican restaurants. Most of them, however, are taquerias. In fact, ZOCALO operates a taqueria itself in Grant Park. But its Decatur and Midtown locations offer more substantial menus. The chili en nogada - a stuffed poblano pepper with walnut-cream sauce, garnished with pomegranate seeds - is a seasonal favorite. But you should also try anything with the restaurant's homemade mole sauce. less...

Best New Restaurant BOA Award Winner

Shaun's
1029 Edgewood Ave. 404-577-4358 http://www.shaunsrestaurant.com It's been a huge year in Atlanta for new restaurants, but none has captured our hearts quite like SHAUN'S, the Inman Park bistro from Shaun Doty. Serving clean, inspired New American food in a beautiful old street-front building, Shaun'smore...
1029 Edgewood Ave. 404-577-4358 http://www.shaunsrestaurant.com It's been a huge year in Atlanta for new restaurants, but none has captured our hearts quite like SHAUN'S, the Inman Park bistro from Shaun Doty. Serving clean, inspired New American food in a beautiful old street-front building, Shaun's caters to a real need in Atlanta - upscale neighborhood dining. Brunch is especially impressive, with deliciously refined takes on brunch classics. Try the trout over grits along with a mistral mimosa. less...

Best Restaurant to Bring the Kids BOA Award Winner

Dante's Down The Hatch
3380 Peachtree Road NE 404-266-1600 http://www.dantesdownthehatch.com If boiling oil and crocodiles don't scream "kid friendly," we don't know what does. Seriously, the hot fondue pots at DANTE'S DOWN THE HATCH might be a safety concern for really little kids, but what could be more fun than cookingmore...
3380 Peachtree Road NE 404-266-1600 http://www.dantesdownthehatch.com If boiling oil and crocodiles don't scream "kid friendly," we don't know what does. Seriously, the hot fondue pots at DANTE'S DOWN THE HATCH might be a safety concern for really little kids, but what could be more fun than cooking your own food and looking at nautical-theme-park-inspired decor? The pirate vibe and life-sized crocodiles should keep the tykes entertained until the cauldrons arrive. less...

Best Tapas BOA Award Winner

Krog Bar
112 Krog St 404-524-1618 http://www.krogbar.com Even without a stove, the cooks over at KROG BAR are turning out tapas that best represent the true function of this type of food - small tastes to accompany wine. As such, the wine list at a tapas restaurant should be just as important as the food, andmore...
112 Krog St 404-524-1618 http://www.krogbar.com Even without a stove, the cooks over at KROG BAR are turning out tapas that best represent the true function of this type of food - small tastes to accompany wine. As such, the wine list at a tapas restaurant should be just as important as the food, and here, it is. A fantastic selection of Spanish and Italian wines complement the delicious meats, cheeses and small plates all accompanied by chewy, crusty, addictive bread. less...

Best Steak House BOA Award Winner

Kevin Rathbun Steak
154 Krog St Suite 200 404-524-5600 http://www.kevinrathbunsteak.com Attention carnivores You don

Best Vegetarian BOA Award Winner

Cafe Sunflower
2140 Peachtree Rd Nw 105 404-352-8859 In the world of vegetarian cuisine, imposters run rampant. Rather than innovating, some chefs opt for a selection of faux-meat dishes based on what they think vegetarians are missing. Not at CAFE SUNFLOWER. Here the food embraces its veggie roots with such dishesmore...
2140 Peachtree Rd Nw 105 404-352-8859 In the world of vegetarian cuisine, imposters run rampant. Rather than innovating, some chefs opt for a selection of faux-meat dishes based on what they think vegetarians are missing. Not at CAFE SUNFLOWER. Here the food embraces its veggie roots with such dishes as the woodsy Tuscan sandwich stacked high with portobello mushroom, onions, tomato, spinach and creamy goat cheese. The Sunflower Box - an appetizer sampler cleverly displayed in a geometric bento box - lifts flavors from Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and the dairy-free cakes are a must. Vegetarian or not, when you eat at Cafe Sunflower, you're not missing a thing. less...

Best Waitstaff BOA Award Winner

Quinones
1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-365-0410 http://www.starprovisions.com Led by maitre d' Rob Payne, the staff at QUINONES sets the standard for service in the city. Gracious, warm, pitch-perfect without ever being stiff or too formal, and yet gracefully adept at the precise dance that truly top-level servicemore...
1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-365-0410 http://www.starprovisions.com Led by maitre d' Rob Payne, the staff at QUINONES sets the standard for service in the city. Gracious, warm, pitch-perfect without ever being stiff or too formal, and yet gracefully adept at the precise dance that truly top-level service requires. Eating here is a delightful education in charm. less...

Cliff Bostock: My Favorite Place to Take an Out-of-Town Guest BOA Award Winner

Sotto Sotto Restaurant
There's nothing I dislike more than giving restaurant recommendations to friends, but SOTTO SOTTO (313 N. Highland Ave., 404-523-6678) is the place I most often take out-of-town visitors myself. The restaurant's cuisine is simple, straightforward Italian that features seasonal ingredients blended bymore...
There's nothing I dislike more than giving restaurant recommendations to friends, but SOTTO SOTTO (313 N. Highland Ave., 404-523-6678) is the place I most often take out-of-town visitors myself. The restaurant's cuisine is simple, straightforward Italian that features seasonal ingredients blended by the passionate imagination of owner/chef Riccardo Ullio. And here's a bonus: Sotto Sotto is moderately priced. Here's my ideal meal from the regular menu: I order a few olive-oil samples for dunking bread. My first course is Cape Sante, seared jumbo sea scallops over cannellini beans with wilted arugula and truffle oil. Next is a half portion of the Risotto Mantecato, carnaroli rice with caramelized onions, Reggiano and 12-year-old balsamic vinegar. Then I have the wood-roasted whole fish with potatoes and garlicky spinach. I finish with the panna cotta, which I like more than the chocolate soup everyone else adores. " Cliff Bostock" less...

Best barbecue BOA Award Winner

Fat Matt's Rib Shack


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