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10 restaurants for laid-back fine dining

Where to eat well while wearing jeans

Acg Seedo Casualfine1 1 53 Magnum
Photo credit: James Camp/CL File

The late comedian Mitch Hedberg used to do a bit about how the term two-in-one, as in two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, was a sham. “Two-in-one is a bullshit term because one is not big enough to hold two,” he said. “That’s why two was created.” The term “casual fine dining,” a popular post-Recession catchall in the restaurant industry these days, can sound equally oxymoronic to the untrained ear. A logical person knows “fine dining” cannot, by definition, be “casual,” and vice versa. Alas, casual fine dining restaurants are a thing. These are places that aspire to serve skillful, elevated cuisine in an environment that spares diners the pomp and circumstance for which white-tablecloth joints are notorious. While it’s not recommended to show up to dinner — or anywhere but the gym, really — wearing yoga pants or a muscle tee, here are 10 accessible, convenient, chill Atlanta restaurants where you can eat well and rock jeans without catchin’ side eye.

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Bocado has tone, taste, and talent locked down, and the Westside and Atlanta are even more delicious as a result. Sandwiches take the limelight at lunch; roasted eggplant, cauliflower and a smattering of pickled vegetables are packed into a baguette roll, complemented by a spicy aioli. | more...

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Chef Bruce Logue has transformed the former home of Sauced into a modern industrial scheme complete with rustic wood, gray walls, and white enamel fixtures. Expect old standards from Logue's former post at La Pietra Cucina, like his famous black spaghetti, as well as authentic new dishes featuring p... | more...

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Riccado Ullio's younger, hipper sibling to next-door Sotto Sotto offers bold salads, fried seafood, and thin-crust, rustic pizzas with exotic toppings. Atmosphere, service, and wine list are notable as well. | more...

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Decent modern Southern fare. Your best bet is the upstairs bar with its outdoor patio overlooking train tracks that stretch straight toward the skyline. | more...

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In a town where cocktails are taken very seriously, Kimball House quietly took over the title of everyone | more...

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Food is simple, yet creative. Extensive and reasonably priced wine list, offering a wide selection of both Italian and American wines. Covered, heated patio and indoor seating. | more...

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At One Eared Stag, boldness of flavor wins out above all else. The entire menu is an exercise in boldness, in defying cliché. Chef Robert Phalen comes across as more of a creative force than a perfectionist. But any inconsistency is made up for by the sheer pleasure and originality the food inspires... | more...

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Perched on the edge of Decatur Square and swimming in Spanish romanticism — dark wood, twinkling lights, and wine bottles as decor — the Iberian Pig exudes charm. As do the owners, members of the Castellucci family, who roam the dining room dishing out stories of their family's five generations of r... | more...

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Helmed by chef Mark Nanna, expect an accessible, Southern-influenced menu with dishes like pulled duck barbecue, whiskey-braised lamb belly, and other fun, upscale twists on classics. The Lawrence has a serious craft cocktail program helmed by veteran mixologist Eric Simpkins. | more...

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Much of the Shed at Glenwood's menu reads like a kind of International House of Bistro Classics. Depending on your mood, you could hit Britain with a no-nonsense preparation of fish and chips; France with a creamy, truffley version of moules frite; or Germany with a tender, juicy and comforting pork... | more...