Kristie’s Favorite Atlanta Restaurants & Cafes of 2014: Most in or near mid-town Atlanta
- Endive Publik House (http://endivepublik.com)
Great value for excellent gourmet comfort food. A friend and I shared some of their “small plates” like ethnic root vegetable chips with black truffle cremini mushroom dip ($4) and crabcakes ($8). I also had a big cauliflower au gratin side dish ($4). Together with our appetizers it was enough for a meal. We shared a bottle of wine and the well-presented and tasty dessert sampler. Unlike pretentious gourmet restaurants, I left thinking “Wow, we got all that quality food for so cheap?” The tastefully decorated and comfortable space is in a renovated little house in a neighborhood behind Atlantic Station. It also has a warm, wood-decorated bar area. Unfortunately, it’s only open Thursday-Saturday for dinner.
2. Sweet Hut (http://www.sweethutbakery.com). A new midtown location on Peachtree in the Metropolis condo building. This is one of those excellent milk tea and bakery shops that populate the Buford Highway Ethnic food strip. Aside from the milk tea they specialize in sweet and savory buns — dozens of buns are on display as you enter the funky and mod decorated cafe. You select your buns with a tong and place them on a tray. I’ve tried the yummy taro pastry, red bean buns and curried chicken puffs. The café has comfortable cushy chairs so it’s a good place to camp out with your computer.
3. Café Sunflower (http://www.cafesunflower.com); Café Sunflower is the go-to vegetarian place in town. They recently moved across the strip mall to fancier digs and the food has gotten even better. A friend had a vegan 5 course meal birthday party and everything was absolutely delicious from the squash soup, harvest salad, appetizers to the eggplant lasagna. The meal was so filling, I had to take the yummy carrot cake home.
4. Two Urban Licks http://www.twourbanlicks.com. I go to Two Urban Licks for the salmon “chips.” I can happily feast on those for dinner. The chips are big thickly sliced potatoes and the salmon is warm whole smoked salmon (not cold smoked salmon from a package). It’s in a renovated warehouse so it’s a large, loud, high-ceiling place with open ovens. They serve wine from barrels. It’s on the beltline now so you can bike or walk there to avoid traffic.
5.Yeah Burger (http://www.yeahburger.com) Most people go to Yeah Burger for the farm-raised meat burgers, but I go for their amazing chicken cobb salad with hydroponic bib lettuce, organic grape tomatoes and quality chicken. I brought a friend there once and she complained that her burger wasn’t juicy or tasty. For gourmet prices, you’d expect better burgers.
6. Octane (http://octanecoffee.com): I go for their quality iced caramel cappuccinos. They make their own syrups and you can tell the different. The West Midtown location is more convenient, but the Grant Park one has the amazing Little Tart Bakery with authentic croissant. With it’s concrete floors, stiff stools, high ceilings and hipsters with black oversized glasses, it’s a hip, cool place, but not especially comfortable. (the West Midtown location has some delicious sandwiches using H & F bread like the turkey and brie).
7. Bantam & Biddy (http://www.bantamandbiddy.com). This is one of the best chicken places in town. You can have it rotisserie style or fried or baked with sides. I also really like their so-called chicken stew. It’s really chicken soup with big chunks of chicken in tasty broth with some vegetables. It comes with a big biscuit. I’m also a fan of their delicious cobb salad. It comes with a yummy carrot ginger vinaigrette.
8. Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill, Blue Ridge (http://www.chestersblueridge.com) I’ve only tried this newly opened bar and grill once, but it’s excellent. It’s in Blue Ridge, GA, about a one and half hour drive from Atlanta but it’s worth the trip (or combine it with an overnight at a cabin). It has a wonderful mod rustic atmosphere and quality food and drink. I had the shrimp tacos, salad and fries. The fries were really good even though I’m not a French fries person.
9.Whole Foods Food Court (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/department/prepared-foods). Considering Whole Foods is a grocery store, their prepared food bars are truly impressive. Aside from the salad bar, I like the fried tofu squares—Southern fried chicken for vegetarians. They also have buffalo tofu squares. Their garlic fresh Kale Salad is excellent too. (The Ponce location used to have a kale salad with cranberries, tomatoes, and pinenuts with a nice lemon dressing but they have discontinued it because pine nuts are apparently too pricey.
10. My last place would be a tie among Wisteria, Bartaco and Wrecking Bar Brewpub. I only tried Bartaco once for lunch but was impressed with the food and atmosphere. Would go again for dinner or drinks. Wisteria is one of the nouvelle Southern food standouts. Last summer I had an amazing chilled carrot ginger soup with shaved chilled radish and pistachios – out of this world. Finally, the Wrecking Bar Prewpub is a cozy basement joint with excellent bar comfort food and good beer.