City Portrait

Atlanta’s New Hot Spots

Discover what’s new in the Big Peach

photo: Greg Dupree


Where to Eat & Drink

Atlas
The plush comfort of this grand dining room in the St. Regis hotel is impressive, but the art collection is jaw-dropping. Look around for works by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Pablo Picasso. Painterly dishes include cured hiramasa with fresh hearts of palm and tagliatelle tossed with crème fraîche and sturgeon caviar. 88 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NW; atlasrestaurant.com

BoccaLupo
Bruce Logue spends a lot more time working in his kitchen than promoting himself. So if you’re not from Atlanta, you may not have heard of his restaurant. Inside the dining room, waiters reel off nightly specials to a mostly local crowd. There’s much joy in Logue’s brand of Italian American food, and no one will judge if you, say, order a crispy white lasagna slab for the table as you twirl forkfuls of black-pepper spaghetti with bacon, bianchetto truffles, and a slow-poached Ellijay farm egg. 753 Edgewood Ave. NE; boccalupoatl.com

Cooks & Soldiers
A Basque-style pintxos bar, Cooks & Soldiers appreciates both the rib-sticking heartiness and the modernist tomfoolery of Spanish cooking today. Eat bites of griddled bread piled with roasted mushrooms, a tomato tartare that could pass for beef, and a chistorra sausage in a pastry blanket with cider glaze. Desserts arrive like David Copperfield, in plumes of liquid nitrogen smoke, and disappear as fast. 691 14th St. NW; cooksandsoldiers.com

Grain
This street-level bar in a Midtown high-rise masters that whole “I just want a drink but maybe I’m a little hungry” vibe. The easy-sipping cocktails don’t try too hard. Order the Low Knees with vodka, rhubarb shrub, and lemon. Then try Grain’s offbeat variation on Nashville hot chicken, made with fire-engine-red fried oysters, all crackle and juice, heaped on white bread with pickle chips and Duke’s mayo. 856 W. Peachtree St. NW; grain-bar.com

Kimball House
The old Decatur train depot long sat off to the side of this now-bustling urban village like a doddering great-aunt—gracious, quiet, clearly from another era. The Kimball House team rolled in with the metro area’s best oysters (a now-legendary half-price happy hour), gorgeous cocktails from Miles Macquarrie, and a menu with room for both farmy-modernist cooking and a tapering stack of onion rings. This old gal now has plenty of company: Patrons spill onto the veranda nightly. 303 E. Howard Ave.; kimball-house.com

Krog Street Market
This 30,000-square-foot complex of restaurants and shops in the up-and-coming Inman Park area is like a food court on steroids. Kevin Ouzts, of Spotted Trotter fame, helms the kitchen at the Cockentrice, where the meat-centric menu has recently included duck prosciutto and a blue-cheese-cured New York strip served with potato “stones” coated in edible kaolin dirt. The crew behind the General Muir runs both Fred’s Meat & Bread and Yalla. At Fred’s, folks line up for butcher-paper-wrapped sandwiches such as the crispy smoked catfish with green tomato chutney, while at Yalla they grab kebabs and pitas stuffed with Middle Eastern salads. The breads at both stalls come from baking genius Rob Alexander. And Ford Fry does Tex-Mex right at Superica, where the Bob Armstrong, a crock of neon-orange queso, floating picadillo, and guac, starts the meal with such a sloppy bro hug of goodness that you never want to leave. 99 Krog St. NE; krogstreetmarket.com

La Calavera Baker
Tucked into a tiny shopping strip, this organic Mexican bakery operates in true panadería style. Take an aluminum plate and tongs and help yourself to the made-daily orejas (elephant ears), savory empanadas stuffed with local veggies, and other breakfast pastries you want to eat right away, then choose breads to take home. Try the sprouted whole wheat made with house-milled flour. 747-C E. College Ave.; lacalaverabakery.wordpress.com

Le Fat
Think of your favorite Vietnamese restaurant, then siphon it into this long, narrow space decorated to evoke colonial Saigon. The cocktail bar serves both classic midcentury drinks and clever riffs, such as a Tom Collins made with Suze and Vietnamese salted lemon soda. Add a rice vermicelli bowl with barbecued pork and crispy cha gio rolls for a meal that tastes like bliss. 935 Marietta St. NW; lefatatl.com

Little Bacch
This intimate space is the baby sister to chef Anne Quatrano’s Bacchanalia, Atlanta’s star destination for elaborate prix fixe meals, but don’t go in expecting a more casual, bistro-fied version. With dark ocean-blue walls, Empire furniture, and glowing wall sconces, it strikes a tone unlike any restaurant in the city. The luxe menu is breathtaking in its brevity, and it includes a caviar service, a cheese soufflé, and a whole roast chicken for two. 1198 Howell Mill Rd.; starprovisions.com

Revival
“Don’t call it a meat-and-three!” says chef-owner Kevin Gillespie of his new tradition-minded Southern restaurant. Set in a wood-sided bungalow with a deep front porch and picket-fence-bordered lawn, Revival serves idealized church supper fare. Bacon-wrapped meat loaf and fried chicken count as highlights, while fatback-fried Silver Queen corn and creamed potatoes come as family-style sides. 129 Church St.; revivaldecatur.com

Sweet Auburn Seafood
One of the new businesses helping to revive Auburn Avenue, this restaurant provides neighbors a warm, crimson-walled setting. The lengthy menu includes everything from a lobster potpie to crawfish gumbo to Georgia mountain trout. 171 Auburn Ave. NE; sweetauburnseafood.com

Umi
It would be easy to dismiss this gorgeous, expensive sushi bar as an exercise in flash and glamour, were the charred wood walls not truly beautiful, the food memorable, and the welcome from chef Fuyuhiko Ito so warm. He’s a sushi mensch; you’re at his counter, and he wants to make you happy. Ito and his business partner, Farshid Arshid, plan to open a Japanese cocktail lounge, Himitsu, this fall. 3050 Peachtree Rd. NW; umiatlanta.com

What to See & Do

Atlanta BeltLine
It will be years before the BeltLine can cinch the buckle in a continuous loop around Atlanta’s ample circumference. But sections have opened, and no part of the city is more vibrant today than the corridor along the Eastside Trail, once a kudzu-covered gulch. Le tout Atlanta comes out in force on nice days to exercise and enjoy the parks, public art, and cafés, including Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, a restaurant with a summer-camp look and patio near the trail’s south end, and Ponce City Market, a collection of lofts, shops, and an upscale food hall housed in the former Sears building on Ponce de Leon Avenue. Meanwhile, work will begin soon on a 1.25-mile extension that will push the trail even farther south. beltline.org

 

The striking exterior of the new Center for Civil and Human Rights.

photo: Greg Dupree

The striking exterior of the new Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Center for Civil and Human Rights
This sleek new 43,000-square-foot museum draws parallels, in its three interactive galleries, between the civil rights movement in the American South and human rights struggles around the globe. “Rolls Down like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement” traces the fight for racial equality from the Jim Crow era through 1968 and is curated by Broadway impresario George C. Wolfe. 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. NW; civilandhumanrights.org

The Goat Farm Arts Center
This twelve-acre complex of studios is an oddly bucolic in-town oasis. There’s an on-site farm, but the bulk of residents are artists and creative businesses. You’ll find painters, photographers, designers, and dance troupes. Guests are welcome to stop by and visit with the artists or hang at Warhorse, the community coffeehouse. The founders, Anthony Harper and Chris Melhouse, are currently working on a Goat Farm satellite venue to be called Erikson Clock. Foster St. NW; facebook.com/TheGoatFarmArtsCenter

Where to Shop

Crafted/Westside
Crafted contracts with regional makers to bring together apparel, cards, candles, and other terrific doodads in a collective retail shop. Artisans include Local Produce Design, an Atlanta textile company; and Rough Cut Designs, a Georgia-made furniture collection. Crafted is so successful that pop-up shops continue to open all over town. 1000 Marietta St. NW, No. 102; craftedwestside.com

Preserving Place
Imagine an old-fashioned roadside jam-and-pickle vendor combined with a supply shop for DIYers and a space for wine-fueled cooking classes, and you may begin to picture this unique presence on the city’s Westside. Shelves brim with jars of sweet onion confit, spicy peach-ginger jam, and bread-and-butter pickle relish. 1170 Howell Mill Rd.; preservingplace.com

Men's shoes at Tweeds.

photo: Greg Dupree

Men’s shoes at Tweeds.

Tweeds
This well-curated menswear shop partners with small haberdashers, cobblers, and other artisans around the country to hand make its inventory of bags, belts, shoes, suits, outerwear, and small goods. Form-fitting gingham button-downs and herringbone trousers share space with wristwatches, sunglasses, and leather bags; in short, every accessory a style-conscious dude might covet. 1009-A Marietta St. NW; tweedsshop.com

Where to Stay

Ellis Hotel
One of this convention town’s few boutique hotels occupies a handsome 1913 brick building on a prime downtown block, with alfresco dining on the ground level overlooking Peachtree Street. A plaque out front tells the story of the site’s 1946 conflagration, which ranks as the worst hotel fire in American history. No worries now: It’s up to code. 176 Peachtree St. NW; ellishotel.com

Mandarin Oriental
This reflagged hotel built as the Mansion on Peachtree attracts both tourists and locals splurging on a Buckhead staycation complete with one of the city’s best spas. The ten suites atop the standard rooms offer grand skyline views from their balconies. 3376 Peachtree Rd. NE; mandarinoriental.com/atlanta


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