FEATURED RESTAURANTS – JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2024

A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead!

Croque Madame, Le Bilboquet’s classic French grilled sandwich, is a satisfying choice.

AZIZA

Meaning “happiness” in Arabic, Aziza is tucked into the lower level of Westside Provisions District, with a dimly lit dining room and diminutive bar. The open kitchen, with its large wood-burning oven that factors heavily into most dishes, is a welcoming focal point. Have a cocktail such as the herbaceous Shug Shake to whet your appetite for the simple, elegant and intensely flavorful dishes to come. Sharing is the best way to maximize your tour of the menu. Don’t miss Hummus No. 1, a silky chickpea mixture topped with braised duck, pecans, pomegranate and nutty tahini served with laffa bread. You can’t go wrong with tender-crisp octopus with coriander, tuna tartare with preserved lemon labneh, short rib tagine or grilled lamb shoulder with fava beans and herbed rice. Blending Israeli cuisine with seasonal ingredients available in the American South, Aziza strikes just the right balance between adventurous and comforting.

Small plates: $10-$21
Mains: $29-$43
Desserts: $13
aziza-restaurant.com

CHIDO & PADRE’S

Chido & Padre’s beguiles with lavish decor, delectable aromas and scrumptious fare. At brunch or dinner, refreshing margaritas range from spicy to tart, sweet to crisp. Guacamole and chips make for satisfying nibbles. Corn tamales stuffed with veggies arrive with a spicy red sauce (save a few chips to scoop up every drop). Enchilada rojas boast sublime smoky, peppery and umami flavors. Chicken mole is crowned with a velvety smooth sauce layered with complex notes. Carne asada makes a meal of juicy skirt steak with black beans, cilantro rice, fresh avocado, corn salsa, vibrant sauces and warm tortillas. Mexican street corn is so scrumptious you may gobble it down in record speed. Brunch heroes include huevos rancheros and breakfast tacos, both offering a tongue-tingling good morning. For dessert, consider tres leches, an ultra-light three milk cake layered with fluffy frosting and berries. Fresh Baja Mex fare and vibes await on East Andrews.

Appetizers: $5-18
Salads: $10-12
Traditional dishes: $14-18
Large plates: $22-30
Sides: $3-6
Desserts: $8-9
Cocktails: $11-14; happy hour margaritas, $8
Brunch: $14-22
chidoandpadres.com

End on an exquisite high note with the goat cheese and local honey panna cotta, topped with strawberry and black pepper compote at FIA Restaurant.

FIA RESTAURANT

Many of the best meals are an escape, a getaway. Fortunately for Atlanta residents, it’s simple enough to find bites that both awaken our wanderlust and satisfy our desire for something beyond the ordinary. Case in point: Fia, the restaurant tucked inside The Burgess Hotel. A glance at the menu will tell you that, while you’ll likely be able to pick out influences—Greek, Indian, Thai, Italian—you can’t put this menu in a box. That fact makes it so much fun to order what you like and explore dishes such as tender-crisp charred octopus, shrimp saganaki, pan-seared potato gnocchi, whole grilled branzino and bone-in short rib served over spiced lentils and basmati rice. A meal here is like a global getaway close to home.

Appetizers, soups and salads: $8-19
Entrees: $24-$38
From the grill: $28-$98
Sides: $13
Desserts: $12-$15
fiaatlanta.com

HOUSTON’S

Houston’s probably won’t make the list of any highfalutin, big-city critic. And yet the Beverly Hills-based chain, which has had an Atlanta presence since 1978, has a devoted following, thanks to its consistently good, all-American food; its commitment to customer comforts; and its flagrant disregard for culinary razzle-dazzle. While the gooey spinach-andartichoke dip and the Famous French Dip are the stuff of legend, we are crazy about the Thai steak and noodle salad, the crispy skinned rotisserie chicken and the warm, five-nut brownie with vanilla ice cream. At Houston’s, every table is bolted to the floor so it won’t wobble, servers bring chilled glasses so your drink never gets tired and the napkins have buttonholes so the white-shirt crowd can save its ties. We can only hope this classic sticks around for a few more decades.

Starters and salads: $4-$20
Burgers and sandwiches: $18-$20
Entrees: $25-$45
hillstone.com/houstons

LE BILBOQUET

Le Bilboquet brings a taste of France to Buckhead Village with a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe. Tables adorned with white tablecloths are attended by friendly servers. The menu is managed by Executive Chef Cyrille Holota, who has cooked at Michelin-starred and award-winning restaurants across the globe. Classic escargot balances earthy umami with garlic and butter. Tender duck confit with lentils and red wine sauce is divinely rich and savory. Salmon is simple elegance, cooked to order and served atop beurre blanc sauce alongside a mix of sauteed greens and shitake mushrooms. Lamb curry is tender with a pleasing mild spicy kick. French fries are long, slender, crisp, salty perfection. Vanilla crème brûlée tops dreamy, creamy custard with hard caramel for a delightful contrast of textures. The bar offers wines by the glass and bottles that are handpicked by the sommelier, plus classic cocktails and featured spritzers.

Brunch specialties: $6-36
Lunch sandwiches: $18-26
Dinner: Appetizers: $13-29
Caviar: $125-278
Sides: $12
Entrees: $23-62
Desserts: $12-16
lebilboquetatlanta.com

KALEIDOSCOPE BISTRO & PUB

Kaleidoscope is one of Brookhaven’s most popular watering holes. Fabulous small plates include pimento mac and cheese, roasted cauliflower seasoned with garlic and a touch of lime, and the smoked pork and pimento spring rolls. The steak frites with garlic-heavy chimichurri is exceptional, as is the poutine, a Canadian treat consisting of crisp, hand-cut fries smothered in gravy and mozzarella. Looking for somewhat lighter fare? Go for the fried chicken club salad tossed with sundried tomatoes, fresh avocado and golden chunks of bird. A table on the pet-friendly patio guarantees top-notch people-watching.

Appetizers: $5-$12
Salads, pizzas and burgers: $7-$14
Mains: $13-$19
k-pub.com

POSTINO WINECAFE BUCKHEAD

Postino WineCafe Buckhead embraces its quirkiness with endearing charm. Located in a former Blockbuster, the space has one wall plastered with VHS tapes. Even to-go containers burst with personality, including a reminder that “drinking wine at lunch is not a crime.” The wink-wink fun doesn’t detract from the fact that Postino takes food and drink seriously. All roles are well played. Balance is a consistent theme. Kitchen techniques are solid. Menus present fresh combinations. Whether you want a snack, meal or feast, you’ll find it here. The OMG grilled cheese with creamy tomato soup is a classic that exceeds expectations. Meatballs and goat cheese offer melt-in-your-mouth comfort. Bruschetta boasts 12 sophisticated combinations. Weekend brunch presents a range of savory and sweet options.

Snacks: $8-17
Bruschetta & Boards: $17-19
Paninis: $14.50-15
Soups & Salads: $7-13.50
Sweets: $8
Brunch: $9.75-15.50
postinowinecafe.com

Falafel from Rumi’s Kitchen makes a stunning plate with tart pickles, tangy tabouli and savory tahini sauce.

RUMI’S KITCHEN SANDY SPRINGS

Treat your tastebuds to as many dishes as possible at Rumi’s Kitchen Sandy Springs, whether you sit in the spacious dining room with its bubbling water feature or order to-go. The menu is packed with powerful culinary rhythms and rhymes. Falafel stuns with crisp-tender chickpea balls, pickled veggies, tangy tabbouleh and savory tahini sauce. Mirza ghasemi (smoked eggplant with tomato and garlic) presents strong notes without hiding the scrumptious plant flavors. Chicken barg infuses a juicy wedge with exotic flavors thanks to the saffron marinade. Pair it with Shirin polo, fluffy rice dotted with orange zest, red barberry, pistachio, almond and rosewater— a divine mix of flavors and textures. Lamb hummusiya tops hummus with lamb sausage for a pleasing contrast of spicy heat and cool umami. Dukkah roasted carrots play nutty-spicy notes against tangy-sweet yogurt cheese. Good luck choosing a favorite.

Starters: $8-15
Salads: $8-12
Mains: $18-45
Sides: $4-10
Desserts: $10
rumiskitchen.com

THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

Both Southern food newbies and aficionados will take to this sexy gastropub, as smooth and easy as the finish of one of its primo bourbons. (If you’re old school, go for the gloriously icy Resurgens mint julep; if not, there’s no shortage of cocktail possibilities.) When your whistle’s wet, dig in to favorite starters of spicy charred okra and PEI mussels in a whiskey cream sauce. Both will leave you smitten. Classics such as the shrimp boil, Springer Mountain half fried chicken and shrimp and grits with New Orleans barbecue sauce are all mouthwatering. And it wouldn’t be Southern if there weren’t sweets to make your toes curl in delight. Leave room for a nibble or two of brown butter cake or the favorite at our table—almond nougat semifreddo.

Small plates: $6-$12
Salads and sandwiches: $6-$13
Large plates (including brunch entrées): $13-$28
thesoutherngentlemanatl.com

THE WOODALL

With its friendly, relaxed vibe, it’s easy to feel among friends at The Woodall in Westside Village, whether you prefer the comfortable dining room or outdoor patio. Whitewashed brick, shiny metal, warm woods, brown leather and modern light fixtures cozy up the converted warehouse while a mural of eagle talons clasping a silver spoon adds personality. The dinner and brunch menus present globally inspired dishes and drinks featuring local ingredients. The menu changes seasonally, with options such as lump crab beignets, openfaced tenderloin sandwich, Sicilian calamari and rock shrimp and fried chicken tucked into a feather-light biscuit. The restaurant’s website confidently asserts, “You’ll be back!” There are plenty of reasons to do just that.

Small plates: $9-$15
Salads: $9-12
Sandwiches: $11.5-17
Mains: $13-$43
Sides: $5-$6
Desserts: $9-$10
thewoodallwestside.com

Note: Prices and menu items may have changed since original publication.

BY: Wendell Brock, Rebecca Cha, Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Angela Hansberger, Hope S. Philbrick
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna, Erik Meadows

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