A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead
ANIS CAFÉ & BISTRO
Anis is everything you’d hope to find in a French bistro, without having to buy a plane ticket: traditional Provençal dishes, relaxed patio dining and often a small congregation of French speaking diners to help set the mood. Grilled North African-style Merguez sausage, coquilles St. Jacques or a bright, crisp salade d’Arnaud (named after the owner) are all winning starters. Entrées of truite meunière, poulet rôti and boeuf au poivre are sure to bring you back to that quaint Provençal village square. Best-in-class items are the croque monsieur, salade Niçoise, moules marinières and not-to-be missed chocolate mousse.
Lunch prices: $8-$19
Dinner prices: $8-$35
ARNETTE’S CHOP SHOP
Arnette’s will dazzle you with its no expense spared interiors, cosmopolitan wine list and, of course, its meat. Chicago-sourced ribeyes, strips and tomahawk steaks are the main attraction supported by a top-notch cast of appetizers and sides, from decadent roasted marrow and wagyu beef tartare to classic wedge salad and Dauphinoise potatoes. (There are also oysters and caviar, if you don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks.) Favorite items include the 50-day, wet-aged cowboy ribeye; the bliss-inducing lobster spaghetti; and the shaved prime rib sandwich, a real scene-stealer. Don’t forget to ask about the members-only knife club.
Appetizers, salads and sandwiches: $9-$25
Shrimp, oysters and caviar: $13-$150
Hearth-roasted shellfish, fish and steaks: $13-$140
Of all the restaurant staffs in Buckhead, these folks may be our favorite. Polite and accommodating to a fault, they make it nearly impossible not to enjoy its exotic comfort food. Whether you eat in the cavernous dining room or out on the sexy, music-infused patio, starters such as peek gai tod, thoongthong and Crying Tiger will crush any doubt you may have about whether there’s good Thai food down South. For more substantial but no less authentic fare, dig in to the massaman and panang curries, Drunken Man noodles or our favorite Thai chicken dish, gai yang som tum. Save room for homemade coconut cake; it’s as sweet and genuine as the staff’s warm invitation to return again soon.
Starters, soups and salads: $7-$23
Curries, sautés and noodle and rice dishes: $14-$23
Main entrées: $19-$32
BLUE RIDGE GRILL
For more than 20 years, Blue Ridge Grill (BRG) has been a mecca for Buckhead power lunchers and chill evening diners alike. Whether for business or romance, BRG is a paragon of hospitality, and each guest is embraced like a VIP. Standard crowd-pleasers on the Euro-American menu include grilled Georgia trout, French-boned chicken with wild mushrooms and filet mignon with Vidalia onions. Small plates and sides of iron skillet mussels, Caesar salad with crisp Beeler bacon, custard like corn soufflé and (off-menu item) fried pickles with buttermilk dipping sauce are absolute must-tries. If cost is an issue, call ahead, as menu prices are not advertised online.
This indispensible, neon-splashed diner is a jewel in the crown of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which includes the Greek temple-like Kyma next door and the Atlanta Fish Market down the street. For 30 years, fans have flocked here for the housemade chips with Maytag blue, the “sweet heat” Thai-chili calamari, juicy burgers and the decadent white-chocolate banana cream pie—all classics. Simply by virtue of the way it lights up Piedmont Road, this diner has always been, and will always be, a star.
Sandwiches and burgers: $13-$16
CIBO E BEVE
An unassuming strip mall cover belies the cozy sophistication awaiting inside this popular Sandy Springs trattoria. Chef Linda Harrell’s menu is punctuated with exquisite, simple fare such as Tuscan kale and bean soup and braised short rib ragu with spinach ravioli, and is anchored by classics such as woodfired pizzas and chicken parmigiana. Don’t bypass the Italian wine list with top-notch selections both familiar (Santa Margherita Vermentino) and obscure (Morgante Nero d’Avola). On Monday evenings, select bottles are half price. Weekends are especially busy, so plan your visit accordingly.
Appetizers, soups and salads: $5-$16
Pasta, pizza and sandwiches: $13-$32
CO’M VIETNAMESE GRILL
In a Buford Highway strip mall on the edge of Brookhaven, Co’m has been for some time now a favorite place for the vibrant, aromatic flavors of the Southeast Asian nation that owner-brothers Duc and Henry Tran once called home. While Atlanta has pho shops aplenty, the stars here are the rice and noodle dishes, which can be ordered with heavenly grilled meats, chicken or fish. The pièce de résistance, though, is the grilled grape-leaf rolls, stuffed with bits of beef, lamb, salmon, duck or tofu and doused in a pool of sweet-fishy vinaigrette and sprinkled with crushed peanuts and crispy fried scallions. Heaven!
HAL’S “THE STEAKHOUSE”
Looking on the outside like a highend strip joint topped with a Bourbon Street balcony, Hal’s has built its cachet around its loyal clientele, old-school style, impeccable service and terrific food. Owner Hal Nowak is a New Orleans native, and in his eponymous enterprise—with its shrimp remoulade, oysters bordelaise and booze-soaked bread pudding—he has created Atlanta’s answer to Galatoire’s. This may be your grandparents’ favorite restaurant, but in an age where everything old is new again, it also boasts a youthful clientele that appreciates its straightforward food, strong drinks and speakeasy atmosphere.
Appetizers and salads: $9-$24
Entrées and steaks: $24-$50
The name means “wave,” and making waves is exactly what executive chef Pano I. Karatassos has been doing at his family’s stellar Greek seafood restaurant since 2002. From marides (tiny, “French fry”-size white fish) to Greek specimens grilled whole (try the barbounia or bronzino), Kyma excels at delivering the kind of simple, unadorned flavors you’ll encounter on a patio by the Aegean. Order a glass of Greek wine (there are many options) and a few classic meze for sharing (we like the dolmades, spanakopita, cuttlefish stuffed with lamb stew and the feta-zucchini fritters), and your meal will go just swimmingly.
Mains: $26-$46 (whole fish $30 or $36 per pound)
TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
Don’t be put off by the mobs of hipsters waiting for a table or the funky menu items with unfamiliar ingredients such as hemp, flax and chia. Though it could easily be mistaken for an ephemeral, crunchy beardo hangout, True Food Kitchen is here to stay—not just because of its good intentions and exemplary karma, but because of its tasty eats. Favorites include the shiitake lettuce cups, spring asparagus toast and the T.L.T. (tempeh, lettuce and tomato) sandwich. Good for the uninitiated are the margherita pizza, steak tacos and Mediterranean chicken pita. Recommended drinks include the non-alcoholic Cucumber Cooler and Medicine Man tea or the buzz-inducing lemongrass margarita, citrus skinny margarita and Strawberry Smash.
Starters and vegetable plates: $7-$13
Salads and bowls: $10-$14 (added protein $3-$9)
Pizzas and sandwiches: $12-$16 Entrées: $14-$26
For over a decade, highest accolades have been lavished upon Varasano’s for its Neapolitan-style pizzas, and with good reason. Owner Jeff Varasano has made it his life’s work to bring Atlantans pies on par with (or even better than) pizza in Italy. Classics such as margherita di bufala and Nana’s showcase his mastery of the basics—slow-cooked San Marzano tomato sauce, imported cheeses, herbs and his incomparable crust. Varasano’s also features a selection of antipasti (divine meatballs), simple salads and solid pastas of farfalle with shrimp in lemon cream sauce and penne alla vodka with chicken.
Antipasti: $5.95 – $14.95
Pastas: $16.95 – $18.95
Pizza: $15.95 – $20.95 ($1.50 – $5.00 for additional toppings)
Desserts: $3.95 – $8.95
If you’re like us, the minute you hear Persian foodie buzzwords such as mirza ghasemi, hummus and kabob, your mouth starts watering, and you’ve got one foot out the door. If you’re smart, you’ll head directly to Zafron in Sandy Springs. Once seated, a beaming server will bring a complimentary sabzi plate and pita from the wood-burning oven. That extra-mile hospitality spills over into all areas, especially the food: world-class lamb kabob, fire-roasted salmon and the “Zafron special” made with chile, mango and eggplant. Plenty of classic small plates and rice dishes are joined with a few East-meets-West treats such as spicy Zafron chicken wings and tiramisu.
Starters and salads: $5- $9
Wraps (lunch only): $12
Entrees: $12 – $32
Sides and rice: $3 – $7
Desserts: $5 – $7
BY: Wendell Brock, Rebecca Cha and Angela Hansberger
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna
Food, beauty and interiors writer at Simply Buckhead. Linguist, teacher, chef, parent.