A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead
10 DEGREES SOUTH
After 15 years on the scene, this Roswell Road establishment is a highly original destination where food and wine from the tip of the Southern Hemisphere are celebrated with flair. Before we could pose the server with a query on the peri-peri, we got the hard sell on South African reds—particularly the Rupert & Rothschild 2009 “Classique.” The big, full-bodied R&R was the perfect match for the luscious, spicy food that followed. We wager that nobody makes bobotie (the South African national dish) like 10 Degrees South. The dish consists of tantalizingly sweet curried ground beef topped with a custardy crust. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and indulge in the kind of stuff our parents enjoyed when “Continental” cuisine was in vogue.
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
BIG SKY BUCKHEAD
The laid-back cattle ranch decor in this West Village hotspot is the perfect foil for top-notch Tex-Mex-meets-Deep- South eats. Specialty cocktails served up by fresh-faced mixologists combined with events such as Wednesday trivia nights, game-day viewing parties and weekend brunches with all-you-can drink mimosas make Big Sky Buckhead a favorite urban escape. Best-in-class dishes such as the Big Sky Nachos, Goose Island IPA wings, Original Burger and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich are good enough to brand this place in your memory forever. Good to know: Big Sky is a cashless establishment, so don’t forget your alt-currency. Also, free on-site parking spots are limited, so consider carpooling or ridesharing.
Salads, sandwiches and tacos: $11-$13
Brunch items: $12-$15
ECLIPSE DI LUNA
At the tail end of Miami Circle is one of the most convivial joints in town. Head over for happy hour Monday through Thursday when most drinks and tapas are half price, and there’s live music. Yummy small plates of habanerospiced ahi tuna ceviche, smoky sundried- tomato mac and cheese (made with three different cheeses) and refreshing Granny Smith apple salad are some of our favorites. Still hungry? It’s hard to pass up the succulent balsamic-y spare ribs and flavorful, crunchy calamari. If you’re with family (or a family of friends), consider the exquisite saffron-infused paella, made with authentic Calasparra rice.
Tapas: $2.95-$14.95 (most in the $5-$8 range)
Large plates (for two or more): $20- $24
Like its predecessor, the much-loved former Brasserie le Coze, F&B delivers timeless Provençal fare in a classic brasserie atmosphere. The menu is bolstered by comfort dishes portioned with hunger in mind, but it’s also fortified with lighter salads, sandwiches and soups. Classics such as steak frites and skate wing with a brown butter sauce are deeply satisfying in their rustic charm. Mussels come piled high in a white wine and shallot broth, along with crusty French bread for sopping. The drink menu is built on interesting French wines and remarkable cocktails such as the well-balanced, bourbonbased Line of Destiny.
HEARTH PIZZA TAVERN
Sandy Springs is lucky to be home to Hearth Pizza Tavern, where worldclass pie is served up in a cozy corner of the Exchange at Hammond. Pizzas such as the Ring of Fire and The Cure would earn three Michelin stars if there were a pizza rating, and other menu items aren’t far behind. If you’re eating carb-free, go for the Tavern chopped salad, piled high with Italian meats and cheeses, or dig in to hot, crispy Brussels sprouts or zesty roasted cauliflower. If those don’t tempt you, then the steaming bowl of PEI mussels or an oozing, medium-rare Angus beef burger will be your best bet.
Openers and salads: $6-$12
Burgers and sandwiches: $10-$12
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 spinachand- artichoke 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
Opened in 1991, Pricci is the Italian jewel in Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s crown. This Buckhead institution still aspires to (and delivers) exceptional service, superlative Italian cooking and a vibe that’s both elegant and inclusive. Nothing says buon appetito like silky burrata Pugliese (cream filled mozzarella), tangy parmesan and anchovy- rich Caesar salad and aromatic steamed cozze (mussels in tomatogarlic sauce). Barbera-braised short rib ravioli, pecorino-sauced cacio e pepe and pizzas of all varieties are favorites, but if you’re extra peckish, order the Dutch-imported 16-ounce veal chop. Mangia bene, but don’t forget to try Pricci’s world-class tiramisu.
Appetizers and salads: $8-$26
Pizza and pastas: $17-$27
Nestled in the heart of Brookleigh Marketplace, Pure Taqueria is a true Brookhaven oasis. After 6 p.m., head up to the adults-only rooftop bar for killer Lunazul tequila margaritas and sumptuous soft tacos complemented by more than a half dozen chile salsas. Downstairs in the bright and sunny dining room, families and hipsters gather for silky fondue-like queso con todo, sizzling cazuela bowls, hearty sandwiches such as the torta de carne y chorizo and myriad Tex-Mex specialties featuring the freshest seafood, meats and vegetarian options. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more cheerful and accommodating waitstaff.
Appetizers and taco platters: $4.79-$15.99
Classics, sandwiches and specialties: $8.49-$22.99
R. THOMAS DELUXE GRILL
Open 24/7 and bedecked with ’70sstyle disco lighting, beaded curtains and groovy plastic walls, this Buckhead favorite feels like a throwback to the days when the health food craze was in its genesis. Whether you go for the sizzling bone-in hot wings or Dr. Joe’s Mango Salad with a side of raw cashew “cheese,” R. Thomas lives up to its promise to “treat carnivores and vegetarians with equal respect.” More menu favorites include the quinoa-rich Thai Express bowl, the classic Thomas Burger with sprouts and guacamole, the curry coconut seafood linguine, Southwestern-style R.’s Quesadilla and an unforgettable peanut butter chocolate pie.
Sandwiches, salads and veggie mains: $5.99-$17.50
Chamblee is to Atlanta what 1980s SoHo was to Manhattan: edgy and on the verge, which is why traditional, sedate Yuzu is such a welcome respite in its midst. Veteran restaurateurs Anna and Kenny Kim run their dining room with efficiency and grace. With a flash of his Masamoto knife, Chef Kim delivers top-notch sushi and sashimi such as chu-toro, escolar and salmon, as well as mouthwatering rolls (we highly recommend the special spicy rainbow roll and the crunchy dragon roll). With dishes such as tempura udon, charred salmon skin salad, Japanese ceviche and an impeccable teriyaki chicken, there’s something for everyone at this authentic sushi bistro.
Appetizers, salads: $4-$14.50
Special plates: $13.50-$17.80
Sushi plates, rolls: $8.50-$16.50
Dinner entrees: $13.50-$15.90
BY: Wendell Brock, Rebecca Cha and Angela Hansberger
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna, Joann Vitelli
Food, beauty and interiors writer at Simply Buckhead. Linguist, teacher, chef, parent.