A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead…
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
This Sandy Springs institution is never without crowds of satisfied diners, and it’s easy to see why. Join lunching locals over sandwiches and fresh salads such as the petite Caesar with peppery cayenne croutons or the mission fig and crumbled blue cheese with greens. The in-house smoked salmon salad is near perfection, as is the Brooklyn famous Reuben consisting of juicy corned beef piled atop buttery toasted rye. Dinner highlights include the blackened mahi tacos and crab cake salad. Wrap things up with mile-high double chocolate cake or the homemade Key lime pie, each one sliced to feed two or more. And as if the phenomenal grub weren’t enough, it’s all served up by a friendly, whiz-bang staff, making for a delightful meal you won’t soon forget.
Appetizers and salads: $7-$12 Sandwiches and mains: $11-$31
THE CAPITAL GRILLE BUCKHEAD
Despite the clubby decor (think leather oxblood booths, mounted animal heads, mahogany paneling), The Capital Grille is a blend of high-class aesthetic and Lowcountry hospitality. Your obliging waiter will walk you through the classic steakhouse menu heavy on in-house, dry-aged cuts. It’s a tough call. The juicy, 22-ounce, bone-in ribeye will make you swoon, but so will the sizzling, Kona-crusted New York strip. There’s top-notch fish and poultry, too, and gussiedup sides like lobster mac ’n’ cheese and soy-glazed Brussels sprouts. Salads run the gamut from the classic iceberg wedge to the continental burrata with heirloom tomatoes. Wine lovers will thrill over the world-class, 350-plus bottle wine list.
Appetizers, salads: $10-$110
Get your groove on at this 21st century health food haven where bright colors, happy smiles and good vibes abound. Whet your whistle with some refreshingly fruity on-tap kombucha (a fermented tea drink) and treat yourself to starters of tart, juicy tomato toast or creamy avocado hummus. You’ll be bowled over by the tantalizing flavors of the Mother Earth bowl, the Glow bowl and other health-friendly bowls, wraps and plates. Menu standouts include the “Forbidden Rice” bowl with grass-fed steak, the Mediterranean quinoa salad and for dessert, the vegan dark chocolate pudding. A limited wine and beer selection is available for those who prefer a cocktail with their quinoa or a tipple with their tofu.
Soups, salads and appetizers: $6.25 – $12.50
Bowls, entrées and wraps: $9.95 – $15.50
Take your taste buds on a nomadic journey at Gypsy Kitchen in the Buckhead Village District, where you’ll find abundant flavors plus an upbeat vibe. Small plates dominate the menu, true to the Spanish tapas experience. The eclectic assortment ensures there’s something to please just about anyone, with abundant vegetarian options as well as diverse omnivore plates. Don’t miss tirokroketes, a trio of crisp cheese balls served with spicy-tart almond romesco sauce. Grilled octopus is cooked to tender perfection. Roasted mushrooms and whipped goat cheese toast surely makes avocado toast green with envy. Moroccan spiced lamb skewers are pleasantly spicy. Sumac honey-roasted carrots offer a healthy way to satisfy sweet cravings. The bar menu presents wine, beer and creative cocktails including gin and tonic on draught with an exclusive tonic. Sangria is offered in both red and rosé versions, with shareable carafes available for an authentic Spanish experience.
Small Plates: $9-20
Meat & Cheese: $8-48
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)
This four-decades-old institution is as popular today as it ever was. And that has as much to do with the generations of devotees—many of them old school Atlanta royalty—as it does with its reliable, often superlative food. Whether you begin with earthy bresaola Valtellinese, milky burrata di mozzarella fresca or verdant insalata di carciofi freschi, it’s imperative you save room for the mains, for this is where the kitchen truly shines. Silky cream-sauced pastas such as penne con verdure and pappardelle con astice will become your new gastro obsession, and delectable meat dishes such as scaloppine di vitello Antonio and filetto di manzo al Barolo are best enjoyed with a bottle of fine Italian red.
Appetizers and salads: $9.95-$15.95
Pastas and risottos: $10.95-$35.95
Just as we send diners to Bone’s for the definitive steakhouse experience, we suggest OK Café as a classic diner with a strong Southern twang. The offerings here are anchored in time and tradition: Root beer floats and cherry lemonade are called Black Cows and Pink Ladies. Meat-and-twos and veggie plates laden with silken collards and exquisite mac and cheese are meant to be washed down with sweet ice tea and sopped up with a perfect corn muffin. Fat slices of meatloaf encrusted with tomato sauce, roast turkey with cornbread dressing and gravy, chicken pot pie with an adorable little “OK” stamped onto its puff-pastry blanket—this stuff draws a crowd. If you don’t want to play the waiting game, you’d better arrive before 11 a.m. or between the lunch and dinner rush. After a quarter-century, OK Café never goes out of style.
Burgers and sandwiches: $4-$13
Occasionally, sitting at Treehouse feels more like a cookout. Neighbors and regulars have been coming here for the familiar comfort food and laid-back atmosphere for more than 20 years. Brunch is a big deal, with a large menu and generous portions of favorites such as the Georgia pecan waffle and Southern-style eggs Benedict covered with sausage gravy. It’s all about the patio here, and dogs are welcome guests. The chef works to enliven old favorites with as much attention to the all-American fried chicken sandwich as the New York strip au poivre. He also curates a mighty fine list of craft beers.
Burgers and sandwiches: $7-$10
Large plates: $17-$22
There’s something alluring about the Italian way of life—and of dining. It’s marked by family and friends enjoying unhurried meals made with ingredients grown nearby and crafted with care. A meal at Valenza, in the heart of Brookhaven, embodies those ideals. You can’t go wrong with the spaghettini, topped with fist-sized meatballs made of tender veal, pork and beef and a tart sauce of San Marzano tomatoes and red wine; mezze maniche pasta tubes tossed with a silky ragu made of tender pork shoulder, Umbrian lentils, white wine and roasted red peppers topped with crunchy breadcrumbs; or wood-grilled octopus served on wedges of panelle (Sicilian chickpea fritters) with mint, Castelvetrano olives, pine nuts and pea shoots. Each dish is as pretty as it is delicious, and everything is served in such a welcoming atmosphere that you’ll want to become a regular.
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, Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Angela Hansberger, Hope S. Philbrick
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna, Erik Meadows
Senior Contributing Editor and Beauty Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Travel, Food and Design Writer and Author.