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 Frenchspeaking 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-bemissed chocolate mousse.
Lunch prices: $8-$19
Dinner prices: $8-$35
ARNETTE’S CHOP SHOP
Arnette’s will dazzle you with its noexpense- 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, custardlike 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.
BUCKET SHOP CAFÉ
Atlanta’s answer to TV’s Cheers, this casual, family-owned spot across from Lenox Square is a game-day institution with seriously good pub grub, friendly prices and spirited, efficient service. Burgers, wings and sandwiches of all kinds dominate the menu. But one dish on the starting lineup deserves a special trophy: the chicken rolls. Perhaps they sound like a fusion experiment, but in fact, these crispy, deep-fried egg roll wrappers stuffed with chicken, cheese, sour cream, chives and Tex- Mex sauce (salsa mixed with ranch) are downright addictive. The Bucket Shop team gets extra points for its solid, ever-changing list of local craft brews.
Sandwiches and burgers: $9-$13
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.
asta, 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)
Chamblee’s popularity as a residential and dining destination seems to be on the rise, and Chef Jared Hucks is here to make sure diners eat like royalty. Winning starters include a homemade bread plate with prosciutto butter and cheddar pimento cheese, silky sweet potato bisque and sashimi quality seared scallops. For mains, go with the cold smoked salmon, Moroccan-spiced shrimp and grits or the hickory smoked Brasstown coulotte steak. Desserts are deliciously unique. If you’ve got belly room to spare, be sure to witness the chef’s gastro-theatrics with the banana bread pudding service. Our favorite was the lunar chocolate, which the chef calls his “dessert moonscape.”
Smaller dishes: $11-$21
Larger dishes: $23-$45
Chef’s tasting menu: seven courses/$95
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
Note: Prices and menu items may have changed since original publication.
BY: Wendell Brock, Rebecca Cha and Angela Hansberger
PHOTOS: Sara Hanna
Food, beauty and interiors writer at Simply Buckhead. Linguist, teacher, chef, parent.