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Spirited Ambiance

Spirited Ambiance


1. Tasty nibbles on the chef’s board include cheeses, meats, pickled vegetables and jams. 2. Don’t miss the tirokroketes: crisp cheese balls with almond romesco sauce. 3. Bite into Moroccan spiced lamb skewers for a spicy/tart contrast. 4. Sumac honeyroasted carrots are a healthy way to satisfy sweet cravings. 5. Octopus here is grilled to tender perfection. 6. Fried Brussels sprouts with chimichurri and feta balance bitter with tang. 7. Toast topped with roasted mushrooms and whipped goat cheese is satisfying yum. 8. Patatas bravas are crisp yet pillowy potato treats with a kick of spice. 9. Arroz caldoso, a risotto-like dish, hits savory, sweet and salty notes.

Climb the stairs or ride the elevator up to Gypsy Kitchen in the Buckhead Village District for an automatic mood lift. Arriving feels like joining a party, and whether you sit indoors or on the rooftop patio, you’ll be surrounded by a lively, upbeat vibe. Friendly servers set a welcoming tone as they deliver water and offer to help navigate menu options. Consider their tips to be the inside scoop on daily specials and featured libations.

Designed and used as a gathering place, Gypsy Kitchen offers tables that can comfortably seat groups large or small, solo guests or couples. Throughout the space, seating is available at various heights and materials from metal to wood to suit a range of preferences. Settle in at the bar in the shadow of a bull sculpture, in the main dining room near the open kitchen or on the patio overlooking the neighborhood. Meet friends here after work, and even the worst day is suddenly improved.

If nibbling and sipping a variety of flavors is your idea of a good time, you’re in the right place. Small plates dominate the menu, true to the Spanish tapas experience, though influences from Greek, Persian and other Mediterranean cuisines abound. Order a few plates to hoard for yourself or, better yet, get a variety to share with your companions. The menu’s 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 spicytart almond romesco sauce, dried fruit chutney and spiced honey. On our initial visit, our table of three had to order another round because one serving with the scrumptious contrasts of soft and crunchy, spicy and savory, sweet and salty was not enough to satisfy each of us. On a subsequent visit, my husband and I couldn’t resist revisiting these little culinary treasures.

The grilled octopus impresses. It’s cooked to tender perfection and paired with roasted red pepper relish, Kalamata olives, capers and roasted new potatoes for a sweet-savoryspicy- salty flavor combination that will have you reaching back for bite after bite until it vanishes.

Umami options abound whether you favor mushrooms or meats. Roasted mushrooms with whipped goat cheese on toast sprinkled with chives pack so much mouth-watering yum into each bite that they must make avocado toast green with envy. Arroz caldoso pairs roasted mushrooms with caramelized pearl onions, manchego cheese, porcini broth and rice to hit savory, sweet and salty notes. Moroccan spiced lamb skewers arrive as a trio of twobite- sized minced meat mixed with spices and red onions for a pleasing contrast of heat and tart.

Sumac honey-roasted carrots offer a healthy way to satisfy sweet cravings. Fried Brussels sprouts arrive with a drizzle of chimichurri and scattering of feta for tang to balance the bitter. Chickpea hummus delivers on expectations, though you may need to order extra toasted barbari bread depending on the size of your group and preferred spread-to-bread ratios.

Crave more than a few bites? Try the chef’s board, a wooden platter layered with Manchego, savory aged sheep’s milk wedges; Mahón, semi-soft, tangy cow’s milk triangles; caña de cabra, soft white wheels of subtly tart goat’s milk cheese; salty serrano ham that’s dry cured for 18 months; bresaola, savory, air-dried beef; and spicy chorizo. Toasted bread, tomato jam, onion jam and pickled veggies accompany the meats and cheeses. Enjoy each element on its own or assemble little towers to nibble.

Patatas bravas, a traditional tapas dish of fried cracked potatoes with spicy tomato-paprika sauce, arrive as a mound with plenty to share. Each bite-sized potato is a crisp yet pillowy treat that pairs with just about any drink.

The bar menu presents wine and beer with Spanish picks in each category, plus an assortment of creative cocktails. Gin and tonics are on draught with Fords gin, an exclusive tonic plus lime and hibiscus. Special creations, such as Herbs & Spices G&T with rosemary, star anise, black peppercorn and cinnamon stick, and Fruit Forward G&T with grapefruit, orange, pineapple, strawberry and raspberry, are delightful. Sangria comes in both red and rosé versions, with shareable carafes for an authentic Spanish experience. Creative cocktails push the featured flavors forward: The Seville Rose tastes like fresh-picked rose flowers; 50 Shades of Purple is as sweet as orchard blossoms; and Champion Fever is dominated by smoked spice flavors. Pour over cocktail descriptions to pick the right match for your palate, and you’ll happily lick your lips to savor each drop.

Finish with tres leches cake. Presented with passion fruit puree and topped with toasted coconut meringue, it’s a little untraditional but completely delicious.

Take your taste buds on a nomadic journey at Gypsy Kitchen.

Gypsy Kitchen

Prices: cocktails, $9-15; small plates, $9-20; meat & cheese, $8-48; entrees, $25-65; dessert, $10-12.

Recommended: Herbs & Spices gin and tonic, tirokroketes, grilled octopus, roasted mushrooms and whipped goat cheese toast, patatas bravas, tres leches cake.

Bottom line: This Spanish-inspired restaurant offers tasty drinks and dishes in an upbeat environment at competitive prices with friendly service.

STORY: Hope S. Philbrick
PHOTOS: Erik Meadows

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