Category: Best in Atlanta

Atlanta Hotel Restaurant Week ($25 pp) April 2-9

Participating Restaurants

If you are a fan of the popular and established restaurant weeks around town, you are going to fall in love with the first annual Hotel Restaurant Week taking place in Atlanta Saturday April 2 through Saturday, April 9, 2011. Originally conceived to change the ‘special occasion only’ stereotype often associated with hotel dining, Hotel Restaurant Week is taking Atlanta by storm with its impressive list of participating hotel restaurants

The citywide event will offer diners a three-course dinner for just $25 per person (not including tax, tip). Participating restaurants are Park 75 at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Spice Market at W Midtown, Livingston Restaurant & Bar at Georgian Terrace, BLT at W Downtown, eleven at Loews Atlanta, Paces 88 at St. Regis Atlanta, Lobby at Twelve, Room at Twelve, Au Pied de Cochon at the InterContinental Buckhead hotel and The Café at The Mansion on Peachtree.

Created by Robert Gerstenecker, executive chef of Park 75 restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Gerstenecker says the campaign isn’t just about giving Atlantans an incentive to treat themselves to a night out, it’s an invitation to start thinking di!erently about the restaurant options available in the city.

“I want to change the way people think about hotel dining,” Gerstenecker says. “Instead of just considering Park 75 for celebrations, I want diners to think of us for date nights and dinner with the family.” Gerstenecker explains, “I hope Hotel Restaurant Week will remind locals that we are open every night of the week and it doesn’t require a birthday cake to enjoy a meal here.”

In recent years there’s been a significant shift away from corporate cuisine in hotel restaurants and towards locally-focused foods and trends, giving both the tourist and business traveler a true taste of the city while offering local patrons plates that push the boundaries past club sandwiches and Caesar salads.

“Over the past few decades, boutique hotels to select service properties are embracing sustainability and local food producers and letting their chefs—who have amazing global resumes—reflect that on the menu,” says Jeanne Bischo!, vice president, publisher and part owner of Hotel Food & Beverage magazine. “We are 100 percent convinced that this Atlanta event is going to resonate across the country and be a phenomenon.”

Think of it as exploring a whole new world of restaurants without venturing outside the perimeter.

“I want this to be better than other restaurant weeks,” Gerstenecker says. “I want to bring people into my kitchen and give them tours of the terrace garden and bee apiary so they’re really exposed to what we do here. I want them to feel like a part of this hotel instead of only thinking of us as part of the Atlanta skyline.

Executive Chef Zeb Stevenson of Livingston Bar & Restaurant couldn’t agree more. “I want diners to feel the history that is behind this modern and sleek restaurant. I am excited to be a part of the first ever Hotel Restaurant Week and witness this innovative event grow into something even bigger in the years to come.”

Sponsors are the Georgia Restaurant Association, illy co!ee, FIJI Water, Atlanta Concierge Society, Atlanta Magazine, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Hotel F & B, OpenTable, Park 75 and M-Squared Public Relations.


WHAT’S FOR LUNCH… Where Everyone Knows Your Name

My absolute favorite lunch spot is of course in West Midtown, near my day job. It’s a restaurant and market all in one. And I can’t tell you how good I feel every time I go! Let me start by saying that this place is NOT cheap. It’s “Whats For Lunch”, but I’d hardly call it a deal. My average meal is $15, but I never regret a DIME.

What is this place? Star Provisions To-Go.

If a busy day forced me to eat at my desk, Star Provisions was top pick!

TRUE STORY: Last week, I called in a pot pie for the first time. I was so excited. I’ve been surprised by every dish there and I knew the pot pie wouldn’t disappoint. On the way there, my coworker asked me to call in a sandwich for her. The guy taking our order asked for a credit card number to hold the order. I stammered in confusion because I’ve never been asked for that. My friend went boiling mad and screamed “For a sandwich? NO!” I recollected myself and said we would be there in five. The voice on the other end sounded more familiar and answered okay.

When I walked in, the regular cashier greeted me and pulled my order without even asking what I’d come in for. I introduced my coworker. She of course proceeded to ask if it was S.O.P. to take a credit card number for a sandwich to which he responded, “all you had to say was that you were with Dani.” LOL!

I was so flattered. It always feels good when the places you love- love you back. And I truly feel that way when I dine at Star Provision To-Go. They love the food, they love their customers and we love them!

If you’re ever in the area, I recommend that you order your food in person so that you have time to wander around the marketplace. The coffee stand, the cheese shop, the butcher, the bakery and the home décor are all perfect. The indoor/outdoor feel is bright and energizing—even in the winter.

My favorite sandwich is the Prosciutto. And don’t overlook the fruit salad, it’ll surprise you.

Star Provisions on Urbanspoon

Brick Store Pub… the #2 Beer Bar in the WORLD

My first time at Brick Store Pub was in my senior year of college. That was during my phase of high heels every day, cosmopolitans at every meal and trying to find my own version of “Sex and the City” in Atlanta. I was dating a guy who loved dive bars, but true to form I did my best to go with the flow.

His cousin and I formed an easy friendship due to our love of film, books and mocking him. And once after a day of shopping second hand books in the Decatur Square, we decided to get some lunch. When you’re out with a vegetarian you have to be very flexible because there are only so many places that will accommodate their dietary needs. She mentioned Brick Store Pub because of their veggie burger and I went with it. I walked in and saw the brick walls, the strange art, the wooden staircase and the leather bound menus—and I thought “oh great”. I won’t go into detail about that experience as it was MANY years ago. But I will tell you that I’m writing this post (and several others) from that very pub with a beer in hand.

Brick Store is one of my favorite spots in the City of Decatur. The food is pretty tasty, but my favorite thing is everyone’s favorite thing: The Drink Menu! It’s the #2 beer bar in the world according to Beer Advocate Magazine. With more than ten pages of options for the connoisseur of Belgians, ciders, dark ales, craft beers, etc.—Brick Store Pub will have something for everyone—even those who don’t drink beer.

PS- if you get a burger (which I always do) make sure you try the red pepper mayonnaise on the side. I put a thin layer on sandwiches and dunk my fries in the rest!

I want every pub I visit to be this awesome!

Brick Store Pub on Urbanspoon

Foodies Unite…. The Annual Smorgasbord of the City


The 9th Annual Taste of Atlanta was October 23 and 24 at Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta. More than seventy of Atlanta’s best restaurants presented their best and most popular dishes to Atlanta-area foodies.

Most prominently sponsored by Caddilac, Whole Foods Market and Bailey’s Coffee Creamers, the outdoor festival of food offered the best street food.

I stopped by as many booths as my tummy would allow, but I still don’t think I ate as much as I would have liked. A few highlights:

  • Il Mulino brought a porcini mushroom ravioli that kept a line at the booth.
  • Mediterranean Grill reminded me how much I love them with their Gyro (yeero) with rice and pita bread.
  • California Dreaming’s very meaty she crab soup changed the game… seriously.
  • The shellfish bisque from New York Prime was so buttery and rich that we scraped our bowls.
  • Homemade grapefruit sorbet and homemade vanilla ice cream from Lakeside Grill made me want to visit their booth again and again.
  • Der Biergarten offered a roasted suckling pig served with homemade barbeque sauce and mango salsa.
  • Roasted Chicken with Brussel Kim Choi from Top Flr was spicy goodness in my mouth.

Spots who didn’t bring their A-game on Sunday:

  • Holeman & Finch (generally gets a RAVE from me)
  • Noon (fried pickles?)
  • Sambucca (Ceviche was NOT on point)

The best part of Taste for me was the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine booth. After showing ID, filling out a CRM card, guests were treated to 6 different wines from the Robert Mondavi Vineyard. While we walked around the shaded booth, signage demonstrated regional influences, the history of the vineyard and other reason to love the wine.

I cannot wait until next year. I suppose I’ll take pictures of my experience there. Forgive me. But please check out the website for the list of participants. I intend to use it as a guide for what restaurants to visit.

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH… Best Fish Tacos


Taqueria del Sol is true to its name. It is a taqueria, which is the Spanish word for a place that serves tacos.

And at Taqueria del Sol you will find only 5 tacos, 3 enchiladas, a handful of sides and endless margaritas. And depending on the location and hour of day, there could be a line out the door.

How does a place with such a limited menu have such a loyal following? They’ve perfected the few items that they offer. The fish taco is simple; lightly breaded, fried, served with jalapeno tartar sauce and pickled jalapeno slices. No slaw, no guacamole, nothing fancy to ruin it. Just a good old fashioned flour tortilla taco! The same description fits everything on the menu. No frills, just good ingredients resulting in good food!

My favorites are the fish taco, the shrimp and corn chowder, the chicken enchilada with pork green chili sauce. What does Dani love MOST? The price. With tacos under $2.25 each, you can get one of each and still come in under budget! It’s a great lunch deal!

There are only three locations in metro-Atlanta and one in Athens, so you may find lunch there a challenge. But it’s worth the stop if you are ever in the area. Don’t be put off by the line, because it moves quickly. And remember, those people aren’t lined up for nothing!
Taqueria Del Sol Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Recommendation| JCT Kitchen… Atlanta’s Best Mussels

JCT cod

JCT Kitchen may be one of my favorite lunch places to eat during the week. Named for its location right near a junction in the railroad tracks, I can’t help but think that this restaurant is metaphorically the juncture between casual low country and upscale Atlanta. The southern chic décor makes it perfect for the neighborhood. Located in West Midtown and part of White Provision, JCT’s hidden location makes a find for those who haven’t walked through this new development.

This week I visited JCT for the millionth time, this time with the finalists for the Steve Harvey Morning Show’s Hillshire Farm Go Meat Mama Cook Off. Our party of six began the meal with cocktails, deviled eggs and truffle oil and parmesan fries.

JCT salmon sandwich

Truthfully, I’ve never met a JCT special that I didn’t like, but I went with my favorite thing on the menu. I ordered the appetizer of angry mussels as a entrée. These mussels are cooked with peppered bacon, serrano chile and onions. Hands down, the best mussels I’ve ever had. I daresay the best mussels in Atlanta.

The cook off finalists—women who pride themselves on their palate and skills in the kitchen—sang the praises of the restaurant throughout the entire meal. Basic items like green beans, spinach and tomatoes revved up their desire to go into their kitchens to put a twist on what they’d just eaten.

JCT mussels- Best in Atlanta

If you are in the area for lunch, do not miss out on the JCT Salad with Chicken. This salad will catch you off guard and change the way you look at restaurant salads. The meat and potatoes is a hearty option that won’t leave you so stuffed that you can’t go on with your day. And the fish and chips is another tasty option if you don’t want anything too healthy or pricey.

Word to the wise: make a reservation for dinner. Walk-ins often find the restaurant not packed but still unable to accommodate their party. Bar seating is available, but the limited menu and exposure to the elements outside make it an uncomfortable setting to eat dinner. Recommendation, wait for a table. It’s totally worth it.


JCT Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Recommendation| Holeman and Finch Public House

Holeman & Finch Public House has not only garnered the attention of Atlanta Foodies, but the culinary industry at-large has recognized it’s genius. Atlanta Magazine and Esquire Magazine (among others) laud the burgers, but this spot brings so much more to the table.

H&F Lamb Shoulder

After the L5P Halloween Parade, fast food simply would not do. A second trip to Atlanta’s hottest restaurant was necessary. That week alone, I had heard three coworkers name this place as their favorite during a leadership workshop and I was anxious to see what the buzz was about. So I wasn’t that surprised when there was a two-hour wait on a Tuesday night. Unfortunately, I was so hungry then that I settled for tacos at my favorite work-week lunch spot.

On Saturday, following the parade, I checked the website and saw that the restaurant was opening for dinner as the parade ended. So we floored it from Little 5 Points to Buckhead. No valet line, no wait, no crowds. We were seated at a corner nook near the back of this small establishment. Perfect for date night. The server, dressed in plaid shirt, fitted denim and cool sneakers with colors matching the plaid came over to drop off the menus.

Truthfully, I was a little overwhelmed at first. The menu is not set up into appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. Parts, plates, farm, and “ground, stuffed, cured, fermented and tied” are the headers. Lamb champagne, cured south carolina tripletail collar, finocchiona. What? I had to put on my food-network-thinking-cap to figure exactly what these items were based on their vague descriptions.  Of course, I’m not afraid to ask a server to describe a dish and make recommendations.

H&F after dinner

Holeman and Finch is not quite a tapas restaurant, but “small plates” is actually appropriate. We ultimately settled on the deviled eggs, beef tartare, mussels, pork belly and lamb shoulder. Of course I always order a drink—a “belle star” in this case. And if I can swing it, I order a dessert as well. This time two. The toffee pudding and the fried apple pie…

If I described every dish we ate, this blog would be more than 1,000 words, but I will use only one for the actual review: PHENOMENAL.

Every piece of food was full of unexpected flavor and character! So many restaurants put emphasis on the design and décor, but at Holeman and Finch the food speaks for itself. It is amazing. It’s the kind of experience I want to have at every restaurant.
I debated ways to write this blog post, which explains the delay. I’ve been asked about the restaurant since dining there. I didn’t want to say too much because I love how surprised I was. I know that another visit is in order because I was too early for the renowned burgers. Only available after 10pm, these burgers are also hailed among the best in Atlanta. Holeman & Finch might get another blog post if they are as good as their word of mouth.

Note: I had no idea what “chow chow” was until I asked. Pickled vegetable. Delish! The drinks? Don’t even get me started!

Holeman and Finch Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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