Category: Restaurant Review

Legal Seafood… Classic Seafood in Downtown Atlanta

BF made a valentine’s day reservation at Legal Seafood. A spot that boasts classic seafood dishes at a moderate price. That was my most recent visit. I’ve been there three times and I’ve never found anything particularly spectacular on the menu. I’ve never felt cheated by portion or bad preparation. But I’ve never been blown away. I’m not crazy about this place, but I would never say skip it if you want to try it. So to those who want to taste legendary dishes like the clam chowder, I say knock yourself out! You’ll likely be pleased with it, but I don’t want anyone to make the mistake of thinking this is the best seafood restaurant in Atlanta. Its just… okay…. That’s all. Enjoy.

Legal Sea Foods on Urbanspoon

Pollo Tropical… South Florida in the ATL

BF once lived in South Florida and his favorite eatery was a fast food chicken joint called Pollo Tropical. And upon learning that one had opened in Atlanta, he decided to introduce me. Uh… LOVE.

I know you think I love everything (and in truth I probably do love a lot of restaurants). So, okay, maybe I really like Pollo Tropical. Grilled chicken, black beans, rice and plantains…Who’s not down for that? This caribbean-latin spot has some popular caribbean dishes  and a few originals like the “tropi-chop”, a bowl of rice, beans, meat, tomatoes and more.

If you’re ever in the cumberland mall area and looking for something fast, tasty and inexpensive, stop by the Pollo. You might be pleasantly surprised by fast food. They also cater!
Pollo Tropical on Urbanspoon

The Iberian Pig… a small bit of Spain in the Decatur Square

For my last birthday, my friends got dressed up to meet me for dinner before we hit the club. This year I chose my favorite Spanish Tapas restaurant, a little spot nestled in the Decatur Square: The Iberian Pig.

For years, I’d passed this place until a fellow lusophone asked me to meet her there for lunch, mad men style. After tasting my first Iberian Old Fashioned, I was intrigued. And then I discovered the best charcuterie in Atlanta, hooked. Spanish potatoes, pork cheek, calamari, scallops, etc. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Minha Tia Rosana tells me that all the meat, cheese and wine will make me “a gordinha“, but it doesn’t cross my mind in the moment. It all tastes so good.

Of everything I’ve eaten there, my favorite things would have to be the lamb ribs and the churros. The lamb ribs have a sticky, sweet and savory sauce that has me scraping the plate and licking my fingers on the sly. No matter what I start with, the ribs call my name! DINEWITHDANI SAYS they are the BEST LAMB RIBS IN ATLANTA. And the churros are so light and sweet, they melt in your mouth! They are the perfect way to end a meal.

Be sure to make a reservation if you’re going during peak hours. Thursday through Saturday dinner hours are crazy. Without one you could be in for an hour plus wait. The bar area is teeny tiny so you shouldn’t expect to hang out there during that time. During warm weather, there is limited outdoor seating.

I heart Iberian Pig. I hope you will too. I’m there probably every two months at least. I like to mix it up!
The Iberian Pig on Urbanspoon

South City Kitchen… Urban Southern Cuisine

BF’s first fried green tomato!

I have been to South City Kitchen more times than I can count, but I hadn’t thought to blog about it until I realized how many people I know had NOT been.  South City Kitchen is exactly what the name implies. You can expect southern dishes with an urban edge. Nothing is exactly the way your grandmother makes it: the fried green tomatoes are stuffed with goat cheese and the crab cakes are served with a blood orange cream.

Entrees start at $17 and are usually worth it. I don’t mean to imply that the portions are huge, only that the food is good.

My most recent visit was for bff’s birthday. The food was fantastic, but the drinks were super small. We had a few chuckles about the half-empty martini glasses. Other than than, we spent the entire meal tasting each other’s food. On one visit, I was particularly jealous of my friend’s scallops. This time I didn’t make the mistake of not ordering them. My scallop dish was modified for the winter with seasonal ingredients, but it was JUST as good as the summer version. I also ordered the crab and mushroom macaroni and cheese as well– YUMMY.

The menu is usually updated with seasonal ingredients– so the chef’s special is usually a good look. But there are a few regular dishes that I recommend.

  1. She-Crab Soup– its a great way to start any meal at South City Kitchen (PS– DineWithDani declares it the BEST SHE-CRAB SOUP in Atlanta),
  2. Fried Green Tomatoes– this a great starter to share with a party,
  3. Buttermilk Fried Chicken– you’ll see why it is their most popular dish,
  4. Shrimp & Grits– a tasty southern classic that not everyone gets right– they do(!),
  5. Veg-o-Matic (sauteed collards, crab macaroni, baby yams)– you can’t go wrong!

Check-in on foursquare or mention them on Twitter and you’ll likely get a shout out from @Fifthgrouper
South City Kitchen Midtown on Urbanspoon South City Kitchen Vinings on Urbanspoon

Coffee… What I Drink Until I Can Have Wine

At any moment before lunch, I can be seen with a cup of coffee in hand. I don’t stick to a specific espresso drink, but just about any coffee-centric beverage will do. And if you follow me on Twitter or Foursquare, you know my regular haunts! When I’m in Decatur, I love to stop by Dancing Goats! They brew Batdorf & Bronson coffee.

Whatever your reason for hanging out in a coffee shop, Dancing Goats Decatur can accommodate. With comfy sofas at the front for relaxation and reading (great natural light), large tables at the back for working and meeting (free wi-fi), and even outdoor seating for quick stops when walking the kids and dog (there’s a water bowl).

I not only love the environment, but of course the java! I had the pleasure of visiting their roastery in West Midtown off Chattahoochee Ave. I could pretend to be an expert on coffee roasting now, but instead I’ll just tell you that flavor comes from roasting. And this spot gets it right. Of course you can buy the beans and the grinds at the coffee shop. (PS- the decaf is created through the Swiss Water Process).

Anything you can get at your local starbucks (who i also adore and where I hold a gold card membership) can be made at Dancing Goats and most of them are better (sorry starbucks). My favorites include:

  1. Evergreen Orange– espresso infused with orange, rosemary and thyme (BEYOND YUMMY),
  2. Iced Hazelnut Latte– iced lattes come in one size
  3. cafe au lait– i don’t know what they do differently, but it tastes AMAZING!

There are other locations (mostly in Washington), which I intend to visit. Check out which ever is closest to you!

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar on Urbanspoon

Camicakes Cupcakes… Providing Smiles by the Box

“Happy Birthday to ME” — a lovely birthday surprise from my awesome team at the 9-5.

There is a lot of hype surrounding the Camicake. I was so pleased when I was surprised by my team with an assorted box. Camicakes is the perfect choice for childrens’ parties, holidays, birthdays, babyshowers and more.

I never really thought of myself as a cupcake person, but how can you not be? Handheld cake decorate so beautifully can only do one thing: make you smile. Mind, they probably have a days caloric intake per bite, but its totally worth it!

Okay, on to the favorites:

My senior colleagues RAVE about the red velvet cake. I’m rarely a champion for anything red velvet– and this is no exception. While it is moist (unlike most restaurant versions) it doesn’t make me do a happy dance.

The Lemon Meringue is a tasty option if you like a light lemon poundcake. The Bananas Foster is a delicious choice for anyone who loves banana cream– I wasn’t quite sold that it was bananas foster. The Raspberry Chocolate is a delight; the almonds add so much to such a simple flavor. I think I love anything strawberry- so I’m not even going to get into how much I gravitate toward it. The Cotton Candy flavor was a pleasant surprise that took me back to a carnival or theme park; the sugar on top is just perfection. The Salted Caramel was fantastic. Not as pretty as the others, but there again I probably should rate anything that is caramel flavored because it will get a rave.

I have to say that the best thing about Camicakes is the icing. Its pretty and colorful and full of flavor. I’m not quite sold that the cake in the cupcakes are the greatest thing since cake, but how can you complain when they are moist, sweet and perfectly topped. There is another purveyor of cupcakes that I may have to write about, but for now: If this is your cupcake provider of choice- you aren’t doing too bad.

 

Camicakes Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Bone Lick BBQ… Uh, Pun Obviously Intended

Had the opportunity to try this spot at an event at work. The social committee somehow put together a miniature “Taste of Atlanta”. I was very pleased with the barbecue chicken wings. A little spice, but not too much (and I am sensitive to that kind of heat). And yes, I did want to lick the bone!

I’m looking forward to visiting for an after-work meal! Something that good should not be rushed.

Shout out to @AleSharpton who appears in the video below courtesy of ATLeats.

I thought I took a picture… sad face for my absent mindedness… next time!

Bone Lick BBQ on Urbanspoon

The Optimist… Seafood Done Right

In an earlier post I mentioned the mini “Taste of Atlanta” created by the social committee at my job. The Optimist was one of several participants. And may I say that it BLEW MY MIND! I tried the she crab soup with shrimp toast (OMG!) and the octopus salad (again OMG!). Okay I had two tasters of the soup. I’m such a kindergarten-er that I’ll probably order it every time i visit! It is THAT good. I’m looking forward to trying the items mentioned in the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I haven’t mentioned is that I used to work in the building that is NOW the site of the restaurant. I can’t wait to visit and see how different it looks and feels for myself.  Of course more pictures will be taken.

 

The Optimist on Urbanspoon

The Shed… My Mother’s New Favorite

Shepherd's Pie

I forget the occasion for our first visit to the Shed, but I know it had something to do with one of us being in a bad mood.  A new restaurant generally pulls me out of a funk and a good meal will do the trick for my mother. And this place did not disappoint. Good cocktails and good portions are always a good look. Throw in a good “farm-to-table” scenario with housemade pantry goods for sale and I am sold. My mother is a huge fan of the appetizers and the sliders. So it’s always her first suggestion when we decide to dine out. Getting her to go to a new place can be like pulling teeth. She didn’t want to visit the Shed the first time, but now she doesn’t want to go anywhere else. Be sure to try the stuffed peppers and the fried green tomato slider.

 

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