(956 Brady Ave. NW, Ste. 100, 770.838.3501)
Nouveau French—by which chefs loosely play on classic French dishes—is certainly having a moment, and the grande dame in Atlanta of this movement is possibly AIX. Located on the Westside, the beautifully designed space feels like modern-day Paris. Steak frites, duck confit crepes and coquilles St. Jacques are just what the doctor ordered in the middle of winter. INSIDER TIP Don’t sleep on TinTin, the adjacent wine bar. Featuring a NitNit (that’s late night) menu, it’s the perfect place to indulge in disco frites or steak tartare after a night on the town.
The North Georgia Mint Julep at Atlas
(88 W. Paces Ferry Road, 404.600.6471)
Touted as one of the most indulgent culinary experiences one can have in Atlanta, the tasting menu at Atlas—surrounded by Tavistock’s inimitable art collection, no less—is unparallelled. But don’t forget about the intimate, well-designed yet more casual Tavern, as well as the piece de resistance: The Garden Room. INSIDER TIP Use the iPad that’s proffered to scroll through the ever-rotating collection of 20th century artwork, featuring The Lewis Collection, one of the largest private art collections in the world.
(70 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, 404.233.3123)
This members-only club (better find a friend, chickadees) is referral only, but if you’re lucky enough to experience it, expect excellent steaks and seafood; more than 100 whiskeys; and humidors for keeping private cigar collections. INSIDER TIP Only a select few know where the secret-room-within-the-secret-room is. Dubbed The Backstage, it can hold up to 12 people.
(3085 Piedmont Road NE, 404.262.0702)
The premier restaurant in Atlanta for upscale Greek, Kyma has been overfeeding us since 2001. (Seriously, try to leave here without leftovers.) Fresh fish are displayed per tradition; after choosing your fish, battle it out with your tablemates about whether to order saganaki; signature octopus; or katakifi, kaseri cheese baked and melted in a shredded filo with truffle essence. INSIDER TIP Take the magic of Kyma home with chef Pano Karatassos’ first cookbook, Modern Greek Cooking: 100 Recipes for Meze, Entrees and Desserts ($38, Rizzoli).
The pecking duck at Lazy Betty
(1530 Dekalb Ave. NE, 404.975.3692)
Atlanta native Ron Hsu teams up with Aaron Phillips at Lazy Betty in Candler Park. Both have historically worked at some of the top restaurants in the world, and they bring their extraordinary food knowledge to the table, but with a twist: It’s a casual sort of place. Juxtaposed against the seriously complex, top-notch food, it’s the best of both worlds. INSIDER TIP Have the full experience by sitting at the chef’s counter, where all 10 courses shine. For someone looking for an abbreviated menu, the dining room offers less courses.
(The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, 404.869.9944)
Pull up a chair, mon cherie, and experience the finest in French cuisine at Le Bilboquet Atlanta. It’s not uncommon for lunch in particular to become a game of who’s-who while dining on Cajun chicken or le crabe avocat et salade exotique. Ladies and gents who lunch, power brokers, families, dates—there’s always a reason to head to Le Bilboquet. INSIDER TIP In case you’re more of a weekend person, don’t forget about Champagne Saturday—DJ Grace spins, while a special selection of Champagne not available on the regular menu is poured.
The Lotus Room at Le Colonial at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta
(The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, 404.341.0500)
Be ready to be transported to Vietnam. From the moment you glance over at this distinctive patio, the convergence of France and Vietnam is clear: Whether you’re tucking into delicate salads or the spot’s now-famous shaking beef, one look around the room tells you you’re dining with the creme de la creme of Atlanta. INSIDER TIP Can’t get a reservation? Try the walk-ins only lounge in the back. While there’s only small plates on offer, the people watching more than makes up for the truncated menu. Word is there’s also a VIP entrance—do you know where it is?
(1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Ste. 516, Marietta, 678.214.6888)
It’s a classic case of, if you know, you know, and if you don’t, where have you been: Stem Wine Bar is a little jewel box of delight. A horseshoe-shaped bar makes access to knowledgeable sommeliers easy, and grazeable foods like oysters, prosciutto and gulf shrimp al ajillo complement the grapes well. INSIDER TIP: Check out the eight wine flights, as well as a nicely edited dessert wine, sherry and port menu. Ice wine in particular is a lovely way to finish a meal.
Photography by: Andrew Thomas Lee | Mia Yakel | Heather Fulbright | Kate Blohm | Kathryn MccCarry