Community and culinary delights come together at Buckhead’s new French-influenced hideaway, Le Bon Nosh.
Hanging from the resto’s 25-foot ceilings are stunning hand-dyed velvet curtains inspired by chef Forough Vakili’s fond memory of harvesting saffron in fields near her childhood home in Iran.
A delicious-looking pastry assortment
Before the Monday morning light casts its golden hue through the floor-to-ceiling windows of new Buckhead cafe Le Bon Nosh, owner and head chef Forough Vakili has already organized and prepared the—sometimes literal—fruits of her labor. Every Saturday, Vakili arrives at Freedom Farmers Market long before the leisurely weekend shopper, watching as vendors set up and allowing the day’s peak produce to be her guide. For Vakili, a daughter of Iranian immigrants, this is what she has always known; this relationship between farmer, food and consumer is part of her culinary fabric, and something she noticed was almost obsolete when she moved to America. “I moved abroad to continue my education at 16, when I spent some time in Vienna, Austria, and then finally set roots down in Atlanta,” says Vakili, who graduated with an engineering degree from Georgia Tech. “When I came to America, it was a culture shock, especially in terms of food. Everything was so readily available, regardless of season.” The concept was so different from how Vakili had grown up, when her family cooked and ate what they grew.
It wasn’t until she moved to Paris in 2011 that she was able to reconnect with that part of her. “I started to have this feeling that although I studied something very technical, I’m a much more creative individual,” says Vakili. “I owed it to myself and to my family to give it my all.” So, with the support of her husband, Vakili moved to France to study at Le Cordon Bleu. “[Paris] awoke something in me, something that I had missed the most about myself and my upbringing. It was that connection to food and, ultimately, Mother Nature.” Once back in Atlanta, Vakili had made a promise to bring this notion to the city.
Vakili sits at the wine bar
Every space in the restaurant is meant for guests to have a different and unique experience, like this particular dining table and elegant floral wallpaper
Tartine with roasted tomatoes atop whipped feta/ricotta
Seared tuna with beans and local greens
When you walk into Le Bon Nosh, you can feel the love and dedication Vakili put into making this restaurant something monumental for her community. The design itself is transformative, thanks to L.A.- based studio Commune Design. Expansive indoor and outdoor seating areas capture Vakili’s Persian heritage, while the open-display kitchen, custom La Cornue range and wood grill bring the culinary experience to the forefront. When it comes to the menu, expect rotating breakfast items, like almond butter toast, beet-cured salmon and shakshuka, alongside ingredient-driven lunch selections, including salads, soups, tartines and galettes, and, from the pastry display, delicious seasonal scones, hand pies, tarts and more. One standout that is so simple yet perfect is the kale Caesar salad—a combination of local kale greens dressed in tahini and topped with chickpeas and cranberries. “It’s so funny to me, grown men come in here and say they are coming back for the kale salad,” says Vakili. “It is just the use of really, really good ingredients and allowing them to speak for themselves.” Another popular dish is the savory mushroom tartine, with wood-fired oyster mushrooms, stracciatella and herbs, a favorite of Vakili because, no matter the season, you can find a variety of mushrooms year-round.
Complete with a wine bar for light dinner service, Le Bon Nosh can be described as nothing short of a gift to the Buckhead neighborhood, sharing Vakili’s ideology with the community—that food should be celebrated, delicious and, most importantly, an experience. 65 Irby Ave. NW, Ste. 103, lebonnosh.com
Photography by: Anthony Tahlier