Publication Date

December 1, 1995

Atlanta is a restaurant city, and it's easy to grab a cab or jump on MARTA to find places that will fit your taste and wallet. Many of these places are along Peachtree Street and Piedmont Road, running north and south through Atlanta. Very few restaurants take reservations, so plan to put your name on a list and relax over a drink.

Downtown, try the Pleasant Peasant (555 Peachtree, 874-3223) for country French fare, or its neighbor, Mick's (875-6425), for salads, burgers, and malteds. Alan's Bakery serves sandwiches and desserts (659 Peachtree, 724-0444), while Taste of New Orleans specializes in upscale southern seafood (889 Western Peachtree, 874-5535). For a splurge, try the City Grill, the most beautiful dining room in the city (SO Hurt Plaza, suite SOD, reservations, 524-2489), or Nikolai's Roof, in the Atlanta Hilton and Towers (221-6362).

Ten to fifteen blocks to the north of downtown (the Midtown and Arts Center MARTA stops) is Midtown. Combine a meal with a tour of the High Museum or a symphony concert. The Country Place (reservations, 881-0144) and Hoolihan's, in the Colony Square Complex, are options. Another option is Pasta da Pulchinella, which serves cheap, good food; it has minimal seating, but it also features takeout (1027 Peachtree, 892-6195). The Prince of Wales Pub (near Piedmont and 14th SI., 1144 Piedmont, 876-0227) is another choice, as is Vickery's Crescent Avenue and Grill, a trendy restaurant with a Cuban emphasis (1106 Crescent Ave., 881-1106). Veni Vedi Vici is a toney Italian restaurant in the IBM Complex (41 14th St., reservations 875-8424); Ciboulette is a highly rated French restaurant (1529 Piedmont, 874-7600); and the Vortex attracts a southern punk crowd with its burgers, beer, and cigarette smoke (1041 West Peachtree, 875-1667).

Further north on MARTA is the glitzy Lenox Mall, with Tom Tom's Bistro and the Brasserie Le Coze. The Brasserie Le Coze is presently rated the city’s best restaurant; it features excellent French cooking with great seafood, a Left Bank atmosphere, and reasonable (reservations, 266-1440).

For walking galleries and boutiques, take a taxi to the Virginia-Highland are a about a mile east of Midtown. Try Babette's Cafe, if you’re in the mood for wine-country atmosphere (472 N. Highland, reservations, 523-9121). Other choices include Murphy's, Chows, Surin (excellent Thai), and the Highland Tap.

Little Five Points, less expensive still, is the center of Atlanta's punk-skinhead-bohemian (and assistant professor) culture. It's at the corner of Moreland and Euclid Avenues, several miles to the northeast of downtown. Among the restaurants are Eat Your Vegetables, Bridgetown Grille (hot, very good, very casual), and several Indian places.

Upscale Atlanta frequents Buckhead, north of Midtown. Don't let the sports cars, leather jackets, fake Chanel outfits, and shopping malls deter you. There are some great restaurants, many reasonably priced, and the people-watching is primo. Mick Jagger and Elton John are occasionally spotted (Mick in a gray stretch limo). Try the Buckhead Diner, which specializes in superb food, neon and mahogany decor, very reasonable prices, and unreasonably long waits at a crowded bar (3073 Piedmont, no reservations, 262-3336). The Kudzu Cafe is southern with a few twists (3215 Peachtree, 262-0661), while the Atlanta Fish Market is a seafood heaven (265 Pharr Rd., 262-3165). Bacchanalia is in a restored home and features a delicious prix-fixe menu (3125 Piedmont, 365-0410). Anis serves French food (2974 Grandview, reservations, 233-9889); Nava, a new and flashy restaurant, serves Texas-Southwestern (3060 Peachtree, reservations, 240-1984); and Rio Bravo Cantina specializes in inexpensive Tex-Mex and a very lively atmosphere (3172 Roswell Rd., 262-7431).

The mealtime mecca for Civil Rights Atlanta is Paschal's Motor Hotel, which is famous for its chicken (830 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., S.W., 577-3150). For downhome cooking, try Burton's Grill (breakfast and lunch only, Monday through Friday, no credit cards, across from Inman Park MARTA, 1029 Edgewood Ave., 658-9452).

If you have energy to spare, there are some late-night places to consider. Masquerade (695 North Ave.), Oxygen (3065 Peachtree Rd., 816-6522), Velvet (89 Park Pl., 681-9936), and SoHo (187 Walton St., 222-0011) are hot. More sedate jazz lovers can head to Dantes (3380 Peachtree Rd., 266-1600), and blues fans can go to Blind Willie's (828 N. Highland, 783-2583). Or, if Garth is more your style, you can head for Mama's Country Showcase (3952 Covington Hwy., Decatur, 288-6262).

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