Food & Chefs: Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 21

Published by: David Danzig on Saturday December 21st, 2013

David Danzig


Top 10 Restaurants

2013 was a truly exciting year of restaurant openings here in the ATL and a lot of new places made major headlines locally, regionally and nationally.  It's so hard to do a list because each of these places are so special and have made a significant contribution to the dining scene.  But if must press me for a list here is my top 10...  

Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 2110.  Seven Lamps--Buckhead's chow culture continues to evolve past the big steak chains with Chef Drew VanLeuvan's Seven Lamps.  It's a neat little gastro-pub tucked into the Around Lenox Shopping center between the haute couture shops with some great small plate dishes and creative cocktails.  If you are looking for something refreshing in Buckhead that is not in the usual mold I think you will like Seven Lamps.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 219.  Umi--located just across the courtyard from Chops next to the St. Regis, Umi became the go-to celebrity sighting Mecca in Atlanta overnight.  It's a beautiful room with beautiful Japanese food prepared by Chef Fuyuhiko Ito and his wife, Lisa.  From sushi to cooked seafood dishes, you will be hard pressed to find better high-end Japanese cuisine in the city while enjoying people watching.  


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 218.  Gio's Chicken Amalfitano--Giovanni DePalma, the dude behind the Antico Pizza phenomenon, this year opened Gio's Chicken Amalfitano next door.  Saying that this is just ordinary chicken is like saying that Neal Boortz is an ordinary senior citizen on a fixed income.  This chicken is freakishly good.  Several varieties made with ingredients like blood oranges or Sorrento lemons or Casteveltrano olives, these half birds are served in a massive bowl swimming in the brine of their own juices, oil and whatever other accent makes the dish and is perfect for sopping up with the focaccia toast they provide.  You must try Gio's for true rustic Italian chicken.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 21


7.  KR Steakbar--KR Steakbar was Chef Kevin Rathbun's Buckhead homecoming having gotten his start with the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group.  It's a high-energy; small-plate concept nestled in the ADAC complex in Peachtree Hills and has become a big hit in the hood.  Just a fun place to go have some great bites and great drinks either in a group or as a couple while enjoying dishes by the guy who just won first prize on Chopped just a couple of months ago.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 216.  Chai Pani--Decatur got a wonderful dash of color and culture when Chai Pani took over the old Watershed location.  This is Indian Street food, a much less formal approach to Indian cuisine which feels more Slumdog Millionaire than tranquil Zen.  Great small plates and zesty drinks make this a fun place that will please both Indian food purists as well as those willing to go on a little palate exploration.



Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 215.  Gunshow--Top Chef Kevin Gillespie finally spread his wings and went on his own after being at Woodfire Grill for so many years and his latest effort is easily the coolest new concept in town.  Kevin and three or four other chefs cook in an open kitchen and then come around with their dishes to your table and from there you select dishes you want a la dim sum style.  It's really a fun and memorable experience and a great way to watch one of the highest profile chefs in the city work his magic.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 214.  Buttermilk Kitchen--of all the southern cooking joints to have come along this year, my favorite is Buttermilk Kitchen in Buckhead on Roswell Road.  This is the real deal if you want made-from-scratch southern classics and Chef Suzanne Vizethann cooks the best biscuits in town in my opinion.  They are open for breakfast and lunch all week but once a month they do a four-course fried chicken dinner that is a treat.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 213.  Sobban--Sobban is the love child of Chefs Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor, Lee a Koran specialist and Taylor a southern chef by trade.  Together they have created some of the most amazing flavors anywhere in an east-meets-south happy collision.  It's housed one of only three still-standing structures that were the old Arby's Chuck wagon designs from the 60's which is pretty neat.  It's over on Clarimont Road near Emory and it's worth the drive from wherever you are coming from.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 212.  The General Muir--Named for a ship which brought the owners' grandparents out of WWII Europe, the General Muir has garnered lots of local recognition (Atlanta Magazine's restaurant of the year) as well as national recognition (Bon Appetite's Top 50).  It's easy to label this as a Jewish restaurant--and it has all the standards from lox and house boiled bagels to Reuben sandwiches with house-cured corn beef to homemade matzo ball soup, but it really is an homage to old-world European cooking and Chef Todd Ginsberg has just created a wonderful escape over in the Emory Pointe development.


Top 10 Restaurants - Atlanta Living December 211.  King + Duke--and I know I sound like a broken record but once again I have to gush about the King + Duke.  Not only are they among the tops in just about everyone's list including Esquire Magazine, but I am really amazed what a hot place this has become.  And not just because the food is really tasty.  What makes the King + Duke so amazing is just how original it is and how unformulaic it is.  I honestly wasn't sure that the masses would get it but they do.  It just oozes creativity from the details in the architecture to drink menu to the 24 feet of open kitchen wood-burning hearth from which everything gets its heat.  Ford Fry has hit back to back home runs with this and The Optimist and we are just weeks away from his next venture, St. Cecilia, so we'll see if there can be a three-peat.