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ATLANTA VISITOR’S GUIDE TO “SUPER” FINE DINING
ATLANTA - Atlanta has some of the best burgers, wings and other bar food favorites in the Southeast, but no trip to this culinary capital would be complete without a visit to one of the city’s elite dining establishments. After all, Atlanta is a gastronomic paradise brimming with inspired takes on contemporary and classic cuisines from noted chefs such as Kevin Gillespie, Gerry Klaskala, Doug Turbush, Fuyuhiko Ito and more.
The following restaurants are the cream of the crop when it comes to first-class fare and unsurpassed service and are a recommended add-on to any visit to the city:
Since opening in spring 2000, Aria has been on the top of the list for Atlanta fine dining. Just a year into business, Esquire Magazine recognized Aria as one of the country’s best restaurants. Chef and managing partner Gerry Klaskala delivers top-notch regional dishes that are both sophisticated and edgy in style. The freshest and highest-quality ingredients arrive daily and culminate into dishes that are simple yet refined, with many of the meats braised, roasted, stewed, or simmered for long periods of time to generate the perfect flavor. 490 East Paces Ferry; 404-233-7673; aria-atl.com.
Gypsy Kitchen takes diners on a culinary adventure across the Spanish countryside, offering a tasteful sample from the Basque and Galician regions to the Andalusian Coast and Catalonia. The menu features a variety of shareable snacks (picas), small plates (platos pequeños), entrées (raciónes) and larger sharing plates (platos largos y vegetales) for communal-style meals. 3035 Peachtree Road in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta; 404-939-9840; www.gk-atl.com.
Celebrating all things Southern is the goal at The Southern Gentleman - a modern, regional interpretation of chef-created, locally sourced gastropub fare and Southern classic cocktails in a sophisticated, comfortable atmosphere. The Southern Gentleman also explores the artistry and history of classic Southern cocktails - everything from barrel-aged cocktails to the "perfect" mint julep. 3035 Peachtree Road in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta; 404-939-9845; www.thesoutherngentlemanatl.com.
With more than 31 years of culinary experience in both traditional Japanese and classic French restaurants, Tokyo-born chef and partner Fuyuhiko Ito leads the kitchen at what USA Today calls, “Atlanta’s finest sushi restaurant.” Umi serves a diverse menu with international influences and progressive approaches to Asian fare. Two Buckhead Plaza, 3050 Peachtree Road NE; 404-841-0040; umiatlanta.com.
A modern American restaurant, 5Church Atlanta offers a casual yet refined dining experience at the city’s busiest Midtown intersection. The Colony Square restaurant combines a technique-driven menu with cutting-edge design and genuine hospitality. 1197 Peachtree Street NE; 404-400-3669; 5churchatlanta.com.
At Livingston Restaurant + Bar, located inside The Georgian Terrace Hotel, guests can immerse themselves in more than 100 years of history while catapulting their appetite into the future. Inspired by the 107-year-old building’s towering ceilings, marble staircases and namesake terrace overlooking one of the most historic corners on Peachtree Street, the Southern-inspired menu is a brilliant combination of beloved American traditions, locally sourced ingredients and modern execution. 659 Peachtree St. NE; 866-845-7551; www.livingstonatlanta.com.
Acclaimed Atlanta chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere named their intimate steakhouse inspired by worldly travels The Federal after the nearby Federal Reserve Bank. The menu is a roadmap of Doty’s and Gummere’s culinary experiences from New York City to Belgium. 1050 Crescent Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets in Midtown; 404-343-3857; thefederalatl.com.
While always pushing himself to look at the restaurant industry in innovative ways, chef, restaurateur, speaker and author Kevin Gillespie’s passion lies in serving quality food every day. He opened Gunshow in 2013 to offer a bold, interactive take on the traditional dining experience. Dishes are presented on rolling carts and trays to diners at their tables where they can then choose what to order. 924 Garrett Street SE in Glenwood Park; 404-380-1886; gunshowatl.com.
Murphy’s is loved as one of Atlanta’s best restaurants and has been for almost 40 years. Located in the heart of stylish Virginia-Highland, Murphy’s is the long-standing hub of neighborhood camaraderie and the choice destination for visitors seeking the best of the district’s dining and nightlife. Tom Murphy’s acclaimed restaurant brings in the crowds with the perfect combination of upscale comfort food, gracious service, a cozy setting and excellent value. 997 Virginia Avenue NE; 404-872-0904; www.murphys-atlanta-restaurant.com.
The dining experience at The Alden is focused on seasonal ingredients, accommodating service and a sense of culinary celebration. The menus encompass modern twists on Southern classics and other culturally influenced mainstays paired with a dynamic, high-quality wine and cocktail program. The restaurant’s namesake, which translates to “old friend” in Old English, is a nod to the convivial atmosphere diners experience in the comfortable, intimate space. Parkview on Peachtree at 5070 Peachtree Boulevard; 678-395-6982; thealdenrestaurant.com.
Revival is a nod to owner and chef Kevin Gillespie’s formative years, offering a proper version of the traditional Sunday dinner. Following Gillespie’s allegiance to Southern cuisine, Revival focuses on farm-fresh ingredients and a dining experience that reflects the traditions his own family follows. 129 Church Street; 470-225-6770; revivaldecatur.com.
Located at The Avenue East Cobb, Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar offers a seasonal menu of simply prepared coastal American fresh seafood, employing both modern and age-old live wood-fired cooking techniques. The cuisine from owner/chef Doug Turbush is inspired by travels and experience on all three U.S. coasts and abroad. Bound by no border, it is always fresh, bold and driven by a commitment to quality. 4475 Roswell Road in Marietta; 770-635-7641; driftoysterbar.com.
Seed Kitchen & Bar, located in the Merchant's Walk retail center of East Cobb, combines modern American cuisine with a stylish yet approachable neighborhood setting. Owner and chef Doug Turbush describes the restaurant as a place where families and friends can meet to enjoy modern comfort food, unpretentious service, a sleek setting and excellent value. 1311 Johnson Ferry Road; 678-214-6888; eatatseed.com.
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails is nestled in a restored 155-year-old farmhouse located in the historic district of Crabapple. The charming North Fulton restaurant serves contemporary Southern cuisine that utilizes fresh, local ingredients, many of which come from the restaurant’s on-site garden called Milton’s Acre. 800 Mayfield Road; 770-817-0161; www.miltonscuisine.com.
Ray’s at Killer Creek (1700 Mansell Road in Alpharetta, 770-649-0064) features an award-winning menu with an emphasis on fresh fish flown in daily from the Atlantic and Pacific, house-cut chops, prime steaks and extensive wine offerings from around the world. Founded in 1984 by renowned restaurant industry veteran Ray Schoenbaum, Ray’s Restaurants is also comprised of Ray’s on the River (6700 Powers Ferry Road in Sandy Springs, 770-955-1187) and Ray’s in the City (240 Peachtree Street NW in Downtown Atlanta, 404-524-9224). www.raysrestaurants.com.
Both elegant and approachable, Secreto Southern Kitchen & Bar serves contemporary twists on Southern cuisine in Alpharetta (and Brookhaven). Secreto’s name, which translates to secret in Spanish, represents the art of recreating recipes that have been handed down for many generations. This resonates in both the restaurant’s inspired cuisine and heartfelt service. 6195 Windward Pkwy. (Alpharetta); 770-752-0922; 3575 Durden Drive (Brookhaven); 470-395-8989; secretokitchen.com.