Taste: Atlanta

28 Nov 2013 by GrahamSmith

Kate Parham recommends a quartet of restaurants in the US city

OLD - Bacchanalia

For two decades, Bacchanalia has had a stronghold on Atlanta's fine-dining scene. Located in the uber-trendy Westside Provisions District, the former meat-packing plant turned farm-to-table restaurant was opened by husband and wife duo Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison in 1993.

Today, they run half a dozen eateries in town. The only option in the dining room is a five-course tasting menu (US$85) complete with a tempting cheese cart, or you can sit at the bar and order à la carte. Expect contemporary dishes made from organic, seasonal ingredients (many sourced from Quatrano’s local farm) – try the Gulf crab fritter with spicy Thai peppers, avocado, grapefruit, Asian pear and coconut. There is also an extensive wine list.

Open Mon-Sat 6pm-close. 1,198 Howell Mill Road; tel +1 404 365 0410; starprovisions.com/bacchanalia.php

NEW - King and Duke

Ford Fry has built an Atlantan empire with award-winning restaurants such as the Optimist and JCT Kitchen, and, in May, he launched his latest venture in Buckhead.

King and Duke takes its name from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (King and Duke being the names of the two villainous con artists in the novel) and has cocktails named after literary figures, and walls papered with book pages. The lively patio full of young professionals is nearly as much of a draw as the bold, smoky food dished out from a 7.5-metre hearth.

Go for the King, a 1kg bone-in rib-eye with roasted marrow bones and salad (US$80, serves two). For something lighter, opt for the charred octopus salad with grilled long beans, olives and orange (US$12).

Open Mon-Fri 11am-2.30pm, Sun-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. 3,060 Peachtree Road Northwest; tel +1 404 477 3500; kinganddukeatl.com


As the host of the largest Japanese cultural festival in the South-east US, it's no surprise that Atlanta is home to some amazing Japanese restaurants. One of the hottest addresses is Umi.

Located in the heart of Buckhead, the hand-charred cypress wood walls of this newcomer provide a sleek setting for dinner.

Chef Fuyuhiko Ito is a master of fresh nigiri and sashimi – think melt-in-your-mouth otoro tuna and sake-cured salmon – not to mention small plates such as thinly sliced yellowtail with jalapenos, coriander and ponzu sauce (US$15), and grilled black cod marinated in miso (US$20). Grab a seat at the seven-metre white oak sushi bar, or at one of the tables in the lively dining room.

Open Mon-Thur 5.30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-11.30pm. 3,050 Peachtree Rd Northwest; tel +1 404 841 0040; umiatlanta.com

VIEW - Canoe

Ask anyone where the best view in town is and you'll likely hear Canoe, an Atlanta mainstay since 1995. Situated just north-west of the city along the banks of the Chattahoochee river, tree-lined pebbled walkways surround lush gardens and a beautiful outdoor patio.

The interior is equally impressive – look out for the hand-forged iron vines from local blacksmith Ivan Bailey. Expect outstanding service and seasonal fare often accented with Asian touches, such as yuzo-spiked crab cakes (US$16) and calamari with sesame dressing (US$12).

Classic dishes like beet and goat cheese salad (US$12) find new life under chef Matthew Basford, who employs walnuts and basil oil to enhance this staple. Finish with the popcorn ice cream sundae topped with housemade Cracker Jacks (US$8), a dish with a cult-like following.

Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, Mon-Thur 5.30pm- 10pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-11pm, Sun 10.30am-2.30pm and 5.30pm-9.30pm. 4,199 Paces Ferry Road; tel +1 770 432 2663; canoeatl.com

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