While we hunkered down at home last year several chefs stayed busy—building, planning and preparing exciting new restaurant experiences and concepts for Atlanta’s hungry and ready-for-change diners. These are the newly-opened or soon-to-be opened restaurants you need to have on your radar now:
Le Bon Nosh: This is certainly Atlanta’s coolest new dining experience—a café, wine bar and market in three acts. The two-story glass-walled space is trimmed with elegant saffron-hued curtains (a nod to Chef/Owner Forough Vakili’s childhood in Iran as the daughter of a saffron farmer) and anchored on three sides with a coffee bar, wine bar, and central kitchen. A graduate of Georgia Tech, Vakili trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and now, after almost a decade of planning, she serves up the sum of her experiences to Atlanta on a plate. The menu pulls from a global range of tastes with vegan options as well as decadent classics. But really, where I am happiest is with a glass of grower Champagne and a slice of her cardamom cake. Every detail is precious, from the interior design to Vakili’s artfully plated dishes—it all reflects her fastidious imprint.
Reverence at The Epicurean Hotel: Midtown Atlanta is new destination for culinary programming with the recent opening of The Epicurean Atlanta, a culinary-themed hotel with an 85-seat demonstration kitchen/theatre. The hotel’s main restaurant, Reverence, has a glass-walled kitchen that invites guests to watch as Executive Chef Ewart Wardhaugh and his team prep, cook and put the finishing touches on dishes. Small and medium plates are the menu’s strength (and the best values). Consider making a meal of the Peking Duck Dumplings in a black garlic and ginger broth or the Moroccan Duck Meatballs with tahini, labneh, and candied chili. Shrimp and Grits Croquetas with Benton’s aged country ham and chimichurri are addictive and should be a staple of any meal here. Retire to the hotel’s 9th floor Sky Terrace for an al fresco aperitif overlooking the downtown skyline.
Juniper Café: This modern Vietnamese cafe and bakery from Ron Hsu, Aaron Phillips and Carl Van Tyle Gilbert (the team behind Lazy Betty) offers a full day menu (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that brings a bit of flavor dazzle to a global selection of dishes. Steamed Mussels feature starfruit and a lemongrass-coconut broth, and a selection of banh mi’s, noodles and salads will keep you busy deciding, or simply opt for the Vietnamese hot fried chicken. Quench your thirst with everything from sochu and sake to hard seltzer and wine.
Castellucci Hospitality Group’s MUJŌ, will offer edomae style sushi (a style of sushi that involves using preservation techniques to cure the fish) led by New York transplant Chef J. Trent Harris. Expect two tasting menu options—a curated combination of modern edomae sushi and kappo style hot and cold dishes. Interiors by Elizabeth Ingram Studio promise to bring an inspired mix of clever and stylish.
Dirty Rascal at the Thompson Buckhead: The swanky new Thompson hotel (which just debuted in December) is still putting the finishing touches in place for the dining experiences. The main restaurant, Dirty Rascal, will be managed by James Beard-nominated Chef Todd Ginsberg and the Rye Restaurant’s team (of the much beloved West Egg and The General Muir) and Executive Chef Josh Hopkins. Expect modern riffs on classic Italian-American fare. The hotel will also have a tenth floor rooftop bar with great city views, private cabanas and a pool.