Photo courtesy of Whiskey Bird

The Hit ListAtlanta

The Resy Hit List: Where In Atlanta You’ll Want to Eat Right Now

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There’s no question we hear more often: Where should I go eat? And while we at Resy know it’s an honor to be the friend who everyone asks for restaurant advice, we also know it’s a complicated task. That’s where the Resy Hit List comes in. 

We’ve designed it to be your essential resource for dining in Atlanta: a monthly-updated (and newly expanded!) guide to the restaurants in that you won’t want to miss — tonight or any night.

Four Things In Atlanta Not to Miss This Month

  • Party in Style This Cinco de Mayo: Sure, it’s not that widely celebrated in Mexico, but who can resist a reason to toast that country with margarita specials? Certainly not El Ponce, whose Cinco de Ponce is back with DJs, a mariachi set, and two hours of table time guaranteed through Resy Events. In Alpharetta, Fogon and Lions is throwing it down with as much pomp, with a Mexican-themed brunch, live mariachi, and cochinillo pibil into early evening, and half-off margs.
  • The Mother of Celebrations: Mother’s Day is fast approaching — time to lock in that Resy. Honor that special lady in her choice of ways. An extravagant brunch buffet at 5Church Buckhead or Midtown, or AltaToro? Or a la carte at Secreto Southern Kitchen? Fans of afternoon tea should treat Mom to the ritual at Waldorf Astoria Buckhead, St. Regis Atlanta, or the historic William Root House. For dinner, try the tasting menu at Aria.
  • Spring Ahead: Brian So of hot spot Spring is jumping into the next season of his culinary career, with the launch of a series of pop-ups showcasing his next venture, Spring 2nd Branch. Every Tuesday from May 14 until July 30, you can book a Resy Experience to preview select food and beverages from the upcoming Korean restaurant being built just around the corner.
  • Return of the Mmm … After a brief hiatus, the most exclusive restaurant-within-a-restaurant at Buckhead’s most scene-iest sushi spot is — as of literally now — taking Resys again. With only eight seats available at a time just three nights a week, M by Tasuku Murakami is bringing the heat with 17 to 18 chilled courses in an experience fully removed from its polar opposite host joint. And to keep up on all the recent news, you’ve always got New on Resy.

New to the Hit List (May 2024)
Talat Market, La Semilla, Varuni Napoli, Pricci, Whiskey Bird.

1. Miller Union West Midtown

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So-called “vegetable shaman” Steven Satterfield is very much still in the kitchen at the Atlanta mainstay he co-owns with Neal McCarthy. It’s their commitment to sustainability and relationships with local producers that have earned Miller Union multiple James Beard awards (two alone for their wine program) since opening in 2009. So while everybody knows about the farm-baked egg in celery cream with toasted Osono Bakery sourdough, go ahead and order the every-veggie-side Seasonal Vegetable Plate for what he does best – it’s a great chaser for the housemade charcuterie board. Pro tip: Pastry chef Claudia Martinez ensures you finish your meal in style.  

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Photo courtesy of Miller Union

2. NoriFish Sandy Springs

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Omakase is hot right now, but not everyone is ready to fully relinquish control of their meal, nor do they want to share their experience with a bar full of strangers. And according to Justin Lim and Sean Park, that’s more than OK. So at NoriFish, omakase as well as chef’s nigiri tasting are available at private tables that keep an evening intimate. Better yet, guests are welcome to create their own adventures, using the not-so-secret omakase menu as a guide to mix and match nigiri, sushi, and sashimi – all flown in from Japan’s Toyosu fish market. Fun, modern Japanese dishes with tapas flair – spicy tuna with rice chips for this “dip,” and exceptional yuzu honey ponzu oysters with blood orange and a serrano relish  – offer zest and pop in spades, adding lightness to the dramatic red-and-black palette that dominates the dining room.

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3. Bacchanalia Westside

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A moody former industrial space – shared with counter-service sister Star Provisions – sets the stage for some of Atlanta’s most show-stopping cuisine. This 1993 establishment founded by Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison just keeps growing better. Their local farm, Summerland, whose production continues to guide their farm-to-table approach. Because of that, their format of a four-course prix fixe menu is the only thing that remains constant. One night you might find crab fritters made remarkable with citrus and avocado, or steak tartare with a twist of lime, toasted rice, and chile. And if your Notify didn’t pan out for that special occasion, just go during the day and grab a Bacchanalia-quality lunch or a pastry from Star Provisions while you hunt for an artisan “I’m sorry” gift. It’ll be a nice taste of what’s to come when your Resy comes through.

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4. La Semilla Reynoldstown

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Plant-based dining is sprouting up all over Atlanta, but among the growing options, this Cuban and Mexican began restaurant is blossoming to rave reviews. The inspiration point of Latin flavors is modernized with a consciously vegan ingredient list, offering creative riffs like “bistec” de palomilla using Southern Cap lion’s mane mushrooms, “carne” asada tacos that bring in seitan, and Cubanos with jackfruit. Even desserts are vegan – including any you bring from outside (fee applies). Accompany it all with virtuously farmed wines, and cocktails using rum and agave spirits, to keep the distinct plant-based focus. This summer-all-year feelings is easy to get into in the dining room, where illustrations of jungle foliage grace the upward view above a graceful, tile-accented bar lit with basket-weave pendants.

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5. The Alden Chamblee

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We’ve known all about chef-owner Jared Huck’s uniquely international, seasonally driven cuisine, inspired by a seven-year intercontinental sojourn, for a while now. Huck’s travel memories — still unfaded — include sweetbreads with his signature sweet chili sauce and oysters with galangal and lemongrass to honor two years in Thailand. Tortellini stuffed with yucca and butternut squash “bolognese” pay homage to two hemispheres united in pasta.

It’s best to let the kitchen guide your journey. Make a Resy for the seven-course tasting menu (pro tip: come hungry; the Alden is generous with amuse-bouches) for a privileged seat at the stage-lit chef’s counter. Or go with Huck’s five-course tasting menu takeover the first Thursday of every month.

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Photo courtesy of The Alden

6. Little Sparrow Westside

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Atlanta mourned the closure of chef Ford Fry’s beloved JCT Kitchen, but that grief has turned into cause for celebration with its replacement. A tribute to Edith Piaf, the songbird sweetheart of the French boxer Fry’s steakhouse Marcel takes its name from, this Art Deco-ish brasserie exudes Parisian grace. With chef Bob Ryan in the kitchen, expect an onion soup dripping with Gruyère, crispy-edged poitrine de porc lightened up with fennel and apple, and thrice-fried beef tallow frites with tableside skillet raclette. This and pommes aligot might tempt you to fill up on potatoes, but bear dessert in mind, namely the (also tableside) chocolate soufflé and the Basque cheesecake. To drink? A refreshing Genepy Highball with lime cordial goes down easy.

Call 404-355-2252 for reservations.

7. Spring Marietta

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Set directly by the train tracks and buried away from the main foot traffic of Marietta’s charming square, this hidden gem by chef Brian So and sommelier Daniel Crawford is one of those places where chefs go on their nights off (which incidentally inspired their soon-to-come second venture Bōm, which also means “spring,” in Korean). Moreover, it’s where chefs dine when they want to be consistently impressed. The frequently rotated menu exhibits restraint by offering literally no more than three exquisite options per category. The dining room is equally minimalistic, with simple table settings, unadorned brick walls and lofty ceilings. But the kitchen’s work needs no fanfare. And Crawford’s wine list is a showcase — diverse and generous, with half bottles to help keep you on your feet for an after-dinner walk to charming Glover Park around the corner.

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8. Whiskey Bird Morningside/ Virginia-Highland

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When you can’t agree on Peruvian, Japanese, Thai, American, Hawaiian, or what-have-you, it’s Whiskey Bird to the rescue, with all of the above in a wild cross-cultural fusion. Find brussels sprouts topped with fried egg and bacon, but also Chinese vinegar and bonito flakes. Or a Caesar salad that has pickled jalapenos and cotija cheese, but mixes it up with miso-herb Caesar dressing and wonton chips. Then wrap up with something real Southern like Hummingbird Cake. All of this in a bright, casual space with walls painted in vivid hues. As the weather warms, head up to the second-floor patio for a great street view or seating by the staircase for primo people-watching, the only thing more interesting and unexpected than the menu.

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9. Palo Santo West Midtown

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Dark urban glamor is a defining trait at chef Santiago Gomez’s modern Mexican restaurant — extending not just to the double-arched bar, but also to drama-filled dishes: cauliflower roasted whole over the wood from which Palo Santo takes its name, made extraordinary with miso caramel and fried shredded leeks. Order anything with the heirloom corn masa – the duck carnitas tlacoyo or tuna tostadas for dinner, berry-topped blue pancakes for monthly brunch – and look for local ingredients like Georgia mushrooms. Oh, and Tequila and mezcal aficionados laud the specialty cart, one way to accompany sweet-savory desserts like burnt cheesecake with preserved tomatillos … and the rooftop views from the bar, where a DJ spins into the wee hours.

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10. Talat Market Summerhill

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To no Resy reader’s surprise (except maybe chefs Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter, per their humble responses) Talat Market is back in the headlines, this time for a James Beard Foundation finalist nod. But we’ve been telling y’all about the former pop-up’s famously fluctuating menu for some time now and how they use Thai cooking techniques to transform regionally grown fruits and produce. The street mural-style artwork creates a casual ambiance as vibrant as a menu that starts with beef tartare seasoned with prik laab, salads that feature crispy rice and red chili jam or fruit like Asian pears and black sesame, and curries with fresh housemade coconut cream and milk — the only kind they’ve used in seven years of wowing Atlantans.

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Talat Market Chefs and co-owners Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter
Chefs and co-owners Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter.
Photo by Bailey Garrot, courtesy of Talat Market

11. Delbar Middle Eastern – Inman Park Inman Park

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The shiny new Alpharetta location has gotten a lot of attention lately for its big, bright spaces, but the original Delbar has no intention of fading into the background. The heart (the meaning of “delbar”) is certainly captured by a dream of a lamb shank stew, and a ribeye with a walnut pomegranate marinade cut for sharing. Accompany that with adas polo, a buttery showstopper of a rice dish that hides pops of sweetness from buried raisins. But don’t fill up, as tempting as it may be. The pistachio lava cake with molten white chocolate and ginger date cake with toffee and roasted tahini mousse blend the best of Middle Eastern and Western sensations. Same with well-considered cocktails such as the Dubai Drift an intriguing blend of ginger, maple, soy, and apple brandy.

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12. Bread & Butterfly Inman Park

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James Beard-nominated chef Billy Allin knew he was leaving his last outpost in good hands when he sold it to Demetrius Brown and Brandon Blanchard last September. After all, they were no strangers to this kitchen, where they’d already executed Caribbean and Afro-American Heritage Supper Club pop-up events with aplomb. And they’ve found the balance between honoring Allin’s legacy and their own. Brown’s daytime menu preserves the traditional French style that made B&B so popular: soft-scrambled eggs, shrimp crepes, mini eclairs. But as with all Atlanta transplants, once the sun (and wine) goes down, out comes your natural accent. Here it’s a Haitian lilt: Roasted chicken is prepared with peanuts, sweet potato, and plantains; and Elljay mushrooms move aside to make room for Haitian ones.

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13. Foundation Social Eatery Alpharetta

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It’s almost a shame to be seated right away in this lofty dining room, as that deprives you of a chance to ogle the goodies at the little prepared food and wine market up front. But onwards — to excellent cocktails, from a seasonal drinks list. (For winter, we agree with the aptly-named Mezcal Sounds Fun Tonight.) And then crisp Spanish octopus, accompanied by housemade chorizo and fingerling potatoes, a returning favorite from FSE’s Roswell days; or confit pork ribs with pickled red onions; or anything from the excellent pasta menu. No matter what you do, plan ahead for dessert – the ever-changing fruit tarts on sable crusts are outstanding – and set a Notify since weekend bookings have been known to fill up two weeks in advance.

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14. Alon’s Bakery & Market Morningside

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Two vibes — quaint European city market and American farm country charm — merge beautifully at the original predecessor of its polished Phipps Plaza sister, and they support the casual, hearty fare being served. Deli cases of prepared dishes highlight salads and boldly seasoned grilled meats. But go for broke, and go for bread, as pastry chef and owner Alon Balshan is the talent behind the baked goods of many of the city’s best restaurants and coffeeshops. Don’t miss the creative croissants (keep an eye out for the version inspired by NYC’s Lafayette) and gelée-shiny patisserie treats. Sandwiches are just as exciting. We’re partial to the house-roasted lamb with red onion marmalade, which nods to the chef’s Israeli roots. 

No reservations. More info here.

15. Varuni Napoli Midtown / Morningside

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Chef Luca Varuni’s original location’s just reached the decade mark, but the buzz is still as fresh as the made-to-order pies, where even online orders don’t hit the custom Neapolitan ovens until checking in at the counter. Grab a seat at the 20-seat pizza bar, where a massive cornicello hangs from the skylight — they’re the most entertaining seats in the communal-style dining room, especially during brunch. Watch sweet fig, Gorgonzola, and prosciutto puff up into crackling-crusted fork-and-knifers and get a preview of combos like egg yolk sauce, sausage, pancetta, and black truffle. As the weather warms, the patio’s also a good choice, especially with a spritz, and the pick-up window is a convenient way to access this ATL institution.

Find more info here.

16. 3+3 LanZhou Ramen Kennesaw

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Those who live northwest of Atlanta proper rejoiced when this Buford Highway staple opened up on the perimeter of Kennesaw’s Town Center mall. This outpost follows the same format as the original: a no-nonsense contemporary dining room; expeditious service; and especially a kitchen window that keeps diners rapt, able to stare at the noodle pullers magically whipping blobs of dough into miraculous, chewy noodles. Pro tip: Get these stir-fried spicy, with cumin, and with the House Special variety pack of proteins — including a fried egg. Or enjoy them in soup, as is traditional in the Gansu Province city that gives LanZhou its name. Don’t miss out on lacy-skirted dumplings, either — or, for that matter, dishes from other parts of China, like Sichuan-style dry-fried string beans.

No reservations. Find more info here.

17. The Dining Room Madison Historic District

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Before team Michelin gets wind of The Dining Room, we’re scooping it first as a great reason for a field trip. This 36-seat fine dining restaurant in historic Madison’s town square sparkles in every way, from crushed velvet seating to dishes inspired by farms down the road. Led by chef Russell Hays, its à la carte selections and a three- and four-course prix fixe with paired wines changes weekly. Find roasted halibut with potato pavé and saffron mussel jus, or plump spinach gnocchi with lobster knuckles and curried lobster cream. And count on the perennial local cheese plate with apple red wine jam for dessert. Traditional sweet endings, including complimentary petits fours, are by renowned pastry chef Edouard Fenouil, another former Atlantan making country life steps above simple.

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18. Pricci Buckhead

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Channeling Art Deco-era NYC-fancy with metallic accents, live music, and attentive servers in white jackets, this Italian classic manages formal but not stuffy and established without feeling stale. Perhaps it’s because they’re great at making what’s old new again. For instance, while the pasta’s been made in-house by the same woman for 30 years, it takes on new life in a new monthly rotating series, where chef Piero Premoli supplements the usual menu with regional cuisine inspired by travel through his homeland. Yellowtail crudo is made modern with butternut squash and blood orange, Alba truffles are shaved tableside, veal chops are bone-in, and ravioli doesn’t waste your time with filler. After dinner here, you’ll feel like their carefully swaddled Black Label prosciutto: treated with reverence and thoroughly coddled.

Call 404-237-2941 for reservations.

19. Chai Pani Decatur

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This may be the Atlanta offshoot of the James Beard Award-winning Asheville original, but as chef de cuisine (and Atlas alumna) Sahar Saddiqi was named a semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast title just last year, Decatur’s version of Chai Pani is more than holding its own. The big patio is a perfectly appropriate way to remember that Chai Pani celebrates the intricate, bold flavors and textures of Indian street food. Start with the signature matchstick okra fries seasoned with chaat masala and lime while you wait for savory rice and lentil-batter crepes called uttapam. Or go for multi-culti fun with opportunities like Hakka-Chinese fusion Chilli Chicken from Kolkata and street “burgers” in griddled soft buns, both great nods to the diversity of Indian culture. 

No reservations. More info here.

20. Kimball House Decatur

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Kimball House has a preternatural ability to charm. Is it the setting, in a renovated rail depot, inspired by an Atlanta landmark, the Kimball House Hotel? (An old hotel menu became the foundation of the menu.) Whatever it is, the excitement quickly extends to the particulars of the menu, starting with a selection of around 20 oyster varieties, and refined modern cocktails such as a ponzu martini or green apple Negroni. No bad seats here, but for a full meal, make a Resy for one of the tufted leather booths in the classically elegant dining room. You’ll want the table space for updated classic dishes; ravioli en consomme comes with venison; the osso bucco is lamb; grilled oysters have kimchi butter and the opera cake is Earl Grey. And in true local spirit, don’t miss the lemon pepper chicken skins as an app.

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Great things are always stirring in Decatur.
Photo courtesy of Kimball House