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The 50 Finest

When it comes to good taste, Atlanta has it in spades. The city’s Southern charm is evident in its wave of new tantalizing trattorias, beguiling brasseries and posh points of interest where menu magic, mixology moxie and dessert decadence deliver the goods. We’re serving it all up right here. Hopefully, you’ve come hungry.

Social Occasion
The banana cheesecake with pecan crumb and peanut butter chocolate ganache at Foundation Social Eatery

5 MOST EXCITING RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
Gunshow
This no-frills, no-holdsbarred, thoroughly unique eatery (a little bit churrascaria, a little bit dim sum, a whole lot of Southern comfort) in Glenwood is, without question, one of the hottest openings of the year. Even GQ took notice, naming it one of The 25 Best New Restaurants in America. While the food is inventive and tantalizing, it’s the concept that’s such a standout. Once seated in Gunshow’s sparse dining room, Kevin Gillespie and his sous chefs push carts and carry trays piled high with small plates from the wide-open kitchen—everything from sharable tapas to wild desserts. Simply pick your plates (selections are tallied as the night progresses) and dig in! 924 Garrett St., 404.380.1886

Kimball House

There’s a reason Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson named this one of his favorite new Atlanta restaurants. He’s not alone. A neighborhood catchall, everyone—from TV stars to cardiologists, broadcasting executives, cocktail enthusiasts, oyster junkies and aficionados of anachronimity—is commingling in this repurposed train depot a few blocks from downtown Decatur. The cuisine shines: A duck leg confit with subtle hints of orange, celery root and fiddlehead fern is sweet and earthy. Order a Diablo Rojo or absinthe service as this is easily the city’s newest cocktail mecca. 303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur, 404.378.3502

Stem Wine Bar

It’s a luxurious envelope of a room that seats only 40 lucky people at a time. Inspired by authentic tapas joints in Spain, chef Doug Turbush (owner/ chef of Seed Kitchen & Bar next door) is one of the few locals who gets the Spanish concept right. Turbush has managed to pull off the most under-the-radar surprise-hit restaurant of the year. The OTP toque is conjuring a medley of lusty Mediterranean flavors and brilliant wines to match. A pour of Spanish godello, perfumed with melon tones, is a rare grape for most palates in Atlanta. All the more reason to try it. 1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, 678.214.6888

St. Cecilia

As if JCT. Kitchen & Bar, No. 246, The Optimist and King + Duke weren’t enough, Ford Fry hit us with this Euro-inspired seafood stunner this spring. A $1.6 million renovation to the old Bluepointe property is now the vessel that delivers some of the freshest seafood found in our landlocked city. The influence of the Italian coast is an omnipresent force through the meal. Executive Chef Brian Horn is wielding plates like small cuts of tender yellowfin tuna and mouth-filling charred octopus with tangy cured tomato. It appears Fry continues his winning streak. 3455 Peachtree Road NE, 404.554.9995

Umi

Indulge in a superior level of Japanese culinary preparation and presentation at chef Fuyuhiko Ito’s Buckhead outpost. Co-owned by longtime Atlantans Farshid Arshid and Charlie Hendon, their vision was to create a subtly elegant interior that allows the cuisine to take center stage. The spicy tuna crispy rice and yellowtail jalapeno top the list for best starters, followed by the nigiri lineup, which includes superfresh options such as the mirugai (geoduck), amaebi (sweet raw shrimp) and others that are flown in from Tokyo fish markets five days a week. The who’s who of Atlanta; Braves and Falcons players; and A-listers such as Elton John, Jim Carrey, Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence, are among the many who flock to this swank sushi spot. 3050 Peachtree Road NW, 404.841.0040

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Smoke Signals
Creative cocktails like this Rye Up are the reason Kimball House received a James Beard Foundation award nomination for Outstanding Bar Program.