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The Finest 50

We’ve seen it happen before—as the mercury rises, things start to sizzle at restaurants all over the city. We’ve got 50 hot new eateries to consider, well-known favorites that haven’t lost their fire, cocktails and desserts that can’t help but raise our body temperatures and talented chefs who know how to stay cool under pressure. The question is, diner: Can you take the heat?

Hicham Azhari and Fikret Kovac are the power team behind Roswell’s Little Alley Steak, Salt Factory Pub and the newly bowed Opulent.

The Chilean sea bass Yu-an yaki at Umi wrapped in paper and set on fire



Arianne Fielder of Seven Lamps

Veal tongue and lavender milk-braised beef cheek with blackberries, black bread, smoked beet purée, turnip and pickled onion at Woodfire Grill.

Vingenzo’s stuffed mozzarella

Canoe is a dining scene stalwart.


1. Opulent
Step into Roswell’s luxurious speakeasy concept from F&H Food Trading Group, where you can expect dazzling decor, fresh (often Georgia-based) produce, a wealth of Champagne-infused cocktails and the buzzed-about “amazing burger” with mouthwatering wagyu beef. 948 Canton St.,

2. Saltyard
New on the small-plate scene last month is Saltyard, from owners Kristi Jones-Favalli and Christian Favalli (son of La Grotta’s Sergio Favalli). Helmed by chef Nick Leahy, the kitchen churns out shareable portions of charcuterie, veggies, hot dishes (think gnocchi and grilled octopus) and raw offerings (oysters and ceviche), in addition to some killer desserts (ricotta zeppole and pistachio semifreddo). It’s a promising addition to Brookwood Hills. 1820 Peachtree Road NW,

3. Gunshow
The menu pops, jolts and surprises (from Southern rabbit taken apart and put back together to double-cleavered brisket to globally inspired Swedish fare). The smallish-style plates stream out one by one on a cart pushed by plaid-clad servers, making every meal an improvisation process. The open kitchen stares right out on the dining room, where the vibe is lively, and the crowd orders off the cart (dim-sum style), and selections get tallied as the night progresses. 924 Garrett St. SE

4. Hugo’s Oyster Bar
OTP fans of C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar in Vinings can stay closer to home now that the duo behind the white tableclothed fave are taking a livelier bistro vibe to the heart of Roswell. Gulf Coast oysters, crawfish, 6-ounce baseball sirloin and boudin balls swimming in tomato-tarragon tartar are all on the docket. The vibrant bar scene is sure to be a ’hood haunt filled with regulars. 10360 Alpharetta Highway,

5. Umi
Been wondering where chef Fuyuhiko Ito flitted off to after MF Buckhead closed? Turns out he’s helming the exquisite kitchen at Umi. The brainchild of co-owners and long-time Atlantans Farshid Arshid and Charlie Hendon, the brand-new hot spot is located adjacent to The St. Regis Atlanta. Expect a bevy of original, innovative dishes in the mix: Think aburi sushi (all the rage in Japan—fish is slightly caramelized on an infrared grill for a flavor profile that’s more complex than raw sushi), scallop toban yaki, Kobe beef toban yaki and specialty rolls made with surf clams, whitefish, shrimp or octopus. 3050 Peachtree Road NW,

6. Timone’s
Surely set to take over the Va-Hi restaurant scene, chef Ron Eyester (The Family Dog, Rosebud) has turned a 2,800-foot space into a New York-inspired pizza and Italian spot with a rear patio, open from lunch until the wee hours starting in mid-July. (We love that Timone is his mother’s maiden name). 1409 N. Highland Ave.,

7. Big Boss Chinese
The hits just keep on coming for rising-star chef Guy Wong. On the heels of successful victual ventures Miso Izakaya and Yum Bunz, Wong plans to open this new Cantonese full-service restaurant in Decatur by late fall near the intersection of Church Street and East Ponce de Leon Avenue.

8. Ford Fry’s Next Venture
If you’ve ever had a meal at Jct. Kitchen & Bar, No. 246, The Optimist or the newly opened King + Duke, you know chef Ford Fry can do no wrong—which is why we’re hotly anticipating what he’ll be cooking up in the former Bluepointe space this fall. His plans for the as-yet-unnamed resto include international flavors from Spain, Italy and possibly France. He also confirmed plans for a Tex-Mex spot on Krog Street coming soon. Stay tuned! 3455 Peachtree Road NE

When chef Doug Turbush (formerly of Bluepointe) opened Seed Kitchen & Bar, the Merchant’s Walk resto gave OTP foodies a gem worth crowing about. Now, with Seed steadily turning away diners due to demand, Turbush and sommelier Jason Raymond are opening Stem Wine Bar right next door. The new space will feature European-style small plates with a 16-bottle Enomatic system for serving high-end wines by the glass. Set to open by end of summer.

10. Hugh Acheson’s Savannah Project
Since developing a stellar local reputation, Atlanta/Athens chef Acheson is expanding his horizons with his sights set on opening a new Southern-Italian fusion restaurant, complete with a bar, patio and biergarten, in the downtown area of Savannah come spring 2014.