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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.

5 HOT TRENDS... SPOTTED!

1. Sweet Tart
A delicious spin on the classic pie comes in the form of tarts. Red Queen Tarts (redqueentarts.com) has an almost cult-like following for its Meyer lemon and juicy strawberry confections. Little Tart Bakery’s (437 Memorial Drive SE, littletartatl.com) salted caramel nut tart induces happy sugar comas. Quaint Buckhead purveyor of sweets Pie Shop’s (3210 Roswell Road NW, the-pie-shop.com) hand pies are often savory, so it’s perfectly acceptable to have pie for breakfast.

2. Pop in!
Look out for new twists on a classic snack thanks to Caja Popcorn (2333 Peachtree Road NE, cajapopcorn.com). They’ve partnered with hot spots to offer limited-time flavors, such as peppered bacon and scallion crema at Tap (1180 Peachtree St. NE, tapat1180.com) in July and Calabrian chili and pecorino at LPC (1545 Peachtree St. NE, lpcrestaurant.com) in August. You can also swing by new outpost It’s Poppin! (368 Candler Road) for a choice of more than 100 unexpected flavors on hand and 300 by request.

3. DIY Drinks
Cook Hall’s (3377 Peachtree Road NE, cookhallatlanta.com) Cocktail Kit comes with herbs, soda water, housemade bitters, fruit and shrub syrups. Your dream cocktail awaits. Self-service is encouraged at Lure (1106 Crescent Ave. NE, lure-atlanta.com), where family-style cocktails come in a punch bowl. Serve it up! Then there’s Article 14’s (1180 Peachtree St. NE, article14.com) Manhattan Assembly, which allows you to use their expertly curated selection of rare spirits and mixers.

4. Local Buzz
Canoe’s (4199 Paces Ferry Road SE, canoeatl.com) Carvel Grant Gould uses backyard honey—from hives on property—in her pistachio-and-oat cluster granola. At Park 75 (75 14th St. NW, fourseasons.com) Robert Gerstenecker’s five hives on the fifth-floor terrace yield honey for his caramels. No. 246’s (129 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur, no246.com) Drew Belline likes to sweeten his housemade ice cream with local honey. “We also use the fresh comb on our cheese plate,” he says.

5. Indian Boom Town
Indian fare is on a serious upswing in Atlanta. Bhojanic’s (3400 Around Lenox Road NE, bhojanic.com) second locale in Buckhead is flourishing since opening in spring; Chai Pani’s (406 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., chaipanidecatur.com) modern Indian street food has become a Decatur darling; and Tabla, which boasts American food with Indian flavors, will crop up at 12th & Midtown (1075 Peachtree St. NE, 12thandmidtown.com) this fall.

RAISING THE BAR

For those who like their liquor highly specialized, Atlanta restaurants are making it easy to pick your poison by catering to one liquor and lots of it. Escorpion (800 Peachtree St. NE, urestaurants.com) boasts 25 kinds of the strong, agave-derived mezcal. Bourbon Bar (3315 Peachtree Road NE, southernart.com), tucked into Buckhead’s Southern Art, features more than 70 bourbons, including the elusive Pappy Van Winkle on occasion, and Antico Pizza’s (1093 Hemphill Ave. NW, anticoatl.com) Giovanni di Palma will present his stacked limoncello bar later this summer.

THE FIRST COURSE

Atlanta restaurants have been taking their cheese offerings up a notch—and the results are decidedly mouthwatering. Inman Park’s Barcelona Wine Bar (240 N. Highland Ave. NE, barcelonawinebar.com) is serving up everything from whipped sheep’s cheese to red wine-marinated goat cheese, and fromage enthusiasts can’t get enough of 4th and Swift’s (621 North Ave. NE, 4thandswift.com) warm Maplebrook burata with wood-grilled naan bread, Tybee Island shrimp, Calabrese chiles and split fava beans. Woodstock’s Neapolitan resto Vingenzo’s Pasta & Pizzeria (105 E. Main St., vingenzos.com) boasts a mozzarella bar, handcrafted by in-house chefs using whole and water buffalo milks, complete with tastings and signature mozzarella pairings to boot.

TECHNIQUE MYSTIQUE

Cold-smoking is getting hotter in Atlanta with James Beard-semi-finalist Todd Richards of The Shed at Glenwood (475 Bill Kennedy Way SE,  theshedatglenwood.com) using the technique to infuse a heady smokiness to his salmon, trout and pork chops. Richards and his team at The Shed are opening a full-on smokehouse experience, The Pig and The Pearl (thepigandthepearl.com) at Atlantic Station this fall. Kevin Gillespie cold-smokes salmon and pig tongue (as part of his kung pao dish) at his new restaurant Gunshow (924 Garrett St. SE). Chef Russell Hays of Lobby Bar and Bistro (361 17th St. NW, lobbyattwelve.com) kicks up his salad greens with cold-smoked portobello mushrooms and serves a mean cold-smoked salmon, but save your powder for his brined, cold-smoked 12-ounce bone-in pork chop.