the black spaghetti with rock shrimp at La Pietra Cucina
Creative Loafing posted their Best of Atlanta list yesterday, something I enjoy perusing every year. True, these kinds of lists are somewhat copy-selling fodder, but there are two reasons I like reading the loaf’s list – one, I like seeing which ridiculous destinations the public has chosen, and two, I respect CL’s food writers immensely. Jennifer, Besha, and Cliff each have unique talents and collectively they make CL the best source for hidden gems, drool-worthy specials, guilty pleasures, recent openings, and comprehensive reviews.
Below are some of the critics picks in which I’m in agreement, as well as a few where my opinion is slightly differed. Regardless, I recommend you seek out these places/dishes/people if you haven’t done so already. As for the reader’s choices, I’m not even going to bother going through those. They voted Rathbun’s the best restaurant, which is where I had a pretty bad experience recently, and from the comments on that post, I am not the only one. And Chin Chin was voted best Chinese.
Who are these “readers”? Why do they go to the same places over and over again? Maybe that sounds elitist, but then again, my opinion and palate is better than theirs, because I have a website and I tweet, right?
Rich Pick: Best overall restaurant Bacchanalia I’ve loved my last experience at Bacchanalia, but I’ve seen two people recently mention that the entree course was a let down after an amazing appetizer. I hate when the appetizer steals the show!
Filthy Pick: Best recession dining deal Shaun’s Restaurant My first full meal at Shaun’s was a slight letdown, but the Sunday night pasta deal for $12 is a freaking steal. I loved the simplicity and execution of my pasta and salad.
Best new restaurant La Pietra Cucina I really like the risottos here, and the black spaghetti is a treat. The $9 lunch entree of Neapolitan style pizza and salad is a bargain. But be sure to order the prosciutto with house made ricotta appetizer. It’s unreal (and plenty for two people).
Best restaurant trend Offal You may think you won’t like tripe, but try the pork belly and tripe at Abattoir and you’re likely to have your eyes opened to the possibilities. The kidneys are also worth a try. Veal brains at H&F was a bit much for me though, I will admit.
Best breakfast West Egg Café I don’t know that I think it’s the best breakfast in town, but I think they have the best breakfast potatoes in town.
Best brunch and Best burger Holeman and Finch Public House I feel like it’s almost “uncool” to continue to wax poetic about this place, but H&F is still my food and beverage happy place. Mixologist Greg Best may not remember my name, but he does remember my cocktail of choice (Old Fashioned, btw).
Best Chinese Tasty China I’ve gone twice in the last two months, and while some dishes have been inconsistent, the fish in hot oil and the crispy fried pork rock my world.
Best Korean Honey Pig A Chow Down Atlanta find, I thought Cafe Todahmgol was incredible and would recommend it over Honey Pig. As Chloe mentions, the egg soup banchan is amazing.
Best Middle Eastern Falafel Café I went here recently and wasn’t too impressed…where else is good for Persian though?
Best Thai Spoon I haven’t had Thai much lately…there just aren’t that many places in ATL that excite me and I think Nan is overpriced. Every time I’ve been to Spoon I haven’t been impressed. Why does everyone really like this place?
Best vegetarian Dynamic Dish Hands down, the most interesting restaurant in Atlanta. Dave makes special food. Alice Waters ate their yesterday if that tells you anything.
Best barbecue Rolling Bones Todd Richards has my favorite chef blog in town. His candor and desire to make the best and most unique BBQ in town, along with killer brisket, makes me agree with this CL Pick, even though Fox Brothers does have that incredible BBQ burger.
Best pizza Pizzeria Fortunato Both times I’ve had PF, I haven’t been all that impressed. Both pies were sloppy, so maybe I was unlucky, but I much prefer a pie from Varasano’s, Shorty’s, or Baby Tommy’s.
Best sandwiches Muss & Turner’s Swifty’s Dream (named after Jay Swift of 4th and Swift) is pulled pork smoked on their giant Big Green Egg, with BBQ sauce and bacon served on challah, this sandwich is as very bit good and guilty and it sounds. Love it.