JEZE March 2016 : Page 94

100 H OTTE ST RESTAURANTS 2016 13 BISTRO NIKO 3344 Peachtree Road Buckhead 404.261.6456 @bistroniko $14-$38 B R P Looking for the perfect place to enjoy a glass of Sancerre and oysters on a patio—without hopping the pond to Paris? Voila! We give you Buckhead’s Bistro Niko. Please your palate with French fare like beef short rib bourguignon and coq au vin, courtesy of longtime Buckhead Life Restaurant Group chef Gary Donlick. See and be seen sipping on a Midnight in Paris cocktail at the bistro’s bar, which is anything but hidden. Or, treat yourself to live music and brioche French toast on Sundays at jazz brunch. Bon appetite, y’all! 14 BARTACO Multiple locations @bartacolife $3-$38 P With its carafes of margaritas and tricked out tacos, this Northern transplant has won over the hearts of folks all over ATL. The Bartaco empire, known for its coastal-casual vibe and sweet patio scene, now has three locations around town in Buckhead, Inman Park and the Westside. Start with the grilled corn with lime, cayenne and cotija cheese, and follow with sesame rib-eye and falafel tacos while washing it all down with a La Ruleta (Flor de Cana silver rum, jalapeno, peach nectar and lime juice) or a caipirinha (Leblon cachaca, limes and fresh pomegranate). Seal the deal with the churros— they’ll leave you saying “gracias.” Those who cozy up to the bar for a cocktail at this sexy spot at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta will be seduced into staying to sample a few of the tapas or one of the entrees by chef Matthew Ridgway (of NYC’s Oak Room and New Jersey’s The Pass)—all designed to share. Clock some patio time with friends over a few Seville Rose bevies and small bites like the chargrilled octopus, patatas bravas, chickpea pancakes, gulf shrimp a la plancha and lamb tartare. Happy hour runs from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm , Monday through Friday and is prime time for $5 rotating wines and $4-$5 tapas. Drink (and eat) up! The baked focaccia, the mineral-forward wines, the varied crudo… scarfing down the European-inspired coastal cuisine of Executive Chef Craig Richards (one of Ford Fry’s greatest acolytes) is only half the experience at this exquisite eatery. Once we’re finished admiring the soaring ceilings, circular booths and Instagram-worthy lavatory floors, we’re routinely sold on the finesse of Richards’ housemade pastas (think pillowy ravioli stuffed with chicken liver or smoked squash) and charred octopus paired with an Italian bean salad with sun-dried tomato pesto. Return Sundays for a four-course, family style, prix-fixe feast ($35 per person). This turn-of-the-century-esque tavern is not a house at all, but an incredible former Decatur train depot where you can pluck oysters from shining silver platters and drip absinthe over sugar cubes at a polished wood bar manned by near-legendary cocktail maestro Miles Macquarrie. Inspired by Brooklyn’s beloved Maison Premiere, this handsome boîte boasts frosted-glass globe lights and high-back leather banquettes frequently packed with cute J.Crew types. Chef Jeffrey Wall, formerly of JOËL and La Fourchette (both defunct) never fails to dazzle with seasonally changing fare made from produce and herbs grown right on-site. 15 GYPSY KITCHEN 94 Bistro Niko’s L’automne featuring J.P. Wisers vanilla spiced whiskey, apple compote, 1821 aromatic bitters and Crispin apple cider 3035 Peachtree Road NE Buckhead 404.939.9840 @gypsykitchenatl $6-$26 R P 11 LITTLE TROUBLE 1170 Howell Mill Road Westside 404.500.4737 $5-$20 Atlanta scenesters have a soft spot in their hearts for this cagey drink den, tucked in at the end of an industrial alleyway. Secluded and a tad spooky—in a futuristic, revenge-of-the-robots sort of way—the neon-laced lounge is not quite a bar, not quite a restaurant, but its tongue-and-cheek drinks and quirky Asian eats more than satisfy both cravings. Victory Brands’ Executive Chef Melissa Allen (formerly of Miso Izakaya and Pura Vida) may be most revered for developing Victory Sandwich Bar’s tasty sammies. Try her Thai beef dumplings, steamed pork belly buns or pork rinds with Fresno honey. Tastes like tenderloin and lamb with sides of primo people-watching and amazing art —welcome to Atlas. The cozy resto, which is tucked away in Buckhead’s swank The St. Regis Atlanta, has become a go-to for date nights and grabbing a glass of happy-hour bubbly alike. Whether you’re looking for fancy fare like the foie gras torchon or the simple but tasty Atlas burger, Executive Chef Christopher Grossman (formerly of Napa’s luxe French Laundry) has you covered. Need something sweet? Order the Opera (an espresso-soaked sponge-cake sable cookie with almond croquant and dark-chocolate coffee cremeux). It sings to us every time. R -Reservations accepted [restrictions may apply] P -Patio dining 16 ST. CECILIA 3455 Peachtree Road NE Buckhead 404.554.9995 @stceciliaatl $18-$42 R 12 ATLAS 88 W. Paces Ferry Road NW Buckhead 404.600.6471 @atlasbuckhead $28-$85 R P 17 KIMBALL HOUSE 303 E. Howard Ave. Decatur 404.378.3502 @kimballhousebar $18-$150 P KEY: $ -Dinner entree price range B -Brunch available [times vary] F -Furry friends welcome BISTRO NIKO PHOTO BY CAROLINE CLEMENTS

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