How has this been so long coming? We all love the Westside, located, not at all strangely, just to the WEST of Midtown Atlanta, a hop over to the other side of the I-75/I-85, and it’s right about time we headed on over and sampled the wonderful selection of eateries. It’s trendy, it’s unique, and has some of the best restaurants in all of Atlanta!
By Dawn Landau
This is likely Terry and my favorite restaurant right now (and one of many by Ford Fry in the intown Atlanta area). We generally sit at the bar with Doug, who ALWAYS takes great care of us. This visit, we were with friends celebrating Terry’s birthday. It was our first time at a table. We were not disappointed.
We had a GREAT table tucked to the side of the dining room. Our server was fun without being around too much. For food, Marcel always starts with a fabulous bread and charcuterie service. Just enough to whet the appetite. We had already ordered wine but I frequently start with a cocktail. For our meal, their Salad Marcel is a fabulous chop-style presentation with yummy ingredients and is large enough to share. This visit we shared the Bone-in Filet Monsieur. We have had the 8 oz. boneless Filet Madame in the past. Although the bone-in was cooked perfectly and tasted fine, we decided to stick with the boneless version from now on. The Monsieur meat just wasn’t as melt-in-your mouth tender as the boneless version.
For desert, since it was Terry’s birthday, they brought us a fantastic flourless chocolate cake that we devoured. Plan to spend a few dollars, but it’s worth it :-). Check out the Marcel website for more information.
By Dawn Landau
Another of our faves, and just down the street from Marcel, is Miller Union. Steven Satterfield has been nationally recognized as a top chef and restauranteur. He is very active locally in farm-to-table and “slow food” programs and has written a cookbook “Root to Leaf” (a copy of which he autographed for me!).
This visit, as usual, we sat at the bar and enjoyed wonderful cocktails prepared by the very capable and friendly bartenders. We did learn from the hostess that they try to offer priority bar seating to guests who are dining so we were seated within 10 minutes. I don’t recall that policy in the past so it was an appreciated accommodation.
For food we shared the “field pea & boiled peanut salad, lemon ricotta, tomato, sweet pepper, mint”. OMG, my mouth is watering just writing about it!! Since the menu changes frequently, GO NOW for this dish We also had the “grilled pork loin, brussels sprouts, apple, turnip, pancetta, cider-Dijon”. Equally delicious, this dish was prepared to perfection. The wine list here is very nice and according to our server/bartender, Miller Union does not add the same mark-up as their competitors. Since we don’t by that much fine wine for home, I don’t really know these days but our $60 bottle was excellent…we took some home so as to stay out of trouble on the roads.
No desert this time but they are always great. The food here is always seasonal, innovative and delicious…don’t hesitate to check it out for a special occasion or a random drop by… Don’t miss out on Miller Union (check out their website here).
By Dawn Landau
On a more casual note, a client and young friend of mine dropped into Bellwoods recently. She lives in Atlantic Station (in a condo I helped her with) so I thought it would be fun to get her take on a Westside restaurant. We went on a weekend day and it was lively but not crowded. The décor was very nice, bright and industrial with lots of outdoor seating for warmer months.
Trenee had a burger (I forget which one) and the mega tots. I had the Teriake Salmon Roll-Ups which were very good and suited my appetite that afternoon. All-in-all a great experience. We both said we would return. The prices are reasonable and a good value for the portion and quality of fare.
On a side note, Trenne had just finished a walk for Pancreatic cancer the morning we met. Her grandmother, Lillie Porter Jones, was a long-time friend and employee of mine and had passed away as a result of this terrible disease just a few weeks prior. I miss her greatly but am so glad to be friends with her beautiful and giving granddaughter, Trenee.
Check out the Bellwoods Social House Website.
By Patrick Benton
My favorite local restaurant chain in Atlanta is Taqueria del Sol. With locations on Cheshire Bridge, Decatur and the Westside you are never far from one. OK, ok—I know. Half the population of Atlanta loves Taqueria del Sol and half of the population have no interest in the place whatsoever. It is an age-old story of lovers and haters forever locked in battle and no one is willing to reach across the proverbial taco aisle to help mend the divide, until now. Ladies and gentlemen from both sides, I present my case.
First of all, let’s get the most contentious issue out of the way—the line. For many folks this is a non-starter: “I would never wait in a long line to eat anywhere”. At the Taq, the line is used in a very practical way. It moves at just the right speed to allow someone to order and pay for their meal, immediately find several available tables, and have their chips and guacamole or salsa delivered almost immediately. Very soon afterwards, your awesome food is delivered steaming hot and truly fresh. As you eat, waiters will politely remove empty plates and keep the table clear. When you are done with your meal, you just get up and walk away and the table is immediately prepared for the next lucky occupants. If you want to, you can easily be in and out of the restaurant in 30-45 minutes including the wait in the dreaded “line”. Compare that to waiting to be seated at a restaurant, waiting on a waiter to take your order, chef to cook your food, waiter to bring your bill, return your credit card, write in the tip and leave. At least 45 minutes or much longer. Usually at a much higher price and less delicious food that at the Taqueria.
Next, let’s talk about the food. ‘The menu is so limited”, detractors complain. Not true. The menu is basically a few appetizers, a few different types of tacos, and several combinations of enchiladas. All are delicious! HOWEVER—there is an option many folks miss—the weekly specials!! These are the true stars at the Taq. Each week a Chef’s special, a seafood special, and a special taco grace the menu. The groupings are completely independent and will never be the same three items at the same time again. Fantastic and creative southwestern takes on ordinary dishes are a goldmine of endless variety. A cheeseburger taco, a spicy version of jambalaya with several twists, and an incredible macaroni and cheese tilapia are just a few examples of my favorites. On this week’s menu the special taco was a Chicken Fajita – Marinated chicken tenders with avocado sauce, green bells, onions and cotija cheese in a flour tortilla. The chef’s special was Chef Eddie’s meat loaf spiced with jalapenos and served on a tomato-habanero sauce with whipped potatoes and green beans. The list in endless and every one of the specials is delicious.
Finally, the greatest appeal of Taqueria del Sol is the quality and consistency of the food from visit to visit and location to location. It is very difficult in the restaurant business to maintain these factors and the Taqueria has it them down to an art. Prices are extremely reasonable and the entire experience is worth waiting in “the line” for a few minutes! Here’s the Taq del Sol website.
By Paige Stills
I mentioned to my friend, Aida, that we were reviewing Atlanta’s Westside this month and she suggested Cooks & Soldiers. Located at the corner of 17th Street and Howell Mill Road, Cooks & Soldiers is a vibrant restaurant that turns the table on your average night out to dinner. It is truly an experience. The wait staff is superior and the food is delish.
Offering cuisine based on the Basque region of France and Spain, Cooks and Soldiers specializes in Pintxos, which are similar to tapas. After studying the entire menu, it was difficult not to order one of everything, but we still managed to narrow it down to a few selections.
We started out with the Vieras: pan-seared scallops with sweet potato, Brussel sprouts, Maitake mushroom and parsnip. Next, we ordered the Lamb Ribs with smoked tabbouleh, spiced yogurt, fried garlic and the Iberico Albondigas: Berkshire and Ibérico meatballs, tomato, pimento and Manchego espuma.
I reviewed Iberian Pig in our September issue, which is a sister restaurant of Cooks & Soldiers. I have to admit that Iberian Pig is still my favorite of the two, but I would definitely recommend Cooks & Soldiers as well. I am already looking forward to my next dinner there.
By Paige Stills
Living in Atlanta, we are fortunate enough to have a variety of retail stores, restaurants and bars. If you happen to find a store that is truly unique, not only do you remember it, you have to tell someone about it, right? I have discovered Crafted, and it makes my list for fun, unique places to shop.
Consider Crafted as one of West Side’s true gems. Opening its doors in 2014 by Shanna Kenyon, this boutique displays a variety of hand-crafted items created only by local artists. Jewelry, paintings, ceramics, hand painted linens, scented candles, stationary, and an assortment of other gifts and goods. Local artists include Jennifer Upton, Kwan, Masako Kim and creations by Admial Row, Our Salvaged life, Wemco, and Caleb Morris Illustrations. Make sure to visit their website at www.craftedwestside.com for more information about featured artists. You can find them at other pop-up locations at the Forum and Lenox Mall during the holidays.
By Amanda Aberle
Tucked away (quite literally) on the West Side is Little Trouble – a bar/restaurant/lounge hybrid that’s the sister establishment – though it feels like a distant cousin – of the Victory Sandwich Bar. It’s trendy enough to not have signage, but you’ll certainly know when you’ve made it there. The dark and inviting atmosphere is pierced with neon lights – enough to see the menu, and just shy of feeling like you’re trapped inside a Space Invaders game. As the perfect contrast to the bold decor, cozy cocktail tables and small high-tops give the space a feeling of intimacy.
In fierce competition with the strong decorating choices are the cocktails – lightweights beware! Between my dinner date and I, we tested a few of the cocktails on the menu, although if you’re feeling adventurous I recommend leaving it up to one of Little Trouble’s highly-skilled bartenders. Any flavor notes you seek can be found – smokey, floral, acidic – they have them in spades, complete with cheeky names. My comfort zone sits squarely between tart and herbaceous and they had it covered – might I recommend the vodka-based Rosemary’s Baby?
Despite all of the highlights, the Asian fusion menu manages to stand out. One part street-style finger food, and one part ramen comfort bowls – the portions sizes are perfect for both snacking and building a complete meal. If you have 3 or more people, I highly recommend ordering one of everything. I admit I balked a little when it came to chicken hearts on a stick – but I powered through for the sake of this article and they were delicious. I honestly can’t say there was anything we didn’t enjoy. By far the stand-out menu item was the pork rinds covered in honey. Maybe it’s because I’ve never eaten a pork rind in my life – don’t judge me – or maybe it’s because Little Trouble’s are just that darn good, I can’t be sure, but they were dynamite.
All said and done, I’ll come back to Little Trouble. It’s perfect for giving me that night-out type of feeling while still getting me into bed by 10 o’clock. Check out the Little Trouble website for up-to-date cocktail lists and menus.
By Briana Holmes
The weekends are rough when you’re in Atlanta. Either you’re staying in all weekend, or super busy. Well when you’re super busy don’t worry about food… Just head over to Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand which is open 24 hours on the weekends (yeah, you heard that right)! Prior to deciding to try this amazing hormone-free chicken sausage, I was trying really hard to eat healthy but my friends decided to change that. Enters Delia’s! Not only did I get some amazing food on a hoagie (I’m in love with these for no reason), but I also got to try it on a Krispy Kreme donut. I’m pretty sure I saw Heaven! They have tons of other things on the menu ranging from tacos to lasagna and meatloaf BUT they also serve breakfast in the form of amazingness. If you’re a vegetarian they also offer options for you so NO EXCUSES!
I really liked Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand because it really does offer a unique menu, even one that the pickiest of eaters like myself can munch off of. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve also been showcased on CNN, Atlanta Eats, the Travel Channel, AND Food Network. Definitely worth it. So while the friends and family are in town, make sure you head to Delia’s Chicken Sausage stand for locally sourced, fresh, and all natural food that will definitely put a smile on everyone’s face! Check out Delia’s Website for more info.