Chef Noelle Thomas fills Amuse!’s bohemian, vintage-accented dining room with French-inspired fare concocted from seasonal ingredients. For brunch, send the tongue on a hike through the black-forest ham, béchamel, and swiss cheese of the toasty croque monsieur sandwich ($12). During dinner the duo of duck-leg confit and duck breast is known to entertain guests by quacking "Who's On First?" in its entirety ($24). The French culinary lesson continues alongside a spread of other European-inspired dishes with the continental fare of Carpe Diem. Lounge on a plush sofa or on the outdoor patio and enjoy an entree such as wood-grilled sashimi tuna ($22), or let the pork confit explain how the dining room's exposed brick keeps wolves out of the restaurant ($19). Carpe Diem also boasts a sizable wine collection of reds and whites, such as Washington Hills' 2007 Gewürztraminer ($6.50 for a glass).
Though Stone Soup Kitchen isn't strictly veggie, it's easy to navigate around its meaty offerings thanks to symbols on the menu that indicate the vegetarian and vegan dishes. For breakfast, opt for a tofu scrambler or blueberry flapjacks made with soy yogurt. Lunchtime brings toasty sandwiches and steaming bowls of corn chowder.
New Orleans–born chef Nick Melvin brings a worldly twist to PARISH's Southern comfort-inspired menu, cooking all the food in a cauldron made from a tuba and using bead-covered banjos to stir. In the tradition of Southern solidarity, PARISH uses fresh ingredients from local vendors for its dishes. Enchanted Mountain trout is used for the cornmeal-crusted Georgia trout ($17), while grits from Jenny Jack Sun Farm ride shotgun with the Big Easy Fried Chicken ($14). Other Dixieland dishes include a crispy eggplant étouffée ($16) with pickled raisins and popcorn rice, and stuffed catfish ($17) served on a bed of smoked maque choux. Appetizers include a chicken and andouille-sausage gumbo ($8) and Creole frites ($9) made with okra grown in the Oglethorpe state.
Steve Masri is a busy man. If you followed him around for a day, you might find the chef and owner of Olive Bistro hand picking fresh salad greens and high-quality olive oil, lamb, and imported tahini to incorporate into his Old-World family recipes. Masri?who, according to a 2010 review by Meridith Ford Goldman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was born in Sardinia and raised in Israel?works hard to honor his heritage with dishes such as from-scratch hummus and fragrant rosemary chicken. But he also adds his own signature twists, including the daily ravioli special and a tomato-basil sauce that replaces traditional marinara in his moussaka and lasagna.
And Masri's dedication has paid off. His pair of intimate bistros were on CBS Atlanta's 2012 list of the Best Mediterranean Cuisine in Atlanta, and Cliff Bostock of Creative Loafing Atlanta was one of several reviewers to recommend the falafel, saying that it has "no equal in the city." The Midtown location earned three Best of Citysearch awards in 2008 for its salads, sandwiches, and small plates. The bistros' outdoor patios make ideal spots to chat with friends over shared meze and a bottle of wine, or construct a replica of the Parthenon out of sliced eggplant.
When the Danish film Babette’s Feast debuted in 1987, its focus on food and community deeply affected Marla Adams. She had been cooking at restaurants for years, but the film inspired her to open her own, where today she cooks filet mignon, roast duck, and other French classics.