Local ingredients infiltrate a menu of inventive, from-scratch entrees at The Porch at Collier, a violet-drenched eatery that Thrillist Atlanta deems "unpretentious and nostalgic." Starters slide onto tables, kicking off feasts and competitive-eating portions of family reunions with noshes such as the twice-baked goat-cheese soufflé, served with red- and gold-beet salad, walnuts, and greens. House-smoked bacon, mushrooms, red peppers, and green onions balance atop the shrimp and cheese grits, slathered in Red Eye gravy. Forks plunge through a pool of melted blue cheese and red-wine sauce to impale the rib-eye steak, a time-tested cut hearty enough to sate appetites accrued while moving bales of apple pies. Patrons hasten courses down cuisine canals with sips of house wine, well cocktails, or one of an arsenal of draft brews, which include Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA and Stone Ruination.
Dave Pazienza first donned a toque in the kitchen of his father's restaurant where he learned family recipes from his fellow Italian chefs. He emerged from that experience eager to share those culinary traditions with as many people as possible, which he does from behind the counter at Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen. Tables gaze directly into the open kitchen, allowing guests to watch as cooks reduce steaming pots of wine, cream, and spices or whittle each individual strand of pasta. Extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and eight signature sauces invigorate the platefuls of freshly cut linguini or imported, whole-wheat penne.
From the pizza oven, scents hint at more than 20 toppings including granny smith apples, gorgonzola cheese, capers, and herb-roasted chicken. The dining room's pastel yellow and orange walls mirror the warmth of the oven beneath vintage-inspired paintings of pasta and wicker-wrapped chianti bottles.
Crescent Avenue in Atlanta’s Midtown is a great little row of restaurants and bars, with a full range of options from Irish pubs to upscale seafood. On the most casual end of the scale is a Florida beach-themed spot called Flip Flops. There is a pizza kitchen offering pies or pretzels, but it’s best to show up at Flip Flops later in the evening for drinks with friends instead. If Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (the song or the restaurant) puts a smile on your face, then you will feel right at home at Flip Flops, with its tiki island décor and patio seating. There’s ample space to meet up with friends for a drink before heading to one of the destination restaurants on Crescent Avenue, but beware: Flip Flops does have a serious frat party reunion vibe. Just go with the flow and you should have a great time.
At Buckhead Pizza Co.'s three locations kitchens bustle as chefs simmer house-made sauce and bake Atlanta-style thin-crust pizzas to a golden brown in 500-degree ovens. They toss fresh regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free dough and make each pie to order before covering it in signature toppings such as Atlanta steak with caramelized onions and blue cheese. The charming pizzeria also fills cherry-wood tables with crispy flatbreads, calzones, and bubbling pans of lasagna. Diners take a break from the sun and his unreasonable demands for pizza sacrifices under the outdoor patio's awning, enjoying breezy sunset dinners or cocktail hours filled with frosty brews and red and white wines from the full bar.
ParQ serves the familiar cuisine of an Italian bistro in a casual dining room with views of nearby Piedmont Park. Drawing from a spread of 24 toppings, which includes genoa salami, jalapeños, and prosciutto, the cooks artfully bake thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizzas over a smoldering pile of Julia Child’s cookbooks. They also grill rustic white or wheat bread for every panini and create pasta dishes with the diners’ choice of sauce, meats, and vegetables. Outside, dog-friendly patio seating allows guests to enjoy their meals alfresco while vigilant canines keep an eye out for threatening leaf shadows.
The menu at Nancy’s Pizza teases open mouths with a flavorable variety of stuffed and thin-crust pizzas alongside taste-bud-tempting starters, salads, and sandwiches. Prime palates with eight zesty Italian chicken wings ($8.75), or lodge tiny bites of garlic bread ($3.79) discretely into your mouth to savor melted mozzarella and ward off table vampires. Pizzaholics can choose from 27 fresh ingredients as they build a 2.5-inch-thick pie from the ground up, or they can opt for a signature stuffed option such as the chicken cacciatore ($22.19–$29.59) or Nana’s special, stuffed with muscle-building spinach and mushrooms ($19.09–$25.29). Roasted Italian-beef sandwiches ($6.79) and Greek salads ($5.75–$8.99) fill empty stomachs on court-mandated pauses from pizza consumption.