Thanks to its diverse dishes and sundry dining settings, The Porch at Collier wears many hats. There's its traditional dining room, where romantic couples luxuriate in the dinner menu's delicate pastas and house-smoked chicken amid plum-colored drapes and flower-topped tables. There's the lounge, which surrounds friends with wicker lamps and leafy plants as they revel in televised sports and sip one of 12 draft beers, and the café, whose neon-lined walls peppered with framed photographs create a classy atmosphere in which to savor the late-night menu. Finally, there's the eatery's namesake—an expansive rooftop porch—lined with wooden tables—that lets diners enjoy gourmet lunchtime fare or attempt to topple Icarus' record for getting close to the sun. Each of the restaurant's contemporary American creations is crafted with local, sustainable ingredients and a minimal dependence on artificial preservatives, ensuring that dining experiences are both decadent and eco-friendly.
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.
Cameli’s fresh menu comprises elemental Italian fare that appeals to taste buds of all cultural stripes. Start with a shareable dish such as the portabella-enhanced fried ravioli ($5.95), which provides the carb-culled energy required of barehanded fire-hydrant-dismantling contests. The Greek salad ($6.25) offers satisfying flavors to hungry herbivores, and the eatery's infamous monster slice ($3.25 plus $0.85/topping) lets meat eaters, vegetarians, and lachanophobic folk alike customize the toppings on their thin-crusted isosceles triangle. Specialty pies such as the spinach- and feta-laden pax Americana ($7.95 for 10”/$18 for 16”) and the broccoli- and roasted-potatoes-dotted Joey Woolum ($7.95 for 10”/$19 for 16”) make generic, frozen, no-topping grocery-store pizzas take up self-help books, religious pamphlets, and ice-crystal therapy.
Ray’s New York Pizza offers a menu filled with delicious New York–style pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches, and more, all made from fresh ingredients. Start out by throwing on your best bomb-squad costume and carefully approaching an explosive plate of chicken bursts ($6.75) served with ranch, garlic, or hot sauce, and top it off with a warm bowl of chili ($2.99). Alternately, use bits of candy corn you saved from last Halloween to lure a chicken, gyro, or veggie-filled pita wrap ($7.50) into your mouth trap. Pizzas can be procured in classically foldable slices ($2.75–$4.25) or in 14-inch ($14.15–$18.70), 16-inch ($16.50–$21.25), or 18-inch ($17.75–$22.75) sizes. Meat lovers will appreciate Ray’s meat pizza, which features pepperoni, sausage, ham, and meatballs, while the gourmet veggie pizza will delight herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a conglomeration of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and other legumes.