Formosa Chinese Cuisine's colorful dishes enliven tables with plates of meat, noodles, and fried-rice dishes, as well as contemporary takes on classic Chinese flavor profiles. The menu lists time-honored dishes such as mongolian chicken ($8.25) and beef lo mein ($7.50) among a cavalcade of entrees that can be written down and given to Santa as next year’s holiday wish list. Seafood entrees, such as a peppery shrimp with ginger scallions ($9.50), ship ocean-fresh cargoes of shellfish to awaiting taste buds, whereas veggie-flecked dishes such as the Triple Green ($7.25) liven sides of fried or steamed rice with verdant landscapes of broccoli, snow peas, and string beans. Like a Yanni album, the chef's specials section offers contemporary original recipes that blend complex flavors, textures, and tastes, as exemplified in dishes such as the nutty sesame shrimp ($10.95).
While growing up in Taiwan, Grand China Restaurant co-owners K.C. Chang and Tse-Chih Chang watched their mothers—“the best cooks in the world”—prepare fresh, delicious meals. While she tinkered with the balance of herbs and vegetables in her secret recipes, Tse-Chih’s mother dreamed of owning her own restaurant. As the mother of eight, she never had the time, but her daughter did. After Tse-Chih moved to the United States for graduate school, she opened a Chinese restaurant with her husband.
In business since 1978, Grand China Restaurant dishes sizzling plates of Chinese fare crafted with family recipes. As food trends evolved and customers grew more adventurous, the Changs have expanded their menu to add pan-Asian cuisine, including Vietnamese and Malay appetizers and Japanese and Thai entrees. The new menu earned Grand China the Best of Citysearch award for Best Chinese food every year from 2007 to 2010. Haute Living also called it one of the top five Chinese restaurants in Atlanta, recommending the scorpion or zombie cocktails. Like the food, the cocktails are made from scratch, using fruits, flavored rums, and top-shelf liquors rather than juices or mixes.
At Chin Chin, diners watch various menu items being crafted by skilled chefs behind a large plate glass window, resulting in a dining experience that’s as delicious to the eyes as it is to palates. Witness culinary artists steam a boneless long island duckling for the braised duck plate ($16.95) or stir-fry marinated beef with dried orange peels for the tangerine beef dish ($14.95). Flora-feeding diners can discover a selection of vegetarian options, such as eggplant with garlic sauce ($8.95) and vegetarian general tso's chicken ($11.50). The eatery's contemporary dining room of bright walls, exposed brick, and linen-covered tables coax patrons into sipping on a post-diner libation, such as a glass of wine ($5.75–$8.25), a martini ($8), or imported beer ($4.50). Diners can also wrap up each meal by noshing on the green tea, mango, or coconut ice cream ($3.95) instead of attempting to stuff a tablecloth and utensils into their wallets.
Authentic Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian dishes dusted in spices and doused in curries make noses curious and mouths water as diners peruse a menu of more than 100 Asian fusion items. Inside the restaurant, walls the color of green tea adorned with bamboo-shoot silhouettes surround customers devouring dishes such as Malaysian curry chicken served in a clay pot with potatoes, onions, and string beans alongside general tso’s chicken glazed with spicy sauce. Bright-red box letters spelling Malaya light up nightly to draw in diners, and speedy staff members zoom delivery orders to offices, kitchen tables, and opera balconies.
As the bread-filled ovens in Our Place Bakery Café exude a gentle heat, the dining room’s similarly warm, cozy decor puts guests at ease. The cooks diligently craft the café’s menu of baked goods and familiar soul-food staples, such as vegan pastries, free-trade coffee, and golden-fried chicken. Following a spiral staircase, patrons descend into an underground cellar, where the lounge-like ambiance includes intimate lighting and cotton-candy-stuffed armchairs. Exposed brickwork encircles the space’s stool-lined bar and fully equipped sound stage, upon which musicians perform regularly throughout the week.
Fifth Group Restaurants began in 1993 with a hunger-driven dream and the opening of South City Kitchen in Midtown; in the intervening 17 years, the restaurant management company has grown to include a caravan of five grumble-silencing victual villas in a variety of cuisine styles. The restaurant group is also actively involved in a number of charitable and green programs, including a no-trash initiative where at least 95% of waste is either composted or recycled (Ecco is dumpster free and recycles or composts everything).