Truly appreciating food means understanding where it comes from and how it arrived at the restaurant. As a boy growing up in Paris, Chef Remy Kerba learned to value the origin stories behind ingredients. Chef Kerba grew accustomed to joining his father—an impassioned gourmand himself—on trips throughout the city’s open-air markets and the vibrant countryside of Normandy of Provence. These childhood memories of meeting farmers and vintners from across France stuck with Chef Kerba and he developed a culinary style that combines a deep respect for tradition with a contemporary spirit of experimentation. This signature style flavors the menu at Le Giverny Bistro, which resides in the Emory Inn and tempts diners with updated, bistro-style French cuisine. Chef Kerba values the pedigrees of his ingredients above all else, and the kitchen seeks out seasonal produce and sustainably raised meats from local farmers and producers whenever possible. The dishes can include subtle New World influences, as in the case of the baked brie with local honey alongside its fresh mint and grilled flatbread. However, entrees such as the Southern-fried chicken breast with mashed potatoes and a lemon-caper butter sauce take an inverted approach and use Old-World flavors to elevate regional American classics. Wireframe models of the Eiffel Tower and the Cliffs of Dover are the only distinctive French accents in Le Giverny Bistro's dining room, which embraces a refined, yet welcoming, aesthetic. Crisp white linens adorn the tables, which are flanked by simple, straight-backed wooden chairs. Cinched drapes allow plenty of light to stream through the wall of windows, and a separate dining area warms guests beside the glow of a stone fireplace. To help contribute to the casual-and-romantic vibe, the bistro hosts live acoustic music on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Atlanta Bread stakes its name on the perfectly-baked rolls, baguettes, and pastries that emerge from its ovens each day. These tasty breads form the basis of sandwiches and paninis filled with honey maple ham, chargrilled chicken pesto, and hot pastrami. Signature sandwiches go a step further, combining meats and veggies into creations such as the chicken waldorf and salmon bahn-mi. Diners can also order options such as croissants and bagels or pair them with salads, soups, and smoothies. They also offering catering trays, loaded with signature sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts, to accommodate groups or one really finicky toddler.
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.
High above the bustling shops and bistros of Virginia-Highland, The Warren City Club members toast the view on a third-level garden terrace. Tiled in stone and surrounded by Atlanta's cityscape, the patio's rustic French doors lead to exclusive stomping grounds furnished with rich wooden furniture, aged brick walls, and no fewer than five roaring fireplaces. These elegant environs are housed in a turn-of-the-century building, and its timeless appeal is matched by cuisine prepared by Johnson and Wales?trained chef William Taylor.
While most must pay an entry fee to enjoy Chef Taylor's singular suppers such as the Captain Crunch?crusted Atlantic salmon or seared sea scallops over butternut-squash risotto, members enjoy unbarred access to any meal. Their status also grants them exclusive deals at local businesses including floral boutiques and personal trainers, and invisible "Members Only" jackets handcrafted by imperial tailors. Non-members hoping for an admission-free taste of the high life can attend Sunday Brunch, or drop by the Open House on the first Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to midnight.
La Fourchette has earned plaudits as one of the most romantic restaurants in the city by Gayot, and the eatery received a nod from critic John Kessler for elegant profiteroles. Its intimate interior is home to a menu melded from traditional French, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. Behind the scenes, French-trained chef Jeffrey Wall helms the kitchen to produce plates of foie gras, fig-balsamic hangar steak with frites, and tender, briny steamed mussels. He also oversees the preparation of dynamic Sunday brunches from a rotating weekly menu. This culinary syllabus presents sweets and savories such as brioche french toast and duck confit joined by soft scrambled eggs. A wine list, thoughtfully curated by sommelier Perrine Prieur, features sip-worthy complements to meals and spill-worthy complements to boring white shirts in need of a festive blot or a corporate logo.
Steamhouse Lounge has long been one of Atlanta’s favorite down ‘n’ dirty seafood restaurants. Unexpectedly located on West Peachtree in Midtown, this kitschy local favorite is known as much for their annual Oyster Fest as they are for an excellent lobster bisque, both of which come with a heavy side of neon lights and beachy accents. Patrons can sit in a cozy upstairs patio or sidle into one of the downstairs booths before making their way to the bar for drinks with friends. This may not be the best place to head for a first date or late dinner with the family, but Steamhouse is a great fit for anyone in the neighborhood looking to relax and enjoy some seafood. And if they’ve saved room, maybe a touch of chocolate peanut butter mousse cake as well.