While Dallas’ pizza scene may not be mentioned in the same breath as New York slices or Chicago deep dish anytime soon, the area has nonetheless made great strides over the past decade to churn out fantastic pies. Whether you’re into authentic Neapolitan style or you like your pies topped with newfangled ingredients like chicken and ranch dressing, there’s a Dallas pizzeria out there for you. For slices with a wafer-thin, crackery crust and a robust, spicy tomato sauce, beloved dive bar Louie’s on Henderson Avenue in East Dallas is the place to go. The nondescript white building may look unassuming, but the pies have a loyal cult following that keeps the parking lot packed on a nightly basis, thanks in part to a coveted appearance on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Pitchers of beer and slightly surly service are a charming part of the Louie’s experience, as is the zippy Italian sausage that seems to top nearly every pizza that emerges from the pint-sized kitchen. If authentic pies from the motherland are what you seek, look no further than Olivella’s, a tiny but charming hole-in-the-wall located near Southern Methodist University. Owner Charlie Green brought in a Naples native to train the staff when he opened his pizzeria back in 2007, and it shows. The pies are about as real-deal Neapolitan as you can get, cooked quickly in a rocket-hot, wood-burning oven that gives the crust an irresistible char. There’s also a thin, crisp-crusted Roman-style pizza that’s served up in long rectangles. Customers can keep things traditional with the Margherita pizza, or order the fan favorite The Dream, made with housemade mozzarella, tangy gorgonzola, pancetta, chicken and jalapeños. Plenty of pizzerias in the city claim to be New York-style, but Zoli’s New York Pizza Tavern owner Jay Jerrier went the extra mile and brought in a consultant from a popular Brooklyn slice joint to help perfect the pies at his casual, counter-service Oak Cliff spot. Three different pizza categories are offered by the slice: the typical chewy-crusted New York-style, the thicker-crusted, slightly fluffy Grandma with sweet pomodoro sauce, and the extra-thick Sicilian with a robust, anchovy-laced finish. No need to feel bashful about asking for a side of ranch dressing here – Zoli’s makes its own jalapeño ranch in-house.Read More
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Food doesn't get much better than Blue Grotto. This Sandy Springs staple is sure to satisfy your appetite no matter what your stomach wants.
It’s not that Atlanta’s best date-night restaurants are lacking in the food department—the city's chefs make exquisite Italian, French, Persian, and Indian dishes. It’s just that the eateries’ romantic atmospheres do most of the work when it comes to setting the mood. Picturesque gardens inspire stolen kisses at La Grotta. An avant-garde chandelier and black-and-white decor ooze elegance at Aria. And the soft melodies emanating from the Chattahoochee River underscore quiet conversation at Canoe. Multiple Locations: Italian Gardens La Grotta | Multiple Locations At La Grotta’s two locations, breathtaking gardens serve as an enchanting backdrop for dates. In Buckhead, lush foliage rises from stone-lined flowerbeds in the courtyard, whereas at the Ravinia eatery, trickling waterfalls cut through the greenery. At both restaurants, chefs serve organic Italian fare—even custom dishes, if you call ahead. Buckhead Village: Painstakingly Staged Dinners Aria | 490 E. Paces Ferry Rd. NE Dinner at Aria is more than just another meal; it’s the main event. Chefs spend all day preparing, often letting meats roast, simmer, or stew for hours. By the time guests gather under the avant-garde chandelier, chefs need only focus on putting the finishing touches on their expertly plated contemporary American fare. Downtown: 360 Skyline View Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View | 210 Peachtree St. NW Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View rotates throughout the day from its perch on the top floor of the Westin. That means guests get to see different pieces of Atlanta’s skyline during the course of their meal, or they can head to the observatory for a 360-degree view. North Atlanta: French Cuisine with Piano Accompaniment Violette | 2948 Clairmont Rd. NE Coq au vin, roasted duck breast, and chocolate mousse are among the most popular French dishes at Violette. But it’s not just the cuisine that makes it so romantic; the eatery resides in a secluded building 50 feet from the street, and hosts live piano music six times a week. Vinings: Romance on the River Canoe | 4199 Paces Ferry Rd. NW Set on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, Canoe’s name couldn’t be more fitting. Riverside gardens and walkways are perfect for a post-dinner stroll, while in the dining room, iron vines, animal sculptures, and a canoe-inspired ceiling bring the outdoors in. This warm, rustic setting complements the seasonal cuisine. Buckhead: Sensual Surroundings Tantra Restaurant and Bar | 2285 Peachtree Rd. NE Once a week, Tantra Restaurant and Bar hosts “Sultry Jazz Thursdays,” when live musicians supply the mood music. But every night at Tantra could be considered sultry thanks to the risqué artwork on its walls and the spicy Persian and Indian cuisine served by its chefs. Downtown Decatur: Practice Your French Cafe Alsace | 121 E. Ponce De Leon Ave. Dinner here is the next best thing to a European vacation: every server speaks French, and the food—from pecan-stuffed chicken to sauerkraut with three sausages—exhibits the French and German influences of the restaurant's namesake region. Sandy Springs: Where the River Meets the Sea Ray's on the River | 6700 Powers Ferry Rd. NW Live Maine lobsters are flown in fresh every day to Ray's on the River, as is all of its certified-sustainable seafood. The fish has to be delicious to compete with Ray's other specialty: hearty Black Angus steaks, aged for a minimum of 21 days. Midtown: European Wines Ecco | 40 7th St. NE Rich, dark wood and leather give Ecco's dining room a laid-back feel. But peek inside the open kitchen and you’ll see chefs bustling to prepare small plates of seasonal European cuisine such as cured meats and cheeses, wood-fired octopus, and salt-roasted beets. The dishes complement Ecco's rare European wines. Poncey-Highland: Heat Up the Warehouse Two Urban Licks | 820 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE Two Urban Licks was once a warehouse and the industrial vibe lingers on in the dining room's enormous rotating rotisserie. There's also an entire 26-foot wall devoted to 72 barrels of wine, which pour via a gravity-powered system.Read More
Nothing beats a real girls’ night out. Thankfully, Atlanta has plenty of perfect spots for you and your female friends to have fun and reconnect -- or paint the town red. Whether you just want to catch up over coffee or down a few cocktails, the city has several choices that will make sure your group has a great time. At Café Intermezzo, expect your cup of joe – and your conversation – to be taken to a higher level. The hefty drink menu reads like a small novel and features standard favorites from mochas to cappuccinos, as well as crazy concoctions involving alcohol, whipped cream and more. The décor is designed after the European cafes popular in Vienna, and accordingly adds a bit of glamour that is a step above your average coffee chain. There is a full menu, including panini and pastas made fresh to order; just be sure to save room for dessert. And if you’re looking to impress your friends, excuse yourself to bone up on an exotic word or two from whatever foreign language tape is playing in the restrooms that day. If you and the ladies are looking for authentic Italian-style pizza in Atlanta, Fritti is the spot. It’s more upscale than standard pizza parlors, and the thin crusts and fresh ingredients will make you feel like you’ve met your friends in Rome for the evening. Choose from an extensive list of Italian wines to make sure that the conversation will flow easily, and then bask in Fritti’s décor while you wait for your pie. The restaurant is filled with intimate touches that will make you believe that you’re truly enjoying a special evening out. If you’d rather meet up for a few drinks outside the perimeter, check out d’Vine Wine Bar & Shop, inside the Shops of Dunwoody’s shopping center. Official wine tastings are Mondays and Tuesdays, but with flights offered, it’s as if there are wine tastings every night of the week except Sunday, when they’re closed. And on top of it all, the staff is exceedingly friendly and knowledgeable about the available pours. You can pull from the small menu for bites that will properly accompany your bottle of vino, but the star of the night at d’Vine truly is the wine list, which spans more than 500 bottles and 60 wines by the glass. So sit back, relax and let your hair down with your friends – just make sure someone gives you all a ride home.Read More
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