NFT Atlanta Peachtree Battle

Peachtree Battle

This point on Peachtree Street once marked the end of youthful, enterprising Midtown and the beginning of Old Money, upper-crust Buckhead. Today the lines are more blurred, but upscale, gated homes neighboring the Governor’s Mansion and Bobby Jones Golf Course serve as a reminder of who built—and still controls—much of Buckhead.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Varasano's Pizzeria
The half-million or so expatriate New Yorkers who call the ATL home are unified in one common bitch: the pizza sucks here. Upon its much ballyhooed opening a year ago, Varasano's Pizzeria in south Buckhead (opposite P. Diddy's mashed potato emporium, Justin's), did wonders to mollify the grumbling masses. For all the hype and accolades, I found the restaurant, drenched in rich reds at the bottom of a slow-selling condo tower, laidback and inviting. The tables come with step-by-step instructions on how to properly hold, fold and devour the pie. The spinach salad, drizzled in house raspberry vinaigrette, is buttressed by a killer gorgonzola. We had the Salumi--Italian cured meats and spiced olives--and finished with a slightly strange New Haven Clam--clams, mussels in white sauce (try red). The sourdough yeasts prized by the namesake owner make a terrific crust, gripped by just enough char. Each pie was about $15, and filling enough for leftovers. The wait-staff gives detailed reheating instructions for the slices you can't finish. I found it delectable, cold.

Posted By:  Carrie Neal Walden
Photo:  Carrie Neal Walden

Sushi House
Everyone needs a home base, and when you're in the mood for sushi it should be Sushi House. Under new ownership from the former Imari, it's sleek but casual, open late and serves up some of the best rolls, sashimi and creative specials in town. If your tastes are on the tame side, pick from their avocado, eel, California or spicy tuna roll; if you kick it up a notch, venture into tasty treats like the Happy Sumo or Emperor rolls, or try selections from their "Fusion Sushi" side of the menu. And even if it's not your usual poison, go a little wild and try one of their sakes--let the bartender pick a "flavor" for you and make you one of their specialty sake cocktails and enjoy! You can dine at the cozy little bar, at the sushi counter, or in the restaurant, and they do to-go till the 2 am. A nice addition to this piece of Buckhead!

Posted By:  Carrie Neal Walden
Photo:  Carrie Neal Walden

Sometimes, there's a mission behind a restaurant that just gets everyone excited. In this case, it starts with the name. Vita is Italian for "life" and the new Italian restaurant on Peachtree Road celebrates it. The owner, Tony LaRocco of Fratelli di Napoli, recently opened the newest Italian spot in town. Why try it? The food is authentic and delicious--try the chicken parm, the mussels come in six varieties and the Caesar dressing is perfectly creamy--the bar is gorgeously appointed, and the servers are pros. They also serve well-priced wine and one of my favorite (good) champagnes by the glass! This is a great pick for any night of the week; they've just introduced a weekend brunch, and my bet is you'll leave full, happy and looking forward to your next visit!

Posted By:  Deanna Jue
Photo:  Deanna Jue

Some vegetarian friends from DC driving through Atlanta wanted one last decent meatless meal before heading to a carnivorous family vacation in Alabama, where eating lots of hush puppies would be their only means of survival. Café Sunflower to the rescue! Dishes are inspired by a long list of places I’d like to visit—the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and more—and nary a meat to be found. There is a separate lunch and slightly more upscale dinner menu, and the relaxed atmosphere would make an ideal first date for any veggie loving couple. Unfortunately on our visit, the waiter informed us that the quinoa had gone bad. But no fear. My understudy menu choice, the peppercorn crusted tempeh atop a bed of mashed potatoes, did just fine. The inventive dishes, as well as the distinctive interpretations of classic fare, have made this one of the top vegetarian options in the city. As added bonus vegetarian fun—they also offer meatless cooking classes and special holiday buffets. If you love the Café but need a change, just head up to the second location in Sandy Springs. And if you really, really love Café Sunflower, add them as your MySpace friend.

Posted By:  Danny Maughon
Photo:  Carla Aaron-Lopez

Atlanta Photography Group and Gallery
Founded in 1987 by a group of photographers and collectors, The Atlanta Photography Group (APG) has blossomed into THE non-profit photography center in the Southern United States. APG’s twenty year trek has taken it from humble beginnings in a home, to a recently remodeled spacious location within Atlanta’s Tula Art Center where it now attracts nationally acclaimed jurors and artists from across the country. APG’s current show, Emerging Visions 07 juried by Elizabeth Turk, is a biennial view of the future of photography as seen through the eyes of 21 Southern student photographers. Emerging Visions which runs through June 8, 2007 at the The Atlanta Photography Group Gallery ranges from the dreamy silver gelatin print Hand Reaching In by Addison Hill, the color digital abstracts World Unseen by Rebecca Stern, and the direct color urban portraits by both Carla Aaron-Lopez and Daniel Agee.

Posted By:  Mark Rogers

Figo Pasta is a trattoria—a working people’s restaurant that does not skimp despite the modest prices. Its numerous locations around town are as much owed to its hospitality as to its great food. Yet Figo’s distinctiveness lies in its breaks with as much as its devotion to tradition. After all, Derrida said that “America is deconstruction” and food is a great place to see it in action. At Figo, you pick from a list of pastas (including raviolis, gnocchi, and papardelle)—fresh or dried—and an assortment of sauces; you mix and match what looks good to you. Purists might scoff at this system, but who cares? Owners Mirko and Sandro want you to feel at home and they achieve that with a minimum of the daunting “don’ts” that can often make dining intimidating. But if all this seems like too much of a decision-making process, they offer many time-honored classics, usually as a daily special. Do not miss the “Zucca;” butternut squash ravioli with a radicchio-mascarpone reduction. And at under $20 for a pasta dish, a salad or an app, and glass of wine, you could have a new favorite every week.

Posted By:  Shelley Howell
Photo:  Shelley Howell

Watch out Hollywood—Atlanta, the ATL, has its own A-list of celebrity restaurants. Well-known Dunwoody resident Sean P-Diddy Combs owns one of these culinary cribs on Peachtree Street called Justin’s. The place perches on the border of Buckhead and Midtown and serves up Southern soul food with a Caribbean flair–but few pay as much attention to the cuisine as the front door, and the two full bars, to catch who’s coming in and who’s carrying the crowd. Remember to bring your A-game for the A-list and, oh yeah, A Wallet. Prices are high–but just think of the golden elbows you’re rubbing.

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