Before Bennett, Steven and I must’ve dined out for nearly every meal.
That is, every meal on the weekends. After all, Steven was only home Thursday after dinner through Sunday. Ain’t nobody got time to cook every single night for one person. Instead, I’d make one meal and spread it out over the next four nights. It worked. We saved a bunch on our grocery bill each month (I spent maybe $45 a week on groceries…if that). Although, our dining out budget was decimated by the close of the first weekend of the month. Whoops.
I love cooking dinner for my husband now. Every wife is different, but I enjoy planning out what we’ll eat each night. I made sure to include ‘chef’ in my defining of my role as a SAHM. It can be challenging to care for little man while cooking dinner, but somehow, cooking has become somewhat therapeutic at the close of our days together.
Having said that, I still think about about this past life from time-to-time…this life where I could tell Steven to meet me at a restaurant…and they did all of the cooking…and the cleaning. And I didn’t have a fussy babe on my lap, who somehow loses his mind right when our food arrives.
Ahhh, yes. Dinner before baby was swell. Don’t get me wrong, I love having my little guy with us. Still, sometimes it is nice to have a date night to remember just how much fun it is to be across the table from my favorite guy…and remember why there is a little guy to bring to said restaurants.
In the spirit of sharing the love, I’ve decided to feature my top 10 favorite restaurants from around the city, along with my favorite dish from each. *
1. Anis Bistro (French); Garden Hills (in Buckhead)
Every time I visit Anis, I feel like I’ve been whisked back to Paris. The atmosphere is romantic and colorful and reminds me of a cobblestone side street with a hidden gem. This particular restaurant has a great wine selection and excellent service.
Favorite dish: Tortellini and Boeuf Braisé : tender, savory, and memorable. This dish will certainly bring you back for more.
2. Pasta Da Puchinella (Italian); Midtown
This is a holiday favorite for Steven and I. It reminds me of Christmas, although this particular 20’s bungalow could be dined at all year. We always ask each other why we don’t visit more often, although, I suppose it wouldn’t be quite as special. The wine selection is excellent; the service is phenomenal.
Favorite dish: Chicken Cannelloni…if only I could find a way to re-create this dish at home. Good.ness.
3. Verde Taqueria; Brookhaven; Westside
If you’ve dined in Brookhaven, chances are, you’ve dined here. It is a neighborhood favorite; traditionally packed all year round. With two patios (one is covered and heated in the winter), and a bustling dining room, this restaurant is lively enough for a date night, and accessible enough for families (most of us end up there around 5 p.m., so if you’re looking to avoid babies, go closer to 7 :))
Favorite dish: Black and Blue Quesadilla…steak and blue cheese–yes please. Their tacos aren’t too shabby either.
4. Cafe 640 ; (American Fare) Virginia Highlands
This is another sentimental favorite: Steven and I had our first date at this restaurant, sitting across from each other at a bistro table. Only, the restaurant was Cafe di Sol at the time. Now, it has been transformed into a delicious American Fare Bistro/Bar. Steven and I returned this year for our New Years Eve dinner, where they were offering 1/2 priced bottles of wine. Yes. Wine Wednesdays are a thing. You should probably try the food out then. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the food at Cafe 640. The servers were kind and accommodating and welcomed us and our little boy with open arms.
My one complaint: the font on the menu…Papyrus should never be anyone’s default font. Right, Tripp and Tyler?
Favorite dish: Mushroom Ravioli. Ever have a moment when you bite into a dish and know that you’ll never forget the bliss of that first bite? That’s how good this ravioli was!
5. Fritti (Pizza); Inman Park
Admittedly, it has been a while since I munched on their Neapolitan Pizzas, but my goodness. These are meant to be savored and enjoyed. Located in, quite possibly, one of my favorite pockets of Atlanta, Fritti offers delicious fare, from appetizers to dessert, and you certainly won’t leave hungry.
Favorite dish: Crudo e Rucola. Give me any pizza with some pancetta and peppery arugula and I am a happy girl.
6. Shorty’s Pizza; Tucker and Toco Hills
I get it; there really isn’t much else bringing you to these two neighborhoods, but please. For your personal happiness, eat at Shorty’s. Seriously. This is probably my favorite restaurant in the city; though the Toco Hills location leaves much to be desired from an atmospheric perspective, there is absolutely nothing to be desired in their food. Oh. My. Gosh.
Steven and I happened to find this place on a drive when I begged him to find me some food–fast. We walked into the restaurant and I thought, “was this once a dry cleaners?” and nearly asked him to leave.
And I am SO glad we stayed.
They’re obviously known for their pizza. (Yum). But let me let you in on a little secret: try something else. EVERYTHING is delicious.
Favorite dish: everything…but my go-to is the Veggie Sandwich. AND DO NOT FORGET to order a cookie. My goodness. YOU MUST EAT THE COOKIE!
7. Murphy’s (Brunch); Virginia Highlands
This cannot be understated. I love Murphy’s. The website lists the restaurant as a restaurant…and I’m sure their lunch and dinner is fabulous.
But their brunch is where it’s at. That’s what most Atlantans know to be true.
If you make a trip to Atlanta, try Murphy’s in the morning.
Favorite dish: Eggs Virginia Highland. My mouth is watering.
8. Cafe Jonah (Brunch) Buckhead
So, this particular restaurant doesn’t have any fixed prices (suggested price is $20) for Sunday brunch. Instead, they opt for a donation-only style brunch. There are no hostesses or waitresses, so tables are first come-first serve. Unfortunately, many people know about this place on Sundays, so it is best to get there early. Be sure to try their grits and French toast casserole (if they are available!)
9. Two Urban Licks (American); Old Fourth Ward
Cool atmosphere? Check. Delicious food? Check. Right outside of Inman Park? Check. Atlantans know that you’ve got to try Two Urban Licks at least once.
My picks: the lamb lollipops and the bistro steak. Apparently I’m a carnivore.
10. Cafe Intermezzo (Dessert); Midtown, Perimeter/Sandy Springs
Looking for a late-night coffee? Night cap? Delicious dessert? Nearly every Atlanta resident will recommend this gem.
My picks? Chocolate gelato , tiramisu, and decaf french press.
*I didn’t include any Decatur restaurant because, let’s face it, there is too much competition over there. Excellent chefs, excellent fare, a great place to dine. You can’t really go wrong on the square, though Brickstore Pub (excellent craft beer selection) and Raging Burrito (I don’t really need to elaborate here, though their salsa is phenomenal) are my two favorites.