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Oral Pleasures

DARK HORSE: Best Restaurant of the Year: Holeman and Finch

Staff Pick

This is the first year we've named a Restaurant of the Year. HOLEMAN AND FINCH prompted us to add the category. The Buckhead gastropub represents a new way of dining, where passion and fun collide, where the old-fashioned mode of dining (appetizer, entree, dessert) is obsolete, where bartenders and chefs make the rules, and the customers gleefully follow along. And because it was such an obvious choice for so many of our Best of Atlanta picks, we decided to roll Holeman and Finch into this umbrella award. We'd certainly have picked it for Best New Restaurant. It also takes the award for Best Burger – the off-menu burger served after 10 p.m. is a masterful example of how to do an American classic right – no gourmet bells and whistles, just sloppy deliciousness. And Greg Best absolutely deserves the award for Best Mixologist, bringing his chemistry-geek mind to the task of getting us liquored up, with winning results. Holeman and Finch represents what's great about dining in Atlanta in 2008.

Best Bar Food

The Glenwood

The latest restaurant trend in our city is inarguably the gastropub, which has rendered the usual negative associations with “bar food” archaic. THE GLENWOOD ATLANTA »more

Best Barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

After serving their barbecue to fanatical enthusiasts at Smith's Olde Bar, the brothers behind FOX BROS. BAR-B-Q finally secured their own space complete with outdoor »more

Best Best-Looking Waitstaff

Nam

Beauty and elegance congregate at NAM. This contemporary Vietnamese restaurant has a uniquely beautiful interior whose art celebrates the female form. The servers are immediate »more

Best Breakfast

West Egg

In the quest for a perfect breakfast, the question is always sweet or savory. WEST EGG ingeniously solves this problem by serving cinnamon butter alongside »more

Best Cheap Eats

Your Dekalb Farmers Market

The setting, inside a no-frills alcove next to the freezer section, is less than ideal. But people don't come to the cafeteria at YOUR DEKALB »more

Best Chinese

CAFE 101

CAFE 101 hasn't had as much attention as some other places, but absolutely deserves its share of the spotlight. Located in the quintessential Buford Highway »more

Best Cocktails

Beleza

The art of mixing cocktails has made a quantum leap in Atlanta over the past year, with mixologists presenting us with ever-yummier ways to get »more

Best Coffee

Batdorf & Bronson

As commonplace as it is, a tremendous amount of work and skill goes into making a perfect cup of coffee. Slight fluctuations in water temperature, »more

Best Cookies

Cookie Studio

It can be hard to find a cookie that lives up to the nostalgic memories of the ones popped fresh out of dear ol' Mom's »more

Best Cuban

Palomilla's Cuban Grill House

What makes the Cuban cooking at PALOMILLA'S CUBAN GRILL HOUSE special? For one thing, its chef, Javier Salas, is Peruvian. Tidier than the usual cafe, »more

Best Cupcakes

Sweet Pockets

Also located at 4338 Paces Ferry Road, 770-431-6611

Puppies, babies, iPods. People love mini versions of things, and cupcakes are no exception. The little bundles »more

Best Desserts

Southern Sweets Bakery

Nancy Cole's family-run SOUTHERN SWEETS BAKERY remains a favorite thanks to her staff's dedication to creating home-style sweets minus the muss and fuss. Rustic cherry »more

Best Ethiopian

Desta

The big difference at DESTA is that the chef, Titi Demissie, calls her cooking “modern Ethiopian” and only uses high-quality meats. She prefers to highlight »more

Best French

Atmosphère Restaurant

ATMOSPHÈRE RESTAURANT is that hidden gem that proves good French food in an authentic setting is not a pipe dream. Classics such as escargot dotted »more

Best Ice Cream

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream

Ice cream has been geared exclusively toward the kiddies for way too long. That's why we love MORELLI'S, where all age groups and palates are »more

Best Indian

Udipi Cafe

Decatur is an Indian-food paradise, and while many neighboring restaurants battle to be the Raj, no restaurant creates more exciting and satisfying Indian fare than »more

Best Italian

Sotto Sotto

Chef/owner Riccardo Ullio has expanded his culinary empire this year to include Spanish and “Brazilian-inspired” restaurants, but SOTTO SOTTO is still the shining star for »more

Best Japanese

Nakato Japanese Restaurant

There are few Japanese restaurants in Atlanta that offer various styles of the cuisine under one roof, but NAKATO JAPANESE RESTAURANT fits the bill. Home-style »more

Best Korean

Hanil Kwan

Korean food – especially barbecue – has become one of our city's most prevalent cuisines, but where do you go when the choices are so »more

Best Locally Brewed Beer

5 Season's Brewing

Glenn Sprouse's love of beer came from his childhood visits to Germany. After he became an engineer, he began to brew his own beer in »more

Best Mexican

Taqueria La Oaxaqueña

TAQUERIA LA OAXAQUEÑA stands out among the tasty yet ubiquitous Mexican competitors because of its wide variety of specialties. The tlayuda (a large tortilla covered »more

Best Middle Eastern

Rumi's Kitchen

Not all cities can boast about their fantastic Persian cuisine, but Atlanta is lucky enough to be home to RUMI'S KITCHEN, where the food of »more

Best Patio Dining

Shaun's

There's an Old World charm to the courtyard at SHAUN'S. Snugly enclosed by aged brick walls and climbing vines, the 50-seat patio is a fitting »more

Best Pizza

Pizzeria Fortunato

Driving to Smyrna for a slice of New York pie may seem mad given the outrageous gas prices, but PIZZERIA FORTUNATO is worth the trek. »more

Best Restaurant For A First Date

Spoon

There's only one chance to make a first impression, and the right restaurant is essential. You're looking for atmosphere – lighting that's seductive and cozy, »more

Best Restaurant For Late-Night Dining

Top Flr

Late night is all about attitude, and the best attitude in town can be found at TOP FLR, where the clientele is cool and the »more

Best Restaurant To Bring The Kids

O K Cafe

OK CAFE offers the best combination of cuisine and atmosphere if kids are a factor. If the wait for a table is long, kids will »more

Best Restaurant Trend

Farm-to-table cooking

The hottest trend this year is also the best: FARM-TO-TABLE COOKING has finally taken off like wildfire, from such swank establishments as Home to neighborhood »more

Best Restaurant Worth The Long Trip

Five and Ten

Until the state builds the much-needed Brain Train from Atlanta to Athens, you can be excused for not wanting to stray too far from home »more

Best Sandwiches

Parish Food and Goods

We've been waiting a long time for a truly fantastic po' boy in this town, and now PARISH FOOD AND GOODS has finally given us »more

Best Soul Food and Best Fried Chicken

Busy Bee Cafe

No other soul/Southern food spot can hold a candle to the perennially bustling and boisterous BUSY BEE CAFÉ, an Atlanta institution since 1947. The “beelicious” »more

Best Southern

Restaurant Eugene

New Southern cooking is a trend we applaud, and this year has certainly seen a rise in the number of chefs and restaurants embracing regional »more

Best Spanish

Cuerno

Finally, Atlanta has a Spanish restaurant that takes the food way beyond the tapas trend. CUERNO opened this year with rich and filling paellas, entrees »more

Best Steaks

Bone's Restaurant

When it comes to steaks, sexy and sleek contemporary digs are all well and good, but there's something to be said about old-school steakhouses that »more

Best Sunday Brunch

Pura Vida

For years, PURA VIDA has been one of Atlanta's most popular tapas restaurants, but who knew the approach to Sunday brunch would prove so equally »more

Best Sushi

Taka

Chef/owner Takao Moriuchi's Buckhead sushi bar, TAKA, is a favorite among sushi connoisseurs for its affordability, artistry and quality. He consistently sources pristine fish and »more

Best Tacos

El Rey del Taco

There are three components that make a taco superb: the tortillas, the filling and the salsa. TAQUERIA EL REY DEL TACO gets them all right. »more

Best Thai

Tamarind Seed

There are about a zillion Thai restaurants in town and most of them taste alike. One notable exception is TAMARIND SEED, owned by chef Nan »more

Best Vegetarian

Dynamic Dish

David Sweeny's DYNAMIC DISH would be one of our favorite restaurants even if it weren't healthy and meat-free. The Old Fourth Ward cafe has the »more

Best Veggie Burgers

Burger Joe's

Veggie burgers are like decaffeinated coffee, nonalcoholic beer and Paul McCartney's music since the Beatles – even when you're enjoying them, it's hard not to »more

Best Veggie Meal at a Nonvegetarian Restaurant

JCT Kitchen

Vegetables are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the new Southern cuisine served at chef Ford Fry's JCT KITCHEN »more

Best Vietnamese

Pho Dai Loi Restaurant

There's little more satisfying than a big bowl of pho, and PHO DAI LOI RESTAURANT makes the best. The broth is clear with no sediment »more

Best Waitstaff

The National

OK, we know THE NATIONAL is in Athens, and this is Best of Atlanta, but we love the waitstaff there so much we're asking that »more

Best Wine Bar

Krog Bar

The wine list is well-cultivated Italian-Spanish, with a dash of French. The menu is sophisticated-yet-simple Mediterranean finger food. And the mood is modern hunting lodge, »more

Best Wine List

Joel

Chef Joel Antunes may have left his namesake restaurant for the challenges of New York City, but the wine list at JOEL hasn't suffered in »more

DARK HORSE: Best Restaurant of the Year

Holeman and Finch

This is the first year we've named a Restaurant of the Year. HOLEMAN AND FINCH prompted us to add the category. The Buckhead gastropub represents »more

FAVORITE SON: Best Overall Restaurant

Bacchanalia

The flagship restaurant of Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison still delivers like nowhere else in town. BACCHANALIA serves pristine ingredients, many of them from Quatrano's »more

Best Bar Food

The Glenwood

The latest restaurant trend in our city is inarguably the gastropub, which has rendered the usual negative associations with “bar food” archaic. THE GLENWOOD ATLANTA »more

Best Barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

After serving their barbecue to fanatical enthusiasts at Smith's Olde Bar, the brothers behind FOX BROS. BAR-B-Q finally secured their own space complete with outdoor »more

Best Best-Looking Waitstaff

Nam

Beauty and elegance congregate at NAM. This contemporary Vietnamese restaurant has a uniquely beautiful interior whose art celebrates the female form. The servers are immediate »more

Best Breakfast

West Egg

In the quest for a perfect breakfast, the question is always sweet or savory. WEST EGG ingeniously solves this problem by serving cinnamon butter alongside »more

Best Cheap Eats

Your Dekalb Farmers Market

The setting, inside a no-frills alcove next to the freezer section, is less than ideal. But people don't come to the cafeteria at YOUR DEKALB »more

Best Chinese

CAFE 101

CAFE 101 hasn't had as much attention as some other places, but absolutely deserves its share of the spotlight. Located in the quintessential Buford Highway »more

Best Cocktails

Beleza

The art of mixing cocktails has made a quantum leap in Atlanta over the past year, with mixologists presenting us with ever-yummier ways to get »more

Best Coffee

Batdorf & Bronson

As commonplace as it is, a tremendous amount of work and skill goes into making a perfect cup of coffee. Slight fluctuations in water temperature, »more

Best Cookies

Cookie Studio

It can be hard to find a cookie that lives up to the nostalgic memories of the ones popped fresh out of dear ol' Mom's »more

Best Cuban

Palomilla's Cuban Grill House

What makes the Cuban cooking at PALOMILLA'S CUBAN GRILL HOUSE special? For one thing, its chef, Javier Salas, is Peruvian. Tidier than the usual cafe, »more

Best Cupcakes

Sweet Pockets

Also located at 4338 Paces Ferry Road, 770-431-6611

Puppies, babies, iPods. People love mini versions of things, and cupcakes are no exception. The little bundles »more

Best Desserts

Southern Sweets Bakery

Nancy Cole's family-run SOUTHERN SWEETS BAKERY remains a favorite thanks to her staff's dedication to creating home-style sweets minus the muss and fuss. Rustic cherry »more

Best Ethiopian

Desta

The big difference at DESTA is that the chef, Titi Demissie, calls her cooking “modern Ethiopian” and only uses high-quality meats. She prefers to highlight »more

Best French

Atmosphère Restaurant

ATMOSPHÈRE RESTAURANT is that hidden gem that proves good French food in an authentic setting is not a pipe dream. Classics such as escargot dotted »more

Best Ice Cream

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream

Ice cream has been geared exclusively toward the kiddies for way too long. That's why we love MORELLI'S, where all age groups and palates are »more

Best Indian

Udipi Cafe

Decatur is an Indian-food paradise, and while many neighboring restaurants battle to be the Raj, no restaurant creates more exciting and satisfying Indian fare than »more

Best Italian

Sotto Sotto

Chef/owner Riccardo Ullio has expanded his culinary empire this year to include Spanish and “Brazilian-inspired” restaurants, but SOTTO SOTTO is still the shining star for »more

Best Japanese

Nakato Japanese Restaurant

There are few Japanese restaurants in Atlanta that offer various styles of the cuisine under one roof, but NAKATO JAPANESE RESTAURANT fits the bill. Home-style »more

Best Korean

Hanil Kwan

Korean food – especially barbecue – has become one of our city's most prevalent cuisines, but where do you go when the choices are so »more

Best Locally Brewed Beer

5 Season's Brewing

Glenn Sprouse's love of beer came from his childhood visits to Germany. After he became an engineer, he began to brew his own beer in »more

Best Mexican

Taqueria La Oaxaqueña

TAQUERIA LA OAXAQUEÑA stands out among the tasty yet ubiquitous Mexican competitors because of its wide variety of specialties. The tlayuda (a large tortilla covered »more

Best Middle Eastern

Rumi's Kitchen

Not all cities can boast about their fantastic Persian cuisine, but Atlanta is lucky enough to be home to RUMI'S KITCHEN, where the food of »more

Best Patio Dining

Shaun's

There's an Old World charm to the courtyard at SHAUN'S. Snugly enclosed by aged brick walls and climbing vines, the 50-seat patio is a fitting »more

Best Pizza

Pizzeria Fortunato

Driving to Smyrna for a slice of New York pie may seem mad given the outrageous gas prices, but PIZZERIA FORTUNATO is worth the trek. »more

Best Restaurant For A First Date

Spoon

There's only one chance to make a first impression, and the right restaurant is essential. You're looking for atmosphere – lighting that's seductive and cozy, »more

Best Restaurant For Late-Night Dining

Top Flr

Late night is all about attitude, and the best attitude in town can be found at TOP FLR, where the clientele is cool and the »more

Best Restaurant To Bring The Kids

O K Cafe

OK CAFE offers the best combination of cuisine and atmosphere if kids are a factor. If the wait for a table is long, kids will »more

Best Restaurant Trend

Farm-to-table cooking

The hottest trend this year is also the best: FARM-TO-TABLE COOKING has finally taken off like wildfire, from such swank establishments as Home to neighborhood »more

Best Restaurant Worth The Long Trip

Five and Ten

Until the state builds the much-needed Brain Train from Atlanta to Athens, you can be excused for not wanting to stray too far from home »more

Best Sandwiches

Parish Food and Goods

We've been waiting a long time for a truly fantastic po' boy in this town, and now PARISH FOOD AND GOODS has finally given us »more

Best Soul Food and Best Fried Chicken

Busy Bee Cafe

No other soul/Southern food spot can hold a candle to the perennially bustling and boisterous BUSY BEE CAFÉ, an Atlanta institution since 1947. The “beelicious” »more

Best Southern

Restaurant Eugene

New Southern cooking is a trend we applaud, and this year has certainly seen a rise in the number of chefs and restaurants embracing regional »more

Best Spanish

Cuerno

Finally, Atlanta has a Spanish restaurant that takes the food way beyond the tapas trend. CUERNO opened this year with rich and filling paellas, entrees »more

Best Steaks

Bone's Restaurant

When it comes to steaks, sexy and sleek contemporary digs are all well and good, but there's something to be said about old-school steakhouses that »more

Best Sunday Brunch

Pura Vida

For years, PURA VIDA has been one of Atlanta's most popular tapas restaurants, but who knew the approach to Sunday brunch would prove so equally »more

Best Sushi

Taka

Chef/owner Takao Moriuchi's Buckhead sushi bar, TAKA, is a favorite among sushi connoisseurs for its affordability, artistry and quality. He consistently sources pristine fish and »more

Best Tacos

El Rey del Taco

There are three components that make a taco superb: the tortillas, the filling and the salsa. TAQUERIA EL REY DEL TACO gets them all right. »more

Best Thai

Tamarind Seed

There are about a zillion Thai restaurants in town and most of them taste alike. One notable exception is TAMARIND SEED, owned by chef Nan »more

Best Vegetarian

Dynamic Dish

David Sweeny's DYNAMIC DISH would be one of our favorite restaurants even if it weren't healthy and meat-free. The Old Fourth Ward cafe has the »more

Best Veggie Burgers

Burger Joe's

Veggie burgers are like decaffeinated coffee, nonalcoholic beer and Paul McCartney's music since the Beatles – even when you're enjoying them, it's hard not to »more

Best Veggie Meal at a Nonvegetarian Restaurant

JCT Kitchen

Vegetables are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the new Southern cuisine served at chef Ford Fry's JCT KITCHEN »more

Best Vietnamese

Pho Dai Loi Restaurant

There's little more satisfying than a big bowl of pho, and PHO DAI LOI RESTAURANT makes the best. The broth is clear with no sediment »more

Best Waitstaff

The National

OK, we know THE NATIONAL is in Athens, and this is Best of Atlanta, but we love the waitstaff there so much we're asking that »more

Best Wine Bar

Krog Bar

The wine list is well-cultivated Italian-Spanish, with a dash of French. The menu is sophisticated-yet-simple Mediterranean finger food. And the mood is modern hunting lodge, »more

Best Wine List

Joel

Chef Joel Antunes may have left his namesake restaurant for the challenges of New York City, but the wine list at JOEL hasn't suffered in »more

DARK HORSE: Best Restaurant of the Year

Holeman and Finch

This is the first year we've named a Restaurant of the Year. HOLEMAN AND FINCH prompted us to add the category. The Buckhead gastropub represents »more

FAVORITE SON: Best Overall Restaurant

Bacchanalia

The flagship restaurant of Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison still delivers like nowhere else in town. BACCHANALIA serves pristine ingredients, many of them from Quatrano's »more

(No prior years awarded this category)
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