Good Eats 

Our critics' guide to Atlanta restaurants


Inside Perimeter

Ansley Park
Deux Plex, 1789 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-733-5900. Deux Plex has a split personality, with a spacious dance club located downstairs from the unpretentious French bistro above. If you fear the snobby reputation of French eateries, rest assured that Deux Plex features affable servers, affordable prices and a generally pleasing approach to such dishes as mussels, pork shank and the pate and charcuterie appetizer. www.deuxplex.com $$

Fat Matt's Rib Shack, 1811 Piedmont Ave., 404-607-1622. One of the most satisfying BBQ joints inside the perimeter, Fat Matt's has a collection of blues posters nearly worth the visit itself. The menu is short but full of mouth-watering choices, particularly the sandwich of chopped pork shoulder. Neophytes should know that the Barbecue Rib Sandwich is literally a small rack served on white bread for sopping up the juice. $$

Roxx, 1824 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-892-4541. On one of Intown's hottest blocks is a sassy cross between Einstein's volcanic be-seen scene and some laid-back cruise bar with a dinerteria menu. The mostly male crowd (all ages and types) has learned that it's best to stick with the simplest grill items: tasty gourmet burgers with fries; black-bean chili served in a cup or over a dog; sauteed spinach; and iceberg lettuce salad with crumbled blue cheese. Service varies. Beers and wines are properly chilled. $$
Buckhead/Brookhaven
Ali-Oli Restaurant & Gourmet-To-Go, 3535 Peachtree Road, 404-266-0414. Stunning interior, restrained yet sumptuously textured. A glorious setting in which to ponder the delights of garlic and olive oil. Do it with steamed fish or an array of roasted or grilled meats and vegetables enhanced by fragrant wine reductions. $$

Antica Posta, 519 E. Paces Ferry Road, 404-262-7112. At the former Riviera, French cuisine has been replaced by Tuscan specialties such as superb risottos and superior but simply prepared seafood and seasonal vegetables. Prices are down, and so is the glitz factor. Service and comforts are still first rate, making this a special-occasion destination as well as a place to enjoy the kind of Italian food served in Italy, not New York. $$$$

Aria, 490 E. Paces Ferry Road, 404-233-7673. After yet another redesign, the former Hedgerose Heights is being repositioned as a Buckhead-casual hangout for young, hot entrepreneurs and similarly questing fast-trackers. Gerry Klaskala's accomplished American cuisine -- slow-cooked chicken and beef, soups, grilled meats -- and Kathryn King's dreamy desserts more than make up for the half-baked, weirdly erotic decor by Bill Johnson Studio. $$$$

Atlanta Fish Market, 265 Pharr Road, 404-262-3165. Size does matter at Buckhead's popular seafood spot, from the giant copper fish out front to the massive but hospitable dining room, designed after a Savannah train station. Seek out the lump crab cake or pecan-crusted swordfish, but if you can't make up your mind, fall back on the kind of fried platter you might find at Red Lobster, only here prepared to perfection. $$$$

Blue Ridge Grill, 1261 W. Paces Ferry Road, 404-233-5030. Like an Adirondack hunting lodge for billionaires, Blue Ridge Grill boasts an imposing but warm dining room and mouth-watering meat dishes from the wood-burning grill. The barbecue quail, five-spice pork chops and apple-stuffed Georgia trout are all standouts, and the kitchen offers some savory variations on the omnipresent crab cake. $$$$

Bluepointe, 3455 Peachtree Road, 404-237-9070. As at Karatassos-chain sisters Nava, Chops and Veni Vidi Vici, this highly theatrical, biz-casual newcomer takes time-tested ideas and recipes, tones them down, dresses them up and attempts to reproduce the lot on what amounts to a culinary assembly line. Definitely a be-seen scene for the champagne-and-cell-phone crowd. $$$$

Bone's, 3130 Piedmont Road, 404-237-2663. The essential Buckhead spot where Atlanta's bullish businessmen carve out deals and carve up steaks with equal gusto. Carnivores will delight at any of the melt-in-your mouth cuts of beef or the massive, lip-smacking lamb chops, and hoop-sized onion rings and salt-crusted baked potatoes stand at the ready. With crisp linens, red leather chairs and unctuous service, the atmosphere is pure, unapologetic men's club. $$$$

Brasserie Le Coze, 3393 Peachtree Road, 404-266-1440. The desserts, seafood and wine list have kept the polished Parisian bistro as one of Atlanta's favorite places for a romantic (if occasionally noisy) rendezvous. Sitting on the patio with the skate with brown butter on the table and a gypsy accordionist wandering by, even the Lenox Square parking lot takes on a gentle feel. $$$

Bridgetown Grill, 3316 Piedmont Road, 404-266-1500. No restaurant is an island unto itself, but the Buckhead location is the last Bridgetown venue standing after bankruptcy has forced the three other locations of the colorful Caribbean island chain of restaurants to close. But the Piedmont Road location still serves island grub to a cheerful reggae beat. Not all the dishes are winners, and it's a bit more corporatized than the orignial, funky Bridgetown concept of yore, but a rack of tangy guava ribs is one of the city's best barbecue dishes. And the zesty jerk chicken is enhanced with raspberry coulis dipping sauce. Get it while ya still can. $$

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