Good Eats 

Our critics' guide to Atlanta restaurants

Page 5 of 8

Blue Trout, 554A Piedmont Ave., 404-685-9575. The latest venture from Fariba and Tommy Todd (best-known as founding partners of Metrotainment Cafes, which operates Einstein's and Cowtippers) offers good starters, lunch bargains, and consistent entrees. As the name would hint, the menu includes lots of fish dishes -- salmon, tuna, trout (of course), ceviche -- as well as burgers, chicken and the like. All to be enjoyed on the blue patio or indoors. $$

Cha Gio, 132 10th St., 404-885-9387. Solicitous service with reasonably priced, family fare at a little-trafficked eatery in the heart of Midtown. The ideal place for an exit interview, or to feed the cold that hits the week after. Slurp and sup on nourishing chicken broth (the base for Cha Gio's won ton and vegetable soups), steamed summer rolls, and lean sirloin stir-fries. L, D $$

Charlie G's 11th Street Pub, 1041 West Peachtree St., 404-724-9060. From the same folks who brought you the Bucket Shop and the Highland Pub, the same bar friendly menu shows up here. Wings, burgers, chicken sandwiches and a large selection of domestic and import beers. It's Midtown without the pretension. L, D

Cherry, 1051 W. Peachtree St., 404-872-2020. Retro and sensual, this trippy space marries visions of maraschino cherries to pieces of a Jefferson Airplane light show. The food is cross-cultural fusion with a heavy accent on Asian, including an extensive sushi menu. The weird adobo chicken eggroll is tasty, as is a bowl of Thai-style noodles. D $$$

Eno, 800 Peachtree St., 404-685-3191. Conceived as an extremely comfortable laboratory where food and drink pairings may be explored, Doug Strickland's and Jamie Adams' Mediterranean bistro could raise the standards of corporate Atlanta's drinking classes. Food is fashionably Cal-Italian -- lots of olives, olive oil, fruit, fresh fish and seasonal ingredients. The cooking is first rate, the crowd Midtown hot. Sidewalk tables, wine room, tastings featured. L, D $$$

F.R.O.G.S. Cantina, 931 Monroe Drive, 404-607-9967. Another outpost of tacos, burritos and other things wrapped in tortillas. The tasty fish tacos are a blend of spice and sweet fruit flavors. Other choices are of good quality for the price. A full bar begins to hop on the weekends and late nights. L, D $$

Joe's on Juniper, 1049 Juniper St., 404-875-6634. Joe's deck provides such a cozy spot for quaffing a cold one and enjoying the view of Midtown's skyscrapers that you needn't bother checking out the ersatz roadhouse decor of the interior. The menu offers a standard line-up of bar food, with the black angus burgers proving nicely hot and juicy, in unusual varieties such as pimento cheese. L, D $$

Las Palmeras, 368 5th St., 404-872-0846. The best Cuban restaurant for homestyle cooking absolutely remains Las Palmeras. The masitas are perfect here and the restaurant serves a killer boliche. This cafe, which has a pleasant patio, is one of the intown area's under-appreciated jewels. L, D $

MF Sushi Bar, 265 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-815-8844. Join the glamorous crowd at Atlanta's next evolution in sushi dining, a sexy, serious room that serves mostly the raw stuff - no tempura, no miso soup and no teriyaki. Ask the staff to explain some of the more unusual offerings, such as chutoro, a buttery cut of tuna. Exquisite cold sake is the perfect accompaniment. L, D $$$

Midtown Deli, 216 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-541-0809. Wings, fries and fried rice. Whether you take the stuff home to watch the game or stick around and watch the hustlers on Ponce, server Hyosun Flinn makes it fun as she tells you neighborhood gossip and dotes on you. L, D $

Nickiemoto's Midtown, 990 Piedmont Ave., 404-253-2010. A clone of George Rohrig's Buckhead sushi bar, this fast-track watering hole is more remarkable for burnished metal decor and intown haircuts than for its Asian-American food. To dine well, keep two words in mind: fried (squid, soft-shell crab hotpot, catfish) and desserts (ginger creme brulee, Vietnamese coffee float). $$$

One Midtown Kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Road, 404-892-4111. With a door framed by a large purple-lit panel, you wonder if it's not actually a strip club or dirty bookstore. Inside, the dramatic interior plays host to delicious, slighty kinky American fare. D $$

Orange & Scarlett's, 814 Juniper St., 404-877-0040. A must for anybody loving sweets, Lucero Martinez-Obregon cranks out original, house made ice creams with Atlanta-themed names like Piedmont Perk and Shirley Franklin Turnover. Try the Georgia Pine: roasted pine nuts, feta cheese and honey. No really, it's good. Great La Selva coffee, crepes and breakfast bagels. B, L, D $

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