In this business, you're always moving on to the next restaurant. But of all the eateries I've reviewed in the past year, these lure me back for more.
FIGO PASTA : I blush when I think about the butternut squash ravioli, with its mascarpone and radicchio sauce. I swoon over the wild mushroom ravioli with funghi cream sauce. I can't get enough of the gemelli alla carbonara. With over a hundred ways to mix and match, I keep experimenting. 1170-B Collier Road. 404-351-9667.
SALUMERIA TAGGIASCA : It was the sandwiches that first attracted my attention -- the panino imbottito with Fontina cheese and prosciutto, or the panino fresco with prosciutto and pesto. But it's the olives, slices of the seasoned salami, hunks of cheese, and more that make this a constant diversion from the supermarket. Sweet Auburn Curb Market, 209 Edgewood Ave. 404-524-0006.
CARROLL STREET CAFE : The Cabbagetown eatery sports attention to boho detail -- a great coffee list, local artists' displays, a so-cool staff -- while the chef keeps the output at a higher level than its Apres Diem cousin with some great entree items and the fabulous roasted chicken apple chowder. 208 Carroll St. 404-577-2700.
NAYARIT : No-nonsense Mexican materializes in the form of this humble storefront restaurant. Daily guarantees include green and red tamales, barbecued brisket tortas, and tacos with beef tongue, adobada, chicken and grilled steak. But it's the fire-red pozole that keeps me coming back on weekends -- packed with strips of steak and large chunks of hominy. 562 Boulevard. 404-622-0999.
PANGAEA : Though its sandwich offerings span the globe (paninis, kebobs, tortas), its Vietnamese bahn mi steals the show. The lemongrass barbecue pork bahn mi is made with a crusty baguette and includes marinated meat with fresh cilantro, pickled daikon radish, carrot, sliced jalapeno and soy sauce. But my real fave is the morning bahn mi, an egg sandwich with the same fixings as the lunch sandwich -- a head-spinning mix of tastes and flavors. 1082 Huff Road. 404-350-8787.
ORANGE & SCARLETT'S : It's only been a year, and this little dessert/breakfast spot is already a major player among the restaurant destinations along Juniper. It's partly due to Lucero Martinez-Obregon's penchant for taking cold, calculated risks -- I'm talking ice cream, and the unusual combinations always pay off. Her Georgia Pine is a creamy mix of feta, honey and roasted pine nuts, and the Buford Highway, a lime-mango sorbet with chili powder, is hard to resist. 814 Juniper St. 404-877-0040.
NOODLE : Glittering beneath acrylic fiber lights, the counters are usually packed with super-stylish Midtowners slurping noodles or shoveling rice. For a quick and easy bite with the beautiful people, you got it. 903 Peachtree St. 404-685-3010.
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