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Five Sisters Cafe, 2743 LaVista Road, 404-636-6060. Storefront with rumpus-room decor is neighborhood hub for suave sandwiches served by smiling staffers. -- EM
Floataway Cafe, 1123 Zonolite Road NE, 404-892-1414. A Southern Chez Panisse from the creators of super popular Bacchanalia with exquisite, inventive dishes made from fresh, often organic ingredients. The stylishly retro decor fits the former-factory setting too well. -- E.M.
The Flying Biscuit Cafe, 1655 McLendon Ave., 404-687-8888. This Candler Park restaurant, offering affordable, highly uneven cuisine, had an enormous impact on the city's dining scene when it opened a few years ago. It is still one of the best values in town. The cuisine is New American with just the right touch of levity. -- CBB
Harvest, 853 N. Highland Ave., 404-876-8244. Matching arts-and-crafts furniture, vases, flowers, fireplaces, dramatic curtains and a comfy bar make the Craftsman-style bungalow the perfect venue for chef Justin Ward's weekday lunch service. Alas, as has been true since the restaurant's January 1996 debut, the contemporary American cooking is still wildly uneven. -- EM
Heaping Bowl and Brew, 469 Flat Shoals Ave., 404-523-8030. This restaurant in East Atlanta prepares inexpensive, wholesome food with occasional outre touches. It almost always works. But dining here is enjoyable because of the convivial ambiance. Perogies, greens, beans and stew are recommended. -- CBB
Highland Wraps & Pizza Kitchen, 1250 Virginia Ave., 404-872-2562. A mostly takeout operation in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, this storefront charmer produces decidedly Americanized, albeit notably tasty meat and vegetarian burritos and tacos. -- EM
In the Shade Cafe, inside the Wish-Fulfilling Tree Bookstore, 2329 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-634-7411. Juices, sandwiches and light noshes are all fresh and delicious. Plus you get your spiritual high from sniffing the nearby incense. -- CBB
Java Jive, 790 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-876-6161. "The Cup That Pleases" definitely lives up to its name. The rich, faintly nutty cups of coffee accompany from-scratch biscuits, pecan or gingerbread waffles and well-stuffed omelets and veggie scrambles. Service is personable, reliable and unobtrusive. -- SL
Mondo Bakery, 1210 Howell Mill Road. 404-603-9995. With Billie Holiday crooning softly in this subdued, yet swank atmosphere, Mondo Bakery is an ideal place to meet someone for coffee and an intimate chat. Although it has a news stand, postcards, sandwiches, fresh juices, freshly baked pastries and a coffee bar with a full line of coffee and espresso drinks, Mondo's specialty is gourmet sandwiches and pastries. The dates, pesto, brie and basil sandwich on sourdough is to die for. -- KL
Mumbo Jumbo, 89 Park Place, 404-523-0330. Located in a treasure of a building, this bar/lounge/restaurant is a visual feast. And the New American cuisine, as interpreted by Chef Shaun Doty, ain't bad either. Globally and seasonally influenced, the menu always changes often. You also can rely on an interesting crowd, from oh-so-chic to far-out. -- SSS
Murphy's, 997 Virginia Ave. at N. Highland Ave., 404-872-0904. Now 20 years old, Tom Murphy's neighborhood deli changes with time and demographics. Just now, it's worth visiting for moderately priced fish and meat entrees, traditional baked goods, a splendid wine list and slick, knowing service. Call-ahead seating, valet parking at night and take-out offered. --EM.
North Highland Pub, 469 N. Highland Ave., 404-522-4600. This Poncey-Highland joint features an impressively large menu, imported and on-tap beer and a plethora of tunes on the jukebox. Of note is the Bacon Swiss Guacamole Burger, cooked to a perfect medium and served on a sesame seed bun. Onion rings, beating out the fries, are a delicious companion. Sizable salads are worth a whirl, too. -- SL
The Palm, 3391 Peachtree Road NE, 404-814-1955. Steak and lobster are the name of the game at this expense-account eatery in Buckhead's Swissôtel. Clubby attire is enhanced by the restaurant group's schtick -- caricatures of famous faces peering down on those who go to see and be seen. -- SSS
Park 75, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, 75 14th St. NE, 404-881-9898. Rich, well-constructed New American cuisine in a luxury setting with prices to match. Initial menus from executive chef Brooke Vosika -- transplanted from the extraordinary Four Seasons Olympic Hotel in Seattle -- are particularly strong on soups and seafood. -- EM
Portabella's Pantry, 9 S. Main Street, Alpharetta, 770-751-6464. Humming mom-and-pop storefront with order counter, serve-yourself beverage dispensers and flea-market furniture draws office workers and families with unusual, first-rate sandwiches and cookies. All baking done on premises. Good for takeout. --EM.
The Roman Lily Cafe, 688 Highland Ave., 404-653-1155. Calavino Donati and her buzz-headed staff in overalls are serving killer contemporary American diner food and a great experience in this storefront restaurant. Meatloaf with a tequila-jalape-o gravy and scallops with baked polenta and wild mushrooms are fave dishes. But salads and sandwiches are tasty, too. Reservations are accepted (and necessary) on weekends. -- CBB