Word of Mouth 

Our critics' guide to Atlanta restaurants

Page 5 of 9

Apres Diem International Coffee House and Bistro, 931 Monroe Drive. 404-872-3333. Fancying itself a bonafide European coffee house, Apre<\#142>s Diem's strip mall location makes for something of an anomaly. Nevertheless, with a full-service bar and desserts fresh from Alon's Bakery, it provides an excellent excuse to extend a movie date. Apr<\#142>s Diem also serves Sunday brunch for late risers, and its full menu includes lunch and dinner, with nightly specials. -- KL

Babette's Cafe, 471 N. Highland Ave., 404-523-9121. Situated between Inman Park and Virginia-Highland, this lovely cafe escapes both glib trendiness and Martha Stewartness. The dining room is romantic and homey. Herb-crusted lamb chops, risotto specials, fried oysters atop a dill biscuit are recommended. Desserts are killer. -- CBB

Eclipse di Luna, 764 Miami Circle, 404-846-0449. Paul Luna and James Ehrlich have created one of the most pleasant dining rooms in town. Lunch features delicious sandwiches, soups and quiches; evenings offer a tapas menu that is the best in town. Little Spanish-style marinated ribs, grilled octopus, skewered prawns and luscious Manilla clams are among the offerings. -- CBB

Seeger's, 111 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, 404-846-9779. Beard Award-winning chef Guenter Seeger's new stand features resourceful contemporary-continental cuisine, small portions, prix fixe menus with big prices, elegant service and a minimalist postmodern decorative scheme that fits the food like sauce over fish. Reservations recommended on weekends. -- EM

Havana Sandwich Shop, 2905 Buford Highway NE (at the corner of North Druid Hills and Buford Highway), 404-636-4094. This modest restaurant's delicious yellow rice is studded with green peas and covered with savory-sweet stewed tomatoes and onions (white rice is available as well), and its black bean "soup" with prominent onions and garlic, can easily make a meal. The mojo-marinated Cuban, served with pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, is delicious. There also are plenty of savory vegetarian dishes and Jumex juices (try the mango), plus a variety of unusual sodas (try the Coco Rico). Also don't miss out on the fabulous flan. -- SL

Kool Korners grocery, 349 14th St. NW, 404-892-4424. Known for its Cuban Classic sandwich, this grocery/sandwich shop has been a source of food-induced euphoria for 13 years. Sandwich choices include ham, turkey, roast beef and pastrami with all the fixings, including jalape-o peppers. Press-grilled sandwiches have a crispy exterior where inside, the flavors emerge, mingle and melt together. -- SL

Las Palmeras, 368 Fifth St. NE, 404-872-0846. Cuban neighborhood cafe is noted for black beans and rice, fried plantains, authentic entrees, friendly welcomes and faster service than might be expected. A smokers' deck is pleasant in nice weather. Purchase beer and wine at the grocery next door or BYOB. -- EM

Mambo Restaurante Cubano, 1402 N. Highland Ave., 404-876-2626. Lunch service is notable for Cuban Sloppy Joe sandwiches (grilled Cuban loaves stuffed with picadillo and ropa vieja). The regular menu offers traditional entrees, salads and other island delights. Outdoor tables available. -- EM

Bistros, 1529 Piedmont Ave., at Monroe, 404-879-1090. Up-to-date French and American specialties in elegant surroundings, and at moderate prices, make this a great venue for menu experimentation. At its best (spinach salad with chicken livers, chanterelle risotto), Rhoads Fearn's unfussy cuisine is stylish, wholesome and handsome to behold. --EM.

Brasserie Le Coze, 3393 Peachtree Road (in Lenox Square), 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 sheen. -- CH

Le Saint Amour, 1620 Piedmont Ave., 404-881-0300. New chef, traditional country French cooking. Blanquette de veau, rabbit páte, souffles, that kind of thing. -- EM

Cafe de Nice, 580 Pharr Road, 404-264-1678. A small, independent, good-natured, cottage-bound, wine-less bistro that operates on Mediterranean time, offering decent meals at budget prices, mostly to women and families. Soups, salads and flans are agreeable and authentic. Not a good bet for wheelchairs or anyone in a hurry. BYOB. --EM.

SoHo, 4200 Paces Ferry Road, 770-801-0069. Cleverly conceived, albeit ding-dong loud, shopping center bistro with pricey fusion menu. -- EM

Basket Bakery and Cafe at The Village Corner, 6655 James B. Rivers Drive, 770-498-0329. The best German food in our area, served in a delightful setting adjacent to Stone Mountain Village. Sauerbraten and rouladen are especially good. Enormous portions. -- CBB


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