Best Spot for a Business Lunch
Power brokers head for steaks at Bone's, 3130 Piedmont Rd. NE (tel. 404/237-2663), in Buckhead, where the food is serious and the service is impeccable and unobtrusive.
Best Spot for a Romantic Dinner
There's no better spot than the tree-shaded terrace at Horseradish Grill, 4320 Powers Ferry Rd. (tel. 404/255-7277).
Best Spot for a Celebration
Why not pick one of the most sought-after tables in town? That would be at Bacchanalia, 1198 Howell Mill Rd. (tel. 404/365-0410).
Antico Pizza Napoletana, 1093 Hemphill Ave. (tel. 404/724-2333), is pizza the way it was supposed to be made and eaten. Other pizza will never measure up after you experience these recipes perfected over generations and prepared the old-fashioned way.
Canoe, 4199 Paces Ferry Rd. NW, in Vinings (tel. 770/432-2663), is perched on the north side of the Chattahoochee River. Ask for a table on the large, canopied patio, surrounded by landscaped gardens, and watch the river go by.
Best Wine List
Craft at the Mansion on Peachtree, 3376 Peachtree Rd. (tel. 404/995-7580), is Tom Colicchio's first Atlanta venture. His regional cuisine is complemented by a vast and eclectic wine list.
Best Italian Cuisine
It's noisy as the devil, but Sotto Sotto, 313 N. Highland Ave. (tel. 404/523-6678), gets my vote for its inspired northern Italian cuisine.
Best Italian on a Budget
Pasta Da Pulcinella, 1123 Peachtree Walk (tel. 404/876-1114), serves gourmet pasta for next to nothing.
The Atlanta Fish Market, 265 Pharr Rd. (tel. 404/262-3165), is the ticket, with an enormous selection of fresh seafood dishes that are done to perfection.
Best New Southern Cuisine
The competition is stiff, but the Horseradish Grill wins by a hair.
Best Traditional Southern Cuisine
It's a tie between Colonnade, 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE (tel. 404/874-5642), keeper of the best heirloom recipes; and Mary Mac's Tea Room, 224 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE (tel. 404/876-1800), a legend in this city for more than 60 years.
Best Southwestern Cuisine
Nava, 3060 Peachtree Rd. (tel. 404/240-1984), is a stunning restaurant with food to match.
There's quite a turf war going on, but Bone's, that powerhouse for powerbrokers, gets my vote.
Best Fried Chicken
There are lots of New Southern restaurants trying to invent newfangled ways to cook fried chicken. Well, they should just cut it out. You should head to the Colonnade for some of the best fried chicken you've ever tasted. This establishment has been turning it out for years, and they know what they're doing.
The winner of this category can be none other than Murphy's, 997 Virginia Ave. NE (tel. 404/872-0904), where the serving of American and Continental cuisine has transitioned right along with this funky neighborhood.
The fun and funky Flying Biscuit Cafe, 1655 McLendon Ave. (tel. 404/687-8888), fulfills all the usual breakfast expectations, and also has a great selection of offbeat specialties.
Best Afternoon Tea
Fresh-baked scones with Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, pastries, and tea are served every afternoon in the posh lobby lounge of the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, 3434 Peachtree Rd. NE (tel. 800/241-3333).
Bacchanalia takes this category with its warm Valrhona chocolate cake with vanilla-bean ice cream -- a flourless confection with a sinful, gooey center. They tried to take it off the menu once, but the public outcry was too great.
Best Late-Night Dining
Head to the 24/7 R. Thomas Deluxe Grill, 1812 Peachtree St. NW (tel. 404/872-2942), where you can eat some of the healthiest fare in town at any hour of the day.
Bluepointe, 3455 Peachtree Rd. NE (tel. 404/237-9070), is an energy-filled multilevel restaurant in a soaring contemporary space. Its dramatic decor feels very of-the-moment and classy.
Famous beefeaters flock to Bone's, which has welcomed the likes of Bob Hope, George Bush, and the Atlanta Braves.
Best Pre- & Post-Theater Dining
If you're attending a show at the Woodruff Arts Center -- Atlanta's major performance facility -- dine at Veni Vidi Vici, 41 14th St. (tel. 404/875-8424), which opens early enough to have a relaxing meal. For post-theater noshing, try South City Kitchen, 1144 Crescent Ave. (tel. 404/873-7358).
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