Best of 2011 Dining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dining

 

Best Pizza

Mellow Mushroom

 

Mellow Mushroom took it by a landslide, they are best pizza in Atlanta… and lets face it, they have atmosphere, flavor, style and fun. No matter if you are stopping in for a quick slice, pie, salad, or brew they have something for everybody. The one off Monroe also hosts Best Drag Queen – Ruby Redd – for her bingo night each Wednesday! (Don’t forget to check out the coupon in their ad this week!)

Best Mexican & Best Margaritas

Las Margaritas

 

Las Margaritas is known for its amazing latin menu and fantastic margaritas, but part of the charm of Las Margaritas is the strong family bond that runs the restaurant. Papi and Mama are Atlanta icons and their passion for serving up the best latin food and margaritas in Atlanta is what drives their success.

Editor’s Choice (Best Margarita):  The Original El Taco

Don’t let the campy name fool you, the Fifth Group establishment not only serves up some tasty tacos but also has one of the best tequila collections in the city! The margarita list includes the ever-popular Skinny Margarita (hand crafted from only the freshest ingredients) but also tequila infusions and other specialty drinks. Can’t make up your mind? The expertly trained staff will help guide you to the perfect drink.

Best Brunch

Einstein’s

 

Sunday Funday comes to mind when you think of Einstein’s brunch. There is nothing better then a fun atmosphere, a mimosa in hand, and a brunch menu that has offerings for everybody from soups/salads to burgers to omelets and traditional brunch items. Order up!

Editor’s Choice (Best Brunch): Sun in My Belly

The chic brunch eatery is one of Atlanta’s best-kept secrets, but the word is quickly spreading. The menu features lots of fresh choices with seasonal items, but some of the highlights are the honey glazed bacon and that you can bring your own wine/champagne there for just a small corking fee.  Sit back and enjoy!

Best Coffee

Starbucks

 

The mega coffee shop offers a wide variety of drinks and creates a great vibe to hang out, and work on that novel you probably will never finish.  Ansley Starbucks in particular has become an iconic gay hangout, and with the news that Starbucks will soon be rolling out alcoholic beverages to some Atlanta stores, you can only expect the gays will be going much more often!

Best Bloody Mary

R.J. Burke at Burkhart’s

 

In one of the worst kept secrets on the Best of 2011 list, most of the city already knew well in advance that this bartender was the winner of this category. We can blame Mr. Herrera for that one! Joking aside, one thing is very serious, and that is R.J’s famous Bloody Mary’s. You can catch him tending bar most of the week, so stop in and tip and him well because a good bloody mary is a  bitch to make!

Best Mimosa

Gilbert’s

 

Who doesn’t love a little OJ with their champagne? It’s the perfect Sunday drink to get the day started and Gilbert’s loves that you come to them for this tasty concoction. With huge windows that look out into 10th street, bring a group of friends, hang out, and throw a few mimosas back – how can the day go wrong with a great start like that?

Best Sushi

Rusan’s

 

Rusan’s has been around for over 20 years as the go to quick sushi spot in Midtown. While some people have complained of quality lacking over the last few years, Rusan’s does a great job offering affordable cuisine while blasting techno dance music over the speakers. Other perks? Lunch buffet, host big groups easily, and sake bombs!!!

Editor’s Choice (Best Sushi) – Rain

Rain is the perfect sushi spot and features an oversized menu with very fresh and well-prepared fish options. The staff is well trained and for a neighborhood joint, they keep it simple but fun. With authentic cuisine choices on two different types of menus, it’s worth a visit if you have never been.

Best Bar Food

Joe’s on Juniper

 

The famous gay hangout in Midtown offers simple bar cuisine with a twist.  Edamame hummus, anybody? While the bar food keeps our stomachs filled, it’s the outstanding bar and drink menu that keeps us coming back… as well as the fun patio, shows/events, sexy staff, and so much more.

Best Local Chef

Kevin Rathbun

 

The Iron Chef contestant is well known in the Atlanta cooking scene for his outstanding restaurants, including Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun Steak, and Krog Bar. For those who have had the pleasure of eating at any of his establishments, they can testify that his food is top notch and the atmosphere is perfect for any occasion.

Editor’s Choice (Best Local Chef):  Ria Pell

Ria Pell is our badass lesbian chef here in Atlanta that brings a flair to her restaurants and the food she presents. Everything is carefully thought out and prepared which is why she is a regular on major cooking shows. We all have been to Ria’s Blue Bird (now, that is how you make a biscuit) but her new restaurant Sauced in Inman Park is a fun throwback to the mid-century and easily one of Atlanta’s most unique and romantic restaurants. Check it out… Valentines Day is right around the corner!

Best Asian

Little Bangkok

 

Cheshire Bridge is famous for several things: strip clubs, all night breakfast joints, and some outstanding restaurants. Little Bangkok easily falls into the “outstanding” category. With great Thai and Chinese menus, the hole-in-the-wall place stays busy all day long. Think twice before you buy iffy Chinese from around the corner, because Little Bangkok is guaranteed to be delicious.

Best Burger

The Vortex

 

It’s no secret that Atlanta has become the burger capital over the last few years. Who knew that burgers would become the designer food to have out there? However, when it comes to the best, you have to go with the burger joint that has been around longer then the rest. Vortex is for those who want to hang out, listen to good music, and eat a real messy burger. Classic, simple, and perfect.

Editor’s Choice (Best Burger): Five Napkins Burger

We all watched as Five Napkins Burger did a stunning renovation on the old Nickiemoto’s space, and while some of us laughed at the idea of spending $14 on a burger, it wasn’t until we ate one that we realized it was worth every dollar. Hearty, well prepared, and seasoned to perfection, Five Napkins Burger has created a standout product that should find a quick place in most of Midtown’s hearts.

Best Late Night

Waffle House

 

We all get drunk, and we all want to eat greasy cheap food after. Somewhere in-between the 4 Jager shots you did earlier in the night paired with the 18 vodka/soda’s you guzzled down, you are ready to stumble into the nearest Waffle House and get yourself a double order of hash browns (smothered, covered, scattered, and topped).  We should really be thanking them for putting up with our drunk asses!

Editor’s Choice (Best Late Night): R. Thomas

While its not directly available to those leaving Blake’s at 2:30am, the all night eatery offers healthy options all night long to those who don’t want to deal with a McDonalds drive thru. We love having the option to eat a healthy meal after a night of drinking, we just wish it was closer to where our favorite bar was!

Best Dessert

Café Intermezzo

 

Anytime you get asked out to Café Intermezzo, you are in for a treat.  The romantic hotspot has sex in the air, and when you are sitting across from a sexy guy or gal, candlelight, cup of Irish coffee with a slice of double mocha cake, you might as well be in your own little heaven.

Best Patio

Joe’s on Juniper

 

This almost goes without saying, Joe’s on Juniper has one of the biggest and best patios in the Southeast and is the place to be seen at during the summer. Nothing better then sitting around with a pitcher of long island ice tea (yes, a pitcher) while catching up with 40-50 of your favorite bar buddies. This reminds us, summer is really only around the corner. Better hit the gym!

Best Group Dining

One Midtown Kitchen

 

A key to success in the Atlanta restaurant industry is being able to accommodate large groups of people, and to do it successfully. Anybody who has worked in the service industry knows it is a very hard thing to achieve for many places. One Midtown Kitchen does it great though. The inviting and chic atmosphere is the perfect place to host your birthday, work event, or intimate get together.

Best Beer List

Taco Mac

 

Taco Mac in Atlanta is synonymous with beer (and wings) and is the ultimate place to hang out with a couple of your “bros”. Truth is, most of Midtown doesn’t even know what a football looks like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop in, hang out, and throw back a few quality craft beers and enjoy the straight eye candy.

Best Wine List

The Grape

 

Wine snobs love to teach inexperienced wine drinkers how to properly drink wine. Luckily, the people at The Grape just want to help you pick the perfect wine based off your palate and make sure you enjoy it.  You can chug it for all they care, as long as you enjoy yourself.

Editor’s Choice (Best Wine List): Trader Joe’s

Ok, while Trader Joe’s doesn’t quite have a “wine list”, it’s hard to deny that the popular grocery store has one of the best wine selections in the city. Looking for a great wine under $10? Check out some of their wonderful Argentinean and Chilean wines or ask one of the store employees for a recommendation.

Best Service

Burkhart’s

 

How many times have you walked into a bar, been ignored and been handed a watered down drink that you paid too much for? Well, Burkhart’s strives to avoid all of those things. The staff really works to get to know the regulars, which has been a fundamental key to their overall success.

Best Takeout

Doc Chey’s

 

While Doc Chey’s has had its up and downs through the years (particularly in the service area), they have mastered one thing for sure, the art of take out. With dedicated take-out stations at each of their locations, it makes it easy to pick up dinner for the night and be on your way in no time at all.

Best Business Lunch/Dinner Spot

Einstein’s

 

We all get dragged into those business lunches or dinners that can’t be avoided, so why not go somewhere that you can grab a cocktail while you try to get through it! Einstein’s offers a slightly more sophisticated feel but relaxed enough that you don’t need to be dressed in a suit and tie to conduct business. Oh, did we mention it’s also affordable? That’s always a bonus.

Best First Date

Apres Diem

 

A movie and drink is a great first date, it’s simple, uncomplicated, and an easy way to see if you click with your potential lover. Apres Diem happens to be located next to one of Atlanta’s most charming movie theatres, which makes it the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat and sip on a Manhattan.  With its very European feel, the atmosphere is perfect for new lovebirds that want to get to know each other better.

Most Romantic Restaurant

One Midtown Kitchen

 

The sleek bar, the sexy décor, the warm lighting, the exposed brick and industrial, yet polished feel, gives off the sensual and romantic side to dating that we all love. One Midtown Kitchen specializes in creating romance, and you can guarantee that they will be booked solid on Valentines Day.

Best Vegetarian

Radial Café

 

Frank Bragg has just ventured into dinner with Radial Café and the community has already fallen in love with the menu. With many vegetarian (and vegan) menu options, such as the delicious walnut-lentil burger or vegan hash, it’s perfect for those who feel Atlanta’s vegetarian options are limited.

Most Attractive Wait Staff

Joe’s on Juniper

 

Those sexy boys walking around all day sure does help bring in the crowd. We love to stare, flirt, and even shamelessly ask for their numbers all day long as we sip our cosmo’s and pound shots. We would love it more if their uniforms were reduced to booty shorts and tank tops.

Best Restaurant (Value)
Eats on Ponce

 

This Atlanta mainstay offers an eclectic variety of healthy fast food options while keeping classic favorites such as jerk chicken, fettucini alfredo, and fresh vegetarian options available daily. Eats is more famously known for its casual atmosphere and large portion sizes that won’t break the bank.

Best Restaurant (Overall)

One Midtown Kitchen

 

What else is there to say that hasn’t been said already? It is one of the most talked about eateries in the Southeast, with rotating menus and seasonal dishes, always cooked with the freshest ingredients. Every time you step into the space it feels like you just took a small break from reality, and if the Concentrics group knows how to do one thing perfectly, they know how to create an experience for their guests… one that they won’t forget.

Click to see the Best of 2011 Looking Good/Feeling Good Winners

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