Enjoy high-quality fare at below-average prices at these four restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Bantam + Biddy in Ansley Mall is a fast-casual, family-friendly eatery that features all-natural, pastured poultry and seasonal, organic vegetables across a menu comprised of snacks and soups, rotisserie, entrées, salads or sandwiches sections, as well as desserts and beverages including cocktails, beer and wine. To start try the pastured deviled eggs with bourbon smoked paprika ($4); the bourbon flavor is noticeable and proves to be an effective grownup way to add sophistication to the simple snack. The pork schnitzel ($14) arrives topped with onion salad, peanuts and parsley. The loaded mashed potatoes ($3.25) are creamy and decadent. The pairing makes for a delicious meal. The meatloaf ($12), is made of grass-fed beef and includes a choice of two sides, such as Anson Mills grits and aged cheddar mac & cheese—delicious, plus it may be the best value on the menu.
Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub is a Brookhaven eatery that, according to press materials, “aims to create a comfortable environment with quality food, great beer, and exceptional service, all at an affordable price. Kaleidoscope is committed to using only the highest quality ingredients, including antibiotic and hormone free proteins and produce from local farms.” The great news: It delivers on these promises. The food here is consistently better than its direct competitors and more affordably priced.Co-Owner and Executive Chef Joe Riley attended the acclaimed Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, New York—consider this yet another example of why it’s the nation’s best culinary school. The restaurant’s name comes from the idea that every time someone looks into a kaleidoscope, he or she sees something colorful and different. Riley’s menu of “global comfort food” and cocktail menu is constantly changing to include seasonal items and daily specials. Don’t miss the fried chicken with mac & cheese, collard greens and a side of green chile grits ($17) or the shrimp & grits ($17). Food so good each bite seems like a bargain.
The basement of the historic Georgian Terrace Hotel has been transformed from a storage space into Proof & Provision. Chef Zeb Stevenson’s menu of snacks ($3), sandwiches ($7) and French bread pizzas ($9) is casual and playful, with reinterpretations of throwback classics like pigs in a blanket, grilled cheese and deviled eggs. But his dishes aren’t based on family recipes—”my mom was a terrible cook!” he says. Stevenson first wrote the menu and then launched elaborate cooking tests to tweak recipes until he achieved the taste he deemed perfect for each dish. For the hot pretzels, he spent hours researching high-alkaline options to help achieve the desired brown crust (his eureka! moment came upon discovering that he could increase the alkalinity of baking soda by roasting it prior to use). His chicken wings are brined and then confited in duck fat before they’re sauced. No detail is too small in the pursuit of perfection: Ketchup and mustard, along with nearly everything on the menu, is made from scratch. Bold flavors are consistent across the food and drink menus. Artisan wines and craft beers are available but it’s the creative cocktails that most impress—including some that are barrel-aged on site. Considering the attention to detail of these preparations, the prices are quite a value. The food quality is a big leap up above most bar food.
If the new bar atop Café Circa is any indication of the direction the Historic Fourth Ward District is headed, the neighborhood may soon be one of Atlanta’s hippest. Surrounded by red brick walls and a roof of blue sky, The Reserve feels like a private retreat. With simple yet stylish contemporary décor it sets a relaxed, comfortable mood, akin to what you might find in a friend’s backyard—if only your friend had a skilled bartender and chef on staff. The Reserve is a cozy space where you can linger with friends over creative cocktails, pass a hookah pipe around the table, and savor tasty Caribbean- and Latin-inspired bites. Tender conch cakes served atop a spicy green mango relish ($8), curried chicken roti with coconut cream sauce ($7) and slow-cooked goat stew ($7) are menu standouts.
Bantam + Biddy
1544 Piedmont Rd.
Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub
1410 Dresden Dr.
Proof & Provision
659 Peachtree St. NE
The Reserve at Café Circa
464 Edgewood Ave. SE
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