By Hope S. Philbrick
Nikolai’s Roof is a singular spot known for sophisticated dining and upscale service in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a go-to for special occasions—though it’s equally suited to honoring life’s simple pleasures (like the fact that you finally remembered to pick up your dry cleaning)—and that feeling of “beyond ordinary!” starts when you step onto the exclusive elevator to the top floor of Hilton Atlanta and push the button that reads “Nikolai’s Roof.”
Don’t stand in the elevator the usual way, facing the door. Turn around and look at the back wall of glass so you don’t miss the oohh- and aahh-worthy view on the ride up.
Since opening in February 1976, Nikolai’s Roof has consistently wowed diners. It’s also racked up accolades and awards. Among them, it has received the coveted AAA Four Diamond award for 30 consecutive years and is the longest-standing restaurant in Atlanta to do so. It’s snagged Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, DiRoNA’s Distinguished Restaurants of North America, and Open Table’s Most Romantic and Best View.
While the servers’ white gloves, Russian china, and silver domes are gone after a refresh a few years ago (and I am probably alone in missing such over-the-top fanciness), the place remains stunning (it’s slightly more casual now and likely feels more welcoming to most people aside from, perhaps, the Queen). It offers impeccably-prepared cuisine, top-notch service, an award-winning wine list (thanks to Daniel Rudiger, sommelier and general manager), and spectacular views of the Atlanta skyline.
Nikolai’s Roof offers a seasonally-inspired menu that features modern American cuisine with a nod to the restaurant’s Russian influences as well as classic French culinary traditions, prepared with ingredients from local purveyors. The menu is flexible, so you can order a la carte or three-, four- or five-course meals with or without wine pairings, as well as from from special menus when available like the Peach State Plated menu celebrating Georgia’s finest and freshest ingredients (Sept. 30-Oct. 12, 2019).
Helming the kitchen is Chef Stephanie Alderete, a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta who worked her way up the ranks and was named chef de cuisine in January 2012. Her dishes are elegant yet approachable with bold, balanced flavors that taste fresh and innovative.
In addition to its view and ambiance, service and cuisine, Nikolai’s Roof is known for its flavored vodkas and its piroshkis. This is a place where you can indulge in caviar, borscht, escargot, and/or foie gras. Or relish lamb chops, filet mignon, grouper, pasta, and other favorites or temptations. Order whatever catches your fancy, you can’t go wrong here.
Arrive with a hungry palate and trust Nikolai’s Roof to impress and satisfy.
255 Courtland St. NE
Atlanta GA 30303
Open 5 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
The Lounge at Nikolai’s Roof is the ideal setting to unwind and serves a variety of hand-crafted cocktails, including the Moscow Mule, a Russian staple served in an authentic copper mug. Savor house-infused specialty flavored vodkas or a glass of wine from the extensive wine list. The Lounge is open from 5 p.m. until Midnight.
Complimentary valet parking.
Odds of Encountering Children: Very low. Open Table suggests that the restaurant is “not recommended for children under the age of 12.” We’d rather it said 21, but it’s a start.
– Photo Credits: First 2 food images courtesy Nikolai’s Roof; remainder © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Nikolai’s Roof for our recent dinner.