Alphabet Soup

Noteworthy Northside Restaurants, Chefs and Dishes from A to Z

Written by the Editors of Points North
Photo by Chris Hornaday PhotographyHugo's Oysters_Credit Chris Hornaday Photography

As the Northside dining scene continues to thrive, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a favorite restaurant, chef or dish. There are places we frequent for familiarity, those we reserve for special occasions, chefs we turn to for precision or innovation, and a few new openings we’re anxiously awaiting. Here, we offer up 26 different dining options that are Points North-approved.

ADAM’S PIANO BAR | Buford
Quality nightlife can be hard to come by in the northernmost stretches of the Northside, but historic Downtown Buford is a rare hotspot for evening entertainment. While the hard rockin’ crowd head bangs at 37 Main, those who seek softer sounds set up shop at Adam’s. The restaurant and piano bar features live music on Thursdays through Saturdays in the main dining room, and on select weekend nights in its downstairs speakeasy. Incredible steaks (you could cut them with a butter knife) and a very nice wine list give Adam’s culinary credibility as well. 15 E. Main St., Buford, 678-745-0379, adamsrestaurantandpianobar.com

THE BUTCHER THE BAKER | Marietta
It only took 10 days to transform the space formerly known as Simpatico into The Butcher The Baker. At the helm of this artfully updated restaurant, now regularly packed in anticipation of a farm-to-table meal in the suburbs, is the talented husband and wife team of Micah “The Butcher” and Katie “The Baker” Pfister. The duo crossed culinary paths in Colorado, made their way back to the South, and, in March of this year, opened their restaurant on Marietta Square. Katie starts each day making dough for the various breads and desserts served at both The Butcher The Baker and Willie Rae’s, which they also own, while Micah turns his attention to using each pig from snout to tail. Menus are printed daily and filled with house-made creations using only locally sourced produce, dairy and meats. The pork belly with bourbon peach compote over grits is not to be missed, nor is the butternut squash soup served with crab hush puppies and mace whip. Belly up for an entrée like the Brasstown strip served with charred okra, flat beans, sweet potato purée and fried pickled okra, and then leave with fond memories of dessert like the smoked chocolate ice cream, honey marshmallow and graham cracker. 23 North Park Square, Marietta, 678-224-1599, eatlocaleatbetter.com  

CENTURY HOUSE TAVERN | Woodstock
Located in the historic Hubbard House in Woodstock’s thriving downtown district, Century House Tavern (CHT) feels a little bit like visiting an old friend, the one who hosts the best dinner parties, starting at cocktail hour and lasting late into the night. An instant hit with the Woodstock community upon opening in 2012, CHT upped the ante earlier this year by bringing on Chef Daniel Porubiansky, former head chef of Bacchanalia, one of Atlanta’s best-rated restaurants. In the past six months, Porbiansky has been slowly transforming the menu, introducing items that reflect his upscale style and commitment to local ingredients. The result is fi ne dining that’s approachable, just like Porbiansky himself. His perfectly seared scallops (pictured on this month’s cover) were an early hit, making them a year-round menu mainstay, paired with seasonally appropriate garnishes like peas in the spring and parsnips in the fall. The restaurant’s current menu is largely comprised of Porbiansky’s own creations, including a charcuterie of local and imported cheeses, housemade pâté and house-cured duck ham, and a warm apple cobbler made with fruit from a neighbor’s tree. A new wine list rounds out the seasonal additions along with new apple-infused and bourbon-based cocktails. 125 E. Main St., Woodstock, 770-693-4552, centuryhousetavern.com

THE BRICK STORE PUB | Decatur
This not-so-Northside destination made our list because it’s packed with critically acclaimed restaurants and craft beer. Frequent trips to this happening hub landed us at The Brick Store Pub, where you’ll find an appetizer called tittle pop — bourbon caramel popped corn, roasted pecans and peanuts — that sets the tone for more incredible things to come. Fueling up takes on new meaning with a stop at Leon’s Full Service. A weakness for the lemon-lavender pistachio cookie sandwich, served with Georgia peach ice cream, is simply one of the many reasons the Northside could use its own Leon’s Full Service. And for tapas with a Spanish flair, we can’t resist The Iberian Pig. brickstorepub.com, leonsfullservice.com, theiberianpigatl.com

EASTERN ROLL, R. RICE | Sandy Springs
The Eastern Roll with shrimp, egg and avocado is purely our excuse for getting R. Rice into our Alphabet Soup. The in-house PN sushi lovers have yet to find rolls that can rival our top three here: the Valentine Roll is packed with shrimp tempura, cucumber and spicy tuna, then wrapped with soybean paper and served with tomato salsa; the Falcons Roll, with soft shell crab and red onion wrapped with soybean paper and topped with spicy tuna and house sauce, comes second fiddle to the Lava Roll, with shrimp tempura and mango topped with salmon and house-made strawberry sauce. 1140 Hammond Dive Sandy Springs, 770-804-8155, r-rice.com

FUSCO’S VIA ROMA | Acworth
Rather than breathtaking Italian vistas, dining at Fusco’s via Roma embraces the historical setting of downtown Acworth and provides a taste of Tuscany that’s often hard to find in the ‘burbs of Atlanta. Start with an appetizer of PEI mussels before diving into a hearty plate of gnocchi roma with your choice of bolognese, marinara, four cheese or pesto sauce. Patrons with pint-sized picky palates will want to order pretty much anything with meatballs made here. These guaranteed crowd pleasers mean, of course, that adults in your party have more time to peruse the wine list, and that quickly pleases another crowd. 4815A South Main St. NW, Acworth, 770-974-1110,fuscosviaroma.com

GABBY’S OLIVE BRANCH | Cumming
Olive oil tasting rooms might be the newest trend on the Northside, but it’s more than EVOOs and flavor-fused vinegars that make this one a personal favorite. Owners Tony and Kathy Pace make shopping an interactive experience that continues long after you leave with your glass-bottled treasures. The couple, who opened Gabby’s after discovering the health benefits of polyphenal-rich olive oil during Tony’s bout with cancer, are truly passionate about their products and dedicated to bridging the gap between purchasing them and putting them to use in your own kitchen. Not only will they recommend flavor combinations to taste before you buy, they’ll also send a whole host of recipes featuring your specific purchases via email upon request. Tony’s black cherry garlic-glazed ribs is one recipe we return to time and time again. The shop also sells fresh baguettes and sourdough bread, gourmet olives, spice blends, tapenades and pesto from Dallas, Ga.-based Rosemary Knoll Eatable Delights and hydroponic lettuce from Cumming’s Circle A Farms. 5890 Bethelview Road, Cumming, 770-630-4077, gabbysolivebranch.com

HUGO’S OYSTER BAR | Roswell
The next big thing in Roswell’s thriving restaurant scene, Hugo’s Oyster Bar is a casual, affordable alternative to owners Rich Clark and Chef Jon Schwenk’s original venture, C&S Seafood in Smyrna. Proving you don’t have to venture to The Big Easy for Cajun-inspired fare and fun, Hugo’s o­ffers Northsiders a lively taste of New Orleans in both its menu and its mood, with white brick walls, mirrored ceilings, brightly colored murals and festively lit signs. In order to serve the best possible oysters year-round, Hugo’s brings some of their namesake items down from the Northeast, but all other seafood is sourced from Southern coastal waters, from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Mississippi Delta. An unexpected favorite is the blackened catfish, elevated by a pickled black eyed pea relish and hericots verts. Additional highlights include fiery blue crab claws (sop up the sauce for some extra spice), sizzling chargrilled oysters, and a redfish in white wine sauce with Creole potato cakes. And because N’Awlins is all about indulgence, don’t skimp on dessert – the brioche bread pudding with Jim Beam anglaise is sinfully good. 10360 Alpharetta St.,­Roswell, 770-993-5922, hugosoysterbar.com

ICE MARTINI BAR | Woodstock
If Century House Tavern is downtown Woodstock’s most impeccable host, ICE Martini Bar is its fun-loving friend. Living up to its name, the space is cool, with white and, yes, ice blue décor and a vibrant, urban vibe. Perhaps ICE seems better suited for a hip in-town neighborhood, but it’s right at home in Woodstock, providing a place for suburbanites to unwind and let loose without venturing too far from home. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of options on the restaurant’s varied menu, from BBQ pork sliders to sushi. But the main attraction is a menu of hand-crafted cocktails. There are creative concoctions galore, but our favorite is a simple interpretation of a perfectly chilled cucumber martini with freshly squeezed juice. 380 Chambers St., Woodstock, 770-672-6334, icemartinibar.com

JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION SEMI FINALIST, BEST BAR PROGRAM: THE PORTER BEER BAR | Decatur
This place may not be Northside (it’s perched on the outskirts of Decatur) but it is one of our all-time favorite Atlanta restaurants and a semi-finalist for the Best Bar Program by James Beard Foundation the past two years. For fans of craft beer, this haven offers more than 44 beers on draft plus more than 800 in the bottle, but don’t dare dismiss the food menu. Here, divine dishes like The Porter’s Signature Hush Puppies with applewood smoked bacon and Austin’s organic fuji apple sauce grace rustic table tops while the private beer cellar beckons patrons down a few steps into a space worthy of wiling away the night with friends. 11 Euclid Ave. NE, 404-223-0393, Atlanta, theporterbeerbar.com

KOZMO GASTRO PUB | Johns Creek
Veteran restaurateur Oswald Morgan brought an in-town vibe and a progressive menu to Johns Creek during the onset of an economic crisis, Feb. 2009. Four-plus years later, the trendy, functional, simplistic environs still have a certain rattle-n-hum in the evening, where the pulse quickens to the beat of the music and your taste buds hum merrily in unison. Morgan’s The Globe Restaurant & Bar in Midtown was named 2006 Restaurant of the Year by Atlanta Magazine, and his move to the suburbs caught some by surprise. Tucked away on what can best be described as a cut-through from McGinnis Ferry Road to Jones Bridge Road, Kozmo Gastro Pub is a breath of fresh air from the mundane menus dotting North Fulton and South Forsyth counties. The menu features a mixture of the previously unseen (lamb croquettes, white chocolate cranberry bread pudding, Parmesan tru­ffled tempura mushrooms and salmon cake salad) and intriguing versions of the tried-and-true (hand-ground beef brisket and sirloin burgers, mac & cheese with tru­ffle oil and bacon, Poutine with braised beef, gravy and Jack cheese and panroasted salmon with creamed corn white bean succotash and fennel citrus salad). A wine enthusiast himself, Morgan’s list is deeper than most, his “kraft” beer list evolutionary and his signature cocktails (Saketini for one) are legendary. 11890 Douglas Rd., 678-526-6094, Johns Creek, kozmogastropub.com

LAMB DUO, SPERATA | Buford
When was the last time you cooked a leg of lamb, rack of lamb or a lamb shank at home? For me, it was about 18 years ago. The price of lamb, the often painstaking requirements to cook at least two of those cuts mentioned, and the fear of mal-execution leads those of us who enjoy it to assign the task to those of much more culinary capability. One chef who fits that bill is Chris Hope of Sperata in Buford, and knowing that he grew up in England, where lamb is a staple of the diet, I trust him implicitly. And, of course, I have sampled his lamb before, too. In addition to the veal osso bucco, venison and wild boar dishes he prepares, patrons of the quaint eatery in Buford also enjoy Hope’s Duo of Lamb, which in the words of the chef, “you’ve got the best of both worlds there!” The first part of the duo is a tender lamb shank taken o‑ the bone and further enhanced with wild mushrooms, shallots and red wine (typically Australian Shiraz). Once those elements are combined and reduced, Hope serves it with risotto or horseradish mashed potatoes. Then, Hope adds two medium-rare lamb chops, lightly seasoned with garlic and herbs to the plate. The succulent taste of the shank complemented by the firm, yet juicy chops is a winning combination, or a Hopeful duo if you prefer. Visit the special events page on Sperata’s website for details of the lamb cooking demonstration and wine dinner slated for Sat. Oct. 19, beginning at 4 p.m., with co-host Jeff Mathy of Napa Valley’s Vellum Wine Craft. 9 East Main St., Buford, 678-765-7911, speratarestaurant.com

MAMBO JAMBO | Alpharetta
Tucked amongst the many culinary choices on Alpharetta’s Windward Parkway sits a Latin- American inspired restaurant that should be on everyone’s can’t-miss list. Owner George Quesada started Mambo Jambo in 1998 in Weston, Fla., and opened a second location in Coral Springs before bringing his particular Latin-fusion flair to the Northside. The restaurant pleases the eye, the ear, and the palate; the décor is rich with dark woods, luxurious fabrics, and an eclectic collection of art and artifacts. Live music plays at just the right level while you enjoy a perfectly-spiced ceviche (only the freshest seafood, marinated in lime juice, Rocoto peppers, cilantro and red onions), followed by their famous goat cheese salad (a must have), and any one of their many entrées. The restaurant bills itself as a Nuevo Latino Seafood Café, but their menu goes beyond the numerous fresh-daily seafood dishes — served Cuban style — to include Codito de Cordero al Vino Rojo (braised lamb shank in a rich red wine sauce), Argentinean Parrilla, and a collection of Peruvian and Cuban dishes. Tapas are served in the bistro-style bar area, and there is a large outdoor dining area as well as a private room. 5310 Windward Pkwy, Alpharetta, 770-667-0097, mambojambocafe.com

— Cheryl Mills

NINE STREET KITCHEN | Roswell
If we had it our way, it would be 70-degrees year-round. Weather that calls for jeans and a t-shirt and dining outdoors. Thankfully, we get those mild temperatures quite frequently at this time of year. But when it’s a little bit hotter or colder than our liking? We’re dining outdoors at NINE Street Kitchen anyway. With five different outdoor areas, the restaurant on Roswell’s booming Canton Street is a year-round destination for al fresco dining. In the heat of the summer, diners set up camp on the restaurant’s picnic lawn or street-side sidewalk. In the winter, they bask under the warmth of heat lamps on the upper brick patio or cozy up under brightly colored blankets on the covered porch. The food is good, to be sure, with a selection of wraps, quesadillas, entrée salads and specialties, but it is this atmosphere that makes us crave NINE more than anything, especially when we’re in the mood for a glass of wine in the great outdoors. 982 Canton St., Roswell, 678-682-3222, ninestreetkitchen.com

OSTERIA MATTONE | Roswell
Osteria Mattone is the second venture from the same partnership team behind Roswell’s successful Southern restaurant, Table & Main, which opened in August 2011. Managing partner Ryan Pernice and executive chef Ted Leahy, along with sommelier Dan Pernice, who relocated from New York to work with his brother in Roswell, will focus on creating a unique dining experience on Canton Street. The neighborhood restaurant will serve regional cuisine from all of Italy, with a focus on Roman fare. The menu will combine the simple, casual spirit of an osteria with the more formal dining of a Roman trattoria. The restaurant’s menu and dining rooms will allow guests to choose how they’d like to dine: a simple, quick bowl of pasta and cicchetti in the osteria, a three-course dinner in the trattoria, or just simply a glass of wine and salumi at the bar. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients from nearby Georgia farms, artisan bakers and purveyors will be used by Leahy to create an unparalleled dining experience. “I think Canton Street is beginning to resonate further afield than it had two or three years ago,” Pernice said. “As residents, it’s fun for us to take part in that discussion when people think of the great restaurants in Roswell. Ted and I both felt Italian cuisine was underrepresented and we wanted to add that to the team. But, this also is a community-driven venture, helping bring Canton Street to where we think it needs to be.” 1095 Canton St., Roswell, osteriamattone.com

PORTICO | Dunwoody
When Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter moved into the former W Atlanta – Perimeter space, we immediately wondered what the hotel would offer in terms of dining. The answer is Portico, which opened in July as the last phase a $12-million renovation. The name is admittedly a bit misleading. We expected Old World Italian and instead found global panache. Rather than stately columns, this Portico boasts fl oor-to-ceiling windows and industrial chic décor, and while pasta is scarce, appearing only once in a porcini ravioli (twice if you count a side dish of truffle mac & cheese), the food here does not disappoint. Executive Chef Brian Lee’s menu reads like a well-traveled passport — steamed mussels reminiscent of the south of France, fried chipirones (a Spanish take on calamari), a nod to local foodways in a Southern grit cake, and that expected taste of Italy in a salty-sweet fi g prosciutto flatbread. Unexpected combinations keep your taste buds on your toes in dishes like seared scallops with a citrus-vanilla emulsion. Lee uses only the fi nest international artisanal ingredients and changes his menu seasonally; expect a new late fall menu later this month. Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter, 111 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta, 770-396-6800, lemeridienatlantaperimeter.com

QUANTO BASTA | Cumming
As much as we love the Northside’s popular dining districts (Roswell’s Canton Street, the Historic Marietta Square), we can’t help wishing, every once in a while, that they’d share the wealth. Portions of the ‘burbs are still sadly devoid of quality local dining options. Cumming’s east side would be one such area. It would be, if not for this little bistro. Italian for “how much is enough?” Quanto Basta is a culinary gem on Highway 20 near the Chattahoochee River. Its low lighting and elevated neighborhood Italian cuisine make it perfect for date night or a special occasion, yet it’s casual enough for everyday dining, and many regulars make appearances once or twice a week. The center loin pork chop with mango bourbon pan gray is a menu stand-out, as are the addictive loaves of sourdough batard that precede each meal. Stop in on Oct. 23 for a casual wine tasting featuring four to six unique pours with good company. 2980 Buford Hwy., Cumming, 678-455-3444, qbitalianbistro.com

RYAN HIDINGER
Sometimes someone comes around that changes the perspective for the rest of us. Chef Ryan Hidinger is one of those people. More than five years ago he and his wife, Jen, started hosting supper clubs at their home with the long-term goal of opening their own restaurant. Just as things were starting to fall into place, Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV gallbladder cancer in December of 2012. As the couple shifted priorities and prepped for an all-out battle with cancer, support from the community and unflappable forces like Ryan Turner of Muss and Turners and Ryan Smith, who left his position at Empire State South to become the fourth operating partner of Staplehouse, have kept their dream on track. Opening in early 2014 is a brick and mortar space called Staplehouse, so named according to Hidinger for the very things you want and need in the space where you’re most comfortable. Inspired by the unrelenting support given to him, the Hidingers have established the Giving Kitchen, a non-profit that will support members of the hospitality industry in times of need — and all profits from Staplehouse, after taxes and business expenses, will become the financial engine for that initiative. staplehouse.com

STEM WINE BAR | Marietta
Building upon a year of success with his fashionable eatery in East Cobb, Seed Kitchen & Bar, Doug Turbush and his team decided to expand their operation to include STEM, a cozy wine bar serving small plates that will pair nicely with the extraordinary wine list that general manager/sommelier Jason Raymond has conceived. Having turned many prospective diners away on certain nights due to the popularity of Seed, and with the space next door available, Turbush wanted to provide his current and future customers something a little bit di­fferent. He has traveled extensively and enjoyed some of the wine bars he visited in England, France, Spain, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. “The menu isn’t huge, probably 12 small plates, local charcuterie sliced razor-thin, local and international cheese, four or five desserts, and that’s it. We will feature European inspired small plates from $9 to $15,” Turbush said. The Ushape of STEM’s bar will promote interaction with other guests and servers, and of course, people watching. And while the overall vibe and menu will be completely di­fferent than that of Seed, the area is still ripe for new concepts. “My wife and I have lived in the area for 12 years. We’d just get in the car, ride around and look for a place to go to dinner,” Turbush said. “Sometimes we’d just go back home because there wasn’t a whole lot going on up here.” But East Cobb is undergoing a renaissance and STEM fits a need that hasn’t existed before. “We wanted Seed to be the wine destination in East Cobb. We made sure that it was a focal point and we sell a lot of wine. So we have established that there is a significant market up here. We decided to serve a variety of things that would appeal to the wine novice and the wine connoisseur alike.” STEM’s wine list is focused on North American, Spanish, Italian and French wines. It will showcase approachable, high quality wines selected from blind tastings and all selections will be paired with small plates with wine flights available. Raymond will host tastings and other wine events, all designed to give guests the opportunity to taste and compare wines they may not have sampled before. STEM is slated to open in mid-October. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., and 4-11 p.m. Fri. and Sat.1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 516, Marietta, 678-24-6888, eatatseed.com

AQUERIA TSUNAMI | Marietta
Marietta Square, and now Woodstock, are home to Taqueria Tsunami, where mouthwatering tacos team with the likes of Latin-Asian infused creations that take the East-meets-West concept on a culinary ride that’s well worth a short wait. The packed entrance and full house prove the unique menu ensures a return visit not too long after the initial one. Tsunami is one of the few unanimous votes in our family of four; my five year old loves the edamame sprinkled with chili salt and lime while the rest of us unabashedly bite into homemade empanadas filled with Vietnamese pork, beef or roasted corn salsa, served with salsa verde and Santa Fe ranch for dipping. Options abound but the tacos tempt us every time: Asada Zing Taco with Bulgogi (Korean) marinated steak topped with shitake mushrooms, lettuce and soy-sesame vinaigrette; Thai Chicken Taco with grilled Teriyaki chicken, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, sesame seeds and drizzled with Thai peanut dressing; and the hands-down winning taco? BBQ Short Rib smothered in Kogi BBQ and topped with cucumber salad. 70 South Park Square, Marietta, 678-324-7491, taqueriatsunami.com

THE UNION RESTAURANT | Milton
With no other restaurant in sight (the closest is three miles away), the Milton community has warmed to Chris Sedgwick’s The Union Restaurant‑during the past six years like a blanket for one of their horses. To be so secluded, we were initially surprised by the lunchtime crowd, but an exploration of the menu explained why The Union is a popular spot for both lunch and dinner. If you’re not counting carbs, you simply must try the appetizer of light and crispy housemade chips dusted with spicy barbecue seasoning and balanced beautifully with creamy bleu cheese, bacon and green onions. As for entrées, The Union serves one of the best interpretations of shrimp & grits in town, with a touch of lemon for a bright, unique flavor. The wood oven roasted chicken with herb butter, fingerling potatoes and a simple arugula salad is a tasty, healthy selection, while diners who are looking to indulge will appreciate an order of “coffee” and doughnuts for dessert – New Orleans-style beignets with espresso ice cream. 14275 Providence Road, Milton, ­770-569-7767, theunionrestaurant.com

VIN25 BISTRO & WINE BAR | Roswell
Blink and you’ll miss Plum Tree Street in the heart of Roswell’s historic district — it looks more like a driveway than a two-lane road — but this restaurant is one you don’t want to miss. Owner Phillip Cooper, former sommelier for Ray’s Restaurants, let the little house that became his first independent endeavor dictate its own identity when he opened Vin25 in September 2012. “The idea had been a restaurant in my head for a while, but the space felt more like a wine bar that needed to be on a hillside in Normandy or Burgundy,” he said. So Cooper ran with the rustic feel, incorporating wood tones and leather and an incredible stone-paved patio with fi re pits and lights strung in overhanging trees. Vin25’s wine list changes frequently and introduces customers to new varieties. “I wanted to showcase the artisan producer … I wanted to capture off the beaten path [wines] because our restaurant is off the beaten path,” he said. Recommended fall pairings include a braised lamb shank with wild mushroom, smoked mozzarella polenta, and lamb jus with a Dehesa le Granja Tempranillo 2006 from Ribera del Duero, Spain. 25 Plum Tree St., Roswell, 770-628-0411, vin25.com

WOK & CHOPSTICKS | Alpharetta
For nearly 25 years, Wok & Chopsticks has served up the freshest Chinese cuisine in the Northside. Family owned by the Chau family, these five siblings learned early on how to choose the freshest vegetables, seafood and meats by growing up in their parents’ restaurant in Cambodia. The cooking skills were passed along as well, with two of the brothers hailing as head chefs, turning out tasty dishes using minimum amounts of oil and coaxing the full flavor out of each ingredient. The complimentary pickled cucumbers topped with sesame seeds that greet every diner on arrival are a clue that your meal is going to be something special. It’s hard to imagine not finding something on the menu that tempts your palate, but if not, they will be happy to accommodate you with any dish or ingredient that you’re craving. And while I have brought family and friends to enjoy the food for years, it’s the friendliness of the Chau family that makes dining here feel special. Just ask Joe Chau about his 3-D origami creations that decorate the restaurant, and his face will light up, describing the original design and the hours put into each work of art. Masterpieces abound in this intimate setting … the food, the art, and not least of all, the Chau family. 4000 Old Milton Pkwy, Ste. 200 and 1525 McFarland Road, Alpharetta, 678-393-3938

— Ti­ffany Willard

WINE XPLORER | Dunwoody
In order to incorporate an educational aspect into the concept of wine tasting socials, former Atlanta Wine Meetup organizer Katt Martin opened Wine Xplorer in spring 2012. Here, fellow wine enthusiasts can attend regular tasting events that are both fun and informative. Common themes include basic skills, food pairing and regional education. For this month’s topics, check the schedule online. 1402B Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody, 404-840-4657, wine-xplorer.com

YEBO RESTAURANT & BAR | Buckhead
The second venture from Justin Anthony of Atlanta’s 10 Degrees South, Yebo (which means “yes”) makes South African dining even more accessible with a selection of sharable tapas in a funky, safari-like space. The restaurant is small yet sociable, with an incredible patio and menu that combines traditional South African fare with re-imagined pub grub. Highlights include mac & cheese with white cheddar, manchego and panko; a traditional South African bread bowl with roasted vegetables and spicy goat cheese; and Yebo GoGo (spiced rum, lemon, honey dew, domain canton) from the bar. 3500 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, yeborestaurant.com

ZEST | Roswell
Maybe you like sushi … maybe you don’t. Either way, chances are good you’ll find something to suit your tastes at Zest. The sushi and tapas bar is a favorite for Roswell residents and a destination for diners in the surrounding area. It’s casual enough to be family-friendly, yet vivacious enough for a girl’s night out. Zest’s sushi menu boasts all the requisite rolls along with several specialties, plus tapas like short rib tacos, lamb lollipops and yucca fries. 957 Canton St., Roswell, 678-461-6788, zestoncantonstreet.com