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Help with ATL Geography


KitchenMom
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I'll be in Atlanta for the first time next week, and I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out the food scene in terms of what is where and what will be convenient to where I'm staying. I've read most of the Atlanta threads, and I gather most of the good restaurants are in midtown and Buckhead. I believe I'll be staying downtown (?). I'll be at the Omni CNN Center, and attending meetings at GSU. I'll be looking to eat with small groups of people, none of whom will probably have cars.

So, is there anything decent within walking/easy transportation distance from the CNN center? Where are midtown and Buckhead in relation to this area? What's a chowhound to do?

Thanks for any help!

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Where at GSU? - that's technically Downtown.

There's plenty of restos in and around the CNN center - can't speak to how good they are tho. I believe many are chains - There's a McCormick and Schmicks anyway.

Down by GSU, in the Fairlie Poplar district there's a good french cafe in the Healey Building. Excellent coffee, and the croque monsieur looked quite good. it's called Les Fleur De Lis.

There's also Ted's Montana Grill at the corner of Spring and Luckie if you like giving Ted Turner some money to eat his bison.

what type of food are you looking for?

Edited by tryska (log)
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Prime Meridian Restaurant in the Omni itself is wonderful!

Enjoy breathtaking views of Centennial Park and the Atlanta Skyline while experiencing continental cuisine blending the freshest local and regional specialities. The contemporary design showcases and open kitchen, exhibition grill, hearth oven and a floor-to-ceiling wine rack.
:wink:

More discussion here, much of it on Buckhead which is not too far

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Thanks for all the info so far! This is really helpful. At GSU, I'll be at the law school, which I believe is at Decatur and Piedmont. I'll keep a look out for that cafe...sounds perfect for an escape during the day.

I like all types of food, and will probably be eating with a mix of adventurous and not-so-adventurous eaters. One of my likely companions is a vegetarian who eats fish/seafood. One fine-dining option is good, and it's nice to know the hotel restaurants are well regarded. Other nights, I'd prefer a more casual atmosphere, where it's easy for a lively group to sit and talk for a while. I'd love some Southern cuisine since we don't have anything great in Philly, but it's not essential. I'd like to avoid chains if possible.

Thanks again!

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you'll be down by my job.

Fleur de Lis should be right on the walk from your hotel. about midway between the two actually.

Fairlie-Poplar has a little boulevard lined with all types of restaurants that is pretty popular during lunchtime.

there's a mix of chain (KFC, Moe's, and a Gorins) as well as Thai/Chinese (not so good imo, but the eggplant is quite nice on their Buffet), Ali Baba's - mediterranean - I like it a lot, and your veg friend probably will too - and Rosa's Pizzeria - their sausage rolls are really quite good.

As far as Southern Cuisine, hmm..I'd say definitely not Mary Mac's tearoom - it's supposed to be an institution, but imo - skip it.

There's Thelma's on Auburn - i haven't been there since it was on Marietta - but it was quite good then.

http://www.accessatlanta.com/restaurants/c...maskitchen.html

If i've got the new location in the correct spot - I would suggest driving, as opposed to walking, because getting from where you would be to where it is, is through a rough patch of Auburn.

Another option is Pitty-pat's Porch, and it's Downtown, but i'm not sure where and I've never eaten there.

http://www.atlantarestaurants.com/minipage/pittypat.htm

Edited by tryska (log)
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OK, clearly an emergency consultation is in order here.

Nikolai's Roof: No, no, a million times no. Or maybe if somebody else is paying and the choice is between McDonald's and Nikolai's Roof, and maybe not even then. A waste of your time and money.

Pittypat's Porch: Okay, I revise my statement above. If the choice is between Pittypat's Porch and Nikolai's Roof, choose Nikolai's Roof. If it's between Pittypat's Porch and McDonald's, pick McDonald's. Or just raid the minibar in your room. Until pretty recently Pittypat's Porch actually had what amounted to "slave" servers, and you can still take home the souvenir mini skillet in which your food is served (last time I checked on line). Offensive, and food must surely still suck.

Mary Mac's Tea Room: I actually quite like Mary Mac's, so Tryska and I will just have to agree to disagree here. This is the real deal, about as close to the sort of food my grandmother made that you'll find in a restaurant that does not have direct access to a farm.

City Grill: The only restaurant downtown that I've personally been to that I can vouch for. Very pretty dining room, food's varied some over the last decade or so, but is generally acceptable.

Overall, dining not nearly so good downtown as it is in other parts of Atlanta.

You can easily take MARTA to Midtown or Decatur, and I suggest you do so. Or a cab would also work, particularly with a group, and some not very distant options that I use went entertaining visitors to downtown are Pura Vida and Two Urban Licks, both easy access via Freedom Pkwy.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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doh - nix Nikolai's then. *lol*

the time i went to Mary Mac's the meatloaf was horrid, and all the sides came out of cans. I was shocked and appalled.

Or spoiled by Colonnade and Busy Bee.

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LOL. Thanks for setting me straight Therese. I think I'll pass on McDonalds AND Nikolai's Roof. I think I'll skip Mary Mac's and Pittypat's Porch, and let you two duke it out amongst yourselves.

Tryska, Fleur de Lis sounds like a perfect breakfast stop on my way in. Thanks for the rec.

I'm all for taking MARTA to Midtown if I can get my friends to join me. I just learned that there is a Friday dinner event at the Aquarium, so I just need places for Wednesday and Thursday.

Thanks for all your help!

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oh and I finally found Fleurs-de-lis' website - i thought the french was off, but apparently a few websites that review it have the name wrong...

it is http://www.lesfleursdeliscafe.com/

unfortunately doesn't look likie they are open for breakfast. Might be a nice dinner spot for you and your companions tho.

Oh also, across the street from fairlie poplar - in the Suntrust building I think? There is this great little produce store - lots of interesting local stuff - fruits, veggies, candy, that sort of thing.

Edited by tryska (log)
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well this was last year.

if those were fresh veggies (black eyes peas and mash) then I hope whoever was responsibile was fired.

i also hope whoever served that boiled hunk of unseasoned ground beef covered with ketchup they call a meatloaf, also got fired.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I'm back from my trip and thought I'd post an update. I never managed to get out of downtown, so didn't have a chance to check out some of the more interesting options. I also didn't escape the conference as much as I had hoped, so ended up with the barely passable boxed lunches provided by GSU.

Wednesday, the night I arrived, my friends and I convened at our hotel in the CNN Center (a truly bizarre place that made me feel like I was in the movie Blade Runner). It was late so we ended up at McCormick and Schmicks. It is what it is. I've been to others and this was the same. Fine, fresh fish with decent preparations if you stick to the simpler things. I had a seared ahi tuna nicoise salad that was quite nice, though nothing special.

The next night my friends and I ended up at a little Thai place recommended by the hotel concierge. It is called Spoon, and is on Marietta about a mile west(?) of the CNN center. We had a really lovely meal there. They had a decent sake selection as well as some interesting mixed drinks. One of my friends really enjoyed his green tea martini. The menu was somewhat small, but quite interesting, with a mix of traditional Thai dishes and some more unusual things. I had a dungeness crab special that was terrific. It certainly seemed more interesting, and a little more upscale than the Thai restaurants here in Philly, which are generally not great.

Friday night's dinner was catered at the aquarium. A fun place, and the food was ok, but not great. I'm not sure who catered it, though I heard Wolfgang Puck's name bandied about.

All in all it was a nice trip and I had fun. It wasn't particularly memorable as a food trip, but everything was fine, and I would definitely go to Spoon again.

Edited by KitchenMom (log)
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Glad you managed to find some decent food not too far from your hotel, KitchenMom.

The catering at the Georgia Aquarium is a Wolfgang Puck product. I've now managed to miss two catered events there, and your report agrees with my colleagues': edible, no more.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I'm glad you went to Spoon! I was going to mention it as it is one of my favorites, but thought it might be too far for you.

I'm glad you went and that you enjoyed it!

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