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Food, Wine & Brews

Top Tables for Atlanta Romantic Dining


Mosaic is a cozy Atlanta bistro with both interior and al fresco dining.*

A Peek at Atlanta’s Romantic Tables

By Vivian Holley

In 1996 the Olympics lured the world to Atlanta and the place had not been hotter since "Gone with the Wind" premiered at Loew’s Grand Theater. With newcomers came fresh influences, and today the city’s dining scene reflects the sizzle ignited a decade ago.

That means ample options for romantic wining and dining—not only on special occasions but whenever your love life needs a nudge. Take your sweetie to any of these modest-to-pricey hot spots—some enduring, some new—and you can count on a sexy experience.

Atlanta Grill, Ritz-Carlton Atlanta (404-221-6550 or www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Atlanta/Dining/AtlantaGrill/Default.htm), 181 Peachtree St.  It’s called the Cheater’s Booth—make of that what you will. But the point of it is something close to the heart of romantically charged couples: privacy. Slip inside your own red velvet, curtained enclosure, sip your Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and all distractions will happily drift away.


                                 "Cheater's Booth" at the Atlanta Grill, Ritz-Carlton Atlanta.*

What to order? The clubby downtown restaurant serves great grilled steaks and chops, but do sample such southern regional specialties as scallops and grits.

Bennett Hollberg is the restaurant's new chef. Once you've sampled his culinary delicacies, be sure to take a look around at Atlanta's history via the room’s collection of vintage photographs.

From local heroes such as the likes of golf champ Bobby Jones to a visiting young Elvis, the images trace the capital’s tale. Photos with horse-drawn carriages and streetcars complete the collection.

Nikolai’s Roof, Hilton Atlanta (404-221-6362 or www.nikolaisroof.com), 255 Courtland St.  What could be more romantic than a secluded window table where the two of you can watch the sun drop and the skyline begin to glitter like an endless string of diamonds?

Not only do you get an eye-popping view from the 30th floor, but you also benefit from a polished service performance that results from 30 years of practice. Nikolai’s Roof, an Atlanta fixture for celebrating anniversaries, opened its high-flying downtown doors in 1976.

The skilled wait staff—equally impressive with wine service—earns consistently high marks at this restaurant that’s perched with dramatic appeal atop the Hilton Atlanta. Chef Olivier de Busschere offers superb French-Continental dishes of creativity and flair.

However, don’t forget the Russian influences. Suggest that your lover sample the grand variety of caviars, served with traditional accompaniments that include Russian blini.

Mosaic (404-846-5722 or www.mosaicatl.com), 3097 Maple Dr. Tucked inside a charmingly made-over brick bungalow on a leafy side street, the two of you will be awash in Mediterranean warmth. It’s a noticeable accent on the menu and in the sunny colors of the decor.

Mosaic is a cozy bistro of four dining rooms, plus the fair-weather, al fresco Garden Terrace. It's just far enough off the beaten path to be a serene respite from the often nonstop bustle of Buckhead (also known as Atlanta's answer to Beverly Hills).

Mosaic is awash in vibrant coloring and has a bistro feel.*  

Chef Darrell Rice, recently arrived on the scene, has added his own touch of pizzazz. The cuisine has a contemporary, New American vibe, and so does the stylish art collection on the walls.

For an over-the-top finish, try Mosaic’s Chocolate Pate—a seductive blend of semi-sweet chocolate, heavy cream and Grand Marnier. Wash it down with a glass of chocolate port. Now that’s indulgence.

Pura Vida (404-870-9797 or www.puravidatapas.com), 656 North Highland Ave. Here’s the place to intimately share a plate of goodies with your sweetheart. And if that doesn’t set pulses to racing, just wait until the tango dancers come on.

Chef-Owner Hector Santiago’s tasty tapas are inspired by the flavors of Latin America and Spain. Tapas for two? Try the Foie Perfumado al Chocolate: fried spiced foie gras, dark chocolate and passion fruit ganache. As for drinks...some patrons swear the secret-recipe potion called Sex in Santiago is an aphrodisiac.

On the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, Argentinian dancers command the dance floor, displaying the sultry steps of the tango. Courageous couples join in the fun.

Quinones (404-365-0410 or www.starprovisions.com), 1198 Howell Mill Rd. From the team of Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, who gave Atlanta the wildly popular Bacchanalia, comes this small wonder, west of midtown.

A tiny but elegant gem added to the Bacchanalia picture in 2005, Quinones offers a prix-fixe menu in sensuous, soft-edged surroundings. Both cuisine and decor sport a Southern accent. The romance is as richly textured as the exquisite tasting menu that changes nightly.

Once the two of you have fallen for the place—and you will—there’s good news. You can stop by the complex’s Star Provisions for something fabulous, from fine wine to fresh-baked bread, to take home.

Vivian Holley is travel editor for Southern Seasons magazine, contributing editor for Recommend magazine and an award-winning freelance travel writer/editor specializing in upscale travel including cruising. She is a longtime member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the Southeast Tourism Society and the Atlanta Press Club. 

*Photos on this page are owned, copyrighted and published courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and Mosaic. All rights reserved. Please do not link to nor copy these photos. Thank you.  


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