Posted November 19, 2020

A Chef’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in Atlanta

Eat + Drink

If you can’t face another lockdown banana bread fad, take a break from the kitchen and plan a future foodie getaway—to Atlanta, where consistently top-rated Executive Chef Brandon Chavannes will take the helm at three new restaurants and bars at the Kimpton Sylvan Hotel in Buckhead when it opens in early 2021. Chef Brandon will bring culinary skills perfected in some of the country’s best restaurants from New York (Bar Boulud, The Standard Grill) to Atlanta (St. Cecilia)—along with a passion for quality, local ingredients. When he’s not cooking, you might find him foraging, gardening, drumming, or working on permaculture systems at home (where he hopes to get chickens and/or beehives situated this spring).

Born to Jamaican and Norwegian immigrants, Chef Brandon developed an early love for cooking, an appreciation for gathering over a good meal, and eclectic tastes. His cooking is reason enough to book a stay at the Kimpton Sylvan Hotel—but there’s plenty more to taste in Georgia’s capital. Here, he spills the (sweet) tea on his favorite foodie destinations in Atlanta—from Atlanta’s best pâté, oysters, and cocktails, to local spots for Jamaican and Sichuan.

Dig into the Smoked Beet Reuben at The General Muir. Photo Credit Ben Johnson.

Best Overall: Kimball House, a railroad station turned casual neighborhood restaurant serving American and French classics. “They’ve always got some cool terrine or pâté on the menu, and their oysters are unbeatable,” says Chef Brandon. Other favorites include top-rated Bacchanalia for exquisite fine dining and BoccaLupo for Italian-American fare, cocktails, and an ambiance worthy of date night.

The industrial chic interior is as worthy of a trip as the food. Courtesy Bacchanalia.

Favorite Dive:Bookhouse is like Cheers for me,” says Chef Brandon, calling the relaxed pub with bar bites and creative cocktails “a safe haven for good people and turning strangers into friends.” It’s a short walk from his close second, The Righteous Room. Honorable mentions go to The Midway Pub, known for its extensive beer list, and Trackside Tavern for pool and darts.

Queue up a favorite song on the jukebox at The Righteous Room. Photo Credit Jon Whittaker.

Proper Cocktail: East Atlanta Village’s hip Banshee. “I generally drink mezcal or tequila neat, but if I want a proper cocktail, I know they’ll get it right,” he says.

Best Brunch: Chef Brandon visits former colleague and mentor Chef Todd Ginsberg at The General Muir, an upscale New York-style deli near Emory University, where breakfast is served until 3pm. “The guy just can’t help but make delicious food,” he says. “On top of it, eating at The General Muir feels like eating at an aunt and uncle’s house—just feels like people care about you there.”

You can’t go wrong with a brunch spread at The General Muir. Photo Credit Danielle Oron.

Essential Atlanta: In the Martin Luther King Jr. historic district, Foxx Original Jamaican serves delicious (and budget-friendly) lunch plates like curry goat or oxtail. For Sichuan, try Masterpiece—ranked #3 Best Restaurant by Atlanta Magazine, and conveniently close to a great karaoke spot. Tasty China and Jia are also worth mentioning here. And with several locations (including one in Buckhead), cheesesteaks from Woody’s are “the truth”.

Pizza Craving: Try Antico for Neapolitan pizza near Georgia Tech as well as Braves Stadium, or grab a rectangular Detroit-style pie at Nina & Rafi after a visit to The King Center.

Nina & Rafi’s “Margherita in Detroit” pie is exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for. Photo Credit Mia Yakel.

Staff Hangout: Lloyd’s, an unfussy spot with craft beer and weekly family-style dinner specials, like fried chicken on Wednesdays and fish fry on Fridays. “I’ll never go there if I don’t want to run into somebody,” Chef Brandon quips.

Sink into the classic banquettes at Lloyd’s. Photo Credit Sarah Dorio.

In 2021, don’t miss the new dining options at The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood:
The Betty—a mid-century supper club where Chef Brandon brings a modern twist to classic dishes, like beef cheek stroganoff with black pepper gnocchi and shrimp cocktail with preserved lime, and classic cocktails to match.
Willow Bar—a lush outdoor garden oasis serving a largely plant-based menu with patio-perfect wines, cocktails, and craft beers.
St. Julep—a vibrant rooftop lounge with a playful vibe—think corn dogs and boozy soft-serve ice cream, cheeky neon signs, and sweeping views.

Kimpton strongly believes all local ordinances around safe dining practices should be observed when dining out. To view more on Kimpton’s own approach to clean visit www.kimptonhotels.com/clean.

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