Good StuffLifestyle

The Best Meal I Ever Had in Atlanta, GA

CALLING ALL FOODIES By Liz Gunn || I have just returned from a long weekend in Atlanta, and I have so many things I could share. First and foremost though, I have to tell you about the most amazing dining experience I’ve had a in a very long time. Atlanta has…


LIZ GUNNBy Liz Gunn || I have just returned from a long weekend in Atlanta, and I have so many things I could share. First and foremost though, I have to tell you about the most amazing dining experience I’ve had a in a very long time. Atlanta has many good restaurants to choose from, but in the last ten years of making this same trip – I have finally found the best.

I rate restaurants on food, ambiance and service – although not necessarily in that order. Food is obviously the most important, but impeccable service can occasionally make up for a lack of ambiance and vice versa. Luckily, at Bacchanalia in Atlanta you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Everything about this place is incredible.

At first glance of the actual restaurant, it reminded me of ABC Kitchen in New York. It’s in the back of a gourmet food and wine store (Star Provisions) which may seem odd, but it gives the place an interesting quirkiness, in my opinion. The space has an almost industrial feel to it, with brick walls and enormous untrimmed windows, but it has been made cozy with candlelight on every table and carefully selected art on the walls. It feels very open and rustic, but at the same time very modern with sleek, silver accents and large, intriguing light fixtures.

The  menu is a prix fixe style, with five courses for you to select. In addition to the five courses, they also bring you a complementary starter dish – a tiny, warm pastry stuffed with gooey cheese, bread and butter, pineapple cider (prior to dessert – to cleanse the palate I suppose) and an assortment of fresh pastries after dessert – which they will bag for you to take home. The portions are smaller and not necessarily meant for sharing, but definitely bring your appetite. I’ll tell you what we tried and then touch on what really stood out.

We started with the Kumamoto Oysters and the Chilled Main Lobster. For the second course, we had the Gulf Crab Fritter and the Pan Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras. For the entree course we selected the Margret Duck and the Berkshire Pork Loin + Belly. For the cheese course we told our server to surprise us, and she brought us the CapraGia Fresh Goat Cheese and the Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill. By the time we had dessert I was uncomfortably full, but managed to have a bite of both the Orange Soufflé and the Warm Valrhona Chocolate.

The seasonal menu relies on all organic ingredients, many of which come from Summerland Farms – about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta. The presentation of the food is truly the work of an artist – some of it borders on too pretty to eat. The flavor combinations and preparation of each dish were nearly perfect.

My favorites: The oysters and lobster were superb, especially for a city nowhere near the coast. The foie gras was perhaps the best I’ve ever had. The duck and pork loin were great, but the pork belly was the real star of the entree course.

I love cheese. Period. But I wasn’t crazy about the broccoli served with the Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill. The cheese was similar to Brie and just didn’t pair well with broccoli, in my opinion. The desserts were both very good, but to be honest – I would have enjoyed them more if I could have waited an hour to eat them.

The service gets a ten, maybe an eleven. It was the perfect balance of attentive and informative without being overbearing or pushy. They also seemed very down to earth, which may seem like a strange observation, but too many times I’ve been turned off by a waiter or waitress who has tried to wow me with his or her vast knowledge of wine or cuts of meat.

Having worked in the service industry myself, I know I’m more critical of others in this profession. I can’t say enough good things about the service at Bacchanalia. My glass was never less than half full, the dishes were timed appropriately so that we never waited between courses but we were also never rushed. We were brought new silverware with each dish. It was exquisite.

If you go, definitely make a reservation well in advance. Even after nearly 20 years in Atlanta, and with so many other restaurants opening since then, Bacchanalia still manages to be booked solid almost every night of the week. Three weeks out and our only options were 5:45 and 8:45.

Bacchanalia is the perfect place for a special occasion or to take a client you’re trying to impress. Sister restaurant, Quinones at Baccchinalia, is located just steps around the corner – and is said to be even more lavish than the original with a prix fixe menu that changes nightly. I look forward to trying it out on our next visit!

LIZ GUNN is a wife, mom, travel enthusiast, food snob, daydreamer and lifelong Gamecock fan. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.

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Just a suggestion December 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

I enjoy your contributions to FITS. Perhaps you could start a new trend. The word AMAZING has been used and abused to the point of numbness. Being the maven that you are perhaps you should be the first to set the example and retire it – forever.

Foie Gras? Yum. You continue to surprise me.

Point guard is a ball handler December 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

“The word AMAZING has been used and abused to the point of numbness. ”

That’s why the word “amazeballs” was created. Perhaps she can start using that.

erneba December 8, 2014 at 10:16 am

“…has been used and abused to the point of numbness.”
Reminds me of my weewee when I was twelve years old.
She should have tried the chitlins, now, those would have been “amazing.”

????????? December 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I’ll see what I can do…because you’re right. The word amazing is overdone.

tomstickler December 8, 2014 at 10:28 am

Must be nice not to have to eat at McDonalds, amirite?

Maybe they should offer McFoie Muffins.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I hope no one “has to” eat at McDonald’s. Yikes.

SomalianRoadCorp December 9, 2014 at 12:10 am

What exactly does this mean?

I love it when American whites have a glass of wine and start acting like they’re too good for this and that…..ohhhh how cultured you “foodies” are.

????????? December 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

Because I hope no one feels forced to eat processed fast food? Psht. I love when people put words in my mouth. NEXT.

shifty henry December 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

This is a preview of her upcoming reports on her dining experiences in Shreveport. She won’t disappoint us.

sparklecity December 8, 2014 at 11:31 am

I heard that!!!!!,
Crawdads with rice while quaffing Dixie beer = that’s good eatin there!!!!!!!!!!!

shifty henry December 8, 2014 at 11:58 am

I looked up Shreveport last night and was surprised to find that it’s full of history and now seems to be a rockin’ town. My Dad mentioned being there several times in his younger days but I was too young to be interested.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Sorry to say I will not be headed to Shreveport. (Not that sorry, really.)

shifty henry December 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

(sigh…) Liz, I’m the one who’s sorry. I guess that early morning caffeine over-stimulated my brain.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

ha. Early morning caffeine is the BEST caffeine I have all day.

ThisArticleIsDrivel December 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

A “Food Snob” with the vocabulary of a high schooler…yeah I believe that

Stalker December 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

There is always ONE comment similar to this on everything Liz writes. Starting to think it’s from the same sad sack. You probably have a creepy shrine built for her in your bedroom.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

that is terrifying!

Squishy123 December 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I’ve never understood the orgasmic feeling people get with food, liquor, cigars, etc… It’s food, some is good, some is bad… I don’t think I’ve ever ate something that I wished I would have taken a picture of or felt the need to write 1000 words about.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I am very sure there are things that do give you that feeling that I definitely don’t want to read about…so that’s fair. Don’t like to read about food? Click elsewhere.

Squishy123 December 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Didn’t need to click elsewhere before Will decided to compete with Red Book magazine.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

hey, by all means – keep clicking here! That’$ kind of the whole point…$o thank$!

SomalianRoadCorp December 9, 2014 at 12:11 am


SCBlues December 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

“Didn’t need to click elsewhere before Will decided to compete with Red Book magazine.”
Based on your posts to any thread on this entire site you must be the most miserable person to have ever lived.

Squishy123 December 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Well then, I guess it’s a good thing that money can buy happiness.

Squishy123 December 9, 2014 at 9:05 am

As a little girl, did you dream about the day you’d write on a SC political blog about food and shoes?

????????? December 9, 2014 at 11:15 am

I dreamed of doing what I loved and getting paid for it. So yeah – I guess so! All I want out of life is happiness – I’m sorry you’ve given up on that dream for yourself.

Swamp rat December 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

But you sure love Budweiser, chicken livers and toxic mushrooms. Your spelling has improved though.

Squishy123 December 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm

When did my spelling suck?

Don’t eat chicken guts and don’t know what toxic mushrooms are. I’ll drink Budweiser over any fad home brew that tastes like it’s got shit floating in it.

Kramer December 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

At least you would have a job.

E Norma Scok December 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I didn’t read any of the article, and I’m sure it was great food and all…but that roll, or whatever that is..well…looks like dog poop on top of a two leaves, with more dog poop on top of it, in a bowl.

Native Ink December 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

The food might taste good, but that photograph looks disgusting. Is that mustard drizzled on top of powered sugar?

Buz Martin December 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm

So how much did it set ya back?

I’m thinking it’s probably so pricey that, given the name of the place, the wait staff should say to those who order the most expensive items “Want orgy with that?”

????????? December 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

You can check out the full menu here – the prices are listed. I hate when places list a priceless menu.

Buz Martin December 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm


I could maybe get an appetizer, some crackers. Snag something off somebody’s plate. And wash it down with Dr. Pepper.

Liz Help December 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Liz, where is the boot trend headed for women? Is it about done? I’m trying to decide on a gift for my wife.
Perhaps an article for the guys on this site who need some shopping advice for Christmas.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm

No way! The boot trend is as “in” as ever – and with never ending options. Riding boots are very popular, as are ankle boots (aka booties). Let me know how else I can help – that’s a good suggestion for another post!

LetMeVomitPlease December 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

This looks like dog shit or some kind of bad fecal matter. Turd sausage?Nasteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Asian poo fetish December 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm

“some kind of bad fecal matter”

What would be a good kind of fecal matter?

Bible Thumper December 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

“Chilled Main Lobster”? Does his mean they did not come from Maine. Hope they are not cheap warm water lobster.

I’m too high classed to eat Lobster.

Wikipedia History:
In North America, the American lobster did not achieve popularity until the mid-19th century, when New Yorkers and Bostonians developed a taste for it, and commercial lobster fisheries only flourished after the development of the lobster smack,[25] a custom-made boat with open holding wells on the deck to keep the lobsters alive during transport.[26] Prior to this time, lobster was considered a mark of poverty or as a food for indentured servants or lower members of society in Maine, Massachusetts, and the Canadian Maritimes, and servants specified in employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice per week.[27] Lobster was also commonly served in prisons, much to the displeasure of inmates.[28] American lobster was initially deemed worthy only of being used as fertilizer or fish bait, and it was not until well into the twentieth century that it was viewed as more than a low-priced canned staple food.[29]

aikencounty December 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Have tickets for Seger in February. Will reservations be required at The Varsity on a Saturday afternoon?

Chef Casper December 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

What is the price? Seems like a lot of food. Just asking from a business standpoint.

????????? December 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

It’s $85 a person (prix fixe). Up charges for some items like caviar and foie gras.

9" December 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm

GREAT restaurant.My BF took me there last birthday(He’s loaded),but the best lobster I’ve had was,Lobster Landing in Connecticut.It’s extremely casual,BYOB,seasonal,and reasonably priced.The lobster roll is the thing.Nothing but lobster,butter and bread.
Not to be confused with a Maine lobster roll that often uses ‘lobster salad’,which is an insult to lobsters,everywhere.

Slartibartfast December 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Now, THAT IS news! A decent meal in Atlanta! (The picture, however, looks like a merde ténia créme surprise).


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