Your Favorite Chefs’ Favorite Chefs
Chefs are not only excellent at cooking food; they are also the best people to ask where to go and eat. We spoke with a few of Atlanta’s best chefs to ask where they eat when they aren’t cooking in their own homes or restaurants. Their answers covered fine dining, affordable restaurants and several different cuisines from different countries. You will be surprised by some of their selections—and you may even discover a new favorite.
Chef Chris Maher
Other than ALLORA, what is your favorite place to eat in Atlanta?
Sotto Sotto in Inman Park
What is it about the food and energy at Sotto Sotto that draws you in?
The simplicity of everything. The food and service are always spot-on without being overly complicated or pretentious, so I can always relax and enjoy myself. And on a night off of work, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. I live right around the corner, so it’s quickly become my neighborhood go-to spot for a delicious meal and glass of wine.
What is your favorite dish to eat there?
The mushroom risotto. It’s so hard to find properly cooked risotto, and they typically nail it.
Which wine do you like to pair with the mushroom risotto?
They’ve got a great Italian wine list that’s constantly changing, so I typically lean on their sommelier to steer me in the right direction.
Is there a dish on the menu that you want to try but haven’t got around to it yet?
Last time I was there, I saw a smoked burrata dish on the menu that sounded pretty good. I was with a group of friends doing a pasta tasting at the time and was too full to even think about it.
How long have you been going to the restaurant?
I’ve been dining there for the past year and a half and they’ve yet to let me down.
Why would you advise fellow Atlantans to check Sotto Sotto?
They’re not pushing culinary boundaries by trying to do anything too modern or crazy. They just consistently provide great service, food and wine. It’s perfect for a date night with my girlfriend or a night out with my friends.
Chef Nicolas Anderson
Other than City Winery, what is your favorite place to dine in the city of Atlanta?
I love Oakhurst and what they have to offer. From Steinbeck’s to Double Dragon, I love what Andy and George are doing there.
What is it about the restaurant, chef and the food that draw you in?
I like that they shop locally and change their menus up as the season change, plus there are always great eats.
What is your favorite dishes to eat on the menu?
At Steinbeck’s, it is the eggplant fries because they are amazing. Double Dragon’s house-made wontons in aromatic chili oil are amazing.
Is there a particular dish on the menu that you want to try but haven’t got around to yet?
Typically, there is always something that I can try that’s new on the menu.
What cocktail or beverage pairs best with it either dish?
I’m a drink-what-you-like kind of guy, so I order a beer or a cocktail—just depends what I’m in the mood for.
How long have you been going to the restaurants?
Steinbeck’s probably 4 or 5 years, Double Dragon only a year now.
Why would you advise Atlantans to check it out?
It’s a great area that you can hang out in, in the square after dinner or just hop from restaurant to restaurant and try a little bit of everything. Plus, I like it because it is in my backyard and easy for me to get to.
Chef Scotley Innis
Other than 5Church, what is your favorite restaurant to eat at in Atlanta?
Negril Village. I grew up on Jamaican cuisine, so that’s one of the reasons that it is my favorite. It has that authentic Jamaican high-end restaurant feel. The atmosphere itself attracts you before you even taste the food. It has authentic Jamaican dishes, which I grew up eating as a younger kid growing up in a Jamaican household. Plus, I’m cool with the chef, Yusef Walker, who is a talented individual. They take good care of me.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
I have two, but my No. 1 is ackee and saltfish. It is considered a national Jamaican breakfast, but I love it so much that I eat it any time of day.
Is there anything on the menu that you haven’t tried before?
That’s like a second home, so there is nothing on the menu that I haven’t tried yet, except for their Escovitch Fish. That’s a pan-fried fish topped with pickled vegetables. That’s my next dish to try one day.
What do you typically drink along with the ackee and saltfish?
I’ll start with a Red Stripe beer to wash down the dumplings, and then I’ll finish it off with their famous rum punch.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Jamaican food or they haven’t been to Negril Village, why would you advise them to go?
It welcomes everybody. I feel like it’s a staple in Atlanta and a great brunch spot. There is live music on a regular basis. The atmosphere and decor are welcoming. It gives you that island feel in the South. We don’t have a lot of Caribbean restaurants in Atlanta that are like Negril Village.
Chef Tom Catherall
Other than Taco Cowboy, what is your favorite place to eat in Atlanta?
Fortune Cookie Chinese restaurant on Briarcliff. I worked at a Chinese restaurant when I was 20 years old back in England. Once I started eating their food, I started liking Asian food.
What is it about Fortune Cookie that you like so much?
Consistent in quality. Alice the owner is there every day, and the same wait staff has been there forever too.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
Chicken and broccoli with hot and sour soup
Is there a dish on the menu that you want to try but haven’t got around to it yet and why?
The spicy lamb is very good. I sometimes venture from my chicken and broccoli but always return to my favorite dish.
What cocktail or beverage pairs best with it and why?
How long have you been going to the restaurant, and why would you advise Atlantans to check it out?
I’ve been going to Fortune Cookie for more than 20 years. It never disappoints. It’s just consistently good, and they have the friendliest wait staff. Its value for the money too. I always tell Alice that [the prices] are too cheap.