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Best dish of 2010

The burger at Holeman & Finch. Photo: Garnish Photography courtesy of Green Olive Media.

The burger at Holeman & Finch. Photo: Garnish Photography courtesy of Green Olive Media.


1. The burger at Holeman & Finch
In the latest Southern Living magazine, Holeman & Finch’s burger, served at 10 p.m. nightly and during Sunday brunch only, was named the best late-night burger, To quote the restaurant’s website, “Each night, 24 exquisite, double patty cheeseburgers are assembled on house-made buns and served alongside hand-cut fries and homemade ketchup, mustard and pickles — only 24.  Some nights they sell out in under a minute.”

2. Lobster bisque at Chops
3. Salmon chips at Two Urban Licks
4. Pork belly buns at Super Pan Latino Sandwich Shop
5. Three Little Pigs at 4th & Swift

The sticky toffee pudding at 4th & Swift. Photo: Jon Watson

The sticky toffee pudding at 4th & Swift. Photo: Jon Watson


Sticky toffee pudding at 4th & Swift

The AJC dining team’s Popular Eats specialist Jon Watson says, “4th & Swift’s Sticky Toffee Pudding easily takes the top slot of my favorite dishes in 2010. This rich toffee cake swimming in a pool of buttery caramel sauce can make anyone grow a sweet tooth.”

Eggplant calabrese at Bocado
Chief Dining Critic  John Kessler says, “Warm eggplant calabrese — a deeply flavored compote — arrives over cool, super-creamy burrata mozzarella at Bocado. It’s an incredibly rich few mouthfuls with one of those subtle temperature contrasts that sears in your memory.”

The bbq beef rib at Pura Vida
The AJC dining team’s specialist in Southern and Neighborhood Fare Jenny Turknett says, “My favorite dish of 2010 was the bbq beef rib at Pura Vida, made by the ‘habanero whisperer,’ Hector Santiago. These short ribs with an adobo rub are extremely tender and full of flavor, radiating sweet heat from the orange-chipotle barbecue sauce. The thinly-sliced carrot slaw adds freshness to the dish. Paired with one of Pura Vida’s signature mojitos garnished with a stick of real sugar cane, this dish succeeds on all levels.”

The Sinhgoku oysters at Tomo. Photo: Gene Lee

The Sinhgoku oysters at Tomo. Photo: Gene Lee

Shigoku oysters on the half shell at Tomo
The AJC dining team’s specialist in International Cuisine Gene Lee says, “My number one favorite food item in 2010 was not anything complicated nor overly engineered. In fact, most of the engineering with Shigoku oysters takes place at Taylor Shellfish in Washington State. By the time they reached my table at Tomo, they were plated on a formed puck of crushed ice and infused with an Asian mignonette.” For more, check out the Food and More blog post of  Gene Lee’s Top 10 dishes of 2010.

Kimchi jigae at Woo Nam Jeong
Keeper of Best of the Big A Shane Harrison says, “The spicy red broth is still bubbling from the heat as it comes to the table. This pungent, flavor-packed bowl of tofu, pork and kimchi at Woo Nam Jeong (aka Stone Bowl House) is the culinary equivalent of a warm winter parka.”

107 comments Add your comment

micah maloof

December 23rd, 2010
9:40 am

The kibbee and hummous at Nicolas near Emory.


December 23rd, 2010
11:09 am

You would think with your vast expansive knowledge of the states you would know how to abbreviate Connecticut. Maybe you should roll out to another state and take your pessimism with you and leave all this terrible food to us who enjoy it and appreciate what we have.


December 23rd, 2010
5:03 pm

Shrimp and Grits at Marlowes


December 23rd, 2010
8:00 pm

Its hard to beat JALISCO in peachtree battle.but what do i know


December 23rd, 2010
9:08 pm

Whatever, Stew… I hope you enjoy living in a place where you refuse to find/eat at/acknowledge the good that is around you.
I think that’s great that I can eat a great Cheese steak in Philly and not in Atlanta… thats why i go to philadelphia. Thats why regions are interesting/full of culture. I’m not saying you can’t find great food from other regions of the world in Atlanta, because you can, and I have eaten at plenty of them, but what good would regional cuisine be if it werent dominant from that region?
Eat at Floataway Cafe, Abbatoir, Taqueria, and Paul’s if you ask me. I loved my last dish from pauls- a chicken and eggplant masterpiece


December 24th, 2010
7:41 am

Having lived in both the northeast and Atlanta (25+ years), I do not agree with Stew “the greater Atlanta area has the worst food in the country.” Far from it, we have some wonderful dining destinations, however, he makes a valid point on breads and pizza. While we have a “few” good/great choices in these categories, they are indeed few and far between. They are so few and scattered throughout the metro area that for many of us it requires a dedicated trip to enjoy, whereas in many parts of the northeast you can literally walk around the corner to find wonderful breads and pizza.

As for the best dish I had this year in the Big A, I’ve had many but tops on my 2010 list would have to be the Spinach with Parsnip Cream sidedish I enjoyed at Livingston at the Georgia Terrace about a month ago. I doubt this would be viewed as at category winner, but it takes a lot to blow my socks off and this was it. Since that meal, I’ve tried to duplicate the recipe at home with limited success, but I haven’t quite identified their secret ingredient/process. I’d love to get the recipe.


December 24th, 2010
9:46 pm

The steak at Johnny Mitchell’s in Euharlee, GA. Come on up to Bartow County and experience casual carnivorous dining at it’s best.


December 24th, 2010
10:30 pm

Well said Foodie-B and Mark. Stew, if you are so convinced that Atlanta has terrible food, then you’ll never find a restaurant here that will make you happy. By the way, can anyone in Philly or California make Southern Fried Chicken or Pecan Pie like you can have in any number of restaurants in Atlanta?


December 24th, 2010
10:40 pm

I just wish all the damn yankees, ESPECIALLY those from new york would just go home. If it’s so much better THERE, then why in the hell are you HERE?

I would have to say Kevin Gillespie’s pork belly at the Woodfire. I would have never imagined eating pork belly and thought he was nuts when he included it on his menu for that goofy show he was on. It was a pleasure to be proven dead wrong. That stuff was GOOD.


December 24th, 2010
10:43 pm

Wings at Dugans on Ponce!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 24th, 2010
10:44 pm

@ Fred – I like your post!! I totally agree with you!! Them damn yankees are always talking about new york. Then why the heck are they here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 24th, 2010
10:45 pm

@ Fred – I totally agree.

Ed Graham

December 24th, 2010
11:02 pm

Stew on 12/21 at 9:41PM – Delta has a couple of hundred flights a day to the northeast. You need to be on one of them.


December 24th, 2010
11:24 pm

Stew – anyone who thinks ethic food should be “Americanized” shouldn’t be allowed to eat it.


December 24th, 2010
11:39 pm

Clams Oreganata at Oscars in Dunwoody. Actually, everything there is the best. Little Italy right down the street.

rosie posie

December 24th, 2010
11:51 pm

The huevos rancheros at Three Blind Mice in Gwinnett. Also their creme brule! Delicious!


December 24th, 2010
11:56 pm



December 25th, 2010
1:08 am

As a vegetarian, I have to put the veggie plate at Milton’s on this list. NOT your average veggie plate. The absolute BEST IN ATLANTA. It beats South City by a mile. The meat eaters in my group go completely nuts over the shrimp and grits. Great place all around…great food, great service.,


December 25th, 2010
3:16 am

Polenta at the Floataway Cafe. Absolutely amazing….

Philly Fan

December 25th, 2010
7:21 am

The best pretzels ever are at the The Pretzel Company in Alpharetta. They make real phillly style pretzels. These are better than the ones I used to get when I was in philly on the street corner.


December 25th, 2010
9:02 am

delmonico steak – capital grill


December 25th, 2010
12:27 pm

Should have known stew is a damn yankee. Go back where you came from if it’s so great what are you here for?


December 25th, 2010
3:15 pm

I was going to say something at Hayakawa’s, but I’ve changed my answer to Lambasted Stew.


December 25th, 2010
4:33 pm

Poor poor Stew. I too have eaten is many many cities in this wonderful country of ours. I have found that each area has its own great foods.To Say that we need to update our ethnic foods to taste like the rest of the country would be the ruin of our great Southern foods. Do you suggest that the New England boil be changed to a Tenn. Mountain boil?
Accept each area for what it offers. If you don’t like it here, as our late great Lewis Grizzard once stated, “Delta is reay when you are.” Also remember that I-75 does run North and I-20 and I-85 go west young man.


December 26th, 2010
7:36 am

The Cuban sandwich at Havana Grill.


December 26th, 2010
8:10 am

Three Little Pigs at 4th & Swift.

Rob Robertson

December 26th, 2010
8:28 am

Stew, sorry you can’t get New York culinary satisfaction here in Atlanta. Perhaps you should go to a book store, purchase the latest copy of Rand-McNally and discover that Atlanta is located in the state of Georgia, NOT New York. Many from the south would probably be disappointed with the Sole Food Country cooking options available in New York. Quit whining and give Delta a call, they’re ready when you are . . . .


December 26th, 2010
9:00 am

Gordon Biersch: Garlic fries…. Phenomenal!


December 26th, 2010
9:47 am

5. Burgers and cole slaw at Merles (Dallas, GA)
4. Japanese at Taki (Hiram)
3. Red Beans and Rice at Gumbeaux’s (Douglasville)
2. Ms. Gail’s Peanut Butter Pie (Gumbeaux’s)
1. Ya-Ya’s Salmon (Gumbeaux’s)
As a Californian, albeit w/a dad born here, I have yet to find any Mexican food worth while. Salsa Roja from Zocalo’s stand at Marietta Farmer’s Market; their mole sauce; then I make my own dishes.

Scott Anderson

December 26th, 2010
12:06 pm

We dont have a good barbecue place in stone mountain.

We dont have a good sandwhich place. Jasons on LaVista but I do not always like their stale menu.

We dont have a really good pizza place in stone mountain.

We dont have a good bakery in stone mountain.

Dont understand it but it needs to change.


December 26th, 2010
4:36 pm

Raisedbywolves: Authentic mexican food is tough to find in Atlanta unless you are hispanic and speak Spanish. The places I have found that serve it aren’t likely to serve it to gringos. LaSabrosita in Lilburn does a good job though.

The shrimp lasabrosita is awesome.


December 26th, 2010
6:30 pm

Chicken salad sandwich at Jason’s Deli, fried goat cheese balls at Ecco, Lobster Bisque at Chop’s, spinach and artichoke dip, ribs, hawaiian rib eye, and asian salad at Houston’s.


December 26th, 2010
9:48 pm

Short rib and manchego torta at Holy Taco.


December 27th, 2010
12:22 am

tie, pork shank I had on Valentine’s at JCT or the Dry Aged Sirloin at Capital Grill


December 27th, 2010
7:26 am

Stew, you really don’t know food, and you are obviously a very miserable man here in the ATL. Why don’t you move? True, no good cheesesteak in Atlanta but plenty of great Chinese, pizza, bbq and fine dining. And bread–ever been to Alon’s??? We have passionate craftsmen here working in the restaurant industry. You obviously don’t patronize them. Don’t complain that you don’t, as it’s your own fault.


December 27th, 2010
7:32 am

Sorry–got off on a rant.
Best sandwich of this year–the roast lamb and caramelized onion jam at Alon’s…wow.
Best Asian–Fish in hot oil at Hot Pot restaurant in Chinese mall food court.
Second best sandwich of the year–oyster po boy at Crawfish Shack.
Best Mexican–tostada pastor at Don Pepe (former Chef Liu trailer in parking lot of Pine Tree Plaza)
All other best dishes were at my house. Look out in 2011 for what damage can be wrought with the wood burning pizza oven, under construction.


December 27th, 2010
7:42 am

I am going to regret posting this, but the escargot at Red Tomato in Bolingbroke, GA is the absolute best in this world!

Jackie Troutman

December 27th, 2010
7:53 am

The most outstanding dish in Atlanta continues to be the pork belly on steamed cocnut buns at Pura Vida. Pork belly has been played out a bit in Atlanta but this is a fresh take and crazy good.


December 27th, 2010
8:04 am

The bone-in fried catfish and hoe cakes at Willingham’s in McDonough – delicious!


December 27th, 2010
8:45 am

Farm egg baked in celery cream with rustic bread at Miller Union.

It’s not even close. Well, maybe the Lobster bisque at Chops.


December 27th, 2010
8:51 am

The best pizza in ATL is at The NY Pizzeria on Chamblee Tucker & 285 (in the Big Lots shopping center). My husband is from NY and that’s the only place he’ll go for pizza.


December 27th, 2010
9:23 am

Fred: I’d come to that conclusion. I am fluent in Spanish, but that is because California has a large native Latino population and it makes it easier to be able to communicate. I’ve had good frijoles refritos at La Cocina in Dallas, but it is just easier to make my own. I’ll go to any restaurant once, and if they don’t look at my blue eyes, they will accept me as one of their own by my accent and pronunciation! Always wanted to take my act to Arizona with that new bill, get sent to Mexico for a free vacation and then come back and own the state!
Back to food: Johnny’s New York Pizza in Hiram has hit our list for good pizza.


December 27th, 2010
9:32 am

A few nominations:

1) Fried Chicken Benedict at Farmstead 303
2) Shan City Chicken at Man Chun Hong
3) Tamales at Bonegarden
4) any pizza at Antico


December 27th, 2010
9:35 am

The Black Olive Hummus from The Buckhead Pizza Co. Yummy!


December 27th, 2010
9:40 am

Stew.. I agree with you! I recently relocated to the Atlanta area (from New Jersey) and am having a hard time with dining out. Forget all this fried heartattack on a plate. How about getting to the basics and having Fresh Seafood Sauteed in Olive Oil with Garlic, Light Plum Tomatoes, Fresh Basil Garnished with Baby Clams, Mussels and Rock Shrimp. Now that is a dish! Canoli, well I am hard pressed to find a bakery that has a quality one that can be enjoyed.


December 27th, 2010
9:42 am

Maybe Stew should move back to wherever he came from if he’s so unhappy here in Atlanta. Or, maybe open his own restaurant to please himself.


December 27th, 2010
9:42 am

The “Big Dawg” from CJ’s Hotdogs in McDonough!!! 1/2 lb black angus beef – best hotdog around – you gotta try it!!!


December 27th, 2010
9:45 am

MAK can go with Stew.


December 27th, 2010
9:56 am

I live and play ITP, but I’ve been fortunate to explore the dining in the Norcross area because of work. The Tuscan Veggie sandwich at Bleu House Cafe and the garlic bread and Eggplant Parm at Dominick’s (both in downtown Norcross) are to die for!


December 27th, 2010
10:11 am

Guava cheesecake at Mojito’s in old Norcross. …family recipe, worth the trip.