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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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The Atlantic Station Dilemma

guacLast weekend my wife and I managed to have a quick dinner/movie date from some time we carved away from chauffeuring our children. We found ourselves at Atlantic Station with an hour for a light meal. In other words, we wanted a glass of wine and enough food to keep us from getting hungry later.

But where to go when we don’t want to commit to a full meal, but don’t want to eat in one of those step-above-fast-food joints? We’ve always had this dilemma in Atlantic Station.

We finally decided to check out Rosa Mexicano. We hadn’t been in a couple of years — not since a big dinner that was more expensive than it was good. But we managed to snag a great table on the patio with a  couple of drinks. The house specialty guacamole served in a molcajete was a hefty $12, which seemed excessive at first glance. But we ended up with a huge portion of fantastic guac — lumpy and fresh — served with a basket of chips, two hot salsas and an endless supply of small, warm, handmade tortillas. It was…well…dinner.

We also appreciated the great service — from the hostess who found us a great table, to the jokey manager to the attentive waiter. All in all, it was a pretty swank experience for a little more than $30 with tip.

38 comments Add your comment

TFL

July 9th, 2010
7:09 pm

Certainly one can have guacamole for dinner in any number of establishments for under $30 – but is guac really enough for dinner?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajcdinecritic, John Kessler. John Kessler said: The Atlantic Station Dilemma http://bit.ly/aW0I4V [...]

Darin

July 9th, 2010
10:33 pm

Ooh — this is good advice. My wife and I have been in this exact situation in A.S. when we’ve had a rare babysitter and have gone to see a movie. We’ll try this out. When we go shopping at A.S .w/ our kid, we usually eat at Tin Drum where there’s a decent couple of dishes we’ve found (though the 5th St location does a better job).

A

July 10th, 2010
12:21 am

We ate at the Rosa Mexicano near Staples Center in L.A. over Spring Break, and while it was a bit on the pricey side, the food there is great and so is the service. I actually didn’t realize it was a chain and that there was one in Atlanta!

S

July 10th, 2010
12:39 am

I’ve heard the guac is really good at Rosa’s. However, in no way will i ever pay that much for guac.

SC

July 10th, 2010
2:34 am

Try the Pot Roast sandwich with sweet potato fries topped with maple syrup at Copeland’s/Atlantic Station… Outstanding!

outspoken1

July 10th, 2010
6:39 am

If you like GREAT Mexican food, visit El Tapico off of L’ville Hwy in Tucker.
It is a dive to look at but the food and prices are very good.

PJD

July 10th, 2010
6:44 am

I was dubious, but I have to say the the guac at Rosa Mexicano in DC was amazing. Prepared tableside, plentiful, flavorful and well worth the price.

mike

July 10th, 2010
8:12 am

Copelands is not good. I’ve eaten there twice and both times it was awful. It tastes like everything is prepared in a microwave. It’s basically a knockoff of the Cheesecake Factory.

Lee

July 10th, 2010
8:59 am

Rosa Mexicano is pricey, but the guacamole is amazing there! I will say that guacamole for dinner would not do for me either.

Jay&Deb

July 10th, 2010
9:02 am

Same thing for us…Dialogue in the Dark and then an hour to kill before our movie…we decided on Tin Drum…great, inexpensive, & quick!
Loved my curry dish and my wife got a variety of the small appetizer type rolls and samosas. Good stuff!

TI

July 10th, 2010
9:44 am

Does the areas outside the resturants still cater to the Underground crowd or has it improved? Just curious…

Fred

July 10th, 2010
10:01 am

I haven’t been to Atlantic Station in a couple of years. Is that Wine place still open there? I think it’s called Grapes or The Grape or something like that. I have never eaten there, but that seems like it would have fit the bill for what you were looking for JK. A nice wine list, snappy, unique little appetizers. But then maybe unlike me you HAVE been there and it wasn’t very good?

RickinGA

July 10th, 2010
10:09 am

Got the guac and not a frozen pomegranate margarita? Say it ain’t so! Two of the FPM’s and the fresh Rosa guac and your whole outlook improves. A third glass of the frozen pink concoction and you wouldn’t care less about the movie….

Good Food Eater

July 10th, 2010
10:43 am

There isn’t any good food at Atlantic Station. I suggest that one take a short drive to Westside for a quick, light meal.

Mustangmelatl

July 10th, 2010
10:45 am

I work in Atlantic Station, and this is precisely the dilemma. Rosa is probably the best choice. Grape can be ok for wine/snacks. But I went w/ a friend for lunch this week, and it took about an hour and a half to serve us sandwiches – and we were the only table in the place. Atlantic Station would seem to be a prime spot for a decent, local restaurant. As it is, whenever I want to take clients out, we go to West Midtown instead.

hojo

July 10th, 2010
10:47 am

dt4c

July 10th, 2010
10:48 am

I agree with RickinGA, the pomegranate margarita is awesome! The guac is worth the price because you get twice as much as you get anywhere else. No way I would go without the margaritas though!

LAL

July 10th, 2010
11:23 am

@ Mike: Agree. Copeland’s is not good. Why not support a local restaurant instead of a Big Box restaurant chain? About Atlantic Station: I’ve never found a satisfactory option there. I’m guessing the only restaurants that can afford the rent at A.S. are the big chains.

food snob

July 10th, 2010
1:45 pm

watch out for shootings at rosa mexicano

Uncle Tom

July 10th, 2010
1:46 pm

What was the dilemma? Was it the higher cost of tickets/snacks Regal charges at that particular theater than others?

atl sta resident

July 10th, 2010
2:56 pm

Don’t forget about lobby, the restaurant in the Twelve hotel within Atlantic Station. It has great wines and appetizers and it’s seldom too crowded for a light dinner.

Tom

July 10th, 2010
3:48 pm

Rosa is excellent. Try and make the long drive once a month to eat and shop. Never had any bad experience there or outside at Atlantic ‘Station.

Reggie

July 10th, 2010
4:34 pm

@ T I …I think you would feel more comfortable back home in south Georgia. Just saying!!

MDM

July 10th, 2010
5:30 pm

LOBBY Bar & Bistro has great pizzas and a casual American bistro menu. The kitchen is run by Chef Nick Oltarsh, one of the best in the city…

Rodney

July 11th, 2010
10:43 am

@ Food Snob – although a bit snarky, your comment reflects the reason I don’t go to A.S. There’s far too many people (adults and children) who go to just walk around and hang out. They don’t seem to shop, they don’t seem to patronize any of the restos or stores. Just hang out.

That scene isn’t for me. I now go to A.S. for a movie or MAYBE West Elm, but even then it’s been a year or more since I was last there. It’s just not a dining destination for me (and I live within 15 minutes of A.S.).

John Kessler

July 11th, 2010
4:36 pm

As a matter of fact, I did get a frozen pomegranate margarita. Very tasty and not nearly as sweet as the pink color would suggest.

SW diner

July 11th, 2010
10:22 pm

John, It’d be interesting to see your critique of an evening out without hitting chains. Every business has it’s role in Atlanta, but locally owned seem to work more to support other locally owned business (from produce, meats, other local businesses). The reason I don’t like A.S. is it’s just a mall experience, just with no roof.

M

July 11th, 2010
10:40 pm

We ate at the Grape not too long ago and it was much better than it used to be. I remember it being just kind of adequate, but the salmon BLT I had was really, really good. We don’t drink anymore, so I couldn’t vouch for the wine assortment, but the food was better than I expected.

SP

July 12th, 2010
11:45 am

I love the guac at Rosa Mexicana but it is so pricey! I try to avoid the over-priced chain restaurants that litter Atlantic Station. Next time you’re in the area, grab a sandwich at Atlantic Grill or better yet, head over to Antico Napoletano (takes 3 minutes for the pizza to bake).

OTP

July 12th, 2010
3:57 pm

The Guac @ Rosa is absolutely delicious. Scrumptious! Albeit a bit on the expensive side, don’t knock it ’till you try it. If you are a serious fresh guac fan, it’s really worth it – even if it’s just every now and then. Good call, Mr. Kessler!

And I’m with Mike and LAL on their A.S. Copeland’s opinion – we had the worst experience there. The food was terrible – really, really bad. I asked for a manager and explained the situation with uneaten food on the table. He said “Ask for me next time you’re here and I’ll give you a discount” then motioned to the waiter to bring me the check and asked if we wanted a go-box. Needless to say the answer was No, and we’ve never been back. Date nights are too rare for That!

JC

July 12th, 2010
11:44 pm

Lobby @ 12 used to have some pizzas and tapas items that would be appropriate for a couple to split. Haven’t been in a bit, but used to be serviceable.

ryan

July 13th, 2010
2:39 am

If you don’t want to splurge on the guacamole at Rosa Mexicana (because you want to splurge on TWO frozen pomengranite margaritas instead) then I would get the chicken taquitos or something like that which is their “small plates” or appetizer section. OR the queso fundido which is also excellent. If you’re someone like me who hates to shop, knowing all I have to do is drive to park station 11, walk up one flight of stairs leading to Banana Republic and Rosa. One margarita beforehand and another afterwards with the queso has completely changed my outlook the entire shopping experience!

Puerquito

July 13th, 2010
3:41 pm

I would rather get on a plane to Mexico City (it is only 2.5 hours away) and have some truly awesome (Mexican) food…

Matt Ryan

July 13th, 2010
3:56 pm

We need a Taco Mac in Atlantic Station !

Fred

July 14th, 2010
3:34 pm

Just damn, I’m late getting back to this one. While I like to make my own guac, I HAVE to try Rosa’s after hearing so many positive comments about it.

To those of you who commented about The Grape: Thank you. While I have never been, it was always in the back of my mind. I think after reading all your comments, I’ll skip it. Sorry M, you had the only really positive comment about them, and salmon BLT’s aren’t something I’m fond of. I love salmon and I love BLT’s but them together doesn’t do it for me. I was rather surprised at that the first time I tried one, thinking perhaps it was just a “bad’ one, but more tries of them have confirmed it. I’m the same way about Philly Cheese Steaks. I love every ingredient in a Philly cheese steak, but I don’t care for the sandwiches. I don’t know why, but it is what it is.

CC

July 15th, 2010
1:12 am

Been to Rosa Mex once and they were much more impressed with Rosa Mex than I was. It wasn’t bad at all, but nothing special either…just overpriced and irritatingly overhyped by the wait staff when I was there. But it was quite a while ago so I might try the guac/FPM option since many suggest that it’s a much better way to go. Bone Garden and Nuevo Laredo are not too far away from Atl Station: IMO there are several better dinner options to be had there.

BTW someone mentioned Tucker/L’ville Highway: Taqueria Las Hermanos is a great place out there! They have two other locations in Lilburn and L’ville (on Sugarloaf, near 316)

Sorry but IMO Taco Mac is pretty bland/mediocre food-wise, more of a chain without much atmosphere…which is a problem with most of AS’ other establishments already. I remember when they were talking about an Irish pub in AS but I wouldn’t expect it to be anything like a good neighborhood joint.

M. Ricci

July 15th, 2010
11:16 am

The older I get, the more I know what I want and what I don’t and I create personal policies which make life so much easier. One of my personal policies is to never order something in a restaurant that I could make at home for about a dollar. Typically, that means I never order guac or hummus when I’m out. But I’m happy you enjoyed yours!