City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Where was your last great meal?



“What’s your favorite restaurant?” Everyone asks and I can’t answer.

Previously, my pat answer was a particular spot where I could always count on a great meal. And since it closed last year, I’ve yet to settle on a new standard reply.

I can’t tell you my favorite restaurant, but I can tell you about my last great meal.

It was at a place that I hadn’t visited since February. My winter visit was tasty enough — hearty gumbo, swordfish with pork belly and black grouper with curry sauce. It was good, but it wasn’t a meal of greatness.

That meal came two weeks ago starting with a mixture of West and East Coast oysters ($2.75-3.50 ea.) and fun cocktails like the Mother of Pearl ($9), a gin-and-tonic based libation with celery bitters, sea salt and black pepper. From there we moved on to the charred Spanish octopus ($12), so simple with the perfect texture — my favorite creature from the sea.

But the truly fabulous came in the form of a duck-fat-poached swordfish ($26) topped with crunchy little bread crumbs and a slightly sweet chile relish to complement the grilled peach. A close second was the cornmeal-crusted redfish ($26) over kale with chunky bacon and a thin coating of pepper jelly.



Where was I? The Optimist.

It was a meal of greatness. But next time, I’d start my oysters and cocktails in the courtyard so that we can enjoy the music before heading

inside to the inviting space for the remainder of the meal.

I won’t ask your favorite restaurant. Instead, I’ll ask about your last great meal.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

38 comments Add your comment


July 9th, 2013
8:38 am

How do you eat that much food???


July 9th, 2013
9:01 am

At my house. I can cook a meal as good or better than most restaurants and at half the price.


July 9th, 2013
9:18 am

le chili slaw dawg with onions sautéed in light legume jus at chez Varsity was tasty and affordable


July 9th, 2013
9:19 am

Came to post the same place: The Optimist in late May.

West Coast oysters, the best oysters I can recall eating in at least 10 years.
Grilled octopus and mussels for other starters, both were quite memorable
Whole fried seabass for meal and it was absolutely incredible.
Tried some of my wife’s swordfish and it was the best preparation I have had in the city.

Can’t wait to try again but that was definitely my last memorable meal.


July 9th, 2013
9:52 am

My last incredible meal was the Stuffed Mountain Trout Tomatillo at Agave in East Atlanta. It’s wild caught Georgia mountain trout stuffed with crawfish, mushrooms, onions, & basil over Spanish rice with a roasted tomatillo sauce. I’m not into sweet drinks so I paired it with a tequila drink special they had with ginger beer and lime. Everything was soooo tasty!


July 9th, 2013
10:15 am

Hmmm. Not a huge meal but I was in Athens a couple months ago and went to 5&10 for brunch. Had their Eggs Benedict latkes with bacon and hollandaise and a side salad w/ pickled radishes and onions. Simple dish but executed perfectly. With a spicy bloody mary, it was divine.

Curious George

July 9th, 2013
10:16 am

Would the resident Foodies be overly offended if I said my last “great” meal (”great” meaning unforgettable) was a 4X4 Animal-Style Burger, Animal-Style Fries and a chocolate shake at an In-N-Out Burger in San Diego last summer?

Curious George

July 9th, 2013
10:18 am

If the average person dines at The Optimist, will he/she become “The Pessimist” once that person sees the bill for the quantity and quality of food received?


July 9th, 2013
10:23 am

With my woman last Tuesday evening at Goin’Costal in Canton. (1) Blackened Mahi-Mahi over pimento cheese and jalapeno grits. (2) Wild American Shrimp Two Ways (sauteed and fried) over creamy cheese grits with Andouille gravy. Best meal in years!!

Moist Dawg

July 9th, 2013
10:25 am

Barry, your an idiot.
last great meal was golden corral. not by quality but sheer volume of food. where else can you sample food styles from around the world in just over 2 hours?

Mavis Beacon

July 9th, 2013
10:31 am

Enter your comments here

Curious George

July 9th, 2013
10:34 am

Moist Dawg,

While Barry has indeed demonstrated his own low level of intelligence and class with his post, do you not realize how ridiculous you look and sound to everyone here on this food blog when you call other people names such as “idiot” while simultaneously demonstrating you are not even educated enough to properly use the word “your” correctly in your insult?

massachusetts refugee

July 9th, 2013
10:40 am

Ottavio, Walnut Creek CA. Atlanta food ssssux…..

Moist Dawg

July 9th, 2013
10:48 am

mass refugee, why dont you just leave then? Deltas ready whenever you are.

Finn McCool

July 9th, 2013
10:53 am

horseradish crusted prime rib last Friday. I used Tyler Florence’s recipe.

ohohohoh. wait till i heat some up at work today.


July 9th, 2013
11:24 am

Brunch this past Sunday at 1 Kept. The Mr. Benedict (English muffin topped with Canadian bacon, braised short rib, poached egg, and 1 Kept sauce), a pesto, watermelon,feta, arugula flatbread, and bacon beignets. Wonderful service, too.


July 9th, 2013
12:26 pm

Cafe Lily in Decatur. Absolutely delicious scallops. Everything here is great, including ambience, service and delectable eats. Bring my in-laws every time they are in town.

Savannah Teacher

July 9th, 2013
12:54 pm

West Cobb Diner last month. I had fried green tomatoes and scallop tacos.


July 9th, 2013
1:44 pm

Melton’s App and Tap

I had never been there before and had the:
Smoked Brisket Sandwich: Smoked in an authentic German Smokehouse,
sliced thin, simmered in bbq sauce and served on a fresh bun.
(As a Southerner, I am biased towards PORK BBQ, but their BBQ Brisket sure made a believer out of me!)

It was outstanding along with the cold Pitcher of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale! :-)

stone pony

July 9th, 2013
1:54 pm

Curious George – no shame in In and Out. I don’t travel to the West Coast anymore, but by god, it’s some good food!!!

Typical Redneck

July 9th, 2013
2:02 pm

Melbourne Beach at some dive. Blackened red drum with a sundried tomato aoili.


July 9th, 2013
3:41 pm

I immediately guessed it was The Optimist as I read off the prices you listed. People in the South should be eating local oysters, not $3.50 pedigreed ones. And where did the octopus come from? Probably not our coast. How many octopuses have you eaten growing up in the South? I love seafood, but shipping the stuff thousands of miles strikes me as a waste of resources. I don’t take locavorism to the extreme, but I keep it very much in mind, especially when it comes to seafood.


July 9th, 2013
4:21 pm

Hear, hear, Lorenzo. It doesn’t hurt that wild Georgia shrimp are the best.

John Penington

July 9th, 2013
4:26 pm

Last weekend, we ate at one of my old favorite restaurants Blackstone’s.
Things have changed there. The steaks were good, service good, but,
they have changed the menu. They have stopped serving my favorite there,
Mussels. They have installed the dumbest menu ever. Every detail such as
bread or sauces all come with an extra cost. For example, bread (and not very
special) comes at $3.00.
It has been a good restaurant but change has happened.


July 9th, 2013
6:31 pm

The lamb chops and beet soup at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, (La Merienda Restaurant), Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is an oasis in a dry and dusty town.

Bob from Accounttemps

July 9th, 2013
7:00 pm

F&B Atlanta; Hog Island Oyster Bar, San Francisco – both great


July 10th, 2013
8:58 am

My last great meal was at Don Shula’s 347 Grill in Tallahassee this past April in the Hotel Duval. His famous shrimp meal was everything you could ask for. The shrimp came from the Gulf just 45 miles away, brought in fresh everyday. Next time it will be the porterhouse.

a man of wealth and taste

July 10th, 2013
11:50 am

Taqueria del Sol you can’t beat the variety, quality and taste for the price there is not a bad choice on the menu and Eddie’s special are some of best in the city. Add a West Side and life is good


July 10th, 2013
3:41 pm

Damn Edward….that sounds great!!!!!!!!!!!


July 10th, 2013
8:04 pm

Last week at Aria; great food, great service and something that is really missing in these new restaurants around town, a list of premimum European wines. We tried all of the new stuff and keep going back to Aria for the best.


July 11th, 2013
8:56 am

I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a “great” meal at a restaurant. The great ones always seem to be at someone’s home, or my own. Then again, I’m not dropping $400 for dinner for 2 at Aria, or $150 at the Optimist, so that may be it. I’ll take my pretty good $60 meal at La Tavola or whatever, thanks,


July 11th, 2013
1:35 pm

Moist Dog

I think you intended to say “Delta’s ready whenever you are.”

When your third grade teacher tried to explain the use of the apostrophe and you asked “When will I ever use this?” she should have said “When you are an adult and you don’t want to call someone an idiot without looking like one.”


July 11th, 2013
6:00 pm

Moist Dawg …..maybe you should try the sports section. Not as many ‘old maids’ over there!


July 11th, 2013
11:45 pm

My fantastic, reasonably-priced dinner tonight came from Taqueria el Vecino, located in the Oak Grove shopping center on La Vista road just east of Clairmont Road.

I had the Salmon quesadillas stuffed with Cueso Blanco, black beans, and avocado, served in a soft tortilla. They smoke the salmon in their special grill and the result is probably the most delicious and juicy quesadilla I have ever had – anywhere on this green earth.

Taqueria el Vecino has a modest salsa cold buffet with an array of delicious dips, including creamy chipotles, grilled corn, grilled peppers, and much more. What is impressive is all the food I have ever had there is super-fresh. Never overly salty, also.

You can eat like Mexican royalty and come out of there for under $15 – including a nice tip for the attentive wait staff.

I live in the city of Decatur within walking distance of all the Decatur greats, and never hesitate to go to Taqueria el Vecino for Mexican fare. A hidden gem, to be sure.


July 12th, 2013
8:06 am

Mark……did you every check out ‘Smoke-It’ electric?


July 12th, 2013
11:48 am

Baltsraul: No, I haven’t, but it sounds interesting – whatever it is. I don’t tend to smoke meats or anything like that. By the way, Taqueria el Vecino has a thing called “The Big Black Box” and the salmon that comes out there tastes incredible. And I misspelled “Queso”. Please excuse.


July 12th, 2013
2:58 pm

Mark….smoked salmon is hard to beat!!!!


July 13th, 2013
9:17 pm

“The burger” and tuxedo cake at General Muir are pretty darn tasty. Highly recommend them.