Atlanta: St. Cecilia and King + Duke
I told you I am determined to catch up on my travel eating adventures! Back in late May/early June, I headed down to Atlanta for the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. While my days were work (which actually did involve lots of eating as you can see from my post on the event), my nights were free to hit the town and check out some newer Atlanta restaurants that had opened up in the past year or so.
My friend Lisa, who traveled with me to AF&WF last year, was also with me again this year. If you were reading my blog back then, then you know that we absolutely loved our visit to The Optimist on that trip. In fact, I’ve been known to say that it was perhaps the best meal I ate in 2013! So, when I saw that Ford Fry, the owner of The Optimist, had opened a restaurant called St. Cecilia in Buckhead, I felt like we had no choice but to make a reservation there.
At St. Cecilia: Hamachi, coriander, celery hearts, lemon; Charred octopus, cured tomato, Italian bean salad, oregano; Gnudi, house ricotta, basil, brown butter
From start to finish, the meal was amazing. The decor, the service (INCREDIBLE), and of course, the food. I convinced Lisa that we should get the octopus, and she doesn’t even like octopus. Well, I’ve now made her a believer. Or, I guess I should say – St. Cecilia made her a believer. She could not get over how much she loved that dish. And then there was the gnudi — also a dish she had never tried. My first experience with gnudi was at The Spotted Pig in New York, and while I’ve never found one quite as good as that one, this one was certainly a close second.
All in all, I would highly recommend you visit St. Cecilia if you find yourself in the Buckhead area of Atlanta any time soon!
3455 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
Okay, this may make it seem like I’m a Ford Fry groupie, but I promise, I’m not! It just so happens that I read a couple of articles on the opening of King + Duke last year, and I had it on my short list of Atlanta restaurants to check out. It really had nothing to do with the fact that he owns this one too. (of course, I have yet to have a bad experience at one of his spots, so….)
The focus of their menu is locally sourced ingredients and hearth cooking. Yes, cooking on a hearth, old school. Through slower cooking and the use of wood fire smoke, they bring out natural flavors in the food without fussing it up.
At King + Duke: Yorkshire pudding style popovers with butter; Pork Chop with sauerkraut, turnips, local beans, pork jus; Candied Lamb Belly, sheep’s milk feta, marinated cucumbers, warm flat breads
While the food is always the most important part of my dining experiences, the atmosphere plays a big part in drawing me back again and again. And I absolutely love the atmosphere here. From the outdoor bar area, to the lovely patio dining area where we dined, to the warm interior space, every square inch is inviting.
That said, I’d go back again just to sit outside and have a cocktail at their bar. Of course, I’d also have to order what was my favorite dish of this meal: wood roasted farm carrots & beets with whipped feta and harissa vinaigrette (photo below). Love on a platter right there.
3060 Peachtree Rd NW W Paces Ferry Rd
Atlanta, GA 30305