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10 Things We Love About Dining Out in Atlanta this Spring

In no particular order

Photo courtesy of Nancy’s Pizza

1) Classic deep dish pizza at Nancy’s Chicago Pizza

New Yorkers and Chicagoans have been debating which city has the best pizza for decades. Whether you are a fan of deep-dish pizza or not, there is no denying that Nancy’s Chicago Pizza makes a truly delicious pie. When Rocco Palese modeled his new pizza creation after his mother’s recipe for “scarciedda,” an Easter specialty cake, little did he know the result would be one of the first stuffed pizzas in America. Be sure to try Uncle Carl’s Favorite made with pepperoni and hot giardiniera, or Vinnie’s Choice, stuffed with Italian sausage, pepperoni, and roasted red peppers. Not a fan of deep-dish pizza? No worries! Nancy’s has a create-your-own option with traditional or thin-crust dough and a large selection of toppings to choose from. nancyspizza.com

2) Barbecue everything at Smokejack BBQ 

Housed in a charming 180-year-old building in the heart of historic Alpharetta, Smokejack BBQ has something for all barbecue lovers. From slow-smoked, hand-pulled Pork and moist tender Ribs to their signature Beef Burnt Ends, they honor many regional styles while preparing great barbecue. Listen to live local music each week while you sip on craft beer from local breweries. Oh, and try the Triple Bypass Fries for the ultimate indulgence. smokejackbbq.com

3) Clean eating at Grace 17•20

With the goal of presenting a unique dining experience that uplifts and inspires guests, Grace 17•20 offers a creative, seasonal menu in a comfortable and stylish atmosphere. For diners adhering to a “clean” diet, options for eating out are difficult to find, but Grace 17•20 has an entire menu designed with vegetarians, vegans, and clean eaters in mind. Dishes like Coconut Curried Kale and the Grilled Portobello Burger with eggplant and basil oil are sure to please any palate, while wellness teas and fresh juices hydrate with a dose of healthful benefits. grace1720.com

4) The romantic oasis of Whisky Mistress

Journey into a world of retro elegance at Whisky Mistress where classic style reigns supreme. Whether you’re searching for a gathering place with friends, a romantic oasis, or an exciting late-night adventure, WM promises an in-house getaway in Atlanta’s backyard (aka Buckhead). Stop in for the gourmet dining with live music every night performed by Atlanta’s best artists. The small-plate menu features like Broiled Feta topped with marinara and Basil Pesto with grilled pita are perfect for sharing, but substantial enough to satisfy. whiskymistress.com

5) Symphony of tastes and sounds at Madlife Stage & Studios

Veteran Atlanta Chef David Berry subscribes to the notion that “what goes together, grows together.” As a music lover, he tries to create harmony with both flavor and sound as he crafts nightly specials to complement the music being performed at MadLife Stage & Studios’ live venue. Depending on the guest artist and their style of music, Chef David has been known to serve Southern classics—with some twists and shouts—including an amazing Pulled Pork Sandwich, meats smoked in-house, and fresh seafood, all coupled with delicious breads and desserts made in-house daily. madlifestageandstudios.com

6) Wine Wednesdays at Village Tavern

Included for the fourth consecutive year in Wine Spectator’s annual restaurant awards for their outstanding wine service, Village Tavern, located in Alpharetta, is the perfect place to celebrate Wine Wednesdays (or any other day for that matter). And what’s even better than deals on wine? An award-worthy patio from which to drink it. Village Tavern boasts one of the best in the city, perfect for people-watching, lingering at happy hour, or toasting good times with friends. villagetavern.com

7) Olive oil for every kitchen at Oli + Ve

Olive oil has become a staple of every kitchen. In fact, most cooks keep more than one variety on hand. Whether for dipping, frying, or dressing salads, Oli + Ve has a wide selection from Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and California. At any of their three Atlanta locations, customers can taste before purchasing. Along with featured oils, they carry vinegars of varying types as well as gourmet food items like gluten-free pastas, olives imported from Spain, flavored salts, and spice blends. Building a gourmet gift basket is easy and fun—and might even include a breadboard or dipping bowls handcrafted from French olive wood. oliandve.com

Photo courtesy of WAHOO! Grill

8) Year-round alfresco dining at WAHOO! Grill

Have you ever imagined a glass-walled garden where you can dine outside any time of year? WAHOO! Grill in Decatur certainly did. They have designed an enchanting garden paradise that can accommodate intimate dining, a gathering of friends, or even private parties of up to 200. This casual European-influenced neighborhood eatery offers a creative menu with a focus on seafood and fresh, locally sourced ingredients prepared with a Southern flair. And be sure to stop into Wahoo! Wine and Provisions for a great wine selection and a free wine tasting every Saturday. wahoogrilldecatur.com

9) Dueling pianos and Spanish tapas at Red Sky

“We want our customers to feel at home here,” says Terry Kirby, co-owner of Red Sky Tapas and Bar as he sweeps an arm in the direction of the open dining area and well-lit bar. They offer a new twist on the traditional Spanish tapas menu here; one example is their version of Cajun Shrimp and Grits made with large tender shrimp dotted with tomatoes, roasted red peppers, jalapeños, and cilantro atop creamy grits with just the right amount of Cajun seasoning. And no evening here would be complete without their signature martini, The Desperate Housewife—an impeccable combination of vodka, peach Schnapps, and cranberry juice with a splash of fresh lime. But the real catch at Red Sky Tapas and Bar is their “dueling pianos” every Friday and Saturday evening. Jumpin’ jivin’, it’s a good time. redskytapas.com

BQE Lounge

Photo courtesy of BQE Lounge

10) “Get Brunch!” at BQE Lounge

Trendy, hip and glitzy, BQE Lounge in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood is the place to see and be seen. Sophisticated soul food is the hallmark here, as reflected in classic Southern recipes updated with dynamic contemporary flavors served in a chic cosmopolitan environment. But wait, there’s more: BQE Lounge is home to “Get Brunch!”, a popular weekly social event held every Saturday with Live DJs, bottomless mimosas, and amazing brunch standards like Shrimp and Grits and BQE’s signature Red Velvet Waffles with fried chicken. bqelounge.com

In each issue of DiningOut Atlanta magazine we feature “30 Things we Love About DIning Out in Atlanta.”  Wondering what other dining experiences made our list? Pick up a copy of DiningOut Atlanta at Barnes & Noble, newsstands, event centers, hotels, and restaurants throughout greater Atlanta.