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What to Order at Bacchanalia, One of Atlanta’s Most Celebrated Restaurants

At $110 per person, the four-course prix fixe menu evolves according to the seasons

Dining room / Photo: Courtesy of Brandi Inman

One of Atlanta’s most celebrated restaurants, Bacchanalia opened in 1993, and chefs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison spurred excitement with the kitchen’s farm-to-table approach and creative marriage of flavors. After receiving a Food & Wine Best New Chef recognition, the proprietors earned a well-deserved James Beard Award as Best Chef: Southeast in 2003.

Now located in a luxury roadhouse on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard, the restaurant continues to impress with its light, seasonal menu sourced mostly from Quatrano and Harrison’s farm, Summerland. I love to come back to a place I have been before and find that time has worked in its favor. A classic of modern American cuisine, Bacchanalia is as relevant today as ever.

Butter-poached lobster over a bed of gnocchi / Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Greene

At $110 per person, the four-course prix fixe menu evolves according to the seasons. I dined there recently with a local friend, and we appreciated the wonderful hospitality and excellent service. For the first course we were given a choice of six appetizer selections. My crab fritter, exceptionally light and crisp, unveiled pristine white crab meat alongside a sweet-and-sour Thai syrup and sliced avocado. Also a winner, my companion’s foie gras terrine was adorned with colorful roots and herbs and served with fresh sourdough ficelle bread. The entrée course included the options of ricotta ravioli with white asparagus, duck with eggplant and cauliflower, and dry-aged New York strip with Summerland Farm onion and potato. But I opted for the flawless fluke, seared to an amazing bronze on a blanket of luscious butter sauce with caviar and an accordion of crispy potato. My friend’s lobster, butter-poached over a bed of airy gnocchi, fennel and asparagus, was another delight. The third course revolved around cheese, and we selected five from Spain with different house-baked breads. For the dessert course, I had to try the île flottante. Different from the classic, Bacchanalia’s version is more like a baked Alaska filled with Meyer lemon ice cream—not what I expected or liked, but nevertheless a good dessert. I should have had the coffee feuilletine or chocolate crumb cake.