In the middle of winter, when the sun seems to set at 4:30 and it is dreary and cold, it’s tempting to pull on pajamas, pour a glass of wine and call it a night. But, somewhere around the middle of January, this routine gets old and I, for one, want a change of scenery. A lovely meal (with a glass of wine) in a cozy restaurant, along with friends and family and lots of laughter. A little something warm to nourish the soul while planning our next beach trip. Ahhh … Here are a few favorite places to dine during these long winter months that are exactly what we all need!
King + Duke
If you have yet to visit Ford Fry’s latest venture, King + Duke, then a warm, cozy dinner on a cold evening might be the perfect time to try it out. Most dishes, including the delicious popovers that begin your meal, are cooked in an open fire hearth that leaves each dish with a bit of a woodsy, smoky flavor that feels very enticing on cold, winter evenings.
And if the dim light, flickering candles, and a glass of wine from their extensive wine list doesn’t warm you, then their burger “The Duke” just might. On a recent visit, I opted to split it with a friend and instantly wished I could have the whole thing to myself. Other friends at our table raved about the Hearth Roast Ratatouille and everyone loved the Roasted Bone Marrow, Crab Toast and Grilled Octopus Salad starters.
And, don’t forget about dessert! Most of the decadent dessert offerings are also cooked in the open fire hearth. King + Duke is also a great spot to drop in if you want to grab a drink with a friend. They have a great bar with helpful bartenders and they even have a fire pit on the patio. It’s the perfect spot to sit, chat and sip a glass of wine! www.kinganddukeatl.com
Tucked away in a nondescript shopping center is a restaurant that has not only caught the eye of Atlanta dinners, but the James Beard Foundation (they were a semifinalist in 2013 for Best New Restaurant) as well. Cardamom Hill is a feast for the senses. The dishes are full of spice, heat and color that will delight your palate and warm you up from cold winter nights.
The spice and flavor of the delicious dishes come from Kerala, a southwestern Indian state, that is the native home of executive chef, Asha Gomez. And you will also see some Southern favorites on the menu as well. The favorite dish on the menu has to be the fried chicken. I promise, it is so worth getting out on a cold winter night for a taste of Cardamom Hill’s friend chicken alone. The crunchy coating has a bit of heat to it from the spices. Seriously, it’s to die for. New to the menu is Gomez’s take on another Southern staple, Shrimp Etouffee, which is sure to be just as delicious as her Southern dishes. cardamomhill.net
When a restaurant is located in an old warehouse, cold and uninviting sometimes comes to mind, but Floataway Cafe seems just the opposite. The restaurant colors are set in cool blues and reds. The rooms and bar area have dim lighting and flickering candles and as you dig into warm your soul delights like Sweet Potato Soup or a big bowl of Spaghetti you feel right at home.
Our favorite sections of the Floataway cafe menu are the comfort foods. More often then not, a round of pizza and pasta appears at the table. My choice is usually the classic Margarita pizza. Of course, I always add a fried egg on top and if I can twist the arm of my dining companions I add anchovies (try it! I promise it is good!). The Wood Oven Roasted Chicken is always delicious as well. A menu staple, the accompaniments and flavors of the chicken vary depending on what is in season, but it is always juicy and tender and the skin is crispy. The Veal Meatballs are a highlight this winter. Add them to any pizza or try them in the Casarecci pasta dish. www.starprovisions.com/floataway-cafe.php
We hope we’ve inspired you to get out of your pajamas and dine out this winter!