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Cliff's top 10 Atlanta restaurants

Our longtime columnist picks his favorite eateries

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La Pietra Cucina - JAMES CAMP

2) Stir It Up. This newbie in Little Five Points has all I want in a restaurant — complexly spicy food, an amiable staff, (very) inexpensive prices, and a unique ambiance. The Jamaican food is not, as is usual around town, served out of steam trays. It's cooked to order and, if they can't cook it to order, they won't serve it. The brownstew chicken, a dish of salted cod and slaw, and the jerk chicken are among my faves. 1083 Euclid Ave. 404-963-2384. www.stiritupatl.com.

1) La Pietra Cucina. Yep, this remains numero uno for me. It's damn expensive at night but lunches are affordable. The chef is Bruce Logue, a Babbo graduate, who calls his cuisine "progressive Italian." That means he makes no pretense of preparing fastidiously authentic Italian food but he is fanatical about ingredients and the play of flavors makes that obvious. I'm still addicted to the black spaghetti, the daily specials — a panino, a crispy fish, or the daily scallopini. 1545 Peachtree St. 404-888-8709. www.lapietracucina.com.

Other moderately priced favorites: Top Flr, El Señor Taco, El Taco Veloz, Fritti, Chateau de Saigon, Daddy D'z, Pura Vida, the Bakery at Cakes & Ale, Bocado, Super Pan, Sprig, Goin' Coastal, Fox Brother's BBQ, Stone Bowl, Peter Chang's, and, of course, Popeyes.

Pricier faves: Miller Union, Empire State South, Sotto Sotto, No. 246, One Eared Stag, Serpas, and Cakes & Ale.

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