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Food issue restaurant guide

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CUBAN

KOOL KORNERS, Order a classic Cuban sandwich from the counter, and relish every last bite. Roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, tomato and pickles pressed between slices of warm, crusty bread -- there's simply no better sandwich in town. 349 14th St. 404-892-4424.

Las Palmeras, The best Cuban restaurant for homestyle cooking remains Las Palmeras. The masitas are perfect here and the restaurant serves a killer boliche. L, D. $. 368 Fifth St. 404-872-0846.

Palomilla's, Palomilla's features some of the best Cuban food Atlanta has ever seen. The papa rellena is a heavenly mixture of textures and flavors, with picadillo seeming to erupt from the loaf-sized appetizer. Other standouts: tamales, roasted pork and a mango pie that is without peer anywhere. Winner of "Best Cuban" 2007. L, D. $. 6470 Spalding Drive, Norcross. 770-242-0078. www.palomillasatlanta.com.

DELIS

BAGEL PALACE, A kosher-style deli that's not actually kosher, Bagel Palace, ensconced in the Toco Hills Shopping Center, serves overstuffed sandwiches big enough to split, breakfast all day, traditional soups, and of course, bagels. Bagel Palace also offers a bevy of baked goods, iB, L $. 2869 N. Druid Hills Road. 404-315-9016.

muss & turner's, *** The perennial complaint of New York transplants was the lack of a good deli in the Atlanta area. Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner changed that when they opened their unique store: part gourmet grocery, part sandwich shop, part cooking school, part neighborhood bistro. Since the restaurant began serving dinner last year, it's revealed an entirely new side of itself. Chicken liver mousse, beef tartar, standout desserts from the pastry case and an exceptional beer list may prove that dinner here is just what your hungry soul needs. Winner of "Best Deli" 2007. L, D. $$. 1675 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 309. 770-434-1114. www.mussandturners.com.

EUROPEAN

Babette's Cafe, *** Babette's Cafe is still a fine feast for the senses. Classic dishes remain complete and satisfying, including mussels steeped in white wine, fried oysters, beef tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce, and finishing with a dessert like dried cherry tart with an almond crust that stays sop-it-up good. D. $$$. 573 N. Highland Ave. 404-523-9121. www.babettescafe.com.

ECCO, *** Owned by the same people who operate South City Kitchen and the Food Studio, this classy but not theatrical restaurant has a killer menu, with bold flavors from France, Spain and Italy. Winner of "Best Wine List" 2007. D. $$$$. 40 Seventh St. 404-347-9555. www.ecco-atlanta.com.

Eno, *** Although Eno has long promoted itself first and foremost as a wine lover's haven, this restaurant has always had a strong handle on the simple goodness of Mediterranean cooking. Dishes are prepared with a delicate hand and bold flavor. For a less taxing financial commitment and more relaxed service, enjoy the small plates menu served at the bar. L, D. $$$. 800 Peachtree St. 404-685-3191. www.enorestaurant.com.

FRENCH

BISTRO VG, *** Van Gogh’s has been redesigned and revamped, and the white walls and airy feel work wonders for the restaurant. Chef Eddie Garcia-Guzman is ambitious in both his breadth and depth on the modern French menu. L, D. $$$. 70 W. Crossville Road, Roswell. 770-993-1156. www.knowwheretogogh.com.

FRENCH AMERICAN BRASSERIE, *** In a Frenchie interior of mirrors and marble, F.A.B. serves classic French dishes including towers of seafood on ice, steaks and chops, and a pleasing assortment of a la carte sides and sauces. L, D. $$$. 30 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. 404-266-1440. www.fabatlanta.com.

JOËL, **** A recent redesign has not hampered the man in the kitchen. Chef Joël Antunes is still cooking with focus and maturity. His signature meat dishes, and his Asian fillips, are appropriately light-handed. Dessert will have you melting like the puddle of warm chocolate you're spooning up from your plate at lightening speed. D. $$$$. 3290 Northside Parkway, 404-233-3500. www.joelrestaurant.com.

Trois, *** The room at Trois is every bit as dramatic as you would expect from the Amick/Rushing team that brought us Two Urban Licks. Trois captures Atlanta's modern heart while maintaining a sense of the city's mature glamour. Chef Jeremy Leib's menu pays homage to France, sometimes in familiar ways and sometimes in innovative ones. Don't miss the sleek bar with its glorious twinkling floors. Winner of "Best French" 2007. L, D. $$$. 1180 Peachtree St. 404-815-3337. www.trois3.com.

GREEK

AVRA, You can plunge into dinner several ways here, depending on your budget and your appetite. Request a pikilia plate of cold spreads while you peruse the wine selection and decide on other dishes. Avra offers wholly affordable traditional main courses as well as powerhouse fish offerings. D. $$-$$$. 794 Juniper St. 404-892-8890. www.avragreektavern.com.

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