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Food issue restaurant guide

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PAUL'S, ** Counted as one of Atlanta's culinary legends, chef Paul Albricht delivers Continental and Southern-inspired food. His signature fried lobster tails lead the eclectic menu, but try to avoid the modernist food for more regional dishes. D. $$$. 10 Kings Circle. 404-231-4113. www.thechefpaul.com.

QUINONES AT BACCHANALIA, **** The food served in Quinones' quietly sumptuous room on the subterranean level of the Westside complex that houses Bacchanalia tastes like an expanded, concentrated distillation of the food served upstairs. The prix-fixe menu usually features nine courses, paired with wines. That's a lot of toting to the table and it is done with efficiency and friendliness. Winner of "Best Waitstaff" 2007. D. $$$$. 1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-365-0410. www.starprovisions.com.

Park 75 **** Park 75's menu runs the gamut from Continental classics to innovative New American cuisine. Chef Robert Gerstenecker has a deft hand with both; but it's when he combines the two styles that his food truly delights. Winner of "Best Old-School Restaurant" 2007. L, D. $$$$. Four Seasons hotel, 75 14th St. 404-253-3840.

Shaun's, **** Shaun Doty has stepped up to the stove at this charming 80-seat bistro in the old Inman Park Patio spot. The sage walls and old-fashioned bar make for a low-key atmosphere, and the menu is self-assured, with little pomp but plenty of pleasant surprises. D. $$$. 1029 Edgewood Ave. 404-577-4358. www.shaunsrestaurant.com.

Rathbun's, **** The smash hit restaurant takes Atlanta's favorite dining out elements -- industrial re-do decor, tapas, comfort food -- and combines them into a hip, delectable experience. Chef/owner Kevin Rathbun culls his impressive culinary career into a rangy menu with many highlights. Smoked salmon tostadas, fries with blue cheese fondue and veal chop in a pool of sweet corn and Gouda are but a few choice bites. Sound like something you're interested in? This place is crazy busy. Make reservations. Right now. D. $$$. 112 Krog St., Suite R. 404-524-8280, www.rathbunsrestaurant.com.

REPAST, *** Chef Joseph Truex uses top-flight ingredients to turn out some seriously stellar food. Repast offers the kind of personal touches that you just can't get at larger, glitzier places. Desserts are a high point, particularly the Japanese-style soufflé cheesecake. D. $$$. 620 N. Glen Iris Drive. 404-870-8707. www.repastrestaurant.com.

RESTAURANT EUGENE, **** Linton Hopkins moved back to his hometown from D.C. to open this genteel yet cosmopolitan venture that has been a hit with the well-heeled, retired Buckhead set from the day it opened. Hopkins' menu is intensely seasonal and changes often. Thoughtful wine list, too. D. $$$$. 2277 Peachtree Road. 404-355-0321. www.restauranteugene.com.

TABLE 1280, *** Part of the eventual $164 million expansion of the Woodruff Arts Center and timed to open with the new additions to the High Museum, Table 1280 is the de rigueur place to dine before a show. You're likely to have a sublime meal, but gravitate toward fish offerings, and don't skip the elegant desserts. Last-minute diners: Hit the tapas bar for a quickie meal. L, D. $$-$$$. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-987-1280. www.table1280.com.

TOP FLR, *** Top Flr is what happens when the kids who used to wait tables and bartend in other people's restaurants grow up and become their own bosses: a user-friendly restaurant with a menu that is short and pretty sweet. Chef Mike Schorn serves up dishes packed with bold flavors. Open late. D. $$. 674 Myrtle St. 404-685-3110.

Two Urban Licks, *** It's easy to get swept up in the scene at this restaurant with so much competing for your attention -- the frenzied bar, the giant rotisserie, and the wall of windows overlooking the Midtown skyline. Small plates with cheeky names like "lamb lollipops" are good for sharing and make great conversation starters, too. D. $$$. 820 Ralph McGill Blvd. 404-522-4622. www.twourbanlicks.com.

Woodfire Grill, **** Chef Michael Tuohy's soulfully conceived menu resonates with the seasons. Expect Rocky the Free-Range Chicken to be mouthwatering and the daily-changing fish selections to be meltingly delicate. Don't miss a sampling of the exquisitely ripe cheese selections. Waits can be long on weekends; be sure to make reservations. D. $$$. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road. 404-347-9055. www.woodfiregrill.com.

PAN-LATIN/SOUTH AMERICAN

INKA'S GRILL, Hidden behind an unassuming Buford Highway storefront is this incredible Peruvian grill. The pollo a la brasa, marinated and spit-roasted chicken redolent with garlic, citrus and chilies, is crisp, juicy and bursting with flavor. With several different ceviches, a host of fried and stir-fried veggies, and classic Peruvian condiments, Inka's is a real treat. L, D. $. 2857 Buford Highway. 404-929-6492. www.inkasgrill.com.

Tierra, *** Just up the street from Ansley Mall, Tierra's provocative pan-Latin fusion cuisine is a welcome reprieve in an area of town notorious for the uneven quality of its restaurants. Cheese pupusa and beef tenderloin in tomatillo sauce are winning menu staples. Well-crafted desserts, competent service and a succinct wine list see meals here to harmonious completion. D. $$. 1425 Piedmont Ave. 404-874-5951. www.tierrarestaurant.com.

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