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Food issue restaurant guide


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BARAONDA, Baraonda takes the concept of the Neapolitan-style pizza to another level, spoiling us with crisp crusts and prodigious toppings. The wood-burning oven puts a perfect spin on these pizzas, which rarely, if ever, burden the stomach. L, D. $$. 710 Peachtree St. 404-879-9962.

Fritti, Riccardo Ullio's younger, hipper sibling to next-door Sotto Sotto offers authentic Italian croquettes, bracing salads, fried seafood and thin-crusted, rustic pizzas with exotic toppings. Atmosphere, service and wine list are notable as well. Winner of "Best Pizza" 2007. L, D. $$$$. 309 N. Highland Ave. 404-880-9559.

GRANT CENTRAL PIZZA & PASTA, Walk into this epitome of a neighborhood joint and grab a table anywhere. The toppings are the standard pepperoni-mushroom-olives assortment, but what you really want here is a piping hot, plain-cheese pizza. The crust is a little chewy, and the sauce and cheese marry in a gooey, zesty bite. 451 Cherokee Ave. 404-523-8900.

ROSA'S, If you need a New York slice fix, this is the place. You'll probably arrive to find a line literally out the door. This beauty of a slice has all the requisite qualities: the substantial crust, the tangy but unobtrusive sauce, and the thin veneer of orange grease you mop off with a napkin. Fold in your hand and enjoy one of the best slices the city has to offer. L $. 62 Broad St. 404-521-2596.

SHORTY'S, *** In an area of town not known for the high quality of its restaurants, this cozy pizza joint-plus stands out. Go for the guacamole and a pie loaded with fresh, gourmetish ingredients. Shorty's is a regular hang for the 'hood. L, D. $$. 2884-B N. Druid Hills Road. 404-315-6262.

VILLAGE PIZZA CO., Village Pizza has all the genial slacker ambiance of its patrons combined with excellent hand-tossed pizzas. The menu includes panini, pasta and subs in addition to pizzas. Now offering delivery to neighborhoods surrounding Cabbagetown. L, D. $. 186 Carroll St. 404-586-0040.


BRICK STORE PUB, This outstanding pub, complete with an upstairs Belgian bar that has potent brews on tap, offers no less than 215 beers -- 188 in bottles and 27 draught. Winner of "Best Beer Selection" 2007. L, D. $$. 125 E. Court Square. 404-687-0990.

THE Glenwood, Another gastro-pub has opened and this one is in a surprising location -- East Atlanta Village. Chef Ryan Stewart's food is creative and a bargain for its quality. The menu is a combination of bar classics such as burgers and fried pickles, and New American fare such as lamb tartare with harissa aoli. The music is loud and the service can be spotty, but fried Oreos make for an addictive dessert. Brunch, L, D. $. 1263 Glenwood Ave. 404-622-6066.

THE EARL, Not only do staffers serve up chili dogs and burgers that cushion the belly for a long evening out, but the brunch is heaven-sent if your Saturday night lasted well into Sunday. The loaded steak is as much sloppy fun as making out in one of the bar's dark booths. Winner of "Best Hamburger" 2007. L, D. $. 488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950.

TAP, *** The latest in Bob Amick's Concentrics Restaurants is an almost-glamorous gastro-pub. Small plates including hot-sauce-spiked calamari and chorizo accompany an impressive list of beers. Tap is clearly not your average pub grub. Winner of "Best Bar Food" 2007. B, L, D. $$. 1180 Peachtree St. 404-347-2220.


Busy Bee Cafe, This venerated soul-food joint dishes up some of the city's best Southern cooking at a price that's hard to beat. From corn muffins and fried chicken to field-fresh vegetables and banana pudding, these folks know their way around comfort food. L, D. $$. 810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 404-525-9212.

Greenwood's on Green Street, This cozy, home-style Roswell restaurant has elements of a hippie commune; you can enjoy the kitschy '60s decor and sprawling garden while waiting for your table. The authentic Southern cooking is worth the occasional delay, particularly the sweet, honey-fried chicken, the buttery, boneless pork chops and the soul-food sides. The pies are some of the best in the Atlanta area. D. $$. 1087 Green St. 770-992-5383.

MARY MAC'S TEA ROOM, Atlanta's best known home of soul food, Mary Mac delivers quality Southern favorites like fried chicken, collard greens, hoppin' John and fried okra. L, D. $$. 224 Ponce De Leon Ave. 404-876-1800.

RED'S TASTY EXPRESS, Lunch at this counter inside the Sweet Auburn Curb Market is the best test of your statin and beta blockers we know. The fried chicken is superb, but we also dig the meatloaf and just about any special the ladies here produce (including cakes). 209 Edgewood Ave. 404-618-0054.

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