Caribbean queen: Liz Roti on a roll in East Atlanta
Burritos are taking over the city. It seems that you can get some kind of meat wrapped in a tortilla everywhere you turn. The Caribbean version of the burrito is the roti, a light flour pancake typically filled with some sort of meat and potato curry.
Liz's International Roti House II is one of the few places in the city where you can try the Caribbean fast-food treat. Located at the corner of hip in East Atlanta Village (the original Liz's restaurant is located in Decatur on Covington Highway), Liz Roti II replaces a previous Caribbean restaurant and outdoes itself in providing tasty bits of way-down-South comfort food.
You'll find a bit of unintended kitsch in the tropical prints and oilcloth table linens, but overlook the bare bones establishment's lack of decorating taste and enjoy the food.
Wait time: The laid-back air of the tropics permeates the humble shop so don't be in a hurry to get your food. The server and cook duo keep you waiting, but it's worth it.
What we ate: The roti choices start out with chicken, but the list contains goat, oxtail, shrimp and dhal. For $6 you can get a boneless chicken ($5.50 for on the bone) curry with chunks of potatoes and vegetables. The flour pancake is similar to a tortilla but lighter since it's cooked with baking soda. It also has a grittier consistency.
You can go ahead and try to pick it up with your hands, but the bulging burrito, with loads of white and dark chicken meat filling the insides, is better suited to a knife and fork. The veggie roti ($3.99), which contains chick peas, potatoes and a mix of other vegetables, is also too much to handle.
But there are plenty of other choices besides wraps. The curry chicken with rice, black beans and a side of stewed cabbage and mixed vegetables does the trick. The chicken is mouthwatering tender and, poured over the rice and beans, a substantial meal.
Even so, the sweet, fried plantains were too good to pass up. They took a little extra preparation to get to the table, but the sweet, juicy slices were worth the two bucks and extra five minutes.
Sandwiches and cheeseburgers also show up, but we weren't swerving from the roti path. Jamaican imported sodas, including ginger beer, wash it all down. No Red Stripe yet.
Cheapest item: Rotis are a third of the menu and average around $6. But the cheapest one is the dhal roti for $1.50.
Most expensive item: The fish dinners are the priciest menu items. Fried whiting with a side of fries is still under $5, but the red snapper goes for $9 and the salmon, $8.
Who to take? Native islanders, visitors to the tropics and anyone else who craves authentic Caribbean fare. Our Caribbean adventurer raved that the food was just what he was looking for.