Romance is largely about ambiance, something these delectable intown restaurants have in spades. Plus, all are convenient to the Fox and the Woodruff Arts Center, so if you want to enjoy a show after sharing a romantic brunch, lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong making a reservation at one of these hot spots. I checked them out with a special someone, and this is what we found:
Livingston Restaurant + Bar
In 1939, the historic Georgian Terrace hotel hosted star-crossed lovers Scarlett and Rhett (actors Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable) while they were in town for the premiere of the movie Gone With the Wind. This elegant restaurant, although new, still emanates old-Hollywood glamor, highlighted by the twinkling Fox Theater marquee glowing from just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. Livingston exceeded our expectations with a remarkably creative menu of fresh ingredients. Starting with the sinfully delicious Onset Bay oyster gratin and tasty duck sausage, served with a savory chickpeas, we also enjoyed a special pheasant and crespelle mushroom pasta from Livingston’s talented chef along with the modestly-priced roasted beet salad with chèvre and George’s Bank scallops with creamy grits. Every dish was well above average, and the service was excellent. If you’re headed to the Fox, it can’t get much better or more convenient.
659 Peachtree St., 404-897-5000, livingstonatlanta.com
After perusing the inspired and inventive Italian trattoria menu at La Tavola, we decided to enjoy brunch/lunch before taking in a matinee performance. My companion and I enjoyed the chicken sausage and pork Milanese takes on the traditional eggs Benedict. Topped with perfectly poached eggs, they were accompanied by an especially fine bottomless cup of coffee. With its convenient Virginia-Highlands location, we were tempted to take an arm-in-arm sidewalk stroll to check out the neighborhood’s inviting shops.
992 Virginia Ave., 404-873-5430, latavolatrattoria.com
ONE Midtown Kitchen
This convenient midtown eatery boasts a chic but casual décor reminiscent of a SoHo loft. Exposed brick walls and inventive lighting set the stage for a creative and romantic dining experience. On our visit, the roasted beet salad with a scattering of Stilton cheese along with oysters on the half shell were a fine start. My companion had the tasty pan-fried codfish while I opted for the hearty and satisfying oxtail cannelloni entrée. Baked chocolate mousse and my companion’s roasted pear with caramel sauce were equally delicious. ONE scores a 10 for ambience, atmosphere and culinary creativity, as well as friendly, on-the-spot service.
566 Dutch Valley Rd., 404-892-4111, onemidtownkitchen.com
The French have a reputation for both their food and sense of romance, and you’ll understand why after a visit to this contemporary, French-inspired restaurant. For lunch or dinner, two of their not-to-be-missed classics are among my all-time favorites: a delicious and perfectly prepared French onion soup and a lusciously rich crème brulée. There are, of course, many more delectable choices on the menu to tempt any palate. The comfortable, casual dining room, extensive wine list and decidedly French atmosphere create a perfect setting for a fine meal. The excellent service is the pièce de résistance.
3290 Northside Parkway, 404-233-3500, joelbrasserie.com
For true, fresh from the farm goodness, you can’t beat WaterHaven’s inventive menu, expertly prepared with ingredients from local and regional sources. Known for their support of Georgia growers and cheese makers like Cole’s Lake Dairy, the restaurant serves up some mighty fine Georgia trout with butternut squash ravioli, Applewood-smoked bacon and pecans, as well as a mouth-watering pork loin with winter greens. Don’t pass up the fried green tomatoes with poblano goat cheese. All make for a memorable dining experience in a friendly, casually elegant space.
75 Fifth St., 404-214-6740, waterhavenatl.com
Daniel Burnley is a freelance writer, actor and marketing consultant living in Decatur, Ga, and frequent contributor to Encore Atlanta.