> Local Three

Todd Mussman, Ryan Turner and Chris Hall know how to turn a cursed restaurant space into a celebrated one. They’ve replaced the grandiose, defunct Jol Brasserie in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood with rollicking Local Three, renovating the once austere room into a playful honky-tonk with art that honors pigs, Elvis and Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski. Reservations are mandatory, though it’s usually possible to claim a seat at the long bar for dinner. Snack on boiled peanuts, pimento cheese and duckfat-fried hush puppies—terrific excuses to check out Matt Lathan’s collection of 60-plus Bourbons. Go for a flight—one memorable selection teams up Michter’s 10-Year-Old Single Barrel, Prichard’s Double Barreled and Pappy Van Winkle’s 23-Year-Old Family Reserve, the smoothest crackerjack of the bunch; then move on to the wine list, a restrained, savvy array of high-acid whites and lean reds—the sort of wines that prime the palate for dishes like the rich, loose interpretation of cassoulet with duck confit.—Bill Addison
—Bill Addison

Local Three, 3290 Northside Pkwy., Atlanta; 404-968-2700, (reviewed W&S, 4/11)

> Abattoir

Two meat hooks dangle globe-shaped light fixtures in the center of the rustic-chic dining room at Abattoir. They are the only clues that the restaurant, whose name is French for slaughterhouse, resides in what used to be a meat-processing facility. As befitting the location, chef owners Anne Quatrano, Clifford Harrison and Joshua Hopkins delve into head-to-tail creativity with dishes such as lamb sweetbreads in rosemary-scented plum sauce, an herb-scented tripe stew and corned lamb kidneys. The menu contains almost 50 modestly portioned dishes, so stouthearted vegetarians can also feast happily—on local vegetable salads, perhaps, or a confit of mushrooms over grilled sourdough bread. The wine list—with selections ranging from a 2008 Domaine Tariquet Ugni Blanc to a 2005 Mettler Family Petite Sirah—keeps it wholly affordable: Most bottles cost between $15 and $30.
—Bill Addison

Abattoir, 1170 Howell Mill Rd., Atlanta; 404-892-3335, (reviewed W&S 10/09)

> ONE Midtown Kitchen

One. Midtown Kitchen may look like the title of a poem by e e cummings, but it's actually a sexy renovated warehouse with skyline views. No entrée tops $19, yet Chef Kevin Reilly makes earthy griddled goat cheese and whole roasted snapper taste like a million bucks. Owner Bob Amick's affordable boutique wine list hits just four price points ($18, $28, $38 and $48) and offers everything by the glass or half-glass. Gems include a floral Christian Lauverjat Sancerre and a supple '99 Larkmead Firebelle from Napa.
—Suzanne Wright

One. Midtown Kitchen, 559 Dutch Vly. Rd., Atlanta, GA; 404-892-4111.

> Holeman & Finch
With a menu as meaty and masculine as an issue of Field & Stream, Holeman & Finch Public House is also nearly as adventurous. Linton Hopkins heads up this Dixified effort, with small plates (deviled eggs, marrow, a ham sampler) complemented by an array of wines carefully chosen by Gina Hopkins, Linton's wife. She changes that list often, but every server knows what's on it, and has an opinion about it. For easy access, there's the "Quick and Quaffable" by-the-glass list, which skews to wines that go well with salty snacks-try the lightly fizzy 2006 Michlits Pinot Noir Rosé Frizzante from Austria. Reservations are not accepted, so arrive early or late to avoid a wait.
—Krista Reese

Holeman & Finch, 2277 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta; 404-948-1175, (reviewed W&S 2/09)

> Cellar 56

In Buckhead, Atlanta's swankiest neighborhood, chef Paul Agnelli and his partners at Cellar 56 focus on affordability: Small plates, from jumbo lump crab salad with avocado to Guinness-braised short ribs, and prosciutto and green chile-laced mac-and-cheese, run $4 to $5. Charles Smith's Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Hermanos del Villar Oro de Castilla Verdejo and La Posta's "Cocina Blend" of malbec, bonarda and syrah all sell for $3 by the half-glass, $6 for a full glass, and $24 per bottle. From the looks of the nightly crowds, these prices have successfully swayed newly frugal locals.
—Bill Addison

Cellar 56, 56 East Andrews Dr., Atlanta; 404-869-1132, (reviewed W&S 6/09)

> Flip Burger Boutique

After impressing Top Chef: Chicago judges with his fauxhawk, liquid nitrogen tank and unusual combinations, Richard Blais is now back in Atlanta, putting Blaisian touches on house-ground beef patties and grill-toasted buns at Flip, his upscale burger joint in booming West Midtown. The burgers draw long lines at all hours, as much for the meat as for sides like sweet potato tater tots with blue cheese foam and the drinks: liquid nitrogen pistachio milkshakes; a "cream soda" of vanilla Cognac, vanilla liqueur, cream and ginger ale; and a rye Manhattan given a twist with smoky, caramelized cherries. Best of all, everything on the menu is under $10.
—Krista Reese

Flip Burger Boutique, 1587 Howell Mill Rd., Atlanta; 404-352-3547, (reviewed W&S 6/09)