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Bacchanalia

15 Atlanta Restaurants to Splurge for a Special Occasion

Whether celebrating a birthday, graduation, anniversary, or recent promotion, restaurants often play a central role in marking a special occasion

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Whether celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, graduation, new job, or a recent promotion, restaurants often play a central role in marking a special occasion or life achievement. The following list features several Atlanta restaurants in which to splurge on a lavish meal, some with wine pairings or personal attention from the chef.

Where to Head for Fancy Group Dinners With Friends in Atlanta

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Spring Restaurant

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Co-owned by chef Brian So, Spring features a tight, seasonally driven menu of dishes paired with an equally curated list of natural and biodynamic wines. Start with fois gras terrine and sockeye salmon crudo before moving on to entrees like grilled wagyu flatiron steak and braised short rib or a whole fish course. Never skip dessert at Spring. The small, dimly lit dining room lends itself nicely to intimate dinner dates and small celebratory meals over a bottle of wine. Reservations required.

Canoe in Vinings has been serving farm-to-table cuisine since before that term was even coined. The riverfront fine dining institution includes an unusual menu item for Atlanta: peppercorn-crusted kangaroo. The dish is an homage to executive chef Matthew Basford’s Australian roots. Come here for brunch and order the pastry basket and cornmeal pancakes. Seating available in the dining room and in the garden patio overlooking the Chattahoochee. Reservations required. Patio seating.

Bacchanalia

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Fine dining institution Bacchanalia and its epic tasting menu are better than, even after more than two decades on the scene in Atlanta. Located next door to market and cafe Star Provisions, reservations are necessary for a table at this Blandtown restaurant. Once seated, indulge in a four-course tasting menu that includes oysters and dishes like the popular crab fritter, Maine lobster with caviar and brioche, and a rotating array of in-season entrees, desserts, and cheeses. There’s even a private area for groups gathering to celebrate at Bacchanalia. Reservations required. Bar open for walk-in seating.

Reservations are absolutely required to dine at this recently opened sushi bar and Japanese restaurant next door to Cooks and Soldiers. At just 15 seats, Mujo is the perfect spot for an intimate, celebratory omakase feast guided by chef J. Trent Harris. Even the petite cocktail bar is reserved exclusively for guests dining at the restaurant. A meal starts with several courses of nigiri prepared in the edomae sushi style, broken up by dishes like hakurei turnip tartlets and buta nikomi with braised iberico pork. Nods to Japanese culinary traditions include a tamagoyaki (Japanese shrimp and egg cake similar to an omelette,) followed by dessert paired with konacha green tea. Reservations required.

Nan Thai Fine Dining

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Owned by chef Nan Niyomkul and her family, Nan Thai Fine Dining has been a staple on the Midtown restaurant scene for nearly two decades. It’s a great spot for celebrating any occasion or day of the week over dishes of panang talay with jumbo prawns, sea scallops, and calamari and Thai barbecue lamb chops (geah yang) with a kaffir lime honey glaze. Don’t skip the cocktails at this restaurant. Reservations highly encouraged.

Gather Picnic Co.

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For those looking to celebrate a special moment with family and friends outdoors, consider an elaborate and themed affair from Gather Picnic Co. Each travel-themed, three-hour picnic spread features set-up and breakdown of decor, table settings, and furniture, flowers, and umbrellas for shade. There is also a romantic picnic set-up for two. Food can be catered privately or provided by Gather from Graze Atlanta charcuterie boards with the option to add dessert. Book online.

La Grotta Ristorante

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After more than 40 years on Peachtree, La Grotta is still one of Atlanta’s most beloved fine dining restaurants. With tables clad in white linens, impeccable service, and an impressive wine list to pair with dishes of lobster pappardelle and black truffle risotto, La Grotta has grown into a regular spot for family and friends gathering to celebrate everything from momentous occasions to just being together on a Wednesday evening in Atlanta. Reservations highly encouraged. Patio seating.

Located at the swanky St. Regis hotel in Buckhead, Atlas is always a solid choice for a celebratory, splurge-worthy dinner. For a real treat, book the chef’s table experience at Atlas, an elaborate tasting menu feast which also comes with dessert and wine pairings. Afterwards, pop over to the Garden Room next door for after-dinner drinks. Reservations required. Dress code.

Lucian Books and Wine

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Since opening in June 2021, Lucian Books and Wine has become one of the hottest spots for wining and dining in Buckhead. For those looking to splurge on both wine and food (and do a little book shopping afterwards,) Lucian is hard to beat. The menu progresses from oysters and raw hamachi with seasonal fruits to salads and gnudi to entrees like roast duck. It’s like compiling a personal tasting menu for dinner. Choose from over 250 wines by the bottle or 15 wines by the glass, all curated by co-owner and sommelier Jordan Smelt. Dessert is a must at Lucian, as are the crispy fries, which pair perfectly with a glass of champagne. Reservations required.

Aria continues to be one of Atlanta’s most popular destinations for celebratory splurging. After years of serving as a white table cloth, fine dining restaurant, chef Gerry Klaskala remodeled this Buckhead staple to appeal to a younger generation of diners. Now it’s a bit more relaxed and casual — the bar and lounge area is open for impromptu drinks and snacks. While the vibe in the dining room has changed, the service is still impeccable and the kitchen consistently cranks out Aria favorites, like butter braised lobster, slow braised pork, and lump crab cakes. Aria also carries one of Atlanta’s most comprehensive wine lists. Reservations required. Patio seating.

Kevin Rathbun Steak

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Chef Kevin Rathbun’s eponymous restaurant on the Eastside Beltline is one of the city’s chicest steakhouses, and with a top-notch wine list, too. Located in a converted warehouse with a Beltline-facing patio, Kevin Rathbun Steak offers a variety of generous cuts of steak, along with classic sides, including a wedge salad and accompaniments such as lobster tail, seared foie gras, and Hollandaise sauce. Reservations required. Patio seating.

Georgia Boy

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Georgia Boy is only accessible via its sister restaurant Southern Belle at the Plaza on Ponce. People enter this intimate tasting room restaurant from behind a bookcase beyond the bar. Arriving at the waiting area to the chefs counter, diners are ushered into Georgia Boy for a 16-course tasting created by chef and owner Joey Ward with sake, cider, and wine pairings. Four seatings are available nightly. Reservations required.

Lazy Betty

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A relaxing yet refined restaurant in Candler Park, Lazy Betty was built for date night and celebratory dining. Choose between two highly curated tasting menus with optional wine pairings. There’s also champagne and caviar service, which comes served with steamed milk buns and scallion pancakes. Reservations required. Vegetarian menu available upon request. Outdoor seating available.

The Alden

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The Alden comes from Atlanta native and chef Jared Hucks. The restaurant serves dishes on its dinner menu like Maine sea scallops, sweet breads, tortellini primavera, and lavender-baked chicken. But for something truly special, consider reserving a seven-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings at the chef’s counter. Reservations highly encouraged.

Sushi Hayakawa

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Chef Atsushi Hayakawa’s Buford Highway sushi house continues to dominate Atlanta’s sushi scene. Reservations are required and should be made well in advance; especially for people who want to watch Chef Hayakawa himself prepare their meal. The two-and-a-half hour honkaku omakase is a one-on-one, 14-course sushi extravaganza with the chef. The restaurant relocates later this year to Star Metals on Howell Mill Road. Reservations required.

Spring Restaurant

Co-owned by chef Brian So, Spring features a tight, seasonally driven menu of dishes paired with an equally curated list of natural and biodynamic wines. Start with fois gras terrine and sockeye salmon crudo before moving on to entrees like grilled wagyu flatiron steak and braised short rib or a whole fish course. Never skip dessert at Spring. The small, dimly lit dining room lends itself nicely to intimate dinner dates and small celebratory meals over a bottle of wine. Reservations required.

Canoe

Canoe in Vinings has been serving farm-to-table cuisine since before that term was even coined. The riverfront fine dining institution includes an unusual menu item for Atlanta: peppercorn-crusted kangaroo. The dish is an homage to executive chef Matthew Basford’s Australian roots. Come here for brunch and order the pastry basket and cornmeal pancakes. Seating available in the dining room and in the garden patio overlooking the Chattahoochee. Reservations required. Patio seating.

Bacchanalia

Fine dining institution Bacchanalia and its epic tasting menu are better than, even after more than two decades on the scene in Atlanta. Located next door to market and cafe Star Provisions, reservations are necessary for a table at this Blandtown restaurant. Once seated, indulge in a four-course tasting menu that includes oysters and dishes like the popular crab fritter, Maine lobster with caviar and brioche, and a rotating array of in-season entrees, desserts, and cheeses. There’s even a private area for groups gathering to celebrate at Bacchanalia. Reservations required. Bar open for walk-in seating.

Mujō

Reservations are absolutely required to dine at this recently opened sushi bar and Japanese restaurant next door to Cooks and Soldiers. At just 15 seats, Mujo is the perfect spot for an intimate, celebratory omakase feast guided by chef J. Trent Harris. Even the petite cocktail bar is reserved exclusively for guests dining at the restaurant. A meal starts with several courses of nigiri prepared in the edomae sushi style, broken up by dishes like hakurei turnip tartlets and buta nikomi with braised iberico pork. Nods to Japanese culinary traditions include a tamagoyaki (Japanese shrimp and egg cake similar to an omelette,) followed by dessert paired with konacha green tea. Reservations required.

Nan Thai Fine Dining

Owned by chef Nan Niyomkul and her family, Nan Thai Fine Dining has been a staple on the Midtown restaurant scene for nearly two decades. It’s a great spot for celebrating any occasion or day of the week over dishes of panang talay with jumbo prawns, sea scallops, and calamari and Thai barbecue lamb chops (geah yang) with a kaffir lime honey glaze. Don’t skip the cocktails at this restaurant. Reservations highly encouraged.

Gather Picnic Co.

For those looking to celebrate a special moment with family and friends outdoors, consider an elaborate and themed affair from Gather Picnic Co. Each travel-themed, three-hour picnic spread features set-up and breakdown of decor, table settings, and furniture, flowers, and umbrellas for shade. There is also a romantic picnic set-up for two. Food can be catered privately or provided by Gather from Graze Atlanta charcuterie boards with the option to add dessert. Book online.

La Grotta Ristorante

After more than 40 years on Peachtree, La Grotta is still one of Atlanta’s most beloved fine dining restaurants. With tables clad in white linens, impeccable service, and an impressive wine list to pair with dishes of lobster pappardelle and black truffle risotto, La Grotta has grown into a regular spot for family and friends gathering to celebrate everything from momentous occasions to just being together on a Wednesday evening in Atlanta. Reservations highly encouraged. Patio seating.

Atlas

Located at the swanky St. Regis hotel in Buckhead, Atlas is always a solid choice for a celebratory, splurge-worthy dinner. For a real treat, book the chef’s table experience at Atlas, an elaborate tasting menu feast which also comes with dessert and wine pairings. Afterwards, pop over to the Garden Room next door for after-dinner drinks. Reservations required. Dress code.

Lucian Books and Wine

Since opening in June 2021, Lucian Books and Wine has become one of the hottest spots for wining and dining in Buckhead. For those looking to splurge on both wine and food (and do a little book shopping afterwards,) Lucian is hard to beat. The menu progresses from oysters and raw hamachi with seasonal fruits to salads and gnudi to entrees like roast duck. It’s like compiling a personal tasting menu for dinner. Choose from over 250 wines by the bottle or 15 wines by the glass, all curated by co-owner and sommelier Jordan Smelt. Dessert is a must at Lucian, as are the crispy fries, which pair perfectly with a glass of champagne. Reservations required.

Aria

Aria continues to be one of Atlanta’s most popular destinations for celebratory splurging. After years of serving as a white table cloth, fine dining restaurant, chef Gerry Klaskala remodeled this Buckhead staple to appeal to a younger generation of diners. Now it’s a bit more relaxed and casual — the bar and lounge area is open for impromptu drinks and snacks. While the vibe in the dining room has changed, the service is still impeccable and the kitchen consistently cranks out Aria favorites, like butter braised lobster, slow braised pork, and lump crab cakes. Aria also carries one of Atlanta’s most comprehensive wine lists. Reservations required. Patio seating.

Kevin Rathbun Steak

Chef Kevin Rathbun’s eponymous restaurant on the Eastside Beltline is one of the city’s chicest steakhouses, and with a top-notch wine list, too. Located in a converted warehouse with a Beltline-facing patio, Kevin Rathbun Steak offers a variety of generous cuts of steak, along with classic sides, including a wedge salad and accompaniments such as lobster tail, seared foie gras, and Hollandaise sauce. Reservations required. Patio seating.

Georgia Boy

Georgia Boy is only accessible via its sister restaurant Southern Belle at the Plaza on Ponce. People enter this intimate tasting room restaurant from behind a bookcase beyond the bar. Arriving at the waiting area to the chefs counter, diners are ushered into Georgia Boy for a 16-course tasting created by chef and owner Joey Ward with sake, cider, and wine pairings. Four seatings are available nightly. Reservations required.

Lazy Betty

A relaxing yet refined restaurant in Candler Park, Lazy Betty was built for date night and celebratory dining. Choose between two highly curated tasting menus with optional wine pairings. There’s also champagne and caviar service, which comes served with steamed milk buns and scallion pancakes. Reservations required. Vegetarian menu available upon request. Outdoor seating available.

The Alden

The Alden comes from Atlanta native and chef Jared Hucks. The restaurant serves dishes on its dinner menu like Maine sea scallops, sweet breads, tortellini primavera, and lavender-baked chicken. But for something truly special, consider reserving a seven-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings at the chef’s counter. Reservations highly encouraged.

Sushi Hayakawa

Chef Atsushi Hayakawa’s Buford Highway sushi house continues to dominate Atlanta’s sushi scene. Reservations are required and should be made well in advance; especially for people who want to watch Chef Hayakawa himself prepare their meal. The two-and-a-half hour honkaku omakase is a one-on-one, 14-course sushi extravaganza with the chef. The restaurant relocates later this year to Star Metals on Howell Mill Road. Reservations required.

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