Good Food in Peachtree Corners
Somewhere between devouring my fourth and fifth courses, Peachtree Corners emerged as the newest dining force. The biggest drawback to being a uOTPian gastronome, not to mention one who feigns being a food critic on the intertubes, is keeping up-to-the-minute with all the new and exemplary openings. It’s an expensive (and triglyceride increasing) delegation, but somebody has to do it.
Peachtree Corners has mostly Blue Chip newcomers combined with select established hotspots that should put them on every foodie’s radar. Here is just a sampling of what the Gwinnett County town along the banks of the Chattahoochee River has to offer.
Noble Fin: There is no debate as to the shiniest object on the PC dining scene. Superstar Chef Jay Swift went full bite flight, closing his critically acclaimed restaurant 4th & Swift. “Coastal American-inspired restaurant and bar” is a buzzwordy way of saying high-end steak and seafood.
Swift has not yet achieved the universal praises in the suburbs as he did in the Old Fourth Ward, but this opened-in-May hotspot is still in its early stages.
Ba Bellies: Perhaps the most eye-opening testimonial comes from a food snob accomplice of mine. He has traveled the world, including Asia, and is grand czar of the authenticity crowd. He is one of perhaps a dozen people on earth who is more toffee-nosed about restaurants than yours truly.
In search of palatable choice for his wife on their anniversary, he conceded he was not looking for the type of adventurous dining excursion that I love and he demands. Using his spousal parameters, I suggested Ba Bellies, but warned that although it was the type of place most foodies would adore, he is almost certain to be the exception to the rule.
Reiterating his disdain for American Asian, my food snob confederate effused his unabashed praise for the unmistakably Americanized Asian goldmine.
This is the best restaurant in Peachtree Corners.
Royal Bistro: About 20 years ago, there was a Thai restaurant at Spalding and Holcomb Bridge Road called Royal Thai. Even the big city restaurant hacks acknowledged it as the best Thai in all of metropolitan Atlanta.
They were sold, several times I believe, into an abyss of abject mediocrity. Rebranded as Royal Bistro, the original owners are back with a vengeance — and so is the greatness.
I don’t want to hear anything about any uninspiring meal you have had this century at Royal THAI. That’s irrelevant. Royal BISTRO is a 2016 newcomer, or more accurately a long-lost friend making a homecoming.
Run, do not walk here.
Kool Runnings: Jamaican food to thrive, down where Peachtree Parkway crosses Spalding Drive. It’s an established restaurant standing well into year three, turning out great food in Gwinnett’s newest city. Island pearls.
Bless your heart if you think an outdoor smoker is the mandatory prerequisite to slap-yo-mamma ribs. Kool Runnings shows that barbecue restaurants don’t have the monopoly on great pork or beef ribs. You bet your sweep bippy the vegetables are fresh. Shoot, the simple cabbage made me forget I was a carnivore for a minute, though their superb oxtail quickly brought me back to reason.
Tortugas: Featured in the new restaurant primer, word has spread on this hidden gem Cuban restaurant.
Taqueria Del Mar: Unlike most of the aforesaid options, TDM is not a newcomer. Like my fellow food elitists, I prefer “genuine” Mexican. However, Del Mar is the poster child is to why I don’t robotically purge adaptations that evolve this side of the Rio Grande.
Unapologetically Americanized, more accurately labeled Mexicali, this seafood friendly standby puts all the “Speedy Gonzalez” order-by-number not-so-Mexican restaurants to shame.
Warning to my fellow obnoxious foodies: you just may fall in love with a non-authentic Mexican joint.
Bull Gogi: Fast casual Asian fusion meets American staples — there is something for every taste bud. Hungry customers choose from bulgogi bowls and fantastic boneless Korean fried chicken to Buffalo style wings. The quality exceeds the variety.
Dog Days Hot Dogs & Burgers: There is a dearth of Chicago style eateries in metro Atlanta. Hot Dog Heaven, near the world headquarters of ScoopOTP headlines, but Peachtree Corners also comes through. Get the Polish sausage. It’s like your own Maxwell Street on the not-so-windy Peachtree Parkway.
Taaj Market: In the back of a Persian grocery store is a restaurant with limited seating (six four-tops) and a more limited menu. Notwithstanding, the kabob sandwiches make this place the quintessential hidden gem.
Suffice to say, established in 2013, Peachtree Corners is not only one of metro Atlanta’s newest cities, but also its latest dining hotspot.
The author, Joe Duffy has been known to eat away his kids’ college funds. No need to start a GoFundMe account, just support his wife’s really cool online gift store. It may barely keep him out of trouble, but we doubt it.