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•Pura Vida - This is by far my favorite place to eat in Atlanta. No Joke! It was recently named "Restaurant of the Year" by AJC. Now say what you will about the AJC, but their restaurant critics are no where near as forgiving (read paid off) as some of the critics working for the likes of Atlanta Magazine and Jezebel. Creative Loafing's Cliff Bostock is also a stand up guy and he's given them stellar reviews in the past. The food is all tapas which I love because it allows you to try a variety of different dishes in a single meal. And if you don't like a particular dish, you're only out $6. All tapas on the menu are the same price, and when I used to go with my ex-GF we would usually get about three selections a piece, not including desert. Now you can spend the rest of your cash on some of their Spanish and South American wine. They also make a killer mojito as well as sangria. Friday nights a DJ plays merengue and salsa and the bar blows up. I know you were looking for something in Midtown/Buckhead, but this place is in the Highlands near the corner of North Ave and Highland.
•Brasserie le Coze - Yes it's in Lenox Mall, but once you walk through the door you'll forget all about that. The place is about 10 or 11 years old, and the dinning room is still one of my favorite in the city. It's consistently rated one of the best French Restaurants in Atlanta, and you need to check it out soon. Neiman Marcus is taking over that space before the end of the year and the brasserie is moving over to Atlantic Station under a completely new design. They're known for their soups, skate wing, and desserts. It was originally owned by Maguy and her brother Gilbert le Coze. After Gilberts untimely death a few years ago Maguy relinquished control of the Brasserie and now just operates Le Bernardin in New York.
•The Globe - One of my new favorites. It's located on 5th between W. Ptree and Williams. It's partly owned by one of the opening managers of Justin's, but the clientele is considerably more diverse. The chef also put in some time at the Brasserie le Coze mentioned above. Like Bob Amick's places it gets pretty crazy on the weekends so I'd get a reservation.
•Taurus - Also one of the newer restaurants on the northern side of Midtown (across from the Amtrack station on Peachtree), the head chef used to man the kitchen at Canoe in Vinnings. Great steaks and seafood with a fun atmosphere.
•Restaurant Eugene - If you have the cash to drop, this is where it should land. This is real fine dinning and what Pano and Paul's still wishes it was. Restaurant Eugene is not nearly as opulent as P&P's but that's all for the better. The staff is one of the most pleasant and best trained in the city. Linton Hopkins and his wife Gina hail from the D.C. area and run the place as if it were their home; always in the dinning room talking to guests and making sure everything is running smoothly. Most of the food is locally or organically grown, and the emphasis of the menu is first and foremost on the ingredients. The result is a menu that changes frequently, and more significantly each season. While I wouldn't consider this a fun, hip place like One Midtown Kitchen or Two Urban Licks, I'd suggest you book a reservation for Valentines.