published Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Locals suggest best places to eat in Nashville, Birmingham, Atlanta and Greensboro

Birmingham’s Bottega offers Italian cuisine, using ingredients from the American South and Italy.
Birmingham’s Bottega offers Italian cuisine, using ingredients from the American South and Italy.

GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE

For more tips that will help you find the best things to do in the Chattanooga region, pick up a copy of Glimpse, a travel guide that will be inserted into your newspaper on Aug. 30. Glimpse covers the hottest activities and best kept secrets in nearly 100 cities across Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina and will be accessible online from TimesFreePress.com.

It doesn’t matter where you travel, you’re going to be hungry. But when you’re in an unfamiliar city, choosing a good restaurant can be frustrating and sometimes futile since you don’t know your way around.

But foodies will know where the best eats are, so here are restaurants in four Southern cities, selected by foodies from each city who promise not to steer you wrong.

Birmingham

• Restaurant: Bottega

• Where: 2240 Highland Ave.

• Contact: 205-939-1000, bottegarestaurant.com

• Hours: (Dining room) 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; (Cafe) 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

• Attire: Casual (cafe) to dressy (dining room

• Alcohol: Full bar

• Outdoor seating: Yes

• Menu highlights: Italy inspires the cuisine, carefully crafted by linking ingredients from the American South and artisanal producers from the Italian countryside such as a Tuscan egg salad appetizer, Scallop Risotta for the main course. On the “cafe” side of the restaurant, guests can enjoy antipasta, pzzas, roasted vegetables, meats and seafood.

• Testimony: “Birmingham has so many great places to eat but a lot of my family and friends love Bottega the most. I have been going there for 15 years and it is still No. 1 on my list. It has two sides. One is fine dining (expensive) and the other is a casual cafe (medium priced). Both sides offer delicious menus.”

Source: Leslie Herring Hicks, Birmingham

Nashville

• Restaurant: City House

• Where: 1222 Fourth Ave.

• Contact: 615-736-5838, cityhousenashville.com

• Hours: 5-10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday & Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday.

• Attire: Casual

• Alcohol: Full bar

• Outdoor seating: Yes

• Menu: Antipasta, pizza, pasta, fish/meat, dessert

• Testimonial: “If you can get a seat at the bar, you have to guess which of the 10 chefs is the original owner. They have a fabulous wine list, great service and the pizza and pasta, two of my favorites, jump off the plate because they are so scrumptious. I suggest reservations. The restaurant has been named to the ‘Best of Nashville’ list because it’s a favorite haunt of local gourmands. The location is in historic Germantown (north of the Capitol Mall). The building was the home of the sculptor Allen Laquire, who was commissioned to sculpt Athena, located in the Parthenon. The restaurant has an amazing screened-in patio with a mosaic of a tree on the floor, a large dining room and open kitchen. The bar, facing the stove and huge pizza oven, seats 20 people.”

Source: Mickey Dobo, Nashville (formerly of Chattanooga)

Atlanta

• Restaurant: One Eared Stag

• Where: 1029 Edgewood Ave.

• Contact: 404-525-4479, oneearedstag.com

• Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday/Saturday.

• Attire: Casual

• Alcohol: Full bar

• Outdoor seating: Yes

• Menu highlights: Tapas/small plates, American

• Testimony: “One eared stag is in Inman Park. A beautiful residential area of Atlanta with pretty, old houses which makes for a nice post-meal walk. Their inventive and unusual menus change daily; it is farm to table, using only fresh ingredients. For instance, I went last week and had the best gazpacho I have ever been served pureed with Virginia lump crab, which is a dish they only would serve while tomatoes are in season. The staff is warm and knowledgeable. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, there are Mason jars filled with pickled veggies lining the ledge around the main dining room. Also very popular for brunch, where their chef’s breakfast is served with a Schlitz.”

Source: Alyson Attaway, Atlanta (formerly of Lookout Mountain, Ga.)

Greensboro, N.C.

• Restaurant: Chinese Kitchen

• Where: 5607 W. Friendly Ave.

• Contact: 336-852-0827

• Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday; noon-9:30 p.m. Sunday.

• Attire: Casual

• Alcohol: No

• Outdoor seating: No

• Menu highlights: Wraps, soup, Indo Chinese dishes, Thai, poultry/seafood/beef/pork dishes, and more.

• Testimony: “Chinese Kitchen is a hidden secret of Greensboro, away from mainstream busy restaurants and big hotels, but convenient to anything that has you visiting Greensboro. It is 10 minutes from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and Greensboro College and across the street from Guilford College. It is a locally owned, mid-priced Chinese restaurant, much better than take out, but not as expensive as the big chains. It is quiet and quaint. The food is exceptional, and you can go fancy or casual. The garlic chicken is my favorite; it is spicy and garlicky. A recent dinner for four was $70. We all ordered our own plates, and they serve the food on a dish and give you a plate to put how much you want on it. They give you fried wontons with a mustard and sweet sauce while you wait on your order. The mustard sauce is spicy and yummy.”

Source: Cris Greer, Greensboro

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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