490 East Paces Ferry
Atlanta, GA 30305
With the economy the way it is, fancy date nights are few and far between these days. Sometimes you have to break out and enjoy yourself a little, so we decided to enjoy ourselves with a night out recently at Buckhead’s Aria restaurant. Their recent 5 star review in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution made us eager to try out the menu for ourselves.
We got there a little early for our reservation; I always love to check out the bar at restaurants and enjoy a signature cocktail before dinner. The bar area was cozy and dark, with a luxurious red couch wrapped all around the room. Date night points – check!
Time for cocktails; the bar menu was simple but refined, and with it being a chilly March night, I veered towards their Winter cocktail, an appealing combination of vodka, ginger liqueur with fresh tangerine juice. It was refreshing and the ginger flavor did take a little of the cold’s edge off. My date chose an aperitif based on the barman’s helpful recommendation (never hurts to ask the experts) and while aperitifs are never my first choice personally, his choice of Daniel Bouju Pineau des Charantes was quite good.
Our table was ready and so we entered the dining room – an elegant and bustling place full of already lively Friday night diners enjoying themselves. A buttery, rich foccacia bread hit the table for nibbling on as we perused the menu. There was only one starter for me that stood out the moment I read the description, and luckily it held up to my high hopes – in fact, I could barely keep my date out of my plate of porcini mushroom ravioli ($13)! The black truffle butter and Parmigiano reggiano just melted in my mouth. My date had chosen the lobster and sweet potato soup ($9) as a starter, which was tasty, but my ravioli was definitely the favorite for both of us.
Still dizzy from a black truffle haze, our main courses came out to the table. I definitely enjoyed my dish of hazelnut crusted Blue Ridge Mountain trout ($22); I had never considered hazelnut and fish as a friendly pairing, but I won’t question that again. My date’s choice of pan seared George’s Bank Jumbo Sea Scallops ($28) didn’t disappoint either, especially with the ridiculously lux bed of shrimp and lobster risotto they lay atop of.
Two courses down and having dessert seemed almost impossible. Or was it? We rallied for the cause and ordered our picks – I chose the Valrhona chocolate cream pie ($9). Talk about a dream come true – chocolate lovers, take note. My date chose the tangerine panna cotta ($8) that had a refreshing tangerine sorbet. We jokingly compared it to a very grown up version of childhood’s beloved orange pushup pop.
The whole experience was a meshing of great cuisine, exceptional service, and elegant surroundings. I think that Aria is definitely going to be on our go-to list to try again for a repeat visit – whether it’s a date night or celebrating a special occasion, this restaurant is a real gem in the city and worth the trip.
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