Fall dining guide

About the authors

John Kessler is the dining editor and writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school near Washington, he worked for several years as a restaurant cook and chef before becoming a critic.

Recently, he passed first-level certification by the Court of Master Sommeliers, but he still occasionally buys wine at Kroger.

Kessler lives in Decatur with his wife and the youngest of his three daughters, who tends to grill every waiter, “Portlandia”-style, about the restaurant’s commitment to animal welfare.

Jenny Turknett, an Atlanta native, joined the AJC dining team in 2010 and now serves as its lead restaurant critic. She writes starred reviews on new restaurants and revisits established ones to keep them on point.

Turknett also created recipes for the book “The Migraine Miracle,” which she co-authored with her husband, Josh. They live in Roswell with two small finicky eaters, two cats and an ever-expanding collection of kitchen gadgets.


4 stars

Becky Stein

The AJC's fall dining guide: 4-star restaurant

After more than 20 years at the top, Bacchanalia has become something of an old friend to anyone who cares about fine food in Atlanta.

Some of us remember back when Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison ran it from a poky little house in Buckhead; others think of it as the place where we learned to love, love, love artisan cheese.

We go once a year or so for a birthday or anniversary, and maybe we have found it better on one visit than the next. That happens after 20 years.

3 stars

3 star
Becky Stein

The AJC's fall dining guide: 3-star restaurants


Have you ever thought about ordering a fixed-price menu that consists of course after course of pasta? It does sound like something you’d eat to, say, bulk up for a sumo wrestling match. Trust us, you want this. Bruce Logue is a chef of ceaseless invention, consummate skill and intuitive flavor sense. His current pasta tasting menu includes orbs of fried macaroni with honey truffles and chive fondutta, house linguine with Sapelo Island clams and corn, and wild boar meatballs with gnocchi au poivre.


2 stars

Bingsu at Sobban
Jason Getz

The AJC fall dining guide: 2-star restaurants


Flowery Branch has a little-known gem in Antebellum. Venture beyond your typical dinner driving radius to step back in time with this town’s refurbished 1890s home-turned-restaurant. At Antebellum, chef-owner Nicholas St. Clair presents his non-native take on Southern cuisine in a playful and refreshing way, breaking the rut that eventually marks many farm-to-table spots.

Kessler's Top 10

Kessler's favorites

John Kessler talks about his favorite restaurants in and around Atlanta, including one spot that isn't even among the Atlanta 50.

Watch the video and find out about that special spot and find out where our dining editor likes to eat even when he isn't working


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