Feature

8 Unique Culinary Experiences in Atlanta

By Christopher Hassiotis  |  May 10, 2016
Credit: Nakato

Sometimes you're looking for something out of the ordinary. And in Atlanta, you won't have to look far. These local restaurants offer up exciting, interesting and unique culinary experiences that are a break from the norm — and a real delight.

Traditional Washoku Tasting Menu at Nakato
This long-running, family-owned, Cheshire Bridge restaurant has been holding down the Atlanta Japanese food scene since 1972. One great way to experience the full range of chef Kinjo's skills is with the full multicourse tasting menu. It's available in the main dining room, but you can also book the traditional tatami-mat room complete with kimono-clad servers (prices vary).

1776 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE; 404-873-6582

Destination Dinner at Go Eat Give 
Not everyone can afford an international trip every month. No worries! The Atlanta-based nonprofit Go Eat Give is dedicated to connecting Atlanta diners with international cultures. The organization's founder, travel and food writer Sucheta Rawal, hosts regular dinners at global restaurants around the metro area, from Cuban, Nigerian, Trinidadian, Indian and more. It's an evening of socializing, guest speakers, music and cultural discussion (prices vary).

Various locations

Dinner at Gunshow
The ever-changing creative food at Top Chef fan favorite Kevin Gillespie's Glenwood Park restaurant (above) is top notch, but it's the experience that sets Gunshow apart. Executive chef Joey Ward, a Zagat 30 Under 30 honoree in 2014, and his team roam the restaurant with multiple dishes, offering small plates from table to table, interacting with guests and discussing the food. It's personal, surprising, unpredictable and completely unlike any other spot in town.

924 Garrett St.; 404-380-1886

Sauce Class at D.B.A. Barbecue
Want to perfect your 'cue? D.B.A. Barbecue owner Matt Coggin hosts a sauce-making class the final Wednesday of every month. The evening kicks off with cocktails, beer and snacks as Coggin walks attendees through different sauce options. Everyone gets to customize their creation by combining dozens of bases, vinegars, spices, herbs and other ingredients before testing on a platter of chicken wings, ribs, pulled pork, sides and more. Newly minted sauce pros leave with a quart, a gift certificate and a full belly ($50 for one person, $90 for two, $170 for four).

1190 North Highland Ave. NE; 404-249-5000

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Chef's Counter at No. 246
Cozy? Intimate? Yes, and also delicious. Make a reservation for either two or four at No. 246's chef's counter (pictured above), and you're given a view into chef Drew Belline's Italian-inspired kitchen. Belline chats diners up as he walks them through a specially prepared five-course menu of meats, pastas and vegetables, wrapping up with rich desserts — and the whole meal can work around any dietary restrictions too ($50 per person).

129 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur; 678-399-8246 

Culinary Classes at Bellina Alimentari
This Ponce City Market spot aims to be all things to all people, and mostly succeeds. Part grocery store and deli, part Italian-goods importer, part restaurant and part casual Italian wine bar, there's a lot to take in at Bellina and it can be both overwhelming and confusing to newcomers. A good way to dive into the full experience is with one of the culinary classes. You'll find courses led by Bellina staff, teaching small groups about disparate events – from pasta making to wine-and-cheese pairing, and from bitter liqueur appreciation to smartphone food photography (prices vary).

675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE; 404-330-9933

Garden Dinner at Milton's Cuisine & Cocktails

Located way out there in Crabapple, Milton's offers a refined restaurant in a farmhouse more than a century-and-a-half old, but take a stroll out back to explore the garden and acre farm (above) where they source their own produce. Every summer the restaurant puts on monthly outdoor communal dinners that take place in the middle of the farm. The dinner includes hors d’oeuvres and four courses prepared by chef Derek Dollar, as well as drinks and a tour of the restaurant's farm and neighboring strawberry fields ($135).

800 Mayfield Rd., Milton; 770-817-0161

Flavor Trip at Three Sheets 
This Sandy Springs pub offers a "flavor tripping" experience every few months. What's flavor tripping? Rub a miracle berry on your tongue, and it confuses your taste buds and brain. (Don't worry! It's just when it comes to the way you process taste sensations, nothing else.) Sour things taste sweet, funky things taste delightful, that sort of thing. The restaurant will provide small plates, drinks and more ($20).

6017 Sandy Springs Cir.; 404-303-8423