Dinner and a movie
All evening movie show times pose the same question: “Shall we eat before or after?” I for one hate eating beforehand. A gurgling, over-filled gut and the lingering taste of some foods distract me, and eating early often interferes with popcorn consumption—without which, there is no movie. Consider, too, that not dining afterward typically means there’s little time to discuss the movie with friends.
There’s also the hitch that many restaurants are not open past 9 or 10 p.m. Below are some restaurants not far from Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, where the Out On Film movies will be shown Oct. 1–8. Granted, quite a few movies are being shown during the day, so you should have no trouble brunching or lunching at your convenience. The restaurants that follow are open until at least 11 p.m., and even later on weekends. I have not included “gay” restaurants, since everyone already has their favorites. I do suggest you call the following restaurants in advance to confirm hours and get a reservation, if possible.
This restaurant is a condom’s throw from the Midtown Art Cinema at Midtown Promenade. You can order small plates like baba ghanouj and a baguette with brie. There are five salads. My favorite is the Salad Nicoise, although I must acknowledge that the tuna steak topping the salad is sometimes way over-cooked and dry. My favorite of the pricier entrees is the short rib braised in a tamarind sauce. Pastas are also available, along with sandwiches. I most like the roasted Portobello on focaccia.
(931 Monroe Dr., 404-872-3333, apresdiem.com)
This under-appreciated restaurant serves some of the best small plates in town. I like the duck liver terrine with pickled grapes and vanilla powder, as well as the Sapelo clams with sofrito, chickpeas, red roe, and toast. Of the five entrees, I most like the risotto with cabbage, boiled peanuts, and black truffles. Dessert? Try the dark chocolate marquis with champagne granita, strawberry gel, and sweet cream. Warning! Prices are on the high side.
(1029 Edgewood Ave., 404-525-4479, oneearedstagatl.com)
Barcelona Wine Bar:
There are very few Spanish restaurants in town, but this one is my favorite for its prices and convenience to my home. Don’t-miss dishes are the charcuterie menu’s classic Serrano ham and drunken goat cheese and the paella for two. There are endless tapas. My fave is the chorizo with sweet-and-sour figs with balsamic glaze. Be advised: the place can be deafening.
(240 N. Highland Ave., 404-589-1010, barcelonawinebar.com)
The kitchen staff turned over here not long ago, but quality remains primo. The restaurant is best known for its hypercreative cocktails, but the menu is also fantastic. I like the mussels with lamb sausage; the beef tartare with pickled onion, mint, and pine nuts; and the roasted chicken for two.
(701 N. Highland Ave., 404-343-1274, lastwordatl.com)
Hong Kong Harbour:
No, it’s not as hyper-authentic as many Chinese restaurants out in the ‘burbs, but this is the best in the Midtown area; it’s open really late and is popular with late-night groups of chefs. My go-to dish is the fried tofu stuffed with pork and shrimp. The salt-and-pepper squid is flawless, as is any seafood dish featuring a blackbean sauce.
(2184 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404-325-7630, hongkongharbouratl.com)
Cliff Bostock is a longtime dining critic and psychotherapist turned life coach. www.cliffbostock.com.
Après Diem’s short rib braised in a tamarind sauce. (Photo courtesy of Après Diem)