5. Cakes & Ale

Cakes & Ale
Braised and roasted chicken leg with sweet potatoes, broccoli, sunchoke puree, and chicories

Photograph by Johnny Autry

Editor’s note: Sadly, Billy and Kristin Allin announced June 7 that Cakes & Ale would close June 9. We are in the process of updating this list.

Billy Allin may have been raised in South Carolina, but his culinary enthusiasm knows no borders. Sure, he and his executive chef Brian Hendrickson make room for North Carolina trout with bacon mayonnaise on their menu at Cakes & Ale, but Allin also possesses a rebel curiosity for global flavors, using a dash of saffron to heighten shrimp or intensifying a plate of cucumbers and avocado with chermoula, an herby sauce from North Africa. Melting pillows of gnocchi tossed in a hearty lamb and pork ragu evoke Italy, while a mushroom tart with creme fraiche calls France to mind—and it all works. Sommelier Jordan Smelt has a particular love affair with bubbles and natural wines.

155 Sycamore Street, Decatur, 404-377-7994, cakesandalerestaurant.com

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