Photo: Courtesy of Lesli Peterson
Photo: Courtesy of Lesli Peterson

The best places for small plates in Atlanta

Summer is on our doorstep and the hearty, heavy meals of winter no longer hold their appeal. If you're looking for lighter bites, try these seven Atlanta favorites. They offer tapas, small plates, meze...whatever you choose to call it, they are the perfect way to sample the best of each restaurant.

10 Degrees South. Savor the flavors of South Africa with a small plates menu overflowing with sinful bites. Peri-peri chicken spring rolls melt in your mouth, served with an authentic peri-peri sauce that resonates both sweet and spicy. Ground beef curry bobotie spring rolls are drizzled with housemade chutney, and the biltong jerky is dressed in spices that will take you on a journey to Cape Town. Visit on a Monday to pair your small plates with half-priced bottles of South African wines.

Del Frisco's Grille. Del Frisco's Grille is known for its American surf-and-turf fare and double-decker patio overlooking Buckhead, but it also boasts an amazing "Food to Fight Over" menu. Don't leave without trying the cheesesteak eggrolls; the unexpected flavors of sweet and spicy chili sauce married with honey mustard will leave you craving these regularly. Also worth of sampling are the deviled eggs, showered with a truffle and chive sauce and the Ahi tuna tartare tacos, with a spicy mayonnaise.

Polaris. The legendary "blue dome" rotating restaurant and lounge atop the historic Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel, returned to the Atlanta skyline last June. Guests are transported 22 stories up the hotel's glass elevators into a breathtaking space that offers panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline. Sip on handcrafted cocktails and share an array of chef-inspired small plates while rotating. The menu changes regularly to coincide with the season, but you're sure to enjoy a selection that includes ingredients from the Rooftop honey collection or vegetable garden.

Holeman and Finch Public House. Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know the burgers at Holeman and Finch are top notch, and we're all grateful they are now more readily available. But the burgers aren't the half of it; the snacks, firsts and parts at Holeman and Finch are unique and divine. Dive into bacon caramel popcorn or hushpuppies with a strawberry mostarda syrup. The bone marrow's succulent and rich flavor marries well with a cheese board of five local flavors. Good luck making room for the burger.

Kyma. With a deep blue ceiling and bold marine displays, it's obvious that you've stepped off the streets of Atlanta and into the Mediterranean. A plethora of meze - Greek appetizers -  abounds with selections like spanakopita, Greek fries with grated kefalograviera cheese or Cretan escargot with tomato compote and Ouzo. Don't miss veal sweetbreads with squashes and eggplant presented on sourdough toast, or grilled octopus with pickled onion salad. Vegetarian? No worries. A full vegan and vegetarian menu await you.

McKendrick's Steak House. Hearty small plates at McKendrick's are a perfect way to sample multiple steak and seafood selections. Try the melt-in-your-mouth jumbo lump blue crabcake with garlic-tomato beurre blanc and crispy capers or the baked oysters with applewood smoked bacon, maytag blue cheese and leek fondue. For subtle Asian flavor, order the seared rare Pacific "Big Eye" tuna with wasabi, pickled ginger and ginger-soy sauce. If you still can't decide, opt for the appetizer tower, which is served with your choice of three small plates and priced by the person.

Saltyard. Saltyard takes you on a small plates tour of the world in a relaxed, communal setting. Start with the signature pimento cheese slider with green tomato-bacon relish, followed by roasted scallops and curried cauliflower. Need more? The crispy duck confit comes with sweet potato hash, or nibble on salmon poke tacos with a sesame aioli. Local ingredients and an unpretentious atmosphere will keep you coming back for more.

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