Barcelona Wine Bar spinoff, Bartaco, opened last month on Atlanta’s Westside. With four locations in New York and Connecticut, and at least two more planned for metro Atlanta, the Mexican-style concept features “upscale street food” and a good time atmosphere.
The look: Situated in the Dixie Packing building, the modest brick building painted with the Bartaco dragonfly logo belies a surprising indoor/outdoor space that conjures a beach resort. A rectangular bar anchors the main dining area, surrounded by cozy booths and communal tables. Beyond garage doors, a walled courtyard is surrounded by lush landscaping.
The scene: One recent afternoon, the buzzing lunchtime crowd included at least one publicist and several other restaurant personalities. Seated at a booth, renowned Southern chef/restaurateur, Sean Brock, was working on a plate of tacos, and maybe making mental notes for the casual Mexican-inspired spot he’s planning to open in Charleston.
The food: True to its name, Bartaco offerings center on tacos and drinks, with a sushi bar-like menu that allows you check off your choices. Tacos ($2.50/$3.50) range from Baja or Veracruz-style fish to falafel, sesame ribeye and duck. Order a tray ($24 small/$36 large) and the chef selects tacos, tamales and sides for you, served with guacamole and rojo, verde and habanero salsa. Other choices include rice bowls ($7) with a variety of proteins, small plates such as gazpacho ($5) and ceviche ($6), and rotisserie chicken ($8 half/$14 whole).
The drinks: The Bartaco Margarita ($9.50), with Maestro Dobel Reposado tequila, Luxardo triple sec, agave syrup and lime, tops a cocktail list that features potent elixirs such as the Old Thymer ($10.50), with Four Roses bourbon, Carpano Antica vermouth, thyme, lemon and orange. The DIY Clarico ($6 plus wine) is a carafe of fresh cut fruit with sugar, ice and your choice of a bottle of wine.
The extras: There’s a quick service window near the front entrance, where you can pick up to-go orders and special party packs. Bottles of the house salsa are $7.50 each or three for $20.
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