3 Decatur Restaurants You Ought To Know About

3 Decatur Restaurants You Ought To Know About

Decatur is a little pocket of 'cool' on the east side of Atlanta where you're bound to find your next favorite restaurant. Here are some of mine.

Decatur is a little pocket of 'cool' on the east side of Atlanta where you're bound to find your next favorite restaurant. Here are some of mine.

1. Chai Pani

Indian Street Food

OK: So I'm a little biased on this one. This is going to be my favorite restaurant on this list. I worked at a Chai Pani in Asheville, NC, for about a year and have got to say it was the best restaurant job I've ever had. Not only were the owners and management team very nice and fun to work with, but the food itself was just so much fun to make because each dish was so creative and delicious and all the ingredients were locally sourced. Chai Pani isn't expensive, either; you can get a Thali plate for seven dollars during the busy lunch hours.

Chai Pani is the brainchild of Meherwan Irani, who wanted to create a southern-inspired Indian restaurant that was cheap yet delicious, authentic yet creative. And that is what Chai Pani is: A 'Sloppy Jai' is a spin-off of the American 'Sloppy Joe', but with Kheema (lamb hash with fresh spices) instead of beef, and sweet yogurt, a cilantro-based green chutney and a sour tamarind-based chutney for flavor. I've mentioned the 'Sloppy Jai' to give you perspective on how creative the menu is, but most of the menu is vegetarian and a lot of it is vegan, as well. The green mango chaat is my favorite vegan dish; almost-ripe mangoes tossed with corn flakes, puffed rice, minced red onions, cilantro, roasted daal, and flavored with a squirt each of cilantro and tamarind chutneys. It's so good. A 'Thali' plate, like I said before, is probably the most authentically Indian menu item, and consists of a small plate each of daal, sambar, and either a vegetarian or chicken curry, of which there are usually two different options for each. Also a ramiken of sweet yogurt and a scoop of basmanti rice ride along, and for the dinner Thali, which has bigger plates and goes for a couple bucks more, a ramikin of the house desert, which is often rice pudding, but when the chefs are feeling creative, your bound for a few surprises.

And don't forget to try their samosas.

11/10 points: Chai Pani is cheap, delicious, original, fast, fun, and vegan-friendly. They bake and grind their spices right there in the kitchen and import ingredients directly from India via a Decatur merchant, and many of the other ingredients are locally sourced, as well. Did I mention that everything is under $10? Please go.

Address: 406 W Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030
Website: www.ChaiPaniDecatur.com
Phone #: (404) 377-7994

The Iberian Pig

Spanish eatery serving all things pig

The Iberian Pig is a modern Spanish restaurant that focuses on imported Spanish cured meats, creative tapas dishes, fresh local produce, fine wines and cocktails. At least that's what on their official website. I've never been there myself. I don't have that kind of capital. I get an expensive impression of the place but after looking at the menu online, it doesn't seem too pricey, and what with the pictures of the deserts ("sobres") looking so nice I might have to hop on the next Marta train (N.B. the restaurant is right next to the station).

I love pork but I hate tapas. Small plates frustrate me when I'm really hungry, and whenever I go out to eat I usually prepare by fasting for much of the day. Tapas have almost ended a couple relationships I've been in. Iberian Pig has plate options, however. They've got a couple burgers, roasted quail (?), lamb chops; they've got a slew of salads. And cheese; boy, do they have cheese. Served with a handful of nuts and a couple slices of fruit, their cheese plates look very nice.

I'd go here if I could afford it.

?/10 stars.

Cakes and Ale

What kind of name is that?

I worked here. Well, for a day. And I didn't get paid for it. A "stodge" or "shadow" shift, they call it. So that they could judge me. Well, I didn't get the job. I don't know why. But it's payback time.

First of all, the name: 'Cakes and Ale'. Do you drink whilst eating cake? I can only have one or the other; beer or sweets, never both. It makes me queasy.

Cakes and Ale change their menu daily, but it's always expensive. I may be a spendthrift but IMHO you've got to make at least three figures to dine out regularly at places such as C&A. The dinner menu at a glance: $32 for NC Trout (with bacon mayonaise); $6 for chicken broth (seriously?); bread service, a dollar per person.

The lunch menu: $12 chicken salads, 10$ turkey and cheese sandwiches, etc...

When I worked here for free I wasn't allowed to take a break to eat something. No one was. Another employee and I ordered Jimmy John's on the sly and ate our sandwiches outside by the dumpster. So I can't tell you if the food is good or not, which in all fairness does look good, especially when you are very, very hungry, but I was unable to sample even the slightest morsel.

Don't go here.


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