- Bob Townsend For the AJC
More than a restaurant and bar, the Sun Dial is a tri-level attraction and Atlanta landmark spinning atop the cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza. Recently reopened after a renovation, with an updated menu by chef Jason Starnes, locals and tourists have been returning for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, and the 360 birds eye view.
The look: The Sun Dial experience begins on the lower level of the Westin, where a host directs you to the glass elevators that travel 73 floors and 723 feet to the top, with a glimpse of downtown Atlanta along the way. Inside the circular revolving Sun Dial, the scene changes to reveal the entire metro area, marked by highways, treetops, buildings and familiar sites such as Turner Field and Stone Mountain.
The scene: One recent Sunday evening, that special occasion feeling was in the air, as dressed up couples and families gathered to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, while the sun was setting and casting a yellow glow through the dining room. Up in the bar area, the scene was more casual, as small parties shared drinks and snacks, mugged and snapped pictures.
The menu: Starnes puts together seasonal fine dining offerings aimed at the special occasion crowds with nods to local ingredients. At dinner, that means starters like a compressed watermelon salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, pickled shallots, shaved radish and burrata ($14), mains like a milk-poached pork chop with asparagus and prosciutto and goats milk creamed corn ($40), and splurges like bone-in prime rib for two ($160). At lunch, the menu includes some of the same starters at lower prices, plus sandwiches, and entrees like slow cooked lamb shoulder with red wine demi, garlic truffle grits and summer greens ($16).
The drinks: The bar menu is big on flavored martinis and specialty drinks, like the New Georgia Peach, with Ketel One, Amaretto and peach schnapps ($14). But you can order a classic cocktail or a bottle bubbly, too. The beer list is strictly mainstream, though there’s a small “local offerings” sub-list that includes beers from Monday Night, Jailhouse and Red Hare ($7).
The extras: From 7–11 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday night, the Mose Davis Trio plays a mix of piano jazz in the bar that reverberates throughout the Sun Dial.