If there’s ever a time for guiltless indulgence, it’s the holiday season. Work deadlines are nearly done, civic obligations have been met, and the daily grind has finally eased, making way for a little self-spoiling. By now, folks are more than ready to close the office door and delight in a nearby restaurant’s sumptuous dinners and decadent desserts. Living Northside has found some places to get you started on your festive food adventures.
This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Living Northside magazine.
Conversations may spill from one table to the next at the oft-crowded Hal’s steakhouse, where people such as Marko Stamenic stop in for an after-work drink and a chat with friends, or strangers, while waiting for traffic to improve along the roads back to Lilburn.
“I can come here all by myself and have a great time,” says Stamenic, who also gives high praise to the restaurant staff. “It’s a very spontaneous atmosphere.”
Hal’s is a traditional New Orleans-inspired steakhouse with an open kitchen and dark lighting, creating an ambiance of a private cigar club that’s part fine dining and part neighborhood eatery. (The upstairs bar and dining area is smoke free.)
While the menu offers classic pan-seared filet mignon au poivre and prime bone-in ribeye served in butter sauce, extensive selections include pasta, seafood, lamb and veal plates including osso bucco prepared in an Italian red wine sauce and served with angel hair pasta.
Owner Hal Nowak opened the place in 1990 in a somewhat hidden location near the corner of Piedmont and Roswell roads in Buckhead, just outside of Sandy Springs. A stream of regulars forms the backbone of the clientele. Depending on the hour of the night, the crowd may sing along to an old-school hit belted out by the piano player.
Jeff Ellington started going to Hal’s in 1995 to relax and read the Wall Street Journal after long days at the office. He now has his own corner table where he and his father have dined every Christmas Eve for more than a decade.
“I’ll say it this way,” Ellington says. “It’s the best neighborhood place I’ve ever known.”
30 Old Ivy Road, Atlanta. 404-261-0025. hals.net