High steaks in Atlanta
Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse will change the way you think about mall dining. While the Atlanta restaurant resides in the Phipps Plaza shopping center, you’d never know it once you step into the column-filled dining room and see tables dressed in white cloth and attentive servers in crisp white jackets rolling out tempting dessert trolleys.
But the whole restaurant seems to be an unexpected mix. Originally founded in Boston by chef Steve DiFillippo (he later expanded with outposts in Chestnut Hill and Foxborough, Massachusetts, as well as Philadelphia), Davio’s is an Italian restaurant and it’s a steakhouse. Its signature dishes are housemade gnocchi, prime cuts of beef and, inexplicably, spring rolls. The eatery draws both visiting businessmen making deals over dinner and couples grabbing a meal before heading inside the mall to catch a new flick in the AMC movie theater.
Yet somehow, it works. The cuisine spotlights the meat, but Northern Italian classics play a supporting role. A star example is the tender, slow-braised short rib that sits on a bed of creamy risotto dotted with English peas, with a light port glaze splashed on the dish. And typically a late-night bar snack, those spring rolls are a guilty pleasure among Davio’s regulars. They come in flavors such as buffalo chicken, shrimp cotija and chicken Parmesan. However, the favorite is the Philly cheesesteak roll, which is less cheesy and more meaty. The cut-up rolls stand on a plate drizzled with spicy ketchup and aioli and are crowned with lightly battered onion rings. The appetizers are so popular that they are even sold in some grocery stores.
And indeed, the crowd is mixed — aside from those visiting movers and shakers and movie-goers, Hawks and Falcons players are known to frequent the Atlanta restaurant and local Buckhead 9-to-5ers make a beeline for the patio for after-work limoncello lemonades, Italian wine and refreshing Green Seersuckers (vodka, prosecco, lemon sorbet and mint garnish) from brown wicker sofas fronting fire pits.