Atlanta >Food & Dining > La Tavola
992 Virginia Ave Ne, Atlanta, GA | Directions 3030633.782483 -84.354914
Monday-Thursday 5:30-10pm; Friday-Saturday 5:30-11pm; Sunday 11am-3pm, 5:30-10pm
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Northeast, Virginia Highland
On of the best Italian restaurants in the city; great service, and solid pastas. Splurge a little and get some shaved truffle on your pasta if they have it!
FRESH FLAVORS RULE THE TABLE at LA TAVOLA
It could be a trattoria in any small village in Umbria or even in the Maremma region of Tuscany, but it isn’t, your sitting in the trendy Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta at La Tavola. This is the Fifth Group’s take on casual Italian dining with all of the romantic ambiance, cozy character, and deliciousness that one would find if in Italy. The word trattoria is derived from the Italian word trattarsi, which means, “to treat ones self”, and at La Tavola its all about treating ones self to a dining experience that’s indulges the senses with pleasure. The bustling kitchen is headed up by Executive Chef Brent Banda, whose passion is to make foods with bustling bright flavors. After a few bites, it becomes quite apparent that Chef Banda’s hallmark is all about letting the freshness of the ingredients to control the recipe and do they ever.
If you think you had the best pasta this city has to offer, wait until you try Chef Banda’s interpretations on pasta. To make great pasta is a labor of love, but to taste that love is breathtaking. The Ricotta Rabbit gnocchi is simply a mind blow of rich robust flavors– the rabbit is braised for a few hours and made into a zesty ragu with fresh garlic and a tomato passata. The gnocchi is finished with fresh marjoram and grated Pecorino Romano giving these silky dumplings a mouth-watering appeal. Of all the pasta offerings, at least on one visit to La Tavola, the Squid Ink Linguine with Calamari and Thai Basil Pesto is a must. Fresh squid from Rhode Island are tossed with a lively Thai basil pesto, Calabria chili peppers and the most succulent long velvety noodles that one could ever want to taste. Go on Mondays, aka Molto Mondays, to treat yourself to a sampling of pastas for only $10.
great staff, wonderful food – I'm very particular about food service, and this place is definitely high up on the list. The waiter (I forgot to get his name) was very nice and served us with a smile. The food was tasty and prepared quickly. The price tag may be a bit high, but the experience was worth it.
Trattoria in VaHi does gussied up Italian in a cute space. – In Short
La Tavola is rarely mentioned in the conversation for best Italian in Atlanta, but combining charm and elegance in one of the city’s true neighborhoods, dining there makes you feel like you’re miles away from Midtown. Bartenders know the regulars and couples get cozy in wooden booths. On any given night it’s a picture of what good neighborhood dining is supposed to be about. Dressed-up Italian classics are La Tavola's trademark, better than the neighboring Osteria, but not quite on Sotto Sotto's level of excellence. Addictive pastas are well-made and get that extra touch of class with additions like truffles and wild bore, while entrees (all hovering around $20) are simple, and stand on their own without a fancy accompaniment. Get one of the pastas as an appetizer size for a nice way to start the meal, and finish with a free form tiramisu or a gelato of the day.
Wonderfully different brunch – I had the Spaghetti Carbonara which was nothing like ordinary Spaghetti. It was made with home made guanciale with a buttery cream sauce caramelized onions, black pepper and an egg yolk on top. Oh so good! My wife had the Chicken Sausage with potato-leek hash, poached eggs and a spicy cherry pepper chutney. Anther great dish but not your ordinary dish either. The Deserts were fantastic too.
Best Date Spot In The Highlands – We native New Yorkers can be pretty critical (ok, pretentious) about our Italian food, but this place never lets me down as a 'let's go somewhere nice, but not over the top' date spot by sticking to well executed 'rustic' grub presented by a friendly, organized and knowledgeable staff.
Normally 'rustic' = overpaying for small portions of unexciting dishes you could probably slap together in your own kitchen after an inspired run to Whole Foods. In this case it actually means perfectly executed renditions of classic italian favorites that lend themselves easily to sharing. The grilled calamari alone (served with cauliflower, pickled(?) red onion and tomato) - an absolute must order- is worth a trip from the 'burbs, and all of the entrees (though it's probably best to stick with the hearty pastas and fresh seafood) make you wonder how a restaurant group can mass produce such densely elegant flavor.
On a recent Thursday night I was promptly seated upon my arrival with a date for an 8:45 reservation at a cozy booth amongst a packed house of pretty people enjoying their food and company . Our waiter Raymond nailed the whole experience with a friendly intro that led directly into the appealing specials, lack of snootiness when we chose tap water over bottled, sincere food and wine recommendations (NOT just the most expensive thing on the menu) and demeanor that indicated he enjoyed being good at what he does. We shared the calamari (again, incredible), squash polenta (a little too salty), tagliatelle bolognese (fight-over-the-last-bits-of-sauce good) and trout special (perfect peppery crust). To cap it all off, none of the staff was giving us the stink eye and pressuring us to leave when we were the only customers left in the place chatting away the last drops of our wine.
In a part of town that lacks a decent bang for your buck relatively fine dining experience (I'm looking at you Highland Tap), La Tavola consistently delivers a delicious and enjoyable experience. The Italian Sunday brunch is a nice break from the usual eggs-n-bacon too.
Few menu items, but great staff. – My family and I enjoyed our experience at La Tavola, but the price and lack of variety on the menu are not very motivating. We can get better variety at Macaroni Grill and pay about $20 to $25 less (assuming we just want "grub" and not an "occasion").
As to "authenticity", I'd have to say that La Tavola was on the mark for the most part. The food quality seemed to have a "homemade" flare to it.
We did have one food blooper, but our server and the manager were on it. Problem was fixed, and we receive about $18 in free deserts (which were tasty) as an apology. It wasn't necessary, but it was certainly appreciated.
I know I sound like I'm knocking La Tavola for the price and variety, but I'm not. I suppose I was expecting more since we were just out for a normal family dinner and not a date or business meeting. For example, a $7.50 "bowl" of soup contained roughly 1 measuring cup full of soup. To me, a "bowl" should contain at least 2 cups...at least. Perhaps I'm just being a cheap bastard.
Non-smokers beware. If you choose to sit on the non-smoking covered patio, be aware that that smoke from Highland Tap will saturate the patio in the evening every time their door opens. (The patio is communal and shared between different restaurants.)
Overall, I'm glad my wife choose La Tavola. She and I don't "date" much anymore, and this night was off the beaten path. Whatever was "lacking" with La Tavola, my wife and kids made "right" just by being there with me...and that's worth every penny we spent.
Still, I enjoyed the level of service the restaurant provided and had no quams about tipping 20%.
A Local Treasure!!! – Words cannot begin to convey the comfort and pleasure La Tavola consistently delivers. Fabulous service by really great people, great food, wonderful wine list and it's within walking distance!! What's not to love! Kris and Allie have it covered at the bar,Daniel on the floor and Chris and Chris at the door make it happen. Chef Craig and Brent work the kitchen and the food SINGS! Love you guys!
rude hostess, great waitress – we had a reservation for New Year's eve. The hostess seated us outside and when we requested a different table basically told us "tough". Extremely rude hostess. wonderful waitress and great food.
BEST BRUNCH Atlanta is MISSING!! – I went to La Tavola a few weeks ago with my mother for brunch. We were a little apprehensive because it did not have the crowd seen at a neighboring establishment we typically frequent. I was overwhelming delighted with my experience at La Tavola. From the moment I walked in the door until the completion of our visit I was impressed with every aspect.
We were greeted pleasently by a cute, witty, and delightful hostess (I think her name was Terra). As she gathered our menu, a tall blonde bar tender graciously bade us "Good Morning" and stated he hoped we "enjoyed our brunch" We were seated and within moments, our server greeted us at the table. Kellie was vibrant and knowledgable about the menu and the preparation of some of the dishes.
We decided to start our meal by splitting a beat salad. It was DELICIOUS!! Beats, pears, and fresh goat cheese!! YUMMMM!! I then ordered the Chicken Sausage (house made sausage in a FABULOUS pepper chutney) and my mother got the the Egg Canneloni (spinach and mushrooms in creamy sauce) Both were OUTSTANDING! (we ended up sharing). We decided we would indulge and ended our meal by sharing a slice of the chocolate cake...it was so creamy and delictible!
On our way out, the manager greeted us and asked us about our meal. We were then encouraged not only to return to La Tavola but to visit some of the sister restaurants. The hostess held the door for us and we left well nourish and excited to continue our day!
I can not believe I've wasted years frequenting other brunch establishments when this one was under my nose the whole time! I also could not believe the restaurant was not packed! I highly recommend Brunch at La Tavola. You will NOT be disappointed!
Great Italian – I've eaten here many times and the food is excellent. The waitstaff can be a little sitff but the food makes up for it. Busy on weekends so be prepared. Order a drink and sit outside and watch the people. If you're cold natured don't sit in the outside patio seating!!
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