12.18.10 – I’m a big fan of Contemporary American cuisine and I frequent these sorts of restaurants in Atlanta, but sometimes it’s nice to change it up. For me, Anis Cafe & Bistro was a much needed interruption to the American/Southern food I had been eating a lot of lately.
Like Buckhead, the French are often stereotyped as possessing a certain air of snootyness. You won’t find that vibe at all at Anis. The restaurant has an authentic bistro feel with a casual atmosphere and live music. During our Saturday night visit, the place was packed with plenty of people talking loudly and enjoying their food. The setup on the patio seemed slightly haphazzard but it added to the charm of the place. Inside, the decor is a little more quaint and orderly.
The restaurant appeared to have once been a house, tucked away on Grandview Avenue off of Pharr Road. I was dining with my friend Carolyn and we were seated on the heated patio after waiting just a few minutes. We had reservations and I wouldn’t recommend showing up on a weekend night without them. The nightly specials were scrawled on a chalkboard behind the live band, which was a trio that included a bongo player. They fit the place well.
We were dining on a Scoutmob deal so that left us a good bit of freedom when it came to ordering. We both ordered a glass of Chablis, which was priced at $8. If you like French wines, you will likely be happy with the options at Anis.
There was a good number of starters to choose from and since I had recently made cured salmon for the first time myself, I was eager try their Sea Salt Cured Salmon. It is a dish I was introduced to in France and I absolutely love it. Simple, fresh and flavorful. This was just the case with their version, which was accompanied by fennel, shallots and shaved asparagus. These ingredients added a nice contrast to the texture. It was a dish I was sad to share because I would’ve gladly eaten every bite.
Our server was very casual and laid back, so much so that he completely forgot about the salad we ordered. But he was friendly enough that we didn’t hold it against him. Plus, it left more room for dessert later.
The entrees ranged in price from $19 – $29. We stuck with seafood but there were lamb, veal and beef options as well. I ordered the Trout Meuniere and Carolyn decided to try the swordfish special. There wasn’t a price posted on the chalkboard and forgetting to ask was our big mistake. It was on the higher end of their price range so it ended up pushing us over our $50 limit. But don’t be mislead, you can eat pretty well for an affordable price at Anis. Especially when you have a discount.
My trout was excellent. It was classic french – rich with a lot of butter. Like comfort food from across the Atlantic. Carolyn’s dish was not as heavy but it was still filling because there was plenty of swordfish. It was served with some sauteed spinach and cherry tomatoes in a lighter sauce than mine. The fish tasted very fresh, which is always appreciated in landlocked Atlanta.
We closed out our meal with profiteroles. Sometimes the pastry in this dessert can be too dense and overpowering but these were perfectly done. One was filled with vanilla ice cream and the other with mocha ice cream. Even though we were full, we managed to make room it all.
Anis was an excellent experience, all around. It is now one of my favorites and it is a nice change of pace from the oh-so-prevalent New American restaurant. If you enjoy French food and ambiance, you should definitely make use of this Scoutmob before it expires.