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December/January 2010

A Room of One’s Own
Private Dining Spaces
by Katie Kelly Bell

Woodfire Grill offers private rooms for intimate gatherings or elaborate celebrations. Photo: Jonathan Stancel

Celebrating is an opportunity to bring treasured friends together, and all the better to dine out and leave the cooking, cleaning and serving to someone else. Why not make it feel as close to home as possible with a private dining room? The private room is a little known restaurant bonus, as most are free for the asking, just as long as you and your guests agree to stay, dine and enjoy the evening. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites including wine cellars and intimate curtained off hideaways.

ENO Restaurant and Wine Bar

Exquisite oil paintings, antiques, rare wines and sumptuous Mediterranean cuisine set the stage for private dining at ENO. Start the evening in the wine cellar (which can seat 16 for dinner) with passed plates of grilled wild salmon with fig puree wrapped in grape leaves. For a larger crowd, take the experience into the elegant wine room. Flanked by a dazzling 50-foot wine wall, this space seats 26. The menu can be tweaked to offer an evening of small plates, a cocktail buffet or a full seated dinner. Let the wine pros here help you pair dishes such as barley risotto with squash with a truffle-Banyuls sauce and crispy fennel or bouchot mussels with house-cured pancetta with their spectacular selection of Old World wines. 800 Peachtree Street NE #A, 404-685-3191,

Lobby at TWELVE

Located inside the Hotel TWELVE at Atlantic Station, Lobby at TWELVE’s minimalist and modern private room also serves as the restaurant’s wine cellar. The interior’s pure clean lines add a twist of simple sophistication to the setting. Stacks of wine bottles layered horizontally against the dramatic black walls surround a massive solid wood table. Seating for large and small parties (maximum 48 guests) can be arranged. The refined mood sets the tone for Chef Nick Oltarsh’s fresh Georgia shrimp with tomatoes, capers and chipotle; buffalo fried chicken salad with bacon and blue cheese; or red snapper with ratatouille and pesto. Wrap it all up with flourless chocolate cake. Finish everything with a glass of Ben Marco Malbec. 361 17th Street NW, 404-961-7370,

Ray’s on the River
  Ray’s on the River’s filet mignon will make your evening memorable.
With an “excellent” rating from the Zagat guide and 10 Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence, you can be assured you are in good hands at Ray’s. Situated along the Chattahoochee River, all three of the private dining rooms here boast riverside views. Your best bet is the River Room, which seats 32, featuring seamless glass windows overlooking the river on one side and a landscaped garden on the other. The other two spaces can host parties of anywhere from 70 to 110 guests. Nosh on Ray’s signature warm potato chips with Maytag blue cheese sauce, or order a gorgeous chilled seafood tower with king crab, shrimp and Maine lobster and pair it with a traditional wedge salad. The steak and seafood selection is remarkable with everything from lobster tail and Scottish salmon to Georgia mountain trout and handcut steaks (our fave: the amazing slow-roasted prime rib). 6700 Powers Ferry Road NW, 770-955-1187,

Woodfire Grill

Fans of the Bravo Network’s Top Chef will enjoy the opportunity to dine on the exquisite cuisine prepared by show contestant and Executive Chef Kevin Gillespie at Woodfire Grill. The upstairs room, able to seat 16 guests, is ideal for an intimate evening. Tucked into the roof rafters, it feels a bit like an attic loft. The mezzanine area, located in the rear of the main dining room, offers more space to spread out and is better suited for larger groups (maximum 50). You also can book the outdoor patio for a seated event of 30 or a standing event of 75. No matter where you dine here, your guests will swoon over Gillespie’s inspired spin on seasonal ingredients from small, boutique farms. Working with local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients ensures a constantly updated and ever-changing menu, but to whet your appetite and imagination, recent entrees included pan roasted wild Alaskan halibut, glazed local bobwhite quail and wood grilled Berkshire pork loin. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE, 404-347-9055,

Au Pied de Cochon

Located in the luxurious Hotel Intercontinental Buckhead, Au Pied de Cochon is a 24-hour French brasserie with two private dining options. The smaller room seats 12 and is cordoned off from the main dining room with layers of heavy velvet curtains. Oval shaped and decked out with charming hand-painted murals, the space is uniquely charming. Accented with Murano glass sconces, chandeliers and wood paneling, it has two open windows into the kitchen for an up-close and personal view of Executive Chef Michael Buard and his staff at work. A larger circular room surrounded by windows and also with hand-painted walls seats 40 and is ideal for larger private gatherings. The culinary inspiration at Au Pied de Cochon is classic French dishes such as a wild mushroom vol-au-vent soup laced with truffle oil or the signature boeuf et cochon (beef tenderloin and pig’s foot) finished tableside. 3315 Peachtree Rd NE, 404-946-9070,


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