Even though I am always searching for unique restaurants that can be considered a true local’s place, I rarely get the chance to go to one. We had that unique experience during out trip to Athens, Georgia, at The National Restaurant. Erin, the marketing wiz for the restaurant, told me that over 50% of the clientele are returning guests and some even eat there two times per day.
That to me says a lot about the restaurant.
Why is The National Restaurant So Popular?
The idea behind this restaurant is to provide the feeling of being at a cute European restaurant or café. This one is intimate, yet not too small.
Something I like was their selection of unique drinks and cocktails. They also have a great wine selection as well as beers from microbreweries local and national.
The chef ‘s name is Peter Dale. He was born and raised in Athens. His culinary studies and internships took him to Europe. Now that he is back home he decided to start preparing creations for his fellow Athenians and visitors.
A cool feature about the location is that unless you are up close you won’t know that this is a restaurant. We drove past it several times and didn’t see it. The actual sign for it is almost hidden.
The restaurant is in an old dealership and tire recap plant from the 1950’s that was restored.
A Dinner at The National
Dishes are changed all the time so they have to print out their menu daily. So keep in mind that you might not find some or all of the dishes that I am about to mention. You might be in for great surprises as well.
Here is what we ordered:
The Starter Dishes
• Stuffed Medjool Dates with celery, manchego cheese and smoked paprika
• Boquerones (anchovies) pickled chilies, caperberries and tomato garlic toast
• Crispy Brussel Sprouts with herb crema
• Pan Seared Maine Scallops with mashed carrots with harissa, brown butter, baby greens, wilted kale and blood orange
• Grilled Hanger Steak – This is basically Angus Beef with fingerling potatoes, seared broccoli, frisee, horseradish cream, marcona almond-piquillo pepper relish
• A Vegetable Plate that comes with warm bulgur wheat with butternut squash and dill, fried cauliflower with harissa and yogurt, sauteed turnips with kumquats, garlic oil and za’atar, kale and red cabbage slaw, beet tzatziki with pomegranate and mint
After so much food, for dessert we only ordered Portuguese Custard Tarts with cinnamon whipped cream.
Information for Visiting The National Restaurant
I highly recommend making a reservation, especially if there is a band in town. Or even more crazier, a graduation or special event at the University.
232 W Hancock Ave, Athens, GA 30601, United States