We love to eat out and discover new restaurants, both at home and away.
Here are some of our favorites:
Emidio's Restaurant - Atlanta's best-kept secret
As the traffic zooms along Highway 9 in Sandy Springs, most drivers have no idea that an extraordinary little restaurant is quietly tucked away from the busy road. Hubby and I discovered Emidio’s purely by chance when we moved to the area. Since we got in on the secret, this fabulous hidden gem has become a firm favorite with us.
Located off the beaten track in an unassuming strip mall (that’s what Americans call a row of shops, not some dodgy dive - for the benefit of my Brit friends!), Emidio’s is nextdoor to a dance studio and a furniture store, where the driving licence (Georgia DDS) office used to be. Not quite where you’d expect to find exceptional Mediterranean cuisine, but that all adds to the quirkiness of this unique little restaurant.
Enjoying dessert with Barbara & Paula
The atmosphere is so laid back, old school and charming that, in these hectic days, it’s verging on quaint. Visiting Emidio’s feels like stepping back in time while taking a mini-trip to the Med. The mood is distinctly Euro-style too; as Maria always reminds us when we arrive, “There is no rush. Sit, relax, and enjoy your evening.” It has been known for us to leisurely linger for three hours over dinner and drinks, much to the surprise of our American friends!
Owners Joe & Maria
Family is a big deal at Emidio’s. The restaurant is owned and operated by the aforementioned Maria and her husband Joe, with son Danny waiting tables or helping out in the kitchen. And the atmosphere is so warm, welcoming and friendly, you instantly feel at home - almost part of the family too.
Joe and Maria hail from the Portuguese island of Madeira, before living in Britain for ten years. From Jersey, UK they moved to New Jersey, USA and finally to metro Atlanta, where they opened Emidio’s six and a half years ago. Joe is also executive chef, and when he’s not conjuring up new creations in the kitchen, is often out mingling with diners or chatting about football (soccer) over a drink at the bar. Dining room decor features a framed (and famed) number 7 shirt signed by Madeira’s very own Cristiano Ronaldo, which was a gift to the restaurant.
Football fans - cheering on Portugal in the World Cup
And the food? Well, everything is freshly prepared from scratch, and cooked just how you like it. The menu features authentic Portuguese, Spanish and Italian dishes. Some of our favorites include Caldo Verde soup, Cataplana - the traditional seafood stew of Portugal served in a classic copper pan, sizzling Lapus mussels, and salmon in Joe’s fab champagne sauce. Oh, and the Portuguese dessert cake "Bacon from Heaven" is to die for (excuse the pun). There’s an impressive wine list too, although my first choice is Maria’s homemade sangria, which is loaded with fresh fruit so it must be healthy, right?
Cataplana - Portuguese stew
Linguica portuguesa sausage
sizzling Lapus mussels
Toucinho do Ceu (aka Bacon from Heaven)
Chef Joe busy in the kitchen
Monthly buffet lunch
And on the first Sunday of every month, Emidio’s offers a wonderfully relaxed and casual buffet lunch to celebrate Portugal’s culture and cuisine.
Unlike some of the trendy eateries downtown, you won’t encounter a waiting list to get a table or a line halfway down the street, and that’s the beauty of being beyond big city limits, in the suburbs of Sandy Springs. Emidio’s is off-radar for many Atlanta restaurant-goers, but like other lucky locals, hubby and I struck gold when we discovered this little treasure in our own neighborhood. So shhh, don’t tell anyone. Although, on second thoughts, some secrets are too good not to share.