In Atlanta, we’re blessed with not just one restaurant week, but what seems like dozens at times. The recession seems to have amped up the competition among neighborhoods to get diners in seats. Although thousands of folks descend upon downtown during the day, most folks tend to thing of downtown as a place where the sidewalks roll up at 5 p.m. It can certainly feel that way at times, but other times, when big conventions, sporting events and concerts occur it can be a fun and lively place.

I’ve only been once, but in the months since when people ask for recommendations on places to eat I usually mention Alma Cocina. The parking situation is a little tricky since you enter at the rear or the building, but I like that there isn’t a valet to deal with and the parking garage ticket is happily validated.

Pork Pibil Tamale banana leaf-braised with bacon-corn masa, green chile sauce, crema, pico de gallo

When dining there, the waitress mentioned that the chef, Chad Clevenger, like many chefs, loved pork and had a number of preparations on the menu – however seafood was calling me and loved it. I had a chance to try Alma’s pork tamale at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and it was one of my favorite bites at the event. It’s not on the restaurant week menu, but their upgraded chips & salsa are amazing and their desserts feature High Road Craft Ice Cream. I give the drinks an A as well.

Salsas & Chip Sampler fire-roasted tomato, tomatillo-avocado, salsa negra and roasted mango-charred with chicharrones, plantain, malanga coco, corn chips

Among the other restaurants featured during the week, I’ve also had a great meal across the street at Terrace in the Ellis Hotel. The elevated patio is ideal for taking in the evening breeze and watching the horse-drawn carriages gallop along Peachtree Street.  BLT Steak is quite and indulgence and to get in and out for $35 plus tip is pretty much unheard of. Chef Cyrille Holota is also quite the character, so be sure to ask to meet him if you decide to check it out. Friends who made it on a media tour of selected restaurant week stops couldn’t stop raving about Sway in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

These are just a few of the restaurants on the list, and as always during any restaurant week – reservations are pretty much a must and may be limited. Be sure to check out the website which lists the $25 and $35 menu selections of the various restaurants on the restaurant week website. If you’ve got suggestions on restaurants that I’ve missed? Please feel free to leave me a comment and hopefully I’ll check it out soon. Cheers!