i am completely the eat-lunch-at-my-desk girl. leftovers or a fast salad from downstairs, bring it. because i am busy and important. though not important enough to have lots of fancy lunches out like Spy . . . and actually, i’m probably just more time management challenged and diet obsessed than important. but whatevs. point is, i rarely take/make/demand the luxury of an actual lunch outing that includes real flatware, a server and conversation with someone other than my monitor.
but recently, i did. and after much ado in my Westside neighborhood about newcomer, bartaco, i was thrilled that this was the place suggested for a lunch outing with some dear former co-workers. i felt trendy for a hair of a second and it was completely, completely sparkly! beach bar feel with upscale food and cocktails. kinda my perfect jam.
things to know:
valet, valet, valet. if you live in Atlanta, you know this already, but i mean, for god’s sake. parking is stupid over there. valet is free. all you have to do is tip. there was discussion over whether a $5 or a $2 is appropriate for lunch, but that’s your call. still cheaper and easier than dealing with street parking or a ticket.
patio vs. indoor. hey, i live in the south for a reason. al fresco is viable 8 months out of the year and i will always take it. we sat on a 4-top at the far edge, fringed by lovely greenery and it was lovely, peaceful and perfect as far as i was concerned. the inside opens out to outside via some big screen sliders and the whole thing is essentially open, anyway. deeper in — past the bar, toward the front and Marietta Street, there are deep booths and some less-element-dependent seating. for lunch, the vibe throughout is busy and fun.
card up, yo. so i would ordinarily talk about food over service, but this is truly a thing. the bartaco staff want you to enjoy your meal. so what kind of diner are you? do you need something every 5 minutes? or do you want to be left the eff alone to enjoy your experience? latter, please. in a model of unsurpassed efficiency, bartaco has a system by which you raise your dragonfly card whenever you need something. outside of that, they do check in, but it frees them up to tend to other matters and frees you up to not have to go yeah, thanks, everything’s great every 5 seconds.
$10/3 tacos. this is the real deal. no standing in line for 30 minutes to get amazing tacos, y’all. you know who i’m talking about. don’t even get me started about the line standing. i don’t do it. so. to stumble into a 3 for a price thing with amazing options and a side . . . salad or gazpacho. um, hello? i went with chorizo, chicken and Baja fish, as well as the salad side. so happy. also, i believe most items are gluten free. and they have a kids’ menu! so bringing Miss Girl to run the patio soon. NTS: alert locals.
drink ’em while you got ’em. last, but incredibly not least are the cocktails. this is still advertising, folks. well-rounded cocktails menu and stocked bar are definite plusses for anyone who stops by. the Seasonal Caipirinha was delish. but, hi. not a good idea to drink something i can’t pronounce, ever. or spell to write about without a Google search. gaaahh. sweet, too. but if you like that, yums. i fell in love with the WASPier cocktail, the Port Chester Reviver (pictured), which includes gin and cucumbers. to date, i’ve yet to see anyone eff up gin and cucumbers and it is one of my favorite, favorite combinations, so bartaco’s addition of mint + mango + lime intrigued me enough to have like 2 more of them. because i had to confirm their delicousness. duh.
other stuff. the big-ass tortilla chips are kinda weird. it’s true. so go with people you don’t mind touching your food. do assume you are going to have an amazing experience. because you are. oh, and both the bar and waitstaff on my (now) 2 visits are seriously pretty. so go to gaze if nothing else!