Vinings may be a tiny sliver of Atlanta, but we bring our “A” game when it comes to getting a great meal. For this food review, I didn’t have to go miles from my home like I did with The Nook.
Friday night, I took my girlfriend to Noche in Vinings, a tequila and tapas bar that has several locations around the Atlanta area (Brookhaven and the Highlands have one, too). If you’re planning on hitting up Noche Vinings on a Friday or Saturday night, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation, because it does get crowded and you might find yourself waiting 20-30 minutes for a table.
But, oh, how it’s worth it.
The ambiance is great — there’s a patio (which is great for fulfilling one of my summer ideas), but if you sit inside, the dining room is sectioned off into areas that all take on their own personality. There are high-top tables with a big-screen tv nearby, a more-intimate area for couples and then a third section that is more welcoming for big groups. Friday night must have been Kids Night because the noise level had been turned up by the young ones, but it’s usually a quiet, quaint place to spend an evening.
Noche is also built next to train tracks that snake through the middle of Vinings, and during an average dinner, you’ll see two or three trains come through the area. So if you’re a guy like me (we all have a love of trains hard-wired in us, right?) or have children, it adds to the atmosphere.
The menu is perfect for tasting multiple dishes, because almost everything comes in small portions. You’re not forced into a combination dinner; instead, you have the tapas-bar-feel of ordering a taco here, some calimari there, and whatever else you have a taste for. Hold onto your menu, because their dishes are so delicious that you’ll want to keep the food coming.
When I (or most of my friends) go to Noche, there’s one menu item that is a must-order every time: the trailer park taco. Fried (yes, fried) chicken with lettuce and pico de gallo, all covered with delicious queso.
It’s perfect. But it’s messy, as queso usually is — be sure to eat it over your plate, not your lap.
My girlfriend ordered the sauteed spinach with pine nuts for an appetizer and grilled tacos for dinner. She said both were great; if I were a spinach guy, I would have probably liked the way it tasted because it smelled very flavorful. As for the grilled chicken tacos — I could just smell the flavors of the peppers and onions, and her rave reviews were enough for me.
We also ordered chips and queso as a second appetizer, which got hung up in the kitchen and came with our meal. That seemed to be the one downside to the meal, but it actually turned out for the better because it gave us something to munch on while we finished our drinks after the tacos had been devoured.
Noche is part of Here to Serve Restaurants, a moderately-large group of restaurants in the Atlanta area that all have different areas of food expertise. For more information, be sure to visit their website, and while you’re there, become a “Friend of Tom.” It’s their loyalty group that gives you discounts for eating at their restaurants, and thanks to my FoT card, we got 10 percent off our meal last night.
We both had drinks and ate like royalty last night, yet after the tip (and the 10 percent off), our bill stayed under $40. So if you’re looking for a great place to spend a night out, be sure to remember Noche Vinings.Follow @sean_breslin