Stop #3 on the Athens Magical Mystery Food Tour! We were remiss, and forgot two very important things last week: One, take pictures! And two: post reviews! Because of that, I’ve posted a couple pictures from Google, and tonight we’re going out for stop #4. Either way, here are our reviews of Thai Spoon, 5 Bar, and Highwire.

Top: Pad thai at Thai Spoon

Left to Right: the 5 bar logo, garlic fries from Highwire, outside of Highwire

Presentation: The presentation at Thai Spoon was very nice. Little curls of orange accompanied the orange chicken we split, and the pad thai looked delicious. We drank at 5 bar, so nothing too special there. At highwire, we got hungry again and split a bowl of fries with garlic aioli.

Taste: The pad thai and orange chicken were both great. Not too greasy and full of flavor. At 5 bar, I got a nice strawberry lemonade cocktail, while my friend got a beer (boring!). The cocktail was ok, but not worth the price. At Highwire, we each had a brindle (yummy) and split the fries (very yummy). All in all, a good tasting experience.

Service: At Thai spoon we had to wait a while, which was surprising, considering it was a Tuesday. 5 bar had ok service, but nothing to write home about. The best service of the night goes to Highwire. Very friendly.

Cleanliness: All clean, no complaints.

Location: All within a block of each other in downtown. On a Tuesday, they were all pretty empty (even Thai Spooin, although we had to wait). On a Friday or Saturday night, though, be prepared to wiggle your way through a crowd.

Value ($$/$$$/$$): Thai Spoon is not super expensive, but it’s also not your neighborhood cheap-o Asian restaurant. Averaged about 15-20 per person. 5 bar is ridiculous. We didn’t eat there, but only because we would have had to sacrifice our first born children to order an entree. Highwire is cheaper in terms of food, but has an expensive collection of beers.

Overall, we really enjoyed dinner at Thai Spoon, and felt like it was definitely worth the price. 5 bar was¬†disappointing, and we probably won’t go back to buy any food considering the prices. Highwire is great. The drinks we got (besides beer) were pretty cheap, and the fries were amazing. The rest of their food menu looked pretty cheap too, so we may be going back for dinner in the future.

Overall ratings:

Thai Spoon - 3.5

5 Bar - 1

Highwire - 4

Dessert at the Grit! I’m not really counting this one as a stop, since we just went there for dessert. The Grit is another one of those places in Athens that you need to visit if you’re going to be in town. They serve only vegetarian food, which is awesome, but if you want cake, this is really the place to go.

Left: Coffee and a blonde brownie

Right: Coffee and a slice of Chocolate Death

Presentation: I mean, it’s a slice of cake on a plate. Adequate?

Taste: My blonde brownie wasn’t great. A bit on the dry side. However, the slice of chocolate death is basically how it sounds, a quick trip to chocolate heaven. Moist and sweet (but not overly), the cakes at the Grit are a highlight.

Service: Fast and friendly.

Location: On Prince Ave, right next to some fun shopping. Not so great parking during the day, but at night it’s pretty easy.

Value ($): The Grit is usually pretty reasonable. $1 for a cup of coffee and $2.50 for the brownie. The cake was a bit more expensive ($4.50) but completely worth it.

Overall, the cake was amazing. The friend we had with us loved it and took the leftovers home. If you don’t have a chance to go there for lunch or dinner, try and make a stop there for dessert. You won’t regret it.

Overall rating 4/5

Stop #2 on the Athens Magical Mystery Food Tour! Although we agreed to only do one a week, we decided to go out again tonight with another friend, choosing some cheaper options: Cali n’ Tito’s for dinner and, in the next post, dessert at the Grit!

Top photos: Cali n’ Tito’s decor

2nd Row, Left to Right: Maduros (fried sweet plantains) and El Healthy Cubano

3rd Row, Left to Right: Tilapia Tacos and Steak Quesadilla

Presentation: Cali n’ Titos are not looking to impress with the presentation. Although they serve nice looking food, they’re really all about the taste.

Taste: Pretty amazing. We love Cuban food, and Cali n’ Tito’s really delivers. The fish tacos were spicy and juicy. The plantains were nicely fried with just a hint of sweetness. Baha’s Cubano sandwich looked pretty amazing and I have it on good authority that it was quite tasty.

Service: More of a order at the front and serve yourself place. Friendly faces, though.

Cleanliness: We’re not gonna lie. Cali n’ Tito’s is an Athens staple, but technically you’re eating outside (no central A/C or heat, tarps cover the openings in winter). Don’t be surprised if you see some wildlife visit during your dining experience.

Location: Near five points. Packed on the weekends, sparse tonight and in the winter.

Value ($): Eat on the cheap. I paid $10 for my plantains and fish tacos. Baha paid $7. A lot of food for a little price.

Overall, tasty, lots of character and cheap. Highly recommended for those on a budget, craving good food, or just looking for an Athens culinary tradition.

Overall rating 4/5

Welcome to the first stop on our Athens Magical Mystery Food Tour! We’re two doctoral students who decided to see what food Athens had to offer and go to a new restaurant each week. Our first stop was Pauley’s Original Crepe Bar.

  • Top photo: Southwestern Savory Crepe
  • Middle left: Cordon Bleu Savory Crepe
  • Middle right: Crepe chips with Terrapin dip
  • Bottom: Peanut butter dessert crepe

Presentation: The food was pretty. The cordon bleu crepe that I had had that nice honey dijon drizzle and everything looked pretty appetizing.

Taste: The chips and Terrapin dip were pretty good, the savory crepes were better, but the real star of the show was the dessert crepe. Filled with peanut butter crunch yumminess and Nutella, it was hard to go wrong. It is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and plenty of whip cream on side. We both walked away wishing we had ordered dessert crepes for dinner.

Service: Prompt and polite. Nothing much to say about that. Although nobody greeted us when we walked in, and did not know where to sit for about 30 seconds

Cleanliness: Yes.

Location: Right in the heart of downtown Athens. Super crowded on Friday nights, but empty with close parking when we went on Monday evening.

Dress casually for weekdays but you may need to consider dressing up a little classier at the weekend.

Value ($$): Not the cheapest. We each ended up paying about $20 which, for the amount of food we got, is not great. However, the dessert crepe more than made up for it :)

All in all, our first stop on the Athens Magical Mystery Food Tour was a success! Join us next week when we head to the Taco Stand, an Athens monument of taste.

Overall rating 4/5