With the glut of chain restaurants and/or overpriced fine dining available in Atlanta, Georgia it’s a relief to come across a location that’s not only affordable, but offers a classic atmosphere and delicious cuisine. That’s where the Majestic comes in.
Located in the Poncey-Highlands, neighboring the historic Plaza Theatre and Urban Outfitters, the Majestic is one eatery that strives to retain the immortal feel of the ’20s and ’30s and succeeds wholeheartedly. It was one of those restaurants that, when I was a complete newcomer to Atlanta, made me say to myself, “I’ve got to try that sometime!” After the first visit, I’ve returned many times since.
While I admit that I haven’t tried the entire menu, some of the dishes that have kept me coming back are the Eggs Rancheros ala Majestic (two flour tortillas covered with scrambled eggs and Chihuahua, cheddar, and pepper jack cheeses – a side of chorizo Mexican sausage is optional); the Greek burger (a double lamb burger with melted feta and a side of tzatziki sauce); the turkey burger with Swiss; and the spinach feta omelette.
Granted, this may not be the restaurant for “health nuts,” so to speak, but if it’s affordability and taste you’re seeking, you can’t go wrong. The veggie burgers, too, are deliciously seasoned and palatable – combine them with a side of fries or a baked potato, and you’re set.
One final note on the food: the milkshakes are a must, in particular the Ponce de le Orange, which is exactly how it sounds. The rich, citrous goodness goes down smoothly to complement whatever meal you may have chosen.
Basking in the Atmosphere
Comfort, of course, says almost as much about an eatery as its entrées. Due to its relatively small size (compared to say, Olive Garden or Chili’s), the Majestic has more potential to get overcrowded. However, if you come by for a late evening dinner, chances are you’ll have plenty of space, and a comparably low noise level to boot.
In fact, it may be an insult to the restaurant itself to even compare it to chain “competitors”; the Majestic is not generally equipped to handle a 30-person birthday dinner (although it’s possible they would accommodate a small group of friends for a low-key celebration). It is, however, excellent for a late night dessert and coffee, lunch break, or Southern breakfast.
If coming in for a solo venture, I recommend taking a seat at the bar at least once. There’s something old-fashioned and personable about plopping yourself down on a barstool and watching your dish get prepared a few feet away.
Additionally, the management usually play their own music (as opposed to Sirius XM Satellite Radio); you’ll hear a lot of jazz, such as John Coltrane, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. The soundtrack suits the look and feel of the diner splendidly.
For the sake of argument, if jazz isn’t your style, you might not have quite as comfortable a dining experience. It is, however, quite a contrast to, say, The Vortex in Little Five Points, where you’ll hear everything from Metallica to Social Distortion on the jukebox.
The staff, too, are incredibly friendly and helpful. Never once have I encountered any rudeness on the part of the servers or management. And even if you desire a substitution for something on the menu, there’s no indication that you’ll find yourself re-enacting that famous Jack Nicholson scene from Five Easy Pieces (“You want me to hold the chicken, huh?” “I want you to hold it between your knees.”).
Come On…Is It Really Perfect?
Well, I suppose no restaurant is “perfect.” I honestly haven’t had a dish that I’ve disliked here, however, and most of the time, the atmosphere has been comforting and laid back.
I would, however, say that for those who are true food connoisseurs, and have the money to spend on something more “elegant,” this may not suit your tastes. In that case, I suppose you could always go to Buckhead Diner (which some say is just a pompous re-creation of the classic all-American diners).
No, all sarcastic comments aside, this is affordable, delicious Atlanta eating. On occasion, parking tends to be an issue, however; after all, the restaurant shares the area with the Plaza Theatre, Righteous Room (an amazing honky-tonk bar), and other evening hotspots. Nonetheless, if you’re out for a pleasant night of food and fun, a short walk from a separate parking lot won’t kill you, right?
So…all in all, whether you’re an Atlanta resident, or an out-of-towner looking for easy-on-the-pocketbook eats, the Majestic Diner is definitely one of many places that should make your list.