The most memorable meal I’ve ever enjoyed was served to me at the age of 22 on a mild, Atlanta evening. It was during my first-ever business trip and I had planned the entire experience for weeks. In my research of HOTlanta, I discovered that it was host to several interesting attractions including the studios of CNN. However, the most intriguing place I wanted to see was a room with a view and extremely good food.
The SunDial located atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta tops this food lover’s list of memorable dining experiences. Planned strategically the night before we were to leave, my colleague Jessica and I made reservations for 7:00 p.m. that September Wednesday night. After parking in the Westin’s parking garage and rounding the block, we proceeded to our first elevator ride that took us a few floors up.
After exiting the first elevator, we took a break and sat on couches as we were early for our dinner date. While we proceeded to wait, we took pictures of our “tired feet” – or shoes, rather. After a quick call to the restaurant, I surmised that we could go ahead and ride up to the 72nd floor and take in the view until a table opened up.
In our excitement to reach the top, we happened to be at the front of the line to the glass elevators but failed to push the button. After waiting for what eventually turned out to be a couple of awkward minutes, somebody in the line mentioned that we should push the button. We did and low and behold, the doors opened up!
When I stepped inside, I immediately felt like Charlie in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The glass elevator positioned on the exterior of the hotel, gives the most amazing view of Atlanta as you ascend to the 72nd floor in a mere 85 seconds. As we exited the elevator, we immediately began visiting each observatory deck, snapping pictures during dusk. We then claimed our reservation and were seated at a charming little table complete with candle and flowers on a revolving platform. That’s right. I said revolving.
In the course of a little over an hour, diners get to experience a 360-degree view of Atlanta as well as the hills of the Carolinas on the horizon line. We had originally planned to order an appetizer and split it, but after seeing the prices relative to an actual entrée, we made the decision to order an actual meal. It was money that was extremely well-spent. While Jessica opted for a more traditional roast chicken, I had to have the salmon.
Pictured above, it was perfectly seared and served atop a bed of wilted greens and fingerling potatoes. It was all topped with a combination of sauces and was absolutely the most amazing dish of my life. Our waiter was equally amazing and even obliged me in not only taking a picture of him but of taking one of myself and Jessica as well.
As we enjoyed our meal, live jazz could be heard from the bar upstairs. We could see:
- the Home of the Braves – Turner Field,
- the golden dome of Georgia’s capitol, glistening in the sinking sun,
- the Centennial Olympic Park with its Olympic ring fountain,
- the Bank of America Plaza also boasting a golden spire,
- the Equitable Building, as well as
- 191 Peachtree Tower.
By the time we had completed our 360-degree rotation, it was dark and we could see the glow of headlights and taillights along I-85. It sort of reminded me of Christmas. Between taking picture after picture, we had also decided to order dessert. We shared an amazing piece of cheesecake covered in freshly sliced strawberries and a beautiful fuchsia flower. The only thing that could have made this dusk-to-dark affair more perfect would have been having my husband there with me. I must make plans to make a return visit with him in the near future.
Complete with a great atmosphere, delicious gourmet food, and an impressive view, the nation’s second-tallest hotel offers a dining experience unlike any other. Next autumn, plan to spend a few days in Atlanta, Georgia and make reservations for a dusk-to-dark dinner at the SunDial Restaurant and Bar. It will be an occasion that will live in your memory for years to come.