It is one of Atlanta’s oldest restaurants, opening in 1976. So, what is it like to dine at Nikolai’s Roof, located inside the Atlanta Hilton? Is it as stunning and posh as it seems? Check out my experience.
For some reason, I envisioned this restaurant being all red and stuck in the 80s. I think I saw an old picture of Nikolai’s Roof and it once was covered in red, but the interior has a fresh update with beautiful white furnishings. I also loved that many tables are perfect for couples as the table are pushed against the window with two seating so both have a gorgeous view of the Atlanta skyline.
Check out that gorgeous view we had during our meal at Nikolai’s Roof! On this cold winter evening, I was sure glad to have a the Wassail. It’s sort of their version of the hot toddy which is seasonal. Another cocktail at Nikolai’s Roof that’s a regular is The Refresher ($12). Made with gin, cucumber, cranberry and almond and rosemary, I’d love to be sipping this on a warm spring or summer day.
I read that the menu is French and Russian and I just assumed it was fusion. But no. Instead it is some Russian (think Piroshkis) and some French (think bisques and creme brulee). The menu is a bit strange in that it has three sections of appetizers and then two small sections for main entrees. You can order everything a la carte or order by three, four or five courses (I guess that is why they have so many appetizer sections). We ordered the 3-course selections for $64.
The 80s may be called the decade of excess, but with respect to food it was quite the opposite. Nikolai’s Roof seems to keep this tradition going. See the Piroshkis ($12) (savory meat pies) below? They were like two bites. I enjoyed the bisque much better, though I’ve never had bisque served on a plate that didn’t move when I tried to stir it. This sweet potato bisque ($16) was topped with a generous portion of crab meat, plus has more depth of flavor with an apple curry infusion as well. I wish we had just each ordered this starter as it was delicious and much more filling than the later.
Besides the food, I did expect a bit more from such a revered restaurant. But I felt our server was a bit cold. He answered questions and brought us what we asked for, but just wasn’t very friendly. Plus another server tried refill our water with regular when we were drinking sparkling. It’s not a big deal, but at those prices, I just wouldn’t have expected missteps like that at Nikolai’s Roof. Would you?
My husband mopped up his sea bass, but my duck breast ($37 a la carte) was a little too rare for my liking. I always like to go with how the chef recommends it, and he did recommend medium rare but this thing was way more rare than that and incredibly chewy. I had about two pieces before deciding to box it up and nuke it in the microwave another day. The presentation was beautiful, though (see duck breast below). Served with a cherry sauce, I bet had it been a bit more done, it would have been fabulous.
Had we ordered a la carte, I’d have just left after the entree, but I’m glad we stayed. Believe it or not, my favorite course was dessert. Both desserts were presented as if they were part of The Great British Baking Show or something. And the taste was stupendous. I’d never had pistachio creme brulee, and as a pistachio lover, it did not disappoint. But a Souffle (see there’s that throwback to the 80s again – I’m not complaining though) was equally tasty.
Disclosure: My meal at Nikolai’s Roof was complimentary.
255 Courtland St
Atlanta, GA 30303
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Downtown Food Walks
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ParkBar – Burger spot in downtown Atlanta
Peachtree Center Must Try Restaurants
Polaris – revolving restaurant at the Hyatt Atlanta
Poor Calvin’s Asian fusion
RED Restaurant at Philips Arena
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Smoke Ring – barbecue joint in Castleberry Hill
The Sun Dial at the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta
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