I am a self proclaimed foodie and I love to cook for my friends and family. Being such a foodie, I have also eaten at a lot of great restaurants in my lifetime. Bearing that in mind, have you ever thought you had seen, heard, felt, or tasted the best life had to offer and then were proven dead wrong? That would be me and my experience with The Polaris Restaurant Atlanta, which sits on top of the gorgeous Hyatt Regency hotel. I wish I could find some clever way to compare what you can expect from The Polaris, but I am struggling! The best I can do, and this is lame, is to say all the other places I have ever eaten in my life were like I was blind and once I tasted my first bite at The Polaris, I was blind no more!
We are from Atlanta, but have lived in Knoxville for almost 12 years now. My oldest daughter and her boyfriend still live in Atlanta and we try to visit them as often as we can. My middle child, Caitlin, is celebrating her 16th birthday, so what a better excuse to drive down to see Chelsea for the weekend than to celebrate such a momentous occasion!
I stayed at the Hyatt Atlanta when I was in Atlanta in March and was bummed that the Polaris was undergoing a huge renovation which was completed shortly after we left. The Polaris originally opened in 1967 and has welcomed presidents, celebrities, musicians, prom kings and queens and regular folks like me and my family! They closed their doors for about 10 years and the Johnson Studio has re-envisioned this futuristic wonder and brought it to the modern and elegant slice of heaven it now is.
I had been to The Polaris at the Hyatt years ago and was super excited to see how it had changed. Because The Polaris is located at the top of the Hyatt, you must take the glass elevators to the top, which is approximately 22 stories. From the moment the elevator doors opened, my breath was taken away and it honestly took me a few minutes to catch my breath back! The new interior is absolutely stunning, with its eclectic mix of modern decor with a vintage flair, coming together in a tasteful interior you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. This one of a kind rotating restaurant and bar is like nothing you have ever seen.
Depending on your meal plans, there are several seating options available. If you are interested in a few of their signature cocktails, you can sit at the amazing and fully stocked bar or in one of their intimate lounge areas. You can also order from a long list of chef inspired appetizers to enjoy with your libation. If you plan to stay for dinner, I suggest being seated at one of the tables, which can seat from 4 and up. I will admit, I am afraid of heights, so it took me a few minutes to get acclimated to the rotating restaurant, which takes 45 minutes for a full rotation. Once you get to talking and eating and drinking, you really do not notice you are moving at all.
Our server for the evening was Armanda, and I absolutely cannot say enough about this poised, gracious and lovely young woman. She explained to us she was usually behind the bar and had offered to help out the serving staff for the evening. Well, I can tell you, she had us completely fooled because she was knowledgeable, friendly and uber helpful. She knew her way around like a seasoned server and we were very lucky to have her. She answered a ton of questions about the drinks before we settled on a few interesting choices. Since it was Caitlin’s birthday, we allowed her to get the Sour Cherry Fizz mocktail. She felt so grown up! For Chelsea’s boyfriend Mike, he chose the Limoncello, which came highly recommended by Armanda. The drink is made with 150 proof vodka, which is infused into the hand peeled lemons, until they are ready to serve in this drink two weeks later.
But, let’s face it, I came for the food and boy was I excited to see what the chef had to offer. One cool thing about The Polaris is the chefs tend two hives which house over 60,000 honey bees in their rooftop garden. These busy little bees produce several gallons of fresh honey and come to the hotel through an ongoing partnership with the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association. Armanda explained the food is always seasonal and organic and the menu changes every 3 weeks.
We started with the Vidalia Garlic Blossom Hummus, which comes with fresh baked pita chips and vegetables. Oh my goodness ya’ll, I have never had hummus like this before! This was followed by the delightful Korean Picnic Drum Sticks, which are sweet and spicy and is served with steamed rice. Chelsea grew up living next door to a Korean family filled with great cooks, and she said this dish did not even compare!
I think my favorite appetizer by far was the Mr. Lee’s Rolls, which was sushi; Chelsea and my husband’s favorite. One of the rolls was made with Spicy Crab as well as Smoked Salmon & fresh Avocado. Oh my goodness, this was fantastic! I am not a sushi person, but I think I was converted at The Polaris that night!
I must stop here and tell you how The Polaris made this mommy’s heart fill with joy, love and appreciation. Henry has autism and he only eats about 6 different foods. He is not one to try new foods, so I knew he was proabbly not going to be chowing down on some sushi and hummus! I told Sara Hernandez, the Marketing Coordinator for the Hyatt about Henry’s food issues and she passed the information along to the chef. instead of bringing in a to go bag for Henry to eat, Chef Rodney called downstairs to another Hyatt restaurant and ordered up fries, chicken strips and a hamburger. I am getting chocked up just thinking about this and remembering the surprised and gleeful look on Henry’s face when Chef Rodney came out to speak with him. Can you tell how happy Henry was?
So, next came the main courses, which I am telling you, are to die for! I wish I could make up a word to encompass how delectable and tasty the food at The Polaris is. The flavor profiles are unique and work together so beautifully. Mike and I ordered the Steak Oscar, which is topped with Dungeness Crab and a Bearnaise sauce and comes with Asparagus and diced potatoes. Chris and Chelsea ordered the Braised Lamb Neck Filet served with Stewed Root Vegetables and a Pinot Noir Sauce.
Caitlin decided on the Ricotta Filled Caramelle Pasta served with a Garden Tomato Ragout, Fresh Basil and Parmesan Cheese. Look at how colorful that pasta is! All I can say is the flavor matches the bright colors of this dish.
At the end of our meal, Caitlin was surprised with a cake, not just a piece of cake, but an entire cake for her birthday! The cake was specially made for Caitlin by the pastry chef and it was by far the best cake I have ever eaten. I forgot to ask, but I am almost certain there was a hint of lavender in the frosting!
I strongly encourage you to visit The Polaris Atlanta whenever you are in town. It is perfect for your corporate luncheon or meeting, a family reunion, pre or post prom or to pop the question to that special person in your life! This was such a memorable evening for all of us, so much so that we were all talking about it for the next 2 days. I cannot wait to visit The Polaris when we are in Atlanta for my birthday and see what freshly made nom nom food they have on that visit! Be sure to follow The Polaris on Twitter and Instagram and tell them Kelly sent you!
265 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tuesday – Saturday, 5 p.m. – Midnight