Atlanta's historic Virginia Highland neighborhood is a popular destination for dining, shopping, and nightlife. Located five minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta, this vibrant and trendy area is filled with sidewalk cafes and an eclectic mix of retail shops. The heart of Virginia Highland is the intersection of Virginia and Highland Avenues. Many homes and commercial buildings in the neighborhood date to the early 20th century when a trolley line served the area. Here are some popular restaurants to try in Virginia Highland.

Located in the heart of Virginia Highland at 997 Virginia Avenue NE, Murphy's has been an Atlanta favorite for more than 30 years. The menu features contemporary American cuisine that focuses on fresh local ingredients. Some of executive chef Ian Winslade's popular offerings include braised beef brisket, pork shank, shrimp and grits, and Murphy's burger. Brunch is served on weekends from 8am-4pm. Murphy's Bakery features decadent cookies, cakes, and pies created by their in house pastry chef. Murphy's has an award winning wine list, and their retail wine shop offers weekly wine tastings on Tuesdays at 6:30pm.

Enjoy small plates, tapas, and margaritas at Noche Tequila & Tapas Bar, located at 1000 Virginia Avenue. Noche favorites include carne asada, seafood paella, and grilled chicken quesadillas. Every Monday the tacos are $2 each. The shrimp taco and the crispy fish taco are excellent choices.

For authentic Italian cuisine, try La Tavola Trattoria at 992 Virginia Avenue NE. This is a cozy eatery with exposed brick walls, wood floors, and an open kitchen. Pasta favorites are black linguine with calamari and baked manicotti stuffed with beef, pork, and spinach. Seafood lovers may want to try zuppa di pesce, a dish with clams, shrimp, lobster, and calamari. Enjoy Italian gelato or sorbetto for dessert. La Tavola Trattoria is open daily for dinner, and brunch is served on Sunday from 11am-3pm.

Osteria 832 is another Italian restaurant in Virginia Highland. Entrée favorites include chicken Marsala and eggplant parmigiana. Another tasty option is one of their thin crust wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant is located at 832 N. Highland Avenue, and patio seating is available. Creative Loafing magazine named Osteria 832 the best restaurant to bring the kids in 2011.

Fontaine's Oyster House is located at 1026-1/2 N. Highland Avenue. The menu includes fresh oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, crab legs, Po'Boys, and crab cake Remoulade. Free nightly valet parking is available at the rear entrance.

Atkins Park Restaurant and Bar, at 794 N. Highland Avenue, is Atlanta's oldest continuously licensed tavern. They do offer family dining, and popular entrees include Southern fried chicken and cornbread crusted North Georgia trout. They also serve burgers and sandwiches. Food is served until 2:30am.

Source by A. Patel