Lyla Lila opened in Nov. of 2019 and serves southern European cuisine in Midtown Atlanta. It sits on a corner with windows on two sides in the Lilli tower, right down the street from the Fox Theater. There is no dedicated parking area, so you hunt for spaces on the street. Chef-partner Craig Richards daughter’s name is Lyla and his partner in the restaurant, Billy Streck’s daughter’s middle name is Lila, so they forged the 2, to name the restaurant. The large bar area is where you enter and people do eat at the bar. In the dining room music is in the background and the lights are lowered. The menu changes with the seasons and while they wanted your whole order at the beginning they were willing to course it out and split items. Some couch like seats were at the tables around the wall and the interior bare wood tables with chairs were quite small. Tables are close enough that you can easily make friends with those adjacent and we did visit with another couple celebrating their first anniversary there. The wine list was mostly Italian with a few French and Spanish options and chef is known for his pastas. Service was slow and uneven.
Crispy Artichokes were on lemon-mint aioli with sunflower sprouts. They came 4 to an order and were lightly fried. The delicate choke leaves were seasoned perfectly. A delicious start to the meal.
Snapper crudo was dotted with créme fraiche and caviar in cucumber juice with flame grapes and chili oil. The tender fish flesh was too delicate for the cucumber juice. The fish came off dull punctuated only by bits of pepper or the brine of caviar. This dish sounded better than it was.
Sweet potato mezzaluna ravioli were mixed with brown butter, pecans, orange, cinnamon, and thyme. The sauce had a good consistency and the pasta packets were perfect. They were not gummy on the edge where many fall down because of too much thickness. They were delicate and wonderful. The dish had a good balance of flavors with the orange giving it a fun brightness. The pecans gave it texture. The more I ate it, the better i liked it.
Beef cheek goulash was plated with scallops on polenta, topped with greens, shishito peppers and horseradish. The beef was delightfully tender and moist and the polenta was good and creamy. The bitter greens on top added a flavor contrast, but I would have liked more polenta. The broth that covered the polenta was really full of flavor. This was a yummy plate.
Wood roasted maitake mushrooms were topped with black truffle aioli and parmigiano. We got them as a side dish to go with the beef. It was a generous portion and heavily covered with grated cheese. They were nicely grilled and tasty.
Ice cream sandwich was made with pistachio gelato, magic shell and fennel pizzelle. The cookie part was very good and crisp but the gelato did not have enough pistachio flavor and the chocolate covering it had, hardened so much it was difficult to cut.. Once cracked you could sort of combine the ingredients. It made for an okay sweet ending.