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“Where can I find the very best eggplant parm in town?”
As cooler weather begins to settle in around Atlanta, finding dishes from restaurants that bring both comfort and warmth has once again become a priority. Much like its cousin lasagna, eggplant parmesan is a craveable Italian tray bake comprising of layers of sliced, breaded eggplant between more layers of tomato sauce, basil, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. It’s a true Italian-American classic, and typically found on the menu at every red sauce joint or pizzeria in town.
Below are seven area restaurants serving some of the best versions of classic eggplant parmesan to consider the next time you’ve got a hankering.
Nino’s Italian Restaurant — Cheshire Bridge Road
The decadent eggplant parmesan from this Atlanta red sauce restaurant institution comes served with layer upon layer of sliced eggplant, mozzarella and ricotta cheese, tangy Grana Padano parmigiano reggiano, and plenty of marinara sauce. Reservations are highly encouraged here, especially on the weekends.
Varuni Napoli — Midtown
Owner Luca Varuni may be known for his Neapolitan pizzas, but don’t skip the eggplant parm here. The dish is only available at the Midtown location on Monroe Drive. Listed under the “Starters” section, this eggplant parmesan is great as a single portion and comes served with a side of toasted ciabatta bread for sopping up that tomato sauce.
Paolino — Oakhurst
Located in the heart of Oakhurst, this old-school Italian restaurant is a cozy spot for dining on comforting classics like fettuccine Alfredo, linguine with clam sauce, and delicious squares of cheesy lasagna. For those in search of eggplant parmesan, Paolino offers the dish with thick cuts of breaded eggplant layered with toasted parmesan served over spaghetti marinara.
Bambinelli’s — Midtown, Roswell, Tucker, Lilburn
This family-owned Italian restaurant is named for the matriarch, whose parents hailed from Torino, Italy. Dishes served here are built around family memories and recipes handed down from generation to generation. Bambinelli’s eggplant parmigiana is no exception and features lightly battered eggplant simmered in red sauce and then topped with mozzarella cheese. It comes served with a side of pasta marinara.
Casseroles — Morningside
The eggplant parmesan is so popular at take-and-bake shop Casseroles in Atlanta’s Morningside neighborhood, it often sells out. Eggplant is first coated in Panko bread crumbs, before being layered between parmesan, mozzarella, marinara sauce, and fresh basil and oregano. Simply reheat the dish at home to feed a family of four.
Piastra — Marietta
This family-owned and operated Italian restaurant on Marietta’s historic town square, features an eggplant parmesan that’s lightly breaded in house-made focaccia bread crumbs and served with a side of spaghetti pomodoro.
Provino’s Italian Restaurant — multiple locations in northern ATL suburbs
Some once argued that the undisputed king of eggplant parmesan in Atlanta was undoubtedly Scalini’s in Smyrna. Sadly, the Italian restaurant recently closed after 42 years there. And with its closure went the restaurant’s legendary eggplant parmesan that for years was said to possess the power to induce labor in expectant mothers. However, folks can still find Scalini’s famous eggplant parmesan at its sister restaurant Provino’s. It remains to be seen whether the dish retains its labor-inducing potency at Provino’s, but it’s still really delicious.
Looking to make restaurant quality eggplant parmesan at home? Eater hit up Lyla Lila chef Craig Richards for his recipe.
- 3 medium eggplants; striped (peeled, except for a few strips of skin left)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 TBSP dried oregano
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Store-bought marinara sauce (Rao’s is great)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella (not fresh mozzarella)
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Prepping the Eggplant
- Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds. Salt generously, and let the moisture weep for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Set up a dredging station with flour, beaten egg, and Panko bread crumbs in three separate bowls. Add oregano to bread crumb bowls and a pinch of salt. Mix to combine.
- Dredge both sides of eggplant in flour, egg wash, and bread crumbs.
- Heat EVOO over medium high heat, add eggplant, and pan fry till golden brown on each side. Continue with all eggplant.
- Once fried, drain on a paper towel.
Compiling the Dish
- Pour 1/2 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Place one layer of eggplant and cover with 1/2 cup of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and a TBSP of pecorino on top of the eggplant. Add another layer of eggplant, and repeat with sauce and cheese. Repeat the process till the baking dish is filled.
- Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until golden. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.