Located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia inside the Hilton Hotel, Trader Vic’s opened its door and let its flavors flow out in 1976. Unlike the other 19 Trader Vic’s locations worldwide, the Trader Vic’s in Atlanta is the sole restaurant in the unique chain that has not undergone extensive renovations, thus keeping a piece of its island charm .
Walking into Trader Vic’s is like straight onto the set of the 1960s-hit sitcom, Gilligan’s Island. It’s no surprise to hear that its founder, Vic “The Trader” Bergeron, claims to be the original creator of the Mai Tai because the island flair permeates throughout the entire restaurant, making you feel like you’re in the tropics rather than in Atlanta. Trader Vic’s is really more of an experience than just a place to grab a quick bite to eat – is like taking an hour-long vacation in the midst of an otherwise busy workday.
Upon walking into Trader Vic’s, you are immediately greeted with the heavenly aroma of Trader Vic’s world-famous Polynesian cuisine. After the manager answered every single question we could muster up about the history of Trader Vic’s itself, we met our server. Originally from Bangkok, Linda, a twenty-three-year veteran of Trader Vic’s, guided us through the menu.
Many of the dishes prepared at Trader Vic’s are cooked over a traditional Chinese wood fire oven, which is responsible in part for the mouth-watering fragrance that dances through the room and into your nostrils. Furthermore, because Trader Vic’s boasts a menu of Polynesian dishes, there is an array of dishes from different cultures to choose from, including Asia, the Mediterranean, and even the Middle East.
We started with two appetizers, the Cosmo Tidbits and the world-renowned Signature Crab Cake. The Cosmo Tidbits are known as the “Trader” Vic Bergeron’s original Pupu Platter; it consists of delicate yet crispy prawns, a perfectly seasoned Crab Rangoon, Cha Siu pork, and a truly Southern BBQ ribs selection fit for two. The Signature Crab Cake was served with a side of Asian slaw and garnished with a sweet chili ginger sauce, which needless to say, was good down to the last bite.
For our entrée, we were truly transported to a new world. The Smoked Bacon Wrapped Scallops were served with a stir-fried vegetable lo mien and accompanied by a slightly sweet yet tangy teriyaki sauce . The Indonesian Rack of Lamb was cooked to perfection and nestled across a bed of Singapore-style noodles.
We barely had room for desert, and yet the theatrics promised (and delivered) by Trader Vic’s Banana Foster were too much to pass up. The flaming treat was the perfect ending to an appetizing meal and the most quintessential farewell to this little island gem in the middle of our urban paradise.
255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303