The Spence
The Spence

The Spence

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://thespenceatl.com/
  • Phone: (404) 892-9111
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, View, Wine
  • Special Events: We have a private dining room with a 36 person capacity. We also have feasting menu options available at our chefs tables which can hold up to 22 people. Our feasting menus consist of selecting a whole animal for your main protein to be broken down alongside side dishes, appetizers and dessert for $65 a head. Must call the restaurant and book a contract for the feasting menu options.

Getting there

  • Public Transit: Complimentary valet drop off directly in front of the restaurant on Fifth Street.
  • Parking: Valet
A word from The Spence
Helmed by Chef Richard Blais, The Spence, a partnership with acclaimed restaurant group Concentrics Restaurants, is a classic eatery that serves accessible, ingredient driven food to its surrounding community and beyond. Backed by an all-star culinary team including Adrian Villarreal (Atlanta’s JOËL and TAP) and Pastry Chef Andrea Litvin (New York City’s ABC Kitchen, Atlanta’s The Livingston), Blais displays his culinary strengths throughout on an ever-changing “pantry list” alongside signature dishes. The wine list, curated by Advanced Sommelier Justin Amick, offers focused “Tried and True” and “Leap of Faith” selections from true artists across the globe listed in an increasing progression of acidity. The Spence proudly showcases the best in accessible atmosphere, food and beverage.
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
The Spence reviews from OpenTable diners
111 reviews since July 31, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
84% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (88)special occasion (44)neighborhood gem (42)hot spot (41)notable wine list (40)great for outdoor dining (30)good for groups (28)romantic (22)great for lunch (18)vibrant bar scene (15)late-night find (6)scenic view (2)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Wonderful restaurant, would go back.
    mschaef
    Dined on 11/23/2014
    This was a great place to eat, and mt wife and I would absolutely return. Chef Blais, of course, won Top Chef, and after eating at his restaurant, I can say that I see why he won. The food was that good. The restaurant had a nice ambiance too, although we went on a quiet Sunday evening. Based on the layout of the room, it would be a very energetic and possibly loud place to eat when it's full up. One minor quibble is that whoever is responsible for The Spence's graphic design went with a monospaced font on both the website and the print menu. It's readable, but barely.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not What I Remembered From Opening Week
    Uninspired
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    My expectations were high walking into The Spence Saturday night. I had been once before and had a beautiful food experience. Service, while friendly and timely, was not what I remembered, not as attentive or as knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the food. What happened to the professional servers and Sommeliers? There were no recommendations for food and cocktail pairing. The cocktails that came out were inconsistent; order the same drink twice and it is sure to taste totally different the second time. The small plates were delicious. The Oysters and Pearls were not as beautiful as I remembered, but tasted great nonetheless. The Tuna Crudo... I could eat it all day every day. It was the highlight of the night. The main dishes were also a disappointment. Cold pasta dish with a bitter after taste, sweet potato gnocchi presented nicely, but quickly realized every single one was burnt on the side that was placed down. It was inedible. Steak also served luke warm and only ordered it because they were out of the black bass. And the desert was um, totally boring and uninspired... just make a blondie at home and put a scoop of Talenti coffee gelato on top. In the end, I would not feel safe recommending this to a friend. When you are a restaurant at that level, there is no margin for error. I hope they can turn it around, or I fear the Spence won't be around much longer.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service Outside the Restaurant is Terrible
    attempt92
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    We arrived with plenty of time to make our reservation. It was already dark and the area around The Spence is very crowded with lots of traffic. I drove slowly down the street looking for the Valet Parking. No sign anywhere. We circled the very large block (not really a block, had to drive a good ways to get back around). Again we drove slowly by and couldn't see the sign. I turned the corner and finally found a place to stop. Calling the restaurant I was told the sign was out front and the valet was there. So we tried again. This time, as I approached the corner to turn onto the street where The Spence is located I finally spotted the sign. It was located on the corner (not out front), no lights nearby, and barely readable in the darkness. It had an arrow pointing down the street. We drove down the street, stopped briefly (couldn't stop long due to the amount of traffic) and looked for anyone appearing to be a valet. None spotted. And no place for a Valet to take the car anyway. We figured we would give it one last try. Once again we weren't able to find where to park. Being a cold, cold night and the fact we had Theater tickets for later in the evening, we decided to head to a different place to eat. Which we did. If the restaurant is unable to provide as simple a service as valet parking, I shudder to think of the service inside. Best of luck to you if you decide to go to The Spence.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Menu Sampling
    Friendly
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    Had the opportunity to visit the Spence while in Atl for a trade show. Between two guys we sampled oysters, tacos, gnocchi, pappardelle, short rib lemon curd and blonde desserts. While everything registered great on the taste scale I found that the pappardelle and gnocchi fell flat on the texture side of things. The gnocchi was more pellet than pillow and the pasta was grainy rather than silky. Regardless than those less than stellar plates, I will be back next time in Atlanta.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great but TOO NOISY
    urbanist
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    This is a much-needed stylish restaurant for professional business lunch meetings. The food is reliably good and beautifully presented in the elegant setting. But - the interior is simply TOO NOISY. Even two people can have a hard time hearing each other - let alone a larger group. I know that Atlanta restaurants are designed to be "lively" and if the owners feel they must maintain a high decibel level at night, so be it. However, I wish they would recognize that the lunch crowd is mostly made up of people eager to hear each other. Perhaps at least one area's tables could receive acoustic mats on the underside (very effective in NYC restaurants)?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Overrated restaurant
    ibad
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    I'm afraid that the Spence is overrated. The food was very basic and poorly seasoned when compared to other restaurants in the same league. I was disappointed by the lack of innovation or more importantly "heart" and "soul".
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Memorable
    LWeber
    Dined on 11/9/2014
    We had a great evening and tried a number of the small plate specialties - be sure to try the bone marrow and blondie dessert!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect
    ChrisP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We drove two hours to celebrate our anniversary here, and were not disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of the best in Atlanta.
    jwhalesVIP
    Dined on 11/6/2014
    Definitely one of the best restaurants in Midtown.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not Just for Richard Blais Fans
    Denise
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    That was why I went - I wanted to check out his food. But anyone could appreciate the perfectly prepared, innovative dishes we shared. Some sounded very odd and yet, the combinations of flavors totally worked. So order things that are outside your comfort zone. I did and was very pleased. The menu changes every day, so no point in telling you what I loved. But experiment. The wine list lets you pick outside your comfort zone too and that's fun. Wait staff are very attentive and you feel very happy and satisfied with your meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • KkbbVIP
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    We have been here several times and this time the service was way below par. Server couldn't answer questions about the menu, and seemed like he had no real desire to be helping us. We have had great servers here but not on this night. The valet parking situation was ridiculous. We waited forever to both leave our car and retrieve it. Food was still good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good meal at a trendy spot
    ATLLocalVIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    First visit. Pretty good experience. "Trendy" food. Trendy interior design - modern industrial. Trying very hard to be cutting edge and inventive. My opinion is that sometimes these dishes get overthought / overprocessed, and therefore the flavors become muddled. In some cases less is more.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Marco3
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    I've gone to many restaurants with fantastic food and excellent service but The Spence is only 1 of 2 restaurants where I received genuine service. I would've returned for the food & atmosphere but the service makes me want to return; they made me welcome & comfortable. For the overall experience I would happily have paid more!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • VMVAtlantaVIP
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    The Spence offers an enjoyable, casual dining experience. From the moment we handed over our key to the Valet we experienced friendly staff. The hostess and host continued the trend. Peter P. was the Server, and he excels in customer service. He is delightful and made the evening perfect. If you are a burger fan, highly recommend the Juicy Lucy. It is flavorful and a wonderful burger. Nice to find a place that is comfortable and does casual dining well.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved it!
    Monsterfoodcritic
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    The food was absolutely delicious.....do I really need to say more?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OK. Not great just OK
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    The service was friendly, very attentive- overall great. The food was so so. Was looking for more of a romantic dinner. However I'm Over 60 years - probably more for young people.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious
    steffers325
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    You won't be disappointed. The service and food were great. Definitely recommend getting a few small plates as appetizers to start and then an entree. The charred peppers and beet salad were delicious. My beef was cooked perfectly. We didn't try dessert so I can't speak to that.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience
    Fuzz
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    My wife and I loved The Spence. The food was wonderful, and the service was even better. We each had 3 snacks/small plates, which made for a full meal, then split a dessert. Everything was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food and ambience
    Csss
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Wife enjoyed it, high quality and unusual, small portions, friendly staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary
    ipaid4this
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    We were a bit disappointed by the quality of the food. It was good, but not worth the price. The visible kitchen staff seemed bored and paid more attention to their phones than they did the food. Quite distracting. Very good service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • First Lunch at The Spence
    DiningEd
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Four of us met at The Spence for a long lunch and get together. The service was great. We enjoyed our starters, oysters and pearls and the bone marrow with tuna tartar. The entrees themselves were good but not as outstanding as the dinner we had there a month or so back. All in all a very good experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Loved it
    johnnyr0x
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    We came here for lunch and had the kale Cesar salad with salmon and chicken adobe sandwich. Both were phenomenal. Great ambiance too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Place
    BobR
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Excellent food...good prices....very good service. I will be returning.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always my foci rite spot
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/1/2014
    to be so close to businesses this place rocks. Great food. Cool menu and great service. Love the outdoor scene and good times. Only wish the window from lunch to dinner when they close would be a bit smaller.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Service was very slow and forgot about part of our order. Food was good
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • kmklaer
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    amazing food and beverage. Great service. Would go again and again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved it!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Everything we ate at the Spence was delicious. We were a group of 4, and shared a bunch of the small plates and snacks. It seemed like each dish topped the previous one! We will definitely be back. Great date night!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love the ambience but overpriced...
    EnVinoVeritasVIP
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    My husband and I enjoyed the cool vibe and delicious, inventive food at the Spence last Spring and were eager to return. On our recent visit, however, we found the service disappointing (our waiter favored a larger business table over us) and the overall quality of the food to be not worth the prices. While the snapper was a whole fish, it had very little meat on it and was priced at over $30. The crudo small plate offered tiny portions of smoked salmon for a hefty price as well. Love the atmosphere but will not be hurrying back for medicore service and food that did not blow us away.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing Dinner
    Bos1030
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We had a spectacular dinner at The Spence. The food was outstanding and following the servers recommendation we ordered two small plates and a main with a shared side. Everything was presented beautifully and the flavors were bold and vibrant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love Spence BUT...
    UrbaneOptimistVIP
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Love the Spence. Great food, service, ambiance. Here's why I did not give it a top rating. The menu is very well put together with excellent ingredients. HOWEVER, we don't eat pork and there wasn't a single item on the menu that didn't have pork or was suitable for a vegetarian. The one fish dish looked great but had bacon. I get that we live in the South and I know pork is a staple here, but a restaurant of this stature and excellence needs to be cognizant of the fact that in a city as big and diverse as Atlanta, there'll be vegetarians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus who want to experience what the Spence has to offer. Frustrating because we were really looking to a lovely meal outside, but had to leave and go to another restaurant that night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • disappointed
    businessluncher
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    I had lunch there earlier this week and was disappointed with the food. I ordered the hanger steak med rare but it came medium and this chewy. The sauce on it was good but couldn't hide the chewiness of the meat. The plate was served with fries.--nothing else green or appetizing on the plate. Presentation was what I would expect from Chili's or TGIF Friday. I expected more for the price and from the chef.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Tried new things!
    mikiyoung
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The Spence is such a great place to try food you wouldn't normally try. Being Richard Blais fans we stepped out of our comfort boxes and tried things we would never order on a regular basis and were blown away at how well everything was prepared and delivered. We loved the options of combining some small plates with a few larger dishes, and the price for the quality of food is a moderate price where you feel like you really get your money's worth. If you love food and if you love trying new things, this is the place to go!! The Spence is part of what drew me to visit Atlanta, and I can't wait to go back and try some other things again! I even had to bring my infant along and they were very accommodating to him being there! Which is great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our Spence Experience...
    MenAboutTown
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    The Spence provided us with a pleasant dining experience with creative dishes - some were hits (eg - the empanadas) and some where misses (eg - the bone marrow). The Rose' wine was flavorful with notes of dewy rose pedals on a spring morning, soft jasmine blossoms spilling from the veranda, and subtle hints of fine Tahitian vanilla.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cutting Edge and Fun
    WorldFoodie
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    This is one of the more unique restaurants in the country. It's design is fun and open and the menu is creative with flavors that are so unique that you have to try this place. It's truly amazing with its small plate menu and its entrees that cover a lot of ground. You feel like your eating in the kitchen and the food rocks! The bone marrow is one of their best apps and the oysters were so flavorful, plus the basic burger (Juicy Lucy) was simple but amazingly flavorful…this is a must try and go to restaurant and the service we experienced was first class!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Sunday Night Eats
    Alopez
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    This was the first time at The Spence and it will certainly not be the last. The restaurant has a great feel and layout and gives you a casual setting with a great dining experience. The music was fantastic, the service was great, and the food was exceptional. Great experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First Time at Spence
    DiningEd
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    We really enjoyed our "experience" at Spence. While it was a bit loud for my tastes the fun was in the food. From the oysters and pearls, to the braised short ribs, and the wreak fish everything was great. The portions were perfect for a foodie. If you think perfect portions are sized to stuff 300 pounders then this is not the place for you. Did I mention the desserts? Delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food, but tough to talk
    dimikagiVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I've been here several times for lunch and once for dinner, and the food has not disappointed yet. A lot of thought is put in the presentation, and its a fun place to try out something new. However, the place itself is a big room with a lot of noise, making it tough to have a conversation. Every time I go here, the noise level leaves me questioning why.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Meal, not Amazing
    frw1
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    I met a friend for dinner and made reservations assuming it would be crowded at 7 pm. I need not have bothered, as the place was pretty empty the entire time we were there. We ordered snacks, small plates, and sides with wine. The oysters and pearls were very good. The mussels were fresh, but I didn't adore the fairly dry preparation. The goat relleno was a standout, tender and spicy from the Hatch chile. My friend ordered a pasta that was not memorable and the thrice cooked fries were pretty greasy and limp. I would go back because the food was good, the menu is inventive, wine list is eclectic enough and the service was excellent.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good Food, Very Noisy
    JohnVIP
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    This was my first time going to Chef Richard Blais' The Spence restaurant. While the food was good, it was not worth the price and it was way too noisy for my liking. If you like a loud environment with most tables right on top of each other than it is worth a try. We started off with the bone marrow / tuna tartare appetizer and it was superb, 5 out of 5 stars. Great flavors, good presentation. From there we each had the strip steak entree. The steak was chewy, gristly, and fatty. It had good flavor, but about half of it was not edible. We ended with the butterscotch blondie. It was good, but for the $180 bill (2 glasses wine, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, tax, tip) I would have expected better. Friendly staff, nice wine selection.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A bit of London in Atlanta
    LondonintheATL
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    My wife and I enjoyed date night here on the recommendation of a friend and had a very nice meal. The bone marrow, also recommended, is not to be missed. The kitchen was wonderfully accommodating and substituted dill for parsley on the dish as well. Would have enjoyed a bit more seasoning on some of the dishes (especially the meat) but my wife, who spent more than 10 years in London, said she would bring her London friends here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.