If it feels like everyone is a regular at chef Art Smith's Gold Coast restaurant, they very well might be. Oprah's former personal chef is not short on friends and admirers, yet newcomers who score a reservation feel just as welcome in the cozy, country-home environs, particularly when the complimentary cheese biscuits arrive. While the menu strays to Asia and Europe, at its core is a formidable Southern lineup of dishes such as Lowcountry shrimp with stone-ground grits,
a fried-green-tomato napoleon, and fried chicken (a Sunday- and Monday-only special). Save room for Smith's hummingbird cake, a homey banana-and-pineapple concoction topped with cream-cheese frosting. If you're in the neighborhood without a reservation, walk in and see whether the chef's counter is available: the restaurant keeps five seats open in front of the pizza oven.