Sitting down with Chef Stephanie of Nikolai’s Roof

Chef Stephanie

Sitting down with Chef Stephanie of Nikolai’s Roof

A few months ago, CulinaryLocal published the Top 100 Chefs in Atlanta. One of those chefs was Chef Stephanie Alderete from Nikolai’s Roof, who we were able to sit down with for an interview at Nikolai’s Roof. It was a wonderful experience, where we got to have our ears pop and see an amazing view. But the best thing was getting to know Chef Stephanie better.

Nikolai's Roof atlantaStephanie has been cooking her entire life because of her “eating” family. She said that when they weren’t eating, they were thinking about eating, and when they were eating, they are thinking of what they are going to eat next. At home, she was also always helping her mother and grandmother in the kitchen. Naturally, this progressed into Stephanie becoming a chef. Stephanie arrived in Georgia in 2004 where she went to the Art Institute in Dunwoody. She started working for Nikolai’s Roof in 2006, and now, she is the chef de cuisine there.

foie grasStephanie had a hard time choosing a favorite dish at Nikolai’s, but it would have to be a choice between the foie gras and the lamb rack. The foie gras served with a sweet panzanella salad and a berry compote. The lamb rack is served with a green corn quinoa and a tomato and buffalo mozzarella. Duck and lamb are things that aren’t typically served at homes in the US, so it is something she enjoys treating herself to. Stephanie is also obsessed with cheese. It could be regular or smelly. She just loves the taste of cheese. You can typically find her snacking on cheese at home or taking some from the cheese cart at Nikolai’s. In her opinion, the cheese cart is one of the best things about Nikolai’s since most restaurants don’t have one anymore.

Nikolai’s Roof

Nikolais Roof Bar AreaNikolai’s Roof has been around since the Hilton Hotel first opened in 1976, thus being one of the longest standing restaurants in Atlanta. It also has a long standing for being a 4 diamond restaurant. Nikolai’s has been serving Russian/French influence food since its opening; although, many of its Russian dishes have fallen away. But there is still a few Russian dishes left on the menu. This is not the only change. In the past, Nikolai’s Roof has been a place to visit for special events. However, the restaurant scene has changed and even a long standing restaurant must change as well. Now, Nikolai’s is becoming a place with a more causal dining setting with food that you would only get from fine dining. In order to achieve this, they have been tailoring their service and menus to make them better suited for something that isn’t perceive as too formal or upscale.

Nikolai's Roof

Although the food here is amazing, there is something even better about Nikolai’s. The location. Nikolai’s Roof is located at the top of the Hilton Hotel, giving customers an unobstructed view of Atlanta. You can even see as far as Stone Mountain, thus making this view hard to beat. Another great thing about this restaurant is the cheese cart which contains cheeses from local to international providers. It is something that most restaurants no longer have, but sometimes, the classics are the best.

Nikolai’s Roof is a place that has amazing service, great food and a wonderful view. Their food is kept fresh, in season and delicious. It is a wonderful place to have dinner.

All of us at CulinaryLocal were excited for this chance to get to know Chef Stephanie and have her be a part of our Top 100 Chefs in Atlanta article. We hope you get a chance to visit Nikolai’s Roof, as well, and meet Stephanie in one of the best ways possible, through her food.


Want to know about other restaurants and chefs? Check out our Twitter and let us know which you want to see. Or visit us on Facebook and leave a comment if you’d like to see more lists for different areas in the Atlanta area!

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