Family Values

The latest collab between restaurateurs Ryan and Jonathan Akly and culinary director Ian Winslade, Buckhead’s modern Lebanese establishment ZAKIA is an homage to food, family and culture  

Perched on the corner of Piedmont Road and Lenox Road inside the Modera Prominence development is Zakia, the city’s latest modern Lebanese restaurant. Brought to life by the team who instituted local hot spots Tre Vele and Mission + Market, Zakia is an ode to Ryan and Jonathan Akly’s grandmother, evidenced by a large black-and-white photo of her on display inside the establishment.

“Zakia was our grandmother. She immigrated to America when we were born, and we were raised on her cooking,” says Jonathan. “The food has a very personal connection for us.”

As fate would have it, culinary director Ian Winslade has a talent for this particular league of cooking. “My background based in classic French and Mediterranean cuisine aligned very closely with traditional Lebanese cooking,” says Winslade. “I have a natural affinity for the light, bright flavors of Lebanese food.”

Described as a mixture of authentic Lebanese and modern interpretations of classic Middle Eastern dishes by executive chef Michael Schorn, Zakia’s cuisine offers a selection of cold mezze and hot mezze (a particular style of dining in the Middle East similar to Spanish tapas). Order marinated olives, falafel with chickpeas, lemon tahini, aleppo tomato and cucumber salad, charred octopus and roasted cauliflower to start for the table. As a main course, opt for fare from both the land and sea like the Kafta Kebab with minced beef and lamb, parsley, onion and a grilled vegetable skewer or the Grilled Maine Lobster Tails. For a palette cleanse, seasonal and classic cocktails with a Middle Eastern flair occupy the drink list.

Designed and built by Tony Akly of Restaurants Consulting Group, the interior of Zakia offers an elegant milieu for eating and drinking. Think glistening chandeliers, velvet chairs and sweeping columns, as well as a separate eating area with windows that open on warm, breezy nights. With lush greenery hanging overhead, don’t forget to photograph this opulent dining experience.

Says Ryan, “Zakia was [Tony’s] mother, so it has been a major passion project for everyone involved.”