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Atlanta native shares tasty spots

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  • My City, My Secret features hot spots recommended by locals
  • An Atlanta native thinks the city's varied cuisine is part of its draw
  • A French bistro, a tapas lounge and a cupcake shop are among her picks
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(CNN) -- Great weather and shopping are high on Atlanta, Georgia, native Keela Starr's list of the city's top attributes, but it's the cuisine that's most likely to impress visitors.

The shop sells an array of delicious cupcakes.

Anis Cafe and Bistro serves French Mediterranean fare.

"There are so many fine restaurants here in Atlanta, and I think people would be surprised about that," said Starr, 34, who works in Atlanta for a Los Angeles, California-based talent management company.

Starr, who recently moved back to her hometown from New York, shared a few of her favorite dining spots with CNN.

Beleza

Beleza, which is Portuguese for beauty, serves finely crafted small plates such as crab with coconut milk, chilies and cilantro alongside Brazilian-inspired cocktails in a slick, yet organically inspired space.

"I love the atmosphere," Starr said. "It has a very eclectic atmosphere, but at the same time it's very chic. It's an urban chic."

Anis Café and Bistro

Starr enjoys the French Mediterranean fare at this cozy restaurant in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood. Housed in a converted cottage, this unpretentious bistro serves entrees such as thyme-roasted free-range chicken and filet of beef au poivre.

Along with a side of French fries dipped in a delicious mustard sauce, the mussels are one of Starr's favorites.

Apres Diem

In the heart of Midtown, this trendy restaurant and lounge provides another taste of Europe. It serves as a meeting place for coffee or a drink, a date-night or late-night spot, and a relaxed brunch refuge.

"I love the European flair," Starr said. "I love the lounge area in Apres Diem, I love on the weekends they have a DJ spinning, and it's just a very cool vibe." The varied and affordable menu and the bountiful dessert case are also crowd-pleasers.

Atlanta Cupcake Factory

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For a sweet treat, the Atlanta Cupcake Factory is Starr's pick. "They are the freshest cupcakes, and they have a very creative assortment," she said.

This sweet spot is open Tuesday through Sunday selling pretty cakes in flavors from salted caramel to chocolate el Diablo.

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