There are many things that can come to mind when you think of Atlanta—an image of a juicy Georgia peach, an overwhelming sense of southern hospitality, the fact that it’s one of the musical capitals of the U.S., or that it’s home to the largest airport in the United States. Those are all true, but the first thing that comes to my mind is it’s the endless collection of spectacular restaurants.
Whether you’re looking for comforting southern barbecue or the latest new American cuisine, Atlanta truly has it all. Dive into our city guide and you won’t be disappointed with our range of Atlanta favorites.
SWEET AUBURN BBQ
This fusion barbecue spot mixes the best of southern BBQ with a noteworthy Asian flair. At the heart of the restaurant sits the Hsu sibling duo, Howard and Anita. After winning the top title at “Chomp and Stomp Chili Cook Off,” they decided to take their delicious homemade chili recipes and combine them with flavors from traditional Asian dishes to create a BBQ experience unlike any other. So grab some wipes (and perhaps a bib, if you’re a messy eater like me) and try their undeniably delicious smoked ribs. Wondering the secret to why they taste so good? They’ve been smoked for at least three hours, making them fall-off-the-bone tender.
What to Order: Blue Plate Special; The King of Memphis Melt (if you’re feeling hungry!)
This restaurant blends beachy vibes with chic ambiance, making it the perfect spot for a romantic night or a casual dinner with friends–and everything in between. As one of my favorite go-to’s back when I was an Emory student, Bartaco never disappoints. Dip some salty chips into their perfectly chunky guac and enjoy this upscale coastal take on your favorite Mexican classics. All tacos come a la carte in aluminum trays, allowing you to mix and match–perfect for sharing.
What to Order: Portobello & Carne Asada Tacos; Corn “off the cob,”; The Reviver Cocktail.
This restaurant truly exemplifies the charming southern vibe that makes the city of Atlanta so unique. When you walk in, you immediately feel welcome. With Southern touches, like the “take a cookie, leave a dollar” jar right off the entrance, and a vast collection of wine next to the bar, this restaurant has a homey, yet elegant atmosphere. Start off your meal with some of Murphy’s delicious warm sourdough bread, smothered in butter; it truly melts in your mouth. Make sure to leave room for dessert; the tollhouse pie is a comforting throwback in a new form. And if you’re a wine connoisseur, stop by on a Monday night and treat yourself to a bottle of wine with their half-off special.
What to Order: Murphy’s Salad (for a lighter option); Guinness Braised Brisket
Finding a restaurant that is equally healthy and flavorful can be quite challenging. Located in the world-renowned Krog Street market, Recess presents vegetable centered meals that are sure to stimulate your taste buds and leave you wanting more. Since being named the best restaurant for healthy food in Atlanta Magazine’s “Best of Atlanta” edition, locals have been lining up for the tasty, nourishing dishes. Take the hint from Atlanta natives and grab a table at Recess; your body will thank you. As if it couldn’t get better, grab the fan favorite Casablanca bowl for only $9.50.We’ll meet you there.
What to Order: Casablanca Grain Bowl; Broccoli Toast
Culinary visionary, Chef Amy, opened Food Terminal based off her experience creating street-style noodles in a small kiosk in her home country of Malaysia. Food Terminal combines flavors from all over Asia . The restaurant is massive in every sense of the word; with over 125 truly authentic dishes to choose from, you are sure to try something new (and find something for everyone in your party). The atmosphere is cheerful, unique, and upbeat as well—with high ceilings, trendy neon lights, and over 200 seats , eating at this restaurant is a whole adventure in and of itself.
What to Order: Kari Chicken Noodle Soup; Grandma Wonton BBQ Pork
CHAI PANI DECATUR
With exceptional reviews from the toughest critics, including the New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, and New York Magazine, Chai Pani offers the vast and bright flavors of Indian street food. When you take a seat in the restaurant, you’re sure to experience the authentic magic of your favorite traditional Indian street food dishes. The brainchild of the three time James Beard nominated Chef Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani translates to “tea and water.” As Chef Irani explains, it’s Indian slang for going out for a cup of tea, a tasty bite, a snack, or “a little something.” And the name doesn’t disappoint; a tasty bite is exactly what you are guaranteed every time you visit Chai Pani.
What to Order: Chilli Paneer; Sloppy Jai
THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN
Just as its name suggests, guests are greeted with southern hospitality from the moment they walk in. This brunch and dinner spot is located in the Buckhead shopping district. With high ceilings, wood floors, airy décor, and a huge bar in the center of the restaurant, The Southern Gentleman resembles a current interpretation of the Southern-inspired gastropub.
Whether you’re looking to stop in for a drink, a delicious dinner, or their famed brunch, the Southern Gentleman never disappoints. Here, they master a Southern savory and sweet menu with buttermilk fried chicken & skillet pancakes which combine the juicy flavors of bacon with bourbon pecan syrup. For dinner, the fried chicken includes the ideal combo of mac n’ cheese, braised greens, and a buttery biscuit. And if you’re a whiskey drinker, don’t miss their dedicated whiskey bar.
What to Order: TSG Burger; Fried Chicken
Just outside the city, in the charming town of the Virginia Highlands, Osteria 832 offers the best of Italian fare, at prices that won’t turn anyone away. At every table, guests are engaging in convivial conversation while indulging in heaping plates of pasta. From college students, to family outings, and couples on date night, it’s a spot perfect for any gathering. So grab some friends, and enjoy both modern and traditional Italian classics on their charming patio.
What to Order: Chicken Parmesan; Rigatoni Bolognese
GIO’S CHICKEN AMALFITANO
From the same owner as Antico Pizza, Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano offers a rustic Italian menu alongside their interpretation of Italian chicken classics, including Chicken Sorrento Lemon with fresh, Amalfi style lemons, garlic, wild oregano and olive oil. But if you’re craving Chicken Cacciatore, you have to go on Sunday, as they only make this special once a week. Order at the counter and take a seat at a table surrounded by Italian flags and decor as you anxiously await your food. Chef Giovanni Di Palma has created his own Little Italy by opening all his restaurants in the same corner of Atlanta. Step into Little Italy and feel as though you’re stepping off the plane to Rome, experiencing the classic Italian vibe and tasty authentic food. Every Sunday, Chef Di Palma has a delivery of about 500 cases of cheese delivered directly from Naples. For an Italian immersion, head to Gios.
What to Order: Lemon Sorrento Chicken; Chicken Parmesan
If you are in the mood for a celebratory dry-aged steak, head to Bones. Here they orchestrate a memorable evening with a legacy of exceptional service, a warm environment and their highly acclaimed steak, juicy and tender inside, with just-the-right char. There are too many awards to list, for both the food itself and the superb staff, but we would be remiss not to mention that it has received the “Best of Atlanta Steakhouse Award” each year running for the past sixteen years. A perfect spot for a fun date-night or a cozy dinner, one visit will convert you with their Southern charms. Pair your steak with a selection from their extensive wine list, and you will without a doubt be treated to an unforgettable dining experience at this 40-year-old steakhouse.
What to Order: Any kind of steak (Filet Mignon & Rib Eye highly recommended)
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