Old 4th Ward
Staplehouse has seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients, and an inventive kitchen that make for a rotating chef’s tasting, and a la carte menus that are complex, unique, and delectable. Plus, proceeds benefit the Giving Kitchen, which provides aid to industry folks in need. Pro tip: don’t miss out on their perfectly executed wine pairings.
This quiet new restaurant in the corner of Krog Street Market has a seafood and poultry-heavy menu with standouts like the clam roll and dry-aged roasted duck, but their cocktails are the true attractions. Belly up to the bar and sip on everything, including their signature Ticonderoga Cup: a ridiculously good combination of rum, cognac, sherry, pineapple, lemon, and mint.
The delicious Vietnamese eats like pho, banh mi, and more you’ll find inside this tiny hidden gem not only rival those found along Buford Highway, but save you a trek as well -- plus, they have some of the friendliest service and most reasonable prices in the city.
While everything Home Grown makes is worth sampling, their Comfy Chicken Biscuit (crisp and juicy fried chicken atop a buttery biscuit and drowned in creamy sausage gravy) is noted as the best thing to eat in the entire state of Georgia. So yeah, get that if you HAVE to pick just one.
Settle into one of the deep booths in the beautiful and spacious dining room at this upscale brasserie and prepare for some serious bliss in the form of a couple of courses, including the foie gras with fig terrine, escargot, and the L’Entrecôte steak with frites and insanely flavorful sauce verte.
Bless Fat Matt’s for their fall-off-the-bones-tender ribs, rich and gooey-as-hell macaroni & cheese, and rum baked beans. All this (plus live music and zero pretense) are the things that our dreams are made of.
It’s pretty hard to nab a non-10pm reservation for Gunshow, but if you do, order as much as you can, and pay special attention to the newest menu addition: charcoal-grilled veal sweetbreads, creamed kale, cotechino, maple-braised rutabaga, pickled persimmon, and pecan gremolata.
Mercantile is an unassuming deli with delectable build-your-own sandwiches, prepared meals, and gourmet wares (including a surprisingly large selection of wines), all for you to take home.
Churning out rustic, Southern-inspired cuisine with an easy touch, this place is universally raved about. Get there asap for a table and be sure to try their legendary deviled eggs, duck legs, and kale caesar salad for a delicious touch of healthy greens.
With delicious, international-inspired small plates, excellent craft cocktails, a solid mostly-domestic wine and beer selection, and a gorgeous, ambient setting, Saltyard has gained a cult following for good reason. Their seasonal offerings vary, but arguably peak in summer when they rely on fresh Georgia peaches. We can’t get enough of their creamy, homemade Burrata accented with lemon, thyme, and chili flakes served alongside pickled peaches, crispy country ham, and delectable cornbread crumbs. It may well be the city’s best sophisticated Southern dish.
Known among many ATLiens as the city’s best kept secret, 1Kept slings some of the city’s finest meat-based dishes. From pork loin to steak frites and more, their meats are all melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Maybe even more impressive? Some of their most beloved dishes are meatless (or easy on the meat). Don’t let the delectable pimento cheese board, with its grilled, crusty sourdough and pumpernickel breads, assorted jams, and homemade pickles pass you by. And for a dose of healthy greens, check out the warm kale salad with spicy chorizo, quinoa, carrots, and sweet, plump golden raisins tossed in a spicy chili oil vinaigrette.
Their food is legendary, but now, their service model has changed, which makes impatient patrons love this place even more. Instead of dodging servers in their charming dining area, you can place your order at the counter, take a seat, and wait leisurely for your meal. No matter what you get, don’t even think of missing out on their signature matchstick okra fries. That said, it’s impossible to go wrong with the Maharaja Lamb Burgers: a thick, juicy lamb burger flavored with ginger, mint, garlic, pistachio, and more. And then wash it all down with a Lime Rickey.
Pallookaville is a perennial ATL favorite because they make any number of fried meats on a stick -- from regular corn dogs to meatsticks loaded with Italian sausages, Kielbasa, and more. Add to that their legit sandwiches and sides (like a mammoth Reuben and the mac and cheese topped with Cheez-Its) and boozy milkshakes, and you have what may very well be the most unique spot in Atlanta.
With two 3 oz patties made of short rib, brisket, and ground chuck topped with American cheese and butter pickles, it’s no wonder Bocado makes the second best burger in the entire city--but they also make some other great eats, too. Their deviled eggs rival your grandmother’s and their grilled cheese and bacon sandwich, if distributed worldwide, could likely help engender an international peace treaty. The same goes for their lobster roll, which is only available on Saturday nights, and which will instantly make you feel like someone who summers in the Hamptons….or at least someone who eats like they do.
Old 4th Ward
Arguably the most popular Beltline-adjacent spot in town, Ladybird is the rare restaurant whose menu and ambience are both exceedingly amazing. Their outdoor, pet friendly patio is the perfect spot for people watching, eating their outrageously good eats like chicken fried chicken (or, for brunch, their French toast or chicken biscuit), and tossing back cocktails like their Fool in the Rain, a unique blend of Old Fourth Ward vodka, smoky brandy, sweet pear, and prosecco with a hint of earthly thyme. Regulars and newcomers alike will be pleased to know they’ve recently opened an outdoor “Grove” space, featuring a bar inside a vintage, painted camper, comfy Adirondack chairs, string lights, Ping-Pong tables, and a lot more.
Hankering for Mediterranean? Head to this downtown institution located in the Peachtree Center food court and make yourself comfortable, because you’re gonna get a TON of food regardless of what you order. Portions and flavors are huge -- and even better, their prices aren’t. The beef and lamb kabob plate is remarkably good, as is the hummus, creamed spinach, and lamb schwarma. Whatever you do, don’t leave without at least one order of baklava. The catch? Good luck finding a seat among their notoriously crowded tables.
Consistency earns respect in Atlanta’s culinary community, and Steven Satterfield’s talent with preparing organic local goodness has kept him and the Miller Union team in the city’s top tier of places to feast. In other words, not many places could pull off having a seasonal veggie plate and housemade pork sausage that are equally popular, along with other super-authentic regional meals, from smoked rabbit mousse starters and shrimp/andouille gumbo at lunch to sauteed quail w/ smoked beets and Vidalia onions. Their wine list, curated by sommelier/GM/partner Neal McCarthy, is one of the top 100 in the US, according to Wine Enthusiast, and their dessert menu includes a peach and buttermilk cake.
Billy Streck is the Parker Lewis of the Atlanta dining scene, and H+H is further proof that the owner of GRAIN and Cypress Street is on top of his game. Walking into the just-opened subterranean Inman Quarter tavern, just past the cascading water wall near the patio, creates great separation from the bustling movement just above on N. Highland. Getting inside and ordering the secret housemade beef jerky, duck ham sourdough toast, the Nashville hot oyster po’boy, or the perfected fried flounder and herb shoestring fries is confirmation that maybe it was worth demolishing the corner where the old Dad’s Garage once stood if all the old spots found new homes and this amazing new community restaurant-bar was made possible. Oh, and they have Tropicalia on draft! Get there quickly!
It will be you that shrugs when other guests of this titan-inspired restaurant marvel at the amount of newly added pounds you carry after eating at this European-inspired American supper house. Advised by Gerry Klaskala (the founder of superstar ATL restaurants Aria and Canoe), and run by Christopher Grossman, who Klaskala trained at Aria and swiped from Napa Valley’s The French Laundry (which Anthony Bourdain calls “the best restaurant in the world”), Atlas gets its food exclusively from local farms, changes its menu weekly to spotlight seasonal goodness, and even has an exquisite collection of curated 20th-century art. So what the burger is $29? It’s so damn good that you’d willingly carry the chefs on your shoulders for all eternity.
There’s no such thing as a bad South City Kitchen location, but Chef Jason Starnes has made a major impact with the Buckhead spot, offering a location-exclusive menu that fits well with the area’s demanding culinary clientele. If you insist on having the famous fried chicken, shrimp-'n’-grits, or any of the other favorites from the Vinings or Midtown locations, it's available. But don’t miss out on the Southern Plates menu where an amazing bone-in ribeye, poultry (including seared sour cherry-sauced duck and spice-grilled quail), and seafood dishes from pan-seared cobia to Georgia mountain trout are waiting for you to tastefully gorge upon. You are in Buckhead now; show a little class.
Everybody loved Makan’s ramen dishes, so it rebranded as Taiyo, focusing its kitchen efforts on craft versions of the hottest noodle in the game. Taiyo's doubled its ramen menu options, so you can now have seven styles of ramen including tonkotsu, pork shio (pork belly in chicken broth), kimchi beef, and more. There are also “Flavor bombs” for added garlic, herbal and spicy tastes, as well as an assortment of dumplings and buns if you’d rather be a renegade.
The highly respected deli/bistro is one of the most consistently delicious dining destinations in town. Whether you’re lunching on one of the city’s best burgers (grilled on a Big Green Egg), handling the corned beef brisket reuben, or participating in a sly jab at ATL’s most famous chicken chain by eating the “Open on Sunday” fried chicken sandwich, you'll leave happy. You'll have to wait in line a few minutes, but take comfort in the fact that there’s no danger of M&T's going out of business anytime soon.
When Octopus Bar founders Nhan Le and Angus Brown closed Lusca, they clearly decided to simplify things a bit to not lose those of us who aren’t used to their talents with fine seafood dining. With 8 Arm, the menu -- which always changes but can be kept up with on Instagram -- is based on a few standard recipe styles that use alternating proteins. Whatever they put in it from day to day, try the tagliatelle. And then look for the main meat or seafood dish of the evening, which could be lamb shoulder, grouper, a porterhouse, or kinda anything. Just trust that it’s delicious.
Old 4th Ward
You knew Ford Fry would get you sooner or later. Superica has survived freshman year by not only having the same energetic vibe that all Fry’s restaurants have, but also seriously superior Mexican food. Tacos can be puffy, but we recommend the plain ol’, super-crispy hard shell, which doesn’t fall apart when you bite into chicken tinga or picadillo. You know once you’ve tested the taco that the bigger time bites like the slow-braised short rib w/ chipotle molasses, wood-grilled shrimp fajitas, crispy whole fish, or mesquite-grilled quail will excel.
The name enough should draw you in. You almost expect a brawling gang of chefs in camouflage and red Rambo bandanas. But C&S is only at war with whack food, which it fights with “pinxtos,” or Spanish-French tapas inspired by the foods of Basque Country. For evidence, try the escabèche toast w/ Georgia white shrimp, Bayonne, chili-saffron oil, and marinated salad. Or go for small plates like grilled Spanish octopus, local rabbit, beef hearts from White Oak Pastures, and Berkshire and Ibérico pork meatballs. Regardless of your diplomatic tendencies, this is one culinary draft you’re not going to wanna dodge.
There’s no way you can leave Hugh Acheson off a list of where’s-where in ATL’s eating scene -- not while the Canadian transplant is still proving his mastery of authentic Southern food from breakfast to dinner (and even during brunch). Just look at what he’s doing with catfish: In the mornings it’s smoked and slapped on a bagel, during lunch you can get a catfish banh mi hot dog with pickled trimmings, and for dinner it’s an entree served with Hoppin’ John, dashi, sweet potato, and cucumber. During weekend middays, it’s served with rice pudding, celery, tomato, and shrimp jus. Your grandma is jealous, and she’s an actual ATLien.
Ponce City Market
Take the spiral staircase from PCM’s Food Hall and you’ll find The Mercury, which unlike the Buick you drove in college, has proven to be reliable and unlikely to break down thanks to a space-aged mid-century American menu and some of the best cocktails in Atlanta. On the pasta side, the wild mushroom burrata ravioli is always a safe bet, as well as the Gulf shrimp carbonara. If you’re into cows and pigs be sure to order on the meatier side of things, since all beef is USDA Prime from Revere Meat Co. (straight outta Forest Park, GA) and you'll see just how great the Tomahawk pork chop w/ rosemary brandied apples sounds, and undoubtedly tastes. And regardless of what you eat, you can’t go wrong with a classic Aviation or Scofflaw cocktail -- and there are always large $60 cocktails for four, like the Glenlivet Rob Roy.