Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Atlanta Right Now

Published On 10/19/2015
Rezagarse

Rezagarse

The newest addition to the downtown Decatur dining scene, Rezagarse offers a fusion of homemade, traditional Spanish tapas made with local ingredients. Named for a Spanish verb meaning “to linger,” the restaurant and menu are inspired by the chef’s adventures to Spain, particularly Barcelona, and the flavors, combined with the atmosphere on the huge open-air patio, make it feel that much more authentic. Said patio is also the best place to down things like fried puntillitas (aka, squid) that are perfectly crisp yet tender and served with spicy tomato sauce, grilled lemon, and piquant Pecorino, or flatbread with ahi tuna, olives, and manchego cheese.

Oy

Oy!

With the motto “Overindulgent Yumminess”, Oy! delivers with enormous portions and colossal flavors, which is great, since reading the menu will make you hungry as eff. While their huge burgers and farm-sized omelettes are incredible, the french toast casserole is where it’s at. Perfectly crisp yet fluffy and doused in caramel sauce and powdered sugar, it’s even better than it sounds.

Crispina

Crispina Ristorante & Pizzeria

Helmed by Raffaele Crispino, a Naples native, whose previous experience includes Maggiano’s, Darden Restaurants, and numerous family businesses in Capri, Crispina is a truly authentic (and delicious) Italian restaurant and pizzeria. The pastas and dough are made fresh daily, and the dishes are simple, straightforward, and explosively good. Just remember to save room for the Gelato San Crispino -- local honeysuckle gelato drizzled with 25-year-old balsamic vinegar.

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Located across from the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Breakfast Club rocks killer breakfasts and then some in a colorful, homey, retro-style diner. Its location attracts a lot of tourists, but the food brings a lot of locals, especially the aptly named manager’s special, an ample collection of eggs, meat, pancakes, and potatoes or grits that’s totally bawse. Oh, and they’re open for 24 hours on Friday and Saturday nights so you can easily stumble in for sustenance when you’re out on the town.

Proof Bakeshop

PROOF Bakeshop

The sister restaurant of Decatur’s Cakes & Ale, PROOF Bakeshop inhabits the space formerly occupied by Dough Bakery, where from sweet to savory, it’s also turning out baked goods -- you can even pick up loaves of fresh bread to take home. Can't-miss-options include the ham and Gruyère melt with rosemary pork, nutty gruyere, and a fluffy baked egg on a toasted English muffin. Pair it with a freshly made Counter Culture coffee drink and you will feel invincible. Or at least happily stuffed.

Twisted Soul

Twisted Soul

Don’t get it twisted: this hidden gem in Decatur cranks out some of the city’s most delectable Southern-inspired eats in a decidedly sophisticated way. From small plates, to entrees, to custom cocktails (some of which use moonshine!), Twisted Soul is about to be your new favorite place -- especially once you try the otherworldly sweet tea marinated ribs. Pro tip: if the weather is nice, definitely nab a spot on their hidden but lush patio.

Yalla

Yalla

Nestled inside the Krog Street Market, this modern Middle Eastern food stall has quickly become one of the market’s most popular spots, mostly thanks to things like a nearly football-sized shawarma crammed with tender spit-roasted chicken, zesty sauce, pickled veggies, and more that’s so good it won’t matter that you... um, don’t really know what a shawarma is?

Le Fat

Le Fat

Arguably one of Atlanta’s most buzzed-about brasseries, Le Fat lives up to the hype with its modern, oftentimes Southern, interpretation of classic Vietnamese dishes. Your best bet is to bookend your meal with the not-to-be-missed soft shell BLT bun and hazelnut chocolate cake, while downin' as much spicy chili prawns and salt & pepper calamari you can in-between.

Li Bilboquet

Le Bilboquet

Charming and surprisingly devoid of pretension, this delicious addition to the swanky The Shops Buckhead has a relaxed atmosphere that’s balanced with sophisticated French eats. Score a seat their gorgeous bar, admire the solariums on either side of the dining room that flood it with beautiful natural light, select a wine off the menu that suits your tastes, and complement it with their signature cajun chicken laced with creamy beurre blanc and some truly legit French Fries.

Staplehouse

Featuring changing menus full of local farm-to-table eats (like the chicken liver tart, muscadine, okra, and crisp chicken skin pictured above), Staplehouse directly supports the Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides emergency assistance to those in need in the Atlanta restaurant community. With a casual first come, first served porch out back, and a gorgeously renovated dining room where you’re served an $85 prefix menu that changes almost daily, Staplehouse is essentially two incredible restaurants in one. And until they get their liquor license, you can take your own wine to enjoy with dinner. Pro tip: all reservations for the main dining room are essentially tickets you pay for in advance online using Tock ticketing and reservations system.

Poco Pomodoro

Poco Pomodoro

Not one, but three awesome spots now share the space where Urban Cannibals used to reside, the star of which is Poco Pomodoro thanks to handcrafted food that is simple and delicious and is all freshly made using local and seasonal ingredients. That’s right, lasagnas, raviolis, pastas, paninis, soups, and desserts, all served up in a homey (albeit sometimes cramped) atmosphere. Oh, and top ‘em however you like, but if you don’t opt for the turkey meatballs, we’re not sure we can be friends.

Revival

Revival

Chef Kevin Gillespie has a devoted following in Atlanta, and it’s only grown more fervent since the opening of Revival. Inspired by traditional Southern suppers, dinner is served family style, meaning you choose an entree -- we recommend the fried chicken, which is perfectly crisp and flavorful without being greasy -- and your server loads your table down with sides sized to fit the number of folks in your party. The setting is sprinkled with kitsch and sepia photos, making it homey and warm. And don’t even think about leaving without trying the luscious lemon icebox pie.

Simply Seoul

Simply Seoul

Before they set up shop in Ponce City Market and became one of the city’s best places for Korean eats, Simply Seoul was Atlanta's supreme slinger of kimchi, with wares sold at Whole Foods and local farmers markets. They still make what some call the city’s best kimchi, but earn major points for having great, fast, and reasonably priced Korean fare. The buns are soft and supple and crammed with warm, fresh flavorful meat making them a tender, flavor-packed masterpiece.

Masti Fun Instian Street Eats

MASTI

If your idea of fun is stuffing your face with large portions of ridiculously fresh Indian street food, head to MASTI, NOW. MASTI rocks Indian/American fusion with expert, delicious precision. No wonder their menu boasts such unexpected delights as paneer hot dogs, masala fries, the sublime butter chicken tacos: served on supple Indian pancakes made of lentils and rice, they’re stuffed with chicken chunks, diced tomato, some sort of slaw, shredded cheese, and a spicy dipping sauce, they can’t be missed.

Smoke Ring

Smoke Ring

Yes, they have some of the city’s best ‘cue, but Smoke Ring DOES have other incredible creations, including the grilled cheese, an unbelievable blend of fontina, smoked Gouda, Gruyere, and Parmesan with spicy fire roasted poblanos and sweet Vidalia onion marmalade. By the way, did we mention it comes with a bacon-wrapped pickle?!

Queen of Cream

Queen of Cream

Some folks might not consider a craft ice cream parlour with killer coffee a “real” restaurant, but screw that: Atlanta’s newest purveyors of ice cream now have a lovely and hip storefront where folks can come get their fix of creamy, made-from-scratch ice cream and ice cream-based treats like sundaes and sandwiches. They also offer solid coffee creations, including a kicking cold brew. And because they’re just a hop off the BeltLine, there’s no excuse not to indulge in any of their flavors like brown butter whiskey and spicy chocolate chunk.

10th & Piedmont

10th & Piedmont

You really can’t go wrong with anything from their menu of award-winning tapas, fantastic brunch, and expansive selection of custom cocktails. But there’s a reason the chicken and waffles won honors on the Travel Channel’s Chow Masters episode: think fried chicken pieces on a stick, wrapped with bacon then dipped in waffle batter and deep fried. Served up with the sorghum syrup, powdered sugar, and hot sauce on the side, you need to order this.

7 Hens

7 Hens

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Maybe it’s their fresh bread and toppings. Maybe it’s the fact that they tenderize their local, hormone-free chicken by beating it like it owed ‘em money, before they bread and fry said poultry until it’s crispy on the outside and impossibly juicy on the inside. Whatever it is, Seven Hens is doing something right. Their staple item, the chicken schnitzel, is a build your own masterpiece that, when you add the spicy Buffalo fries, is... um, a build-your-own masterpiece with fries, presumably.

Little Bacch

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The little sister to the upscale Bacchanalia occupies the cozy, intimate space below its sibling and churns out classic Continental cuisine on mostly small plates with a few larger dishes thrown in. The menu is designed to be shared "family style," so take along a date or, you know, don’t. Either way, you’ll want to wolf down their 14oz, 28 day dry-aged New York strip.

Atlas

Atlas

This relatively new dinner-only restaurant located at the luxurious St. Regis hotel, is as swanky as it sounds and boasts utterly outstanding food (and service) that is kinda like what your grandmother might make if she were a haute chef who blended Southern and international flavors, each artful plate almost too beautiful to eat. But only almost. Regardless of what you do, nab a plate of perfectly panko-breaded-and-fried Crispy Wianno Oysters, which come with pickled and shishito peppers, pepper jelly, and avocado bacon mousse, which is so good it could almost be a meal on its own.

Ration & Dram

Ration & Dram

While they make some of the city’s most solid small plates, entrees, drinks, etc., Ration & Dram’s brunch is truly the jam, especially the bone marrow breakfast, which comes with soft, buttery biscuits, eggs, a touch of broccoli rabe, and a hefty hunk of decadent bone marrow. It might be the most sophisticated hangover cure ever. Don’t worry, though, signature breakfast cocktails like the Rise ‘N’ Shine with white whiskey, Italian liqueur averna, vanilla syrup, and nitro coffee mean you can get started on your next one right away.

Up Next
C. Ellet
Food & Drink

Atlanta's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
W e saw a lot of new restaurants get launched this year in ATL -- almost too damn many, to be honest. If you simply add up the dining options at SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you’d have more spots than a lot of cities could handle in a year. With all that edible optimism, you have to be meticulous in making sure you get to the goods before you’ve stuffed yourself silly on second-tier suppers. Which is why you’re reading this list.
Some restaurants that were actually good were left off this year’s roundup. Others are missing simply because they’ve got a good buzz, but they opened so recently that it’s hard to give them a yay or nah so early on (shout out to Rose + Rye). Until then, here are the best of ATL’s new restaurants that arrived in 2017.
Courtesy of Holler & Dash

Holler & Dash

West Midtown

Perhaps the best new fried chicken biscuit in town
Look, Cracker Barrel is good, no matter how bad you millennials might feel saying its name and eating its glorious breakfast. But they’re thinking about your tender feelings, so they started this new biscuit chain and brought its sixth location to ATL, so you can continue to live on a fluffy cloud of flour. The fried chicken biscuit is the place to start, but don’t let that keep you from the Hamabama biscuit, topped with country ham and red-eye gravy. They’ve also got beignets, grits bowls, and cold-brew coffee. But seriously, get the biscuits.

Chicken + Beer

College Park (Airport)

Luda came, saw, and opened the best restaurant in our airport
The closure of Straits brought closure to the days when Ludacris was new to the restaurant biz. With C+B, he partnered with Jackmont Hospitality, Todd Richards, and others to create an easy-to-love representation of Atlanta dining, simply by giving us what he knew we really wanted at the airport.

Bon Ton

Midtown

Amazing NOLA-inspired fusion restaurant doling out catfish banh mi
This funky, ‘70s-inspired Cajun/Vietnamese seafood boil spot has had a roller-coaster year. The general consensus is that Bon Ton, located in the former space of Top Flr, does a good, consistent job on its mash-up food (catfish banh mi, smoked snow crab, Nashville hot oyster rolls, etc.), and in keeping up a great bar vibe. On the less happy side, Bon Ton lost its head bartender a few months ago due to an automobile accident. Still, the good times roll in his honor, as well as the founder of the original New Orleans Bon Ton location, via on-tap Sazeracs and other cocktails like the smoked bourbon mai tai, and an absinthe-rinsed Jamaican rum hurricane.

DAS BBQ

Westside

Inventive BBQ (pork quesadillas) in a sprawling space out west
Over on the smoked meats side of things, BBQ newcomer DAS has brought much-needed comfort food to the westside’s Defoors Ferry and Collier Road crossing. The patio’s string-lit ceiling and bourbon barrel-legged dining tables create a just upscale enough vibe that also encourages your tipsiness. The hickory and pecan wood puts the flavor into the meats that go into combo plates and sandwiches, from brisket to sliced turkey, sausage links, wings and pulled pork (try the pork quesadillas if you care about yourself). It’s always nice to have new barbecue; it’s even nicer when it’s good.

scout

Scout

Oakhurst

Pro ATL chef Michael Semancik is mastering traditional southern food in historic digs
It’s located inside a former Old Scottish Rite Hospital, and charges itself with a sense of duty akin to the meaning of its name... but in terms of food and not all that tying knots, reading compasses, and opening things with Swiss Army knives. Executive chef Michael Semancik, who worked with chefs Kevin Rathbun and Jay Swift before either had their own restaurants, leads the mission from the airy, naturally lit historic space. The kitchen puts out shareable snacks like split smoked chicken wings, Western-style beef jerky (basically teriyaki), and PBR-battered cauliflower, as well as regional entrees such as bowls of Georgia red shrimp Creole, and cast-iron tasso ham-crusted red fish. The drinks, courtesy of ATL barman Nate Shuman from the P’cheen days, are also expertly made. 

Festivals Jerk Chicken Grill

Glenwood Park

The Jamaican food Glenwood Park's been missing is finally here
ATL could always use more Jamaican food -- especially jerk chicken. Festivals Jerk, which is amazingly located in Glenwood Park (across from Gunshow and down the street from The Shed), brings the jerk to the people in whole, half, or quarter bird portions, with deliciously tender, evenly spiced, char-grilled flavor that doesn’t overheat you and isn’t overdone. And if you’ve never had actual “festivals,” the hush puppy-esque Jamaican bread snack you get with entrees or can order as an extra side, you’ve not fully celebrated life.

Jai Ho Indian Kitchen

Ansley Park

The family behind Savi Market opens an Indian spot that stands out amongst the crowd
There will never be enough Indian food in Atlanta. Maybe Decatur, but that’s another city. As for ATL city limits, Jai Ho had a running start, since it’s from the family behind Savi Market which began selling grab-and-go Indian meals before branching out into a standalone restaurant brand. Now you can get a plethora of Pondicherry (think French-Indian) food, including the super-tender sous vide tandoor rack of lamb, as well as bowls of tandoori chicken, tikka masala, and all the usual suspects.

Turner Blackburn

Double Dragon

Oakhurst

The best "authentic and inauthentic Chinese food" you'll find around Oakhurst
Why did it take so long for an Atlanta Chinese restaurant to be named after one of the greatest low-bit arcade games ever? Did you forget that the two main characters in the beat-’em-up game were named Billy and Jimmy Lee, as if that doesn’t sound country as hell? Never mind the failings of the past; get to DD and enjoy local, seasonal, and sustainable meats and produce in the form of some of your standard favorites, as well as a few things you might find unfamiliar. Start with Chinese boiled peanuts (which being in Georgia, you should dig), and don’t leave out the pan-fried pork or chicken dumplings before you get into General Tso’s, shredded moo shu pork, honey-walnut Georgia shrimp and broccoli, or specials like spicy Sichuan white fish.

Greens & Gravy

Westview

Your new soul food staple from chef Darius Williams
Chef Darius Williams is a force on social media and in the celebrity chef world. He also had the foresight to place a restaurant with a can’t-fail name in a historically African-American neighborhood currently being revitalized by the Southwest BeltLine and other new construction. It’s certainly up-kicked, creatively imagined soul food, which you’ll know when you bite into the lemon pepper honey fried chicken, or the banana pudding (or peach cobbler) waffle, or the sweet potato grits, or the watermelon chow chow. Oh, there’s no alcohol, so keep that in mind. You’ll probably be so full after dinner or brunch that you won’t mind. OK, that’s a lie, but it’s still amazingly good.

c. ellet

C. Ellet's

SunTrust Park

In a sea of restaurants, C. Ellet's and their steaks stand out as the best in SunTrust Park
Not to be outdone by Arthur Blank (with the tiny exception of personal net worth), Linton Hopkins opened a steakhouse in the new home of the Braves, and named it after his great-grandfather, a US Army Corps engineer who died from a gunshot wound after fighting alongside the Union Army in the Battle of Memphis. Hopkins went all out on beef, sourcing his from farms in Nebraska, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama, and wherever else he can source the very best bovine meats. The fresh seafood and daily rotating oyster selection are also major league draws, and the burger will be more of a steakhouse format than the all-American diner version you get at Holeman and Finch. It’s easily the best restaurant in the ballpark, but it also gives every other steakhouse in town a run for the plate.

Petit Chou

Cabbagetown

French food and Southern food combine to give you sandwiches so good you'll want two
French food and Southern foods have a lot in common. They’re both really good when done right, and you want to eat them constantly. Combining both in Cabbagetown, this little bistro that decided to fill you up with sandwiches -- there’s even a note on the menu that says “I take sandwiches very seriously.” The declaration is proven through the Sarah-Witch, which is shaved ham, Brie, arugula, and house preserves on a Southern baguette, along with the house biscuit with Boursin and chicken sausage, and the croque monsieur (“the French version of ham and cheese”).

Co

Co

Poncey-Highland

Many hopped on the pho craze... but Co mastered it
Pho is good any time of day, but it’s not always good depending on how close you live to some of the city’s best pho houses. Co brought fantastic bowls of the brothy noodle soup from its original Charleston location to Ponce, along with lots more Southeast Asian fare that ranges from sushi to banh mi, Thai noodles, ramen, Malaysian coconut curry soup, tuna tacos, and kimchi beef dumplings. It’s all part of a cooking philosophy that emphasizes four words -- "open-mindedness, desire, eagerness, and art,” -- none of which you can eat, but still things you can appreciate when you’re slurping down delicious bowls of steaming noodle soup without having to drive up to Doraville.

Food Terminal

Chamblee

Amazing Malaysian food in what's easily the best new restaurant in ATL
Malaysian street food is probably unbelievably good in Malaysia, and sure, ATL has flights, but the drive to Chamblee is much more convenient and highly convincing that you’re eating an authentic facsimile thereof, so skip the air travel and hit Buford Highway instead. The look of the interior is almost rewarding enough, with its glowing street-light-inspired design against dark wood. But you’re here to eat, not stare, so have a curry noodle soup or the Cheese N’ Cheese tomato-braised fried rice, which is cooked in cast-iron and mixed with Cheddar, mozzarella, smoked bacon, and yes, grilled Spam. If that doesn’t sound good, clean your ears, then opt for wonton BBQ pork noodles, or poached Hainanese chicken, which is one of the most popular dishes in Singapore. Read why Thrillist chose Food Terminal as one of our Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017.

Taverna

Taverna

Buckhead

Have you ever had an Italian brunch? Come by Buckhead and treat yourself. 
Any new restaurant in Buckhead will automatically be expected to show and prove, and that’s especially true when it comes to Italian food. Doing the northern Italy thing, Taverna goes big on risottos (the burrata/heirloom cherry tomatoes/prosciutto version is killer), and their pastas are also amazing, particularly the rustic spinach and ham lasagna. Definitely come back on weekends before 3pm for Italian brunch, which includes a serious brisket hash and vanilla French toast with mascarpone -- maybe not the most Italian menu items, but Italians know how to cook everything, so just be there and eat whatever you can.

Donetto

West Midtown

Italy comes to ATL via small plates, amaro, and Italian sodas
The Indigo Road is a well-respected restaurant group in Charleston, but we know by now that a Charleston success does not necessarily make an ATL hit (just ask your favorite Charleston-based rap artist). Donetto earns props for meaty Tuscan dishes from small plates to big pastas; the duck sausage fusilli is a standout, as well as the ripiena, or stuffed pasta with quail and smoked mushrooms. They’ve also got an outstanding beverage program, with tapped Negronis, an extensive amaro program, and a host of Italian sodas.

Bar Mercado

Krog Street Market

The Spanish tapas spot needed to make Krog Market complete
If you were thinking, “Damn, why aren’t there any Spanish tapas at Krog?” you are surely ecstatic to know that the group that brought us Cooks & Soldiers, Double Zero, and other noted restaurants around ATL were reading your brainwaves and fixed your life. The Madrid-inspired market bar has certainly fancied up KSM a bit, with little plates of full garlic/sherry shrimp, braised octopus, seared trout and other seafood, but there’s enough plant-based items to invite your vegan friends for a round or two. Think Catalan spinach, padrón peppers, oyster mushrooms, or thrice-fried saffron potatoes. You can also nab wagyu beef tartare, pork cheek empanadas, béchamel, chicken and mushroom croquetas, and cured meats and quesos. They also serve booze. And speaking of, you should totally try the rum, Creme de Framboise, orgeat, pineapple and mint Cadiz Punch 2.0, or one of 18 wines by the glass. Spoiler alert: they’re Spanish.

Jeff Gaines

Barleygarden Kitchen + Craft Bar

Alpharetta

A rooftop beer garden that'll make you actually go to Alpharetta
Not many people would have guessed Hop City’s Kraig Torres would eventually open a restaurant in Alpharetta when his craft beer shop first arrived on the Westside of Atlanta. Yet here we are, braving terrible traffic (lest you actually live in Alpharetta) and pretending to be able to afford upscale shopping, at Barleygarden. The partnership between Torres and Kevin Outz of The Spotted Trotter is a meaty and sudsy match made in heaven, or literally Avalon, because the rooftop beer garden atmosphere stays extremely casual -- which is important when you’re wolfing down a perfect pastrami grilled cheese sandwich. They also serve Spotted’s amazing pepper umami beef jerky (worth any drive), pork brat burgers and hot dogs, including a chicken Cheddarwurst that might be the Cheddar-best in the ATL metro area.

Mary Hoopa's Fried Chicken and Oysters | Mia Yakel
Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Atlanta Right Now

Updated On 03/16/2018 at 04:31PM EST