In a city with as many great things to eat as Atlanta, it’s only natural that some stuff will get overlooked, unless you already know where to find the ATL’s most underrated restaurants, or someone who can just, like, give you a list of the 11 sweetest ones. Oh, wait...
The Most Underrated Restaurants in Atlanta
What you’re getting: The Yuki roll and yellowtail & eel sashimi
You’re probably not getting your sushi fix here, but you totally should be. That’s because the easy-to-miss strip-mall spot’s menu is nearly as big as the strip mall itself. Oh, and it also serves up some of the freshest, most melt-in-your-mouth sushi in the city -- and it does it in a totally accessible environment, with service that’s attentive without being overbearing.
What you’re getting: Lamb gyro
Can a gyro be life changing? If you’ve had one at this takeout-only spot, you already know the answer.* The slow-cooked lamb number (a freshly made pita crammed with a shton of meat and creamy, tangy tzatziki sauce) is even better with an order of crisp, seasoned Greek potatoes, and some sweet, flaky baklava. *Hint: it’s yes.
What you’re getting: Candler Park club
Whether it’s your neighborhood market or you’re just passing by, there are some legit treasures to find here, especially in the deli, located at the back of the store. It offers salads, soups, and baked goods, as well as killer build-your-own breakfast, brunch, and lunch sandwiches. We think its praises aren’t sung nearly enough.
Old Fourth Ward
What you’re getting: A king slice
This little dive gets points for its late hours, generous servings, and reasonable prices. What it should get more points for is the king slice, essentially a piece of nearly head-sized pizza, big on everything essential: lots of gooey cheese, perfectly tangy sauce, and deliciously chewy yet crisp crust. Oh, and because EP has expanded, now has a full bar, and is open until 4am on the weekends, it’s also a killer place to continue, not just end, a night of drinking.
Old Fourth Ward
What you’re getting: Kerala fried chicken
As much as we loved Chef Asha Gomez's previous venture, Cardamom Hill, we’re even happier with Spice to Table. You’ll get similarly complex, flavorful dishes, this time with a charming rustic feel. In addition to the aforementioned fried chicken, try StT’s Southern take on chicken biryani, a traditional Pakistani/Indian dish, or a winter special, like the spiced meat pie with beef, chicken, and goat. Yes, goat.
What you’re getting: Pineapple jerk chicken
How many times have you stumbled past this dark, unassuming storefront without giving it much thought? Trust us, the exterior belies what you’ll find inside. The atmosphere, staff, and pub-style eats are all casual and unpretentious -- and better still, half the on-tap beers are always local. Pro tip: don’t miss the off-menu shot, the Right Side Failure, made with vanilla vodka, Baileys, and alcoholic root beer.
What you’re getting: Smoked fried chicken
Somehow this gastropub flies under the radar despite slinging seriously sweet reimagined American classics, including ridiculously flavorful smoked fried chicken, which just like the name suggests, is smoked before it’s fried to the perfect crisp.
What you’re getting: The animal-style burger and Gangsta tots
The more casual, rustic little sister to Alpharetta’s popular Bite Bistro & Bar, Bellwoods Social House made a small splash when it opened last fall, but with its spectacular food, craft cocktails, and service in a lovely setting, it really deserved something more like a tidal wave. Be forewarned: juicy, messy, and meaty, the huge animal-style burger and cheesy, bacon-y Gangsta tots will test the limits of your zipper.
What you’re getting: Blue cheese and bacon burger
From the nondescript storefront, you might not expect much, but inside, this mom-and-pop spot offers a rotating seasonal craft beer list, great cocktails, and excellent food with daily specials (like half-price burgers!). With tons of TVs inside so you can comfortably catch the game, as well as what’s sure to be your new favorite outdoor patio, this may be the best place you’re probably not going to.
What you’re getting: Soft tacos, queso, and chicken soup
Ask for authentic regional Mexican eats, and most people will send you to Nuevo Laredo Cantina (or the South-of-the-Border spot closest to their house). Equally as inspired but less talked about is this delicious dive. With flavors inspired by Mexico City, the kitchen pumps out outrageously good comida -- in the form of delectable enchiladas, quesadillas, chimichangas, and much more -- that would make anyone’s abuela proud.
What you’re getting: Chicken makhani and garlic naan
Lahore Grill might be slightly OTP, but for these authentic Indo/Pakistani flavors, you shouldn’t worry about the trek. The space itself leaves a little to be desired, but the food more than makes up for it -- especially the tender chicken makhani in a smooth, almost perfectly spiced sauce. Definitely get an extra order of the fluffy-yet-crispy garlic naan to sop up any extra.
Sign up here for our daily Atlanta email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the ATL has to offer.
Brook Bolen is an Atlanta-based writer who, when she’s not penning things for sites like Jezebel (and Thrillist, obviously), is eating Gangsta tots, and posting things on Instagram: @redvelvetfemme.
1. Sushi Itto2173 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta
2. Nick's Food To Go240 MLK Dr SE, Atlanta
3. Candler Park Market1642 McLendon Ave NE, Atlanta
4. Edgewood Pizza478 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta
5. Spice to Table659 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta
6. The Pullman1992 Hosea Williams Dr, Atlanta
7. The Bishop124 N Avondale Rd, Avondale Estates
8. Bellwoods Social House1000 Marietta St NW Ste 200, Atlanta
9. Brockett Pub House & Grill4522 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta
10. Taxco Mexican Restaurant4500 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta
11. Lahore Grill1869 Cobb Pkwy S Ste 150, Marietta
This sushi restaurant is a favorite amongst locals. Try their special Itto Paradise roll stuffed with crab, smoked salmon, yellowtail, and fish eggs. Make sure to check out what they call "The Bamboo." It's deep, fried asparagus wrapped in seaweed with wasabi sauce, and is sure to have you're mouth on fire.
This eatery keeps it simple with dishes like the "lamb plate with everything" and other greek eats.
They are a locally owned and operated neighborhood corner store that doubles as a market and deli. Not only can you stop in for groceries, you can grab a burger, sandwich, or salad. Their "Most Excellent" pimento cheese burger is raved about along with their classic deli sandwiches Firehouse Italian, Reuben, and Candler sandwiches.
This place serves up NY-style pies and wings. Stays open till 4am on the weekends, and you can get your pizza by the slice. Recommended is the King Slice, the biggest size of pizza you can get here. They have a plethora of wing choices ranging from teriyaki garlic to lemon pepper and the classic hot and mild choices.
Expect some South-Asian spices mixed with your Mom’s home-cooking at this Old Fourth Ward spot. The best thing to get here are the samosas that are stuffed with delicious meats and veggies that you won’t mistake this for any old bakery.
Although it’s often confused with The Paxton, The Pullman is actually a new community-centric gastropub taking its name from Kirkwood's historic rail yards, and opening Friday with an almost jailhouse-y vibe, plus a seating area with a free lending library of books and board games hidden in a chest, which means this Operation's sure to gain some buzz.
Local beers set the scene for turnt up comfort foods, like “Knife and fork” deviled eggs loaded with bacon that will make you actually like deviled eggs.
This Westside watering hole wants to fill you up with booze, beer, and what is instantly in the running for best bar food in the city: think PBR-brined wings, some pork shoulder tacos, and the best cocktails this side of Marietta St.
When you come, be sure to try the spicy chicken sandwich or the braised beef grilled cheese sandwich with a side of fried pickles. They also have a rotating seasonal craft beer list that locals go crazy over.
They offer a huge menu of pretty much any American-Mexican dish you can think of. Be sure to check out their chicken soup, soft tacos, and the nachos. They've got a great selection of tequila and imported beers to go along with all their menu items.
A range of Indian & Pakistani dishes served buffet style are offered here. Some of the most loved dishes there are their chicken dishes 65, Korma, and Makhani. Make sure to accompany your dish with either their garlic or onion naan.