Atlanta's sprawling collection of 'hoods is united by A) our mutual hatred of the idiots on 285, and B) our mutual love of eating. But how do you know if the place where you're chowing down is a real local legend, or just some corporate chain frontin’ on your turf? It's easy: if you want to patronize the kind of places run by people who can lend you a cup of sugar (or a pound of pigs feet), then check out our list of the best local restaurants in every Atlanta neighborhood...
The best neighborhood restaurant in every Atlanta neighborhood
Software engineer and at-home mad pizza scientist, Jeff Varasano, piled up stacks of local and national awards... but totally shares his recipes with the world, mostly 'cause he knows you don’t have an 800-degree stone pizza oven or all the supremely fresh ingredients he has at home, so he’s pretty confident you’ll keep coming back for more.
If the name didn’t tip you off, this is about as Georgia-grown as you can get: just check their Facebook page for pictures of what local veggies they’ll be picking for that day’s menu, then skip said veggies (yuck!) and get the fried chicken or the pork chops, which are also from around here.
Ria’s Bluebird Cafe
The late Ria Pell's memory lives on in the famed Southern eats (grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, shrimp & grits, biscuits & gravy, etc.) that earned her reality TV fame when she won Chopped.
Angus Brown and Nhan Le run all around the city hitting up farmers' markets you’ve probably never even heard of to find types of oysters and other creatures of the sea that sound like Japanese movie monsters, and then serve 'em to you. Take that, delicious Kumamoto oyster!
Helmed by a dude who was born in guess what year... 1972! (just kidding, it was '71)... and who wanted to open a place where his friends and family could hang/booze, this Irish-style drink spot's got more than just the usual taps (Sweetwater Red Hot Mama), and home-style eats like a Jack Daniel’s-smoked beef brisket sandwich, and shepherd’s pie.
Original owners Darren Carr and Denise Sanchez bring a little bit of a late-night cool vibe to the converted two-story, and strictly avoids douching it up. If you need proof, boiled peanuts are their signature appetizer... but, yes, they do still manage to make a mean Duck Confit Pizza w/ sorghum-cured bacon, mixed mushroom & pesto.
No Mas! Cantina
You’ll probably be able to grab a margarita with the owners at the huge bar, assuming they’re not on one of their regular trips to Mexico to pick up crazy new glassware for the attached bodega. Plus, it’s a great place to grab a tequila or five before a show, if you’re looking to avoid the regular Philips / Dome crowd, or a Bloody Maria and huevos on a blurry Sunday afternoon.
Brickery Grill & Bar
A husband and wife team have kept this place packed nightly for over 20yrs, which isn't something you do by sucking, unless it's your fingers after you've crushed a plate of their perfectly Southern fried chicken.
Sushi House Hayakawa
Obviously, Buford Highway’s best isn’t going to be classic Georgia soul food, but Chef / owner Atsushi "Art" Hayakawa will happily show you some of the best sushi knife skills in the city, assuming you can follow his blazing speed. Pro tip: avoid the weekend rush and go early during the week, sit at the bar, and eat whatever the hell Chef Art tells you to.
Tim Murphy’s mind-blowing shrimp & grits -- and other Southern staples -- are complemented by what is arguably Atlanta’s deepest, yet most-accessible wine menu/shop (go for the Tuesday tastings if you want to impress your next date), all of which, including their on-site bakery, is squeezed into a cozy, brick-walled space.
Old Fourth Ward
You think you know what Guy Wong is all about, but any night you show up, he’ll still manage to surprise you with a ramen burger or kimchee twist that you didn’t see coming. The bar is no slacker, either, with Japanese beers you’ve never tried, and cocktails that go perfectly with those soy-marinated eggs.
West of the Connector has a lot of great places, but Sublime (sweet) creams them all. Kamal Grant, a Marietta High graduate, did what so many of Atlanta’s best locals did: taught himself one thing, and then did it better than almost anyone else in the country -- so just show up in the morning and get ready for whatever peanut butter-stuffed and breakfast cereal-topped breakfast eats he's created that day.
Little Five Points
The Porter Beer Bar
When you have 800-something beers jammed into a space no larger than a nail salon, you’d think you might call it a day, but The Porter's, like, "Screw that! We're also gonna sell Applewood-smoked bacon hushpuppies, and almond butter and apple prosciutto sandwiches, so take that other nail salon-sized bars with 800 beers!"
Bell Street Burritos
Just a few years old, Bell Street's already been named one of America’s 10 best burritos by USA Today, all because Matt Hinton, a Morehouse prof, was dismayed by the burritos Downtown, so he took things into his own hands, wrapped 'em in tortillas and put 'em into yours.
Kirkyard Public House
Their great Georgia draft beer selection washes down powerful bar food selections like bacon guacamole and chili-cheddar Jack burgers that're so good, even people in, like, Reynoldstown should make the “road trip".
One Eared Stag
Chef and owner Robert Phalen has a 600-acre farm where he hunts, grows, and forages the wildly unpredictable and masterfully tasty dishes at his little place by the MARTA stop, making this another place where planning ahead is never needed, 'cause chef knows
you're just there for a cup of sugar what's best.
1. Brickery Grill & Bar6125 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta
2. Varasano's2171 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta
3. Home Grown968 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta
4. Ria's Bluebird421 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta
5. The Octopus Bar560 Gresham Ave, Atlanta
6. Pub 714058 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta
7. Top Flr675 Myrtle St NE, Atlanta
8. No Mas! Cantina180 Walker St SW, Atlanta
9. Murphy's997 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta
10. Miso Izakaya619 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta
11. Sublime Doughnuts535 10th St NW, Atlanta
12. The Porter Beer Bar1156 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta
13. Bell Street Burritos209 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta
14. Kirkyard Public House1963 Hosea L Williams Dr NE R105, Atlanta
15. One Eared Stag1029 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta
16. Sushi House Hayakawa5979 Buford Hwy NE, Ste A10, Atlanta
A husband and wife team have kept this place packed nightly for over 20 years, which isn't something you do by sucking, unless it's your fingers after you've crushed a plate of their perfectly Southern fried chicken.
Jeff Varasano's eponymous pizza restaurant gain national acclaim with its first outpost in Buckhead (it was purportedly one of Rachel Ray's favorite spots in America). This Perimeter offshoot is a clubby update of the original, complete with a outdoor patio, secret entry lounge and in-house DJ. Pies range from the traditional to fancier stuff like the "Nucci" (garlic, olives, Emmenthaler, arugula, Capocollo).
A friendly atmosphere and some good ole Southern comfort food make this spot feel like home. Fill up on goodies like soft shell crab po' boys, sloppy joes, redneck tacos (coleslaw & BBQ pork in a pancake!) and fried bologna sandwiches.
A casual diner done up in cabin motifs and murals by local artists. This breakfast and lunch joint is doing Southern grub right with fish and grits, biscuits, and huevos. They've also got a lot of vegetarian options if you're looking for some country fried tempeh.
Featuring a menu that changes daily, Octopus Bar is a quality spot for late-night eats. But keeping in tune with their name, yes, you'll be able to order octopus on pretty much any day you're there.
Helmed by a dude who was born in 1971 (get it?)... and who wanted to open a place where his friends and family could hang/ booze, this Irish-style drink spot's got more than just the usual taps (Sweetwater Red Hot Mama), and home-style eats like a Jack Daniel’s Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich, and Shepherd’s Pie.
This eclectic bistro boasts extensive wine and cocktail lists, and entrees include choices like sea scallops with Asian pear, pork tenderloin with sweet potato puree, and grilled chipotle chicken.
Grab a margarita at the huge bar. It’s a great place to grab a tequila or five before a show, if you’re looking to avoid the regular Philips / Dome crowd, or a Bloody Maria and huevos on a blurry Sunday afternoon.
This Virginia Highlands staple boasts a bakery and wine shop in addition to its popular restaurant.
If you want to taste their signature ramen, go there often and get there early (i.e. it tends to sell out quickly). But if you're willing to forgo that staple, there are plenty other delicious Japanese meals to masticate.
Sublime is to donuts what Picasso was to painting. They're serious about the craft of creating sweet dough with a hole in the middle and their huge variety of gourmet donuts convey that with every delectable bite.
Grab a casual dinner & brew at The Porter Beer Bar in L5P, outfitted with comfy wooden booths and exposed bricks.
Bell Street's serving up killer burritos and has been named one of America’s 10 best burritos by USA Today, all because Matt Hinton, a Morehouse prof, was dismayed by the burritos Downtown, so he took things into his own hands, wrapped 'em in tortillas and put 'em into yours.
This neighborhood spot in Kirkwood boasts a huge open space inside, plentiful flat screens, hyperlocal craft beer, and great bar food, (including a paleo burger that you'll actually want to eat).
Inman Park's One Eared Stag is a cozy neighborhood gastropub serving American and British bar bites for lunch, brunch, and dinner. The heads of several (literally) One Eared Stags mount the walls of the dining room, which offers communal and bar seating. The backyard patio is a solid spot to post up with a whiskey in hand.
Owner Atsushi "Art" Hayakawa will happily show you some of the best sushi knife skills in the city, assuming you can follow his blazing speed. Pro tip: avoid the weekend rush and go early during the week, sit at the bar, and eat whatever Chef Art tells you to.