Everywhere You Need to Eat in Atlanta Right Now

From brunch that's actually worth the wait to top-notch barbecue, these are the spots in Atlanta worth a reservation ASAP.

Dining out these days feels more precious than ever. From spending time with friends and loved ones to making the most of the restaurants we have while they’re still here, there are lots of reasons to cherish those moments out. With the fact that we’re still, you know, in a pandemic, though, choosing a place to dine isn’t such an easy choice. To help you make the best choice possible for your next outing—whether it’s a date in Buckhead, a gathering with friends in East Atlanta, or a solo expedition downtown—we’ve rounded up the most exciting places for Italian, barbecue, brunch, and much more in Atlanta right now.

Atrium

Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

When Tal Baum, founder of Oliva Restaurant Group (which includes Bellina Alimentari and Aziza), opened Atrium this winter she didn’t want to stick with just one cuisine. So Atrium has a range of globally inspired options found across the menu from the crudo section with standouts like fluke with grapefruit to the mains with scallops and farro risotto. If you sit in the parlor section of the restaurant there are 25 cocktails to choose from (but try the matcha colada).

Available for Reservations

Mighty Hans

Candler Park
$$$$

Look, the brunch experience doesn’t have to be underwhelming. While people stand in line to eat a less than stellar biscuit at a well-known chain across the street from Gato, you can have your mind blown with exciting flavors found in the dishes at this Taiwanese-American pop-up that runs out of the kitchen on Saturday mornings. The setting is casual—grab a table inside or outside and order a feast, you won’t regret it. Fu-Mao Sun serves up comforting Taiwanese dishes like the fan tuan (rice ball) stuffed with a fried cruller, pork floss and pickles, the breakfast fried shrimp sandwich with scallion eggs, and at least two kinds of mochi doughnuts (flavors vary but on a recent visit they include matcha and pineapple). Drip coffee is available as is house-made sweet soy milk and cinnamon ginger milk tea.

Dirty Rascal
Dirty Rascal | Photo by Chelsea Patricia

Dirty Rascal

Buckhead
$$$$

Maybe you know Todd Ginsburg for his Jewish deli food at The General Muir or maybe you know him for his barbecue at Wood’s Chapel. Well, now you can know him for his spin on Italian-American cuisine at Dirty Rascal, located on the ground floor of the recently opened Thompson Hotel. Think shareable classics with oomph—the garlic bread is really garlicky (in a good way!), the gorgonzola salad has roasted grapes and a tangy “Mom’s dressing,” and the ricotta tortellini is tender and creamy atop a bed of lamb bolognese. Don’t skip the tiramisu at the end and if you’re imbibing, opt for a spritz (and maybe an espresso martini).

Available for Reservations

Biggerstaff Brewing Company

Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

Beer, delicious food, coffee—you can find it all at the recently opened Biggerstaff. The industrial space is polished up with a beautiful indoor seating area that feels outdoorsy when the weather is nice thanks to garage doors. Of course, you can actually sit outside, too, on their large patio with plenty of picnic tables and umbrellas. The food has been a smash so far thanks to delectable pub grub such as jumbo barbecue wings served with house-made ranch, crispy Brussels sprouts, and the loaded po’ boy with shrimp and calamari. On tap you’ll find a range of beers including a coffee pale ale and pilsner. Wine and cocktails are also available and coffee is served all day beginning at 8 am.

Rodney Scott is famous for his whole hog barbecue, and now Atlantans no longer need to jaunt to Charleston to get it. The fast-casual outpost brings all of his staples to Atlanta and a pretty dining room with big windows and blue accents to enjoy it in. When it comes to the food, pork is of course a great way to go here (as a sandwich or on a plate) but so are the spare ribs and even the fried catfish. Basically, just pick the protein that you're in the mood for and you’ll be pleased. But also, those sides. The macaroni and cheese is not to be missed and you definitely need hush puppies. The “tater truck” aka loaded baked potato is great, too.

Pollo Supremo

East Atlanta
$$$$

Sinaloan-style grilled chicken paradise can be found in East Atlanta Village. The team behind the popular Supremo Taco opened this joint in December with counter service, indoor seating, and a large patio. Options are straightforward: Choose how much chicken you want (quarter, half, whole) and add your sides (guacamole and esquites are good options). All orders come with tortillas, rice, beans, and pico de gallo. Margaritas and horchata are on standby, too.

Le Bon Nosh

Buckhead
$$$$

Glam interior design and delicious cafe fare is what you’ll find at Le Bon Nosh. The all-day cafe has pastries for a light breakfast (the perfectly layered croissant is a standout), sandwiches and salads for lunch (the lobster potato salad is a worthy splurge), and wood-fire grilled items for dinner. The idea here is to not feel like you’re in Atlanta but instead transported to an elegant dining room in Europe—mission accomplished.

Available for Reservations

Juniper Cafe

West Midtown
$$$$

The team behind Lazy Betty—Ron Hsu, Aaron Phillips, and Carl Van Tyle Gilbert—opened Juniper Cafe in West Midtown, and it’s like a breath of fresh air. The Vietnamese-inspired cafe serves pastries and a breakfast banh mi in the morning as well as lunch and dinner. Bright flavors and interesting textures abound in dishes like banh xeo, a coconut crepe with locally sourced shrimp and mushrooms, and the star fruit citrus salad that’s finished with toasted coconut, shallots, and garlic. There are also fruity house-made sodas that are very much mandatory ordering (especially the kumquat and yuzu soda which is very sweet-tart delicious). Sit in the Jewel-toned tinged dining room or grab a seat on the spacious covered patio.

Nur Kitchen

Buford Highway
$$$$

Shay Lavi runs the kitchen at Nur where he creates bright and flavorful dishes like the roasted eggplant with tahini, chopped salad, and mango dressing. There are some classics, too, like falafel, hummus with various toppings, and kabobs. This isn’t the place to visit on a low-carb day as the pita is served fresh out of the brick oven and is undeniable.

You can read a detailed background story on Lucian here, but just know that it is an expertly designed fusion of bistro, wine bar, and bookstore. It’s ideal for a date night, friend outing, or solo adventure—choose your vibe (and wine, of which there is plenty). The food is highly-executed bistro fare with standouts like the omelette with caviar and creme fraiche (it is melt-in-your-mouth good), fries with sorrel mayonnaise, and ricotta gnudi with beurre monté.

Humble Mumble
Photo courtesy of Humble Mumble

Humble Mumble

Midtown
$$$$

Chef Justin Dixon wants boring lunches to be a thing of the past. The pop-up chef set up shop in the Collective Food Hall within the Coda building. There, he makes sandwiches that go beyond basic like the "OG meatloaf melt” made with pork, beef, pimento cheese, bacon jam, and fancy greens. Don’t worry, vegetarians, he has you covered with sandwiches like the chickpea tikka masala salad with preserved tomatoes. Dixon also pop-ups up at events around town, so keep an eye out.

Lia Picard is an Atlanta-based journalist writing about food, travel, and a variety of other topics. Her work appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, and CNN Travel.