Eat a Giant Polenta Feast On Your Table
A creative house of Southern standards on the northside
Designed with simplicity in mind with hanging red lamps, white-painted brick walls, and brown paper-topped tables, Bogartz is run by brothers Scott and Bruce Bogartz, the latter of whom made his bones, broth, and biscuits cheffing in Knoxville before moving over to Georgia. Here off Roswell Road, Bruce puts out fresh takes on Southern classics, from Creole/Cajun (po’ boys stuffed with blackened or fried shrimp or catfish, or andouille sausage, or smoked brisket and brown gravy), and other sandwiches like a smoked duck club with thick-cut bacon, and the MOAB (“Mother Of All Bologna”) sandwich with pepper jelly and pimento cheese. There are also fried chicken livers, a “potlikker” starter with pork belly swimming in a ham hock broth over turnip greens and black-eyed peas, and meat-and-two plates, such as “Chicken in a Pot,” which is brined, cured, fricasseed, and put into a bowl with dumplings.
The fancy Korean street food that was missing in your life
Remember Double Dragon? Its Chinese food (and name) was great while it lasted, but alas. But we have some good news: in its place is a Korean joint where you can get a gang of yummy comfort mouth-stuffings, ranging from Korean-fried wings to a whole fried chicken, braised short ribs, crisp-charred beef bulgogi, traditional “Army Stew” (ramen, kimchi, etc., SPAM!), and kimchi fried rice in a tin lunch box -- which you shake like a cocktail before eating. It also comes with a pretty crazy story on the menu, in which a mountain-dwelling Korean man ends up turning a bear into a woman, making sweet love to this bear-woman, and spawning an emperor. So yes, the name is apparently literal.
Krog Street Market
Noodle soup takes a stand at Krog
Ain’t nothin’ like a nice hot bowl of pho when it suddenly decides to become chillier outside than it was last week (which is the eternal story of fall in Atlanta). Perhaps this is why the phenomenally named Pho Nam has arrived, thanks to the brothers that brought us MF Sushi back in the day, and who’ve made moves into a sleek, wood-panel-fronted booth that has the honor of being KSM’s only Vietnamese eatery. This means you get banh mi in various versions, from curry chicken to rare beef and fatty brisket, and of course several versions of pork. They’ve also got spring rolls (the translucent rice paper kind and deep-fried), vermicelli noodle bowls, Vietnamese salads, and 10 styles of that soup, including the seafood combo of shrimp, crab sticks, fishballs, and rare filet mignon.
The beloved, twice wrecked pizza joint is finally back
Who cares if it's not “new” or not in the same OG location on Edgewood Ave in the O4W -- obviously some of y’all don’t know how to act and couldn’t keep from crashing into the front of the damn restaurant... so they had to figure out a new way for now. Thankfully, one of the best pizzerias in town has returned after 18 months out of commission, and it still has those incredible pies which always stood apart from the “Antico vs [literally any other joint here]” debates by relaxing on the “must come from Italy” rules, and combining NY and Neapolitan-style pie styles to create something different. The meats are still from The Spotted Trotter, they have huge new imported ovens from Naples, and you can still watch the process through large windows inside the blacked-out dining room. And why did they get new ovens instead of use the ones they had at the Edgewood location? Well, it’s coming back too, early next year. For now, this new news is good news.
Upscale Mexican from the La Parrilla folks
Sometimes you do things just to make money so you can do things you really want to do, like Cardi B, who famously was an exotic dancer before challenging Nicki Minaj’s spot for top lady rapper, or the Beall family, who own the heralded Tennessee resort Blackberry Farm with money made from starting the Ruby Tuesday chain. In the case of Casi Cielo, it’s the group that runs La Parrilla -- the southeastern chain of Mexican restaurants -- that’s taking things up a notch by focusing specifically on Oaxacan food, which also tells you there’s smoky flavor throughout the menu, whether mole or the gang of mezcal offered (which they say they is the largest collection in Greater ATL). The earthy red/brown/gold glow of the dining room gives warm illumination, but you can get inner heat starting with Tartare de Foie (tenderloin tartare and charred foie with onions infused with cinnamon and topped with jalapeño), before moving on to suckling pig tacos, or entrees like charred prawns in chili-habanero oil, or a cilantro-chimichurri ribeye.
East Atlanta Village
EAV’s got serious food credibility again
There’s a soulful feeling that haunts the matte gray brick building that once housed My Sister’s Room, and it’s coming not just from the restaurant’s ghost-inspired moniker. This funked-up “New American” eatery has quickly become the Glenwood/Flat Shoals intersection’s most serious dining destination by taking its food just serious enough without being pompous, so you don’t feel like you’ve left the neighborhood when you’re chomping into the bar-cut flounder with grapefruit and sunchokes, or out of place for a wagyu steak salad. It’s one of our favorite spots of 2018, with seamless service thanks to operations run by veterans of Wrecking Bar Brewpub and Ford Fry’s school of culinary competency. And the cocktails also kick ass -- for a taste of originality try the Fernet Branca-mixed Staccato, a bourbon-based bev that mixes citrus, spice, and tawny port that’s perfect for conjuring a well-rounded spiritual shakeup.
All around ATL
Everybody’s favorite meatless burger truck
Yes, all the celebrities are eating the hell out of the Slutty Vegan’s food-porn-tastic Impossible burger, but you don’t really need the blessing of Lena Waithe, Tyler Perry, Big Boi or others to tell you it’s delicious (though it does help). Get there early -- wherever you see the yellow truck parked -- and just know that you don’t have long before the horny-named burgers (Menage a Trois with vegan bacon; Sloppy Toppy with vegan cheese on Hawaiian bun) are sold out.
The Battery’s fanciest plate
Directly across from that huge red Atlanta Braves sign just outside SunTrust is one of the most consistent steakhouses in the city. Yet you may have felt like the frequent occasion of seeing The Braves get their asses whooped last season never quite merited a fine cut of cow. Now that it’s under new management, you can feel a much more flexible atmosphere welcoming you into what’s undoubtedly The Battery’s best restaurant (after all, it’s Gina and Linton Hopkins’ spot). Of course it’s the place to be if you want a bone-in filet or 38oz Prime tomahawk from Chicago, but it’s also a great choice if you’re stuck in Cumberland traffic during rush hour and want to find refuge -- their “4 to 6” happy hour menu offers great deals at $4 - $9 per item on average, including half-off premium oysters (bartender’s pick), an outstanding salmon crudo, miniature clam sammies, and a slider version of the Holeman & Finch cheeseburger.
A Real Housewife shares family food
Kandi’s contributions to Atlanta have already earned her a place on any future Mount Rushmore replica we build. But she might get a statue all her own now that she put her mom and two aunts in the kitchen to literally cook yams and more of the singer/personality’s favorite childhood dishes. OLG is a serious family restaurant that serves everything you’d expect loved ones to cook for you when you’ve made them proud, such as Macallan-glazed blackened salmon, or whole wings and crème anglaise French toast. Now you know who you can run to when you need soul food.
It’s exactly what the name suggests, done incredibly well
Sometimes when you have specialties you should let people know. At Mary Hoopla’s, the suggestion is clear; you pick your bird’s size (half or whole) and how many, then have it flavored sweet, hot or plain, and they’ll fry it for you. They offer oysters raw or grilled with fermented lemon, confit garlic, French parsley, and butter, or you can get them hot fried as an entree on white bread. There’s more on the menu, but the key is to trust the house, and move forward from there.
Farm-forward, Hemingway-inspired fare
This restaurant is named after what Papa Hemingway called blank sheets of paper, and similarly wants to create timeless meals while sticking exclusively to Georgia-sourced ingredients (from farms like Finch Creek, Riverview, and Stone Mountain Cattle Co.). They’ll also be serving up to 80 guests at a time with a menu that offers 15 always changing dishes that could include Sapelo Island clams with pigtails, kohlrabi, celery, lemon, or maybe tilefish with aji amarillo, daikon, tapioca, and kale. Also, maybe not! You’ll have to stop in and see.
Premium noodles and Thai from experts who expect a dress code
The Tuk Tuk Thai team, which has roots in Midtown’s beloved Nan restaurant, knows Thai cuisine. Chai Yo brings their penchant for flavor-flexing into lunch and dinner service for Buckhead’s midday and early evening crowd, offering them inventive takes on traditional dishes, such as egg noodle-wrapped lobster tails (the fried kind) with yellow curry and mustard greens, or 12-hour sous vide beef cheeks with Brussels and jasmine rice. Yes, there’s a dress code that disinvites those in athletic or beach wear, but that just means you won’t have to run into Mark Cuban at dinner.
Old 4th Ward
High-level cuisine with a charitable heart
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.
Perfectly paired supper and cocktails from ATL bar veterans
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.
Delicious and delectable bites... like steak. Get the steak.
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.
Up-ticked Southern fare for lovers of secrets and great drinks
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.
Easily the coolest and tastiest Indian restaurant around town
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.
Old 4th Ward
BeltLine brunches and camp-inspired cookery
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.
Farmstead-driven, James Beard-certified food that never falls short
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.
Posh New American power dinner with Picasso (no, really)
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.
Perennial crowd favorite with beloved fried chicken and fantastic service
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.
Early to late-night dining and tiki with a showy simplicity that works
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.
Lofty, classy, feisty Basque cuisine
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.
A modern Southern restaurant still making Hugh Acheson a household name
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.
Kitchen and bar talent upgrades spur a miraculous turnaround
The Charlotte-born restaurant, under a different chef in its first few months, struggled to find a path to ATL’s hard-to-please stomach. Today, with executive chef Scotley Innis at the helm, the dining and drinking complex is much worthier of heavenly praise. Ask any day for the chef’s whole fish special for proof. And be sure to show up on Ramen Mondays because you need to be wowed by specials like oxtail ramen when Innis is in the mood to show off his Jamaican heritage.
Metro ATL’s undisputed oyster champion with a special ice secret
There’s simply no way to beat Kimball House’s raw bar happy hour -- it’s worth the drive from wherever you are, even during rush hour, to eat those high-quality bivalves. Not only that, but it’s a great place for steaks and other seafood. Plus, partner Miles Macquarrie continues proving, through his constantly changing cocktails, absinthe program, and one-off events such as a recent dinner he hosted with KH menu items paired exquisitely with Sipsmith gin, that he’s a beast with a shaker. For proof, here’s a homework assignment: next time you’re there, just ask him (or any bartender on staff) what’s so special about the ice. You’ll never question the value of a $13 drink again.
Of course the city’s best Szechuan is in an OTP strip mall
A few years ago, food critic Jennifer Zyman said Masterpiece had “the best Chinese food in the Atlanta area.” Unless you already live in Duluth (and if so, you should be there daily), go on and make the long-ass drive, because she wasn’t lying. Don’t waste time looking for an online menu; just head out there and have a hot plate of your go-tos for an introduction: they have incredible pork dumplings and spicy shaved/fried chicken. Hell, even good ol’ beef and broccoli is artisan-level compared to anything you’ve eaten lately at Perimeter Mall.
A trustworthy institution that never ceases to surprise
The simplicity of Watershed is deceptive. You know you’re getting food that’s based on tradition and made from locally sourced produce and proteins. But Watershed keeps on doing it at levels that surpass almost all the newcomers, and chef Zeb Stevenson consistently delivers dishes that you feel like you could make at home if only you were a genius and had the proper cookware. The general rule is this: If it’s Southern, and you like it, you’ll love it at Watershed. Also, have you been to Sunday Jazz Brunch, or their monthly 20 For $20 wine tastings? Because you need to.
Crazy good Neapolitan pizza pulling locals back to South Peachtree
Amalfi partners Stephen de Haan and Greg Grant decided they wanted to make the best pizza in Atlanta, so they took courses (both here in the States and in Italy) on making traditional Neapolitan pies. Then they had two 6,000-pound brick ovens craned in through the ceiling of an old Downtown building, just so that you could eat slices of the Amalfi Carnevale, topped with spicy sausage, peppadew peppers, caramelized onion, and house-made bacon jam, with a ricotta-stuffed crust. Also, Red Phone Booth is next door and owned by the same guys. Get the code while you’re eating and walk over for a cigar and snifter of rare Pappy if you’ve got the proper funds after.
Vietnamese-Creole eats complemented by a superior cocktail program
Everything’s good at Bon Ton, from the blackened catfish banh mi to the sausage and seafood gumbo, applewood-smoked snow crab, boiled crawfish, and pretty much everything else. And how can you not love a place with drinks as delicious as its food, a lovable red neon sign that says “Fancy Service,” and an even more lovable low-tech website? You can’t. It’s simply impossible.
Undeniably righteous smoked meats that could easily be the best in ATL
If you haven’t heard how good B’s is by now, you can safely assume your friends and family and Truman Show-ing you. Everybody knows about the brisket, the wings, the pork and everything else you’d expect to be good, but nobody expected it to be this good, and this consistent. B might have a nationwide franchise opportunity on his hands, as well as a little barbecue sauce. Also, be there on Saturdays for Erika Council’s Bomb-Ass Biscuits pop-up from 9am until noon.
Krog Street Market
Spanish tapas and wines go for an Inman Park takeover
Anyone can appreciate a place with reasonable prices for Spanish wine (glasses range from $5 to $14); even folks who have houses in Inman Park, who need to watch their spending as much as a fish needs fresh air. The great thing about Bar Mercado is that the wine sets up great shared dining, particularly the perfectly seared trout (you’ll swear it’s somehow deep-fried due to its crispness), charred octopus, or nightly specials such as lobster and mussels.