Everywhere You Need to Eat in Atlanta Right Now
Italian, Israeli, and more.
Atlanta’s restaurant scene is booming. Yes, there are new restaurants, but there are also restaurants getting new chefs and menu revamps and we want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of them. Please note, there’s a mask ordinance in the city of Atlanta so don’t forget to bring yours along. From pasta to Israeli food here’s where to eat right now in Atlanta.
The gist: It’s owned by IPIC Theaters, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is some casual spot to grab a bite pre or post going to the movies. This place is elegant and meant to be enjoyed.
The food: Pasta is the star here as it’s made in-house. The linguine alla vongole with little neck clams and a lemony white wine sauce is perfectly twirl-able. Also, is it wrong to love a caesar salad? Because the caesar salad here is excellent and possibly worth coming for on its own. There are cocktails, wine, and dessert, too, naturally.
The cost: Expect to spend around $12-27 for an appetizer, $15-28 for pasta, $24-42 for an entree
The gist: A modern take on Israeli and Turkish cuisines.
The food: Shay Lavi has taken over the kitchen of Nur and, y’all, it’s more than good. He’s creating 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.
The cost: Apps are around $8 - $15, sandwiches are around $10 - $15, sides are about $6
Lucian Books and Wine
The gist: 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: We’re talking 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.
The cost: A dinner for two with a few drinks, about five plates to share, and a couple of coffees will run you around $200.
The gist: Ford Fry’s Decatur staple got a 10-year anniversary revamp. There’s some new decor and a new menu to boot. The restaurant remains a stylishly casual spot to enjoy a meal.
The food: Once specializing in seasonally-driven Italian fare made with a light touch, the menu now hearkens back to old school Italian joints. Chef Drew Belline is still in charge, though, so trust that it’s still delicious. Expect hearty options like meatballs, garlic bread (with lots of cheese), and chicken parmigiana. There’s still pizza and pasta, and it’s worth ordering at least one to share in addition to the other dishes you’ll enjoy. Save room for tiramisu!
The cost: About $14 for an appetizer, $20-ish for pizza or pasta, $16 - $27 for a main course (unless you get the big steak, then it’s $78).
The gist: Weekend-only breakfast burritos with creative fillings.
The food: After launching a pandemic-fueled pop-up out of their home, Nick and Kristen Melvin have opened up a brick-and-mortar restaurant for Poco Loco. Only open Thursday through Saturday, Nick and his team serve up breakfast burritos like “The Jeff Beck” with cauliflower “chorizo,” chickpeas, eggs, and feta cheese in a house-made flour tortilla. Other provisions like meat by the pound and cookie dough are typically available, too.
The cost: Burritos are $8 each.
The Gist: A mid-century modern supper club-style restaurant in the Kimpton Sylvan.
The Food: If you’re looking to get dressed up and delight in elegant dishes in cocktails The Betty is the place to go. There’s a wide range of offerings though the standouts include the spaghetti with Georgia clams, crispy magret duck, and the wedge salad. Don’t overlook the martini list, which includes James Bond’s favorite, the Vesper.
The cost: Apps and pasta dishes are around $14 - $17 while mains go for $38 - $59.
The gist: With floor-to ceiling windows, on-site garden, and ample outdoor seating, it’s like having a piece of Carmel, CA in Atlanta
The food: Christopher Grossman and Christian Castillo left their posts at Atlas to open The Chastain so you know everything is seasonally driven and presented beautifully. Visit their cafe set-up in the morning for biscuits and yogurt bowls or go in the evening for dinner in the airy, well-appointed dining room. There’s also an excellent wine list and cocktail menu to match.
The Cost: Not cheap, but worth it.
Continent Restaurant & Cigar Lounge
The Gist: Continent is chef Scotley Innis’s love letter to Afro-Caribbean cuisine.
The food: The swanky spot on Buford Highway serves bold flavors found in dishes like the spiced lamb chops, oysters with duck bacon and smoked paprika breadcrumbs, and whole fried snapper with red coconut curry sauce. Mike Haze oversees the drink program as the creator of playful cocktails like the hibiscus Moet martini with vodka, hibiscus syrup, and Moet. Garnished with a hibiscus flower, naturally.
The cost: Starters start at $14, mains start at $22 and go up to $120 (but that’s for a tomahawk steak in jerk rub), sides are $6 - $8.
The gist: Chefs Richard Tang and Karl Gorline opened Girl Diver in December. The high-end seafood house features a sleek interior with 3D bead flooring to evoke thoughts of the ocean and a heated patio.
The food: The restaurant specializes in Southeast Asian-meets-Cajun cuisine inspired by the dishes he grew up with as the son of a Chinese father and Vietnamese mother. Standouts on the menu include the lobster macaroni and cheese with chives, bacon, and furikake seasoning, barbecue octopus smoked over hickory chips and served with popcorn grits, and the Key lime baked Atlanta, a play on the classic steakhouse dessert baked Alaska. Try a “Ferris Bueller” made with bourbon, amaro, and two kinds of bitters.
The cost: Small plates range from $7 - $16, large plates $17 - $27, and seafood-by-the-pound $15 - $55. Seafood platters start at $100, but don’t mind the Phd platter which costs $1,000—it’s just a joke.
The gist: You know what the Inman Park area lacked? A Persian restaurant. Delbar gave us one with beautiful design and food that tastes good whether it’s enjoyed in the upscale confines or at home.
The food: Persian food is known for being labor-intensive, and you can tell that the chefs at Delbar don’t cut corners. Dishes like the adana kabob (lamb) are incredibly tender and flavorful, while the kashk bademjoon (eggplant spread with mint and cream of whey) spread on a piece of warm taftoon bread is pure comfort. Make sure you order one of the rice dishes so you can see just how delicious rice can be, especially when it’s served with a crispy tahdig.
The cost: Spreads and appetizers cost around $11 - $14, meals served a la carte are around $15 - $32, and rice dishes are around $9. Portions are generous.
The gist: Bar Mercado, part of the Castellucci Hospitality Group, has been around for a few years, but last winter they promoted Raul Dominguez to the role of executive chef which completely reinvigorated the eatery. Along with Luis Guevara, he’s changed the menu to be less Spanish-focused with a heavier emphasis on Latin American cuisine.
The food: Bar Mercado still serves tapas, and while there are still some dishes with Spanish roots (paella), new dishes on the menu include street corn (corn on the cob with lime-garlic aioli), sweet plantains with crema, and provoleta (grilled cheese). The drinks match the vibe with standouts like sangria and the “Late July” with mezcal, tequila, fernet, pineapple, lime, and habanero tincture.
The cost: Tapas range from $5 - $12, while large plates are between $16 - $36. There are also family meals that start at $32.
Scoville Hot Chicken
The gist: You might think Atlanta didn’t need another hot chicken restaurant, but then you sink your teeth into a Scoville Hot Chicken sandwich, and all is forgiven. If the restaurant gives off a chain vibe that’s because it’s the first location of multiple planned by owner Justin Lim, who also owns ramen restaurant Okiboru.
The food: Hmm, would it surprise you if we said hot chicken is the star here? The menu is pretty straightforward: Choose between a hot chicken sandwich or a hot chicken sandwich combo served with fries. You can customize how hot you want your sandwich with a range of “not hot” to “reaper” (in our opinion, “chill” is the way to go if you like a little heat). Coleslaw and pickles are available for purchase.
The cost: A combo is $10, just the sandwich is $8.
The gist: The hottest pizza joint in Atlanta right now is barely a joint at all. It’s a stall inside Irwin Street Market with a takeout window conveniently adjacent to the BeltLine’s Eastside trail. Glide is the brainchild of Rob Birdsong, an Atlanta native who returned home after living in NYC. He missed the pizza, so he opened a place here.
The food: You’ll find New York-style pizza (some claim that it’s the best in town) available by the slice or whole pie. There are three options: cheese (with two kinds of mozzarella), pepperoni, and the garlic (it’s like the cheese, but with a lot of garlic, too). Whichever one you order, it’s imperative that you get a side of house-made pizza ranch and pickled pizza peppers.
The cost: Slices start at $3.50, whole pies $24.
The gist: Jarrett Stieber has long wanted to open his own neighborhood restaurant inspired by the haunts food in cities like San Francisco and Montreal. After being in takeout mode for a year, he’s finally reopened the dining room. }The food: Produce meets Stieber’s playful style which results in dishes like the “Little Bear PSL,” a combination of lettuce, sweet potato, radish, pecans, with coffee vinegar and PSL oil. Served in a major brand’s coffee cup, to boot. That dish hasn’t been on the menu since October, but it’s an example of what you’ll find coming out of the kitchen. Stieber is currently offering a take on Jewish-Chinese food with dishes like satsuma chicken (boneless chicken thighs dry fried and covered in a satsuma orange sauce), hot 'n’ sour matzo ball soup, and sweet potato and apple latke pancakes.
The cost: Dishes range from $6 - $12. Treat yourself and get the Just F*ck Me Up Fam (prix fixe) for $35, which includes four courses.
The gist: Thai food made with locally grown ingredients? In a vibrant atmosphere? Yes, please. The pandemic restaurant that could is now open for dine-in and patio service and we are here for it.
The food: Chefs and co-owners Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter keep things interesting by changing up the menu often. From the bright and fresh yum phonlamai (a fruit salad with ever-changing ingredients like peaches, Korean melon, and berries with fish sauce, lemongrass, and mint) to the hor mok plaa (steamed fish curry), whatever you order will be memorable. There’s also a well thought out cocktail menu with drinks designed to complement the Thai-meets-Georgian menu.
The cost: Dishes range from $5 - $28.