It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
Buttermilk KitchenAddress and Info
4225 Roswell Rd NE
This brilliant-royal-blue-painted restaurant looks like the house your crazy aunt bought after her second divorce. And then learned to make phenomenal chicken biscuits in. The simplicity sells it, as you can get white bread French toast, a three-egg pimento cheese omelet sided with Benton’s bacon, a bowl of stone-ground grits with a side of local favorite Delia’s chicken sausage, and a mug of four-minute-French-pressed Rev coffee (Straight Outta Smyrna).
Chops Lobster BarAddress and Info
70 West Paces Ferry Rd
You almost instinctively want to give this accolade to the highly regarded Brazilian steakhouse Chama Gaucha or even the yet-to-open American Cut. Why? Because Chops has been around for decades and should be old news. However, it’s not. It’s good as hell, and because of that, it’s not cheap, but then again no respectable steakhouse is inexpensive anymore, so you’re going to spend at least $60-75 on a conservative dinner for one. Go for it. Chewing high-priced cuts of their 8oz, 1,700-degree-broiled, custom-aged, USDA Prime pepper-crusted filet is worth a week of budgetary struggle.
Holeman & Finch Public HouseAddress and Info
2277 Peachtree Rd NE
The cheeseburger, one of Atlanta's most famous cheeseburgers, is now available all day and is no less delicious than it was back when the only way to get one was to know a secret handshake or whatever. It’s still a perfectly measured double-patty stack on a house-made bun, but here you get added ambiance and can try on a bit of “I only eat H&F Burgers at the original Holeman & Finch” smug elitism, because nothing says “elitism” like a Buckhead cheeseburger.
Lobster Shack at Vine & TapAddress and Info
2770 Lenox Rd NE
It may appear smaller than you expect for $22, but then you remember you’re in Buckhead, and then you see the chunky chunks of pink sea-meat piled on top of the H&F bun, and realize that aside from a moderate slathering of mayo there’s no additional filler. Pair it with one of the fantastic wines that owner Ian Mendelsohn -- a sommelier who ran the wine department at Christie’s Auction House for five years -- has selected.
Best Southern food
Southern Art and Bourbon BarAddress and Info
3315 Peachtree Road NE
Whether you’re from the South or not, nobody’s country enough to question the kitchen credibility of Florida native Art Smith. Lest we forget, he was Oprah’s personal chef before he opened the classy Southern supper house inside the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, and actually won a James Beard Award. All that really means is that you should definitely try the chicken-and-dumplings soup (named “Addie Mae’s” after Smith’s mother), braised pork belly with yams and sorghum syrup, or GA shrimp and grits w/ house-made andouille, hominy, and okra.
UmiAddress and Info
3050 Peachtree St NW
An ATL restaurant that people outside the city seem to know about, Umi’s big thing is their focus on premium quality and the unwavering freshness of the sushi, along with the flavor treatment it receives from Chef Fuyuhiko Ito, the man behind the counter at the infamous MF Sushi of Buckhead-Past.
South City Kitchen BuckheadAddress and Info
3350 Peachtree Rd NE
The view from the patio is satisfying in and of itself, but you’re there for the bourbon-cured salmon and the “Grains & Greens” salad with dried apricot, farro verde, local bibb... Hahaha. Please. You’ll get the jumbo lump crab cake, and then a malted buttermilk waffle under real Vermont maple syrup, with a fried quarter of Springer Mountain Farms chicken. You’ll sit under the mist-sprayers like a helpless beached dolphin, hoping some nice people team up and roll you back out the door to enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Best Mexican food
SupericaAddress and Info
3850 Roswell Rd
You’ll find other Mexican restaurants once you pass the Brookwood curve. Ignore them. Stay focused; keep driving until you get to the edge of Sandy Springs near Chastain. That’s where Ford Fry’s folks do elevated Tex-Mex, from citrus-habanero shrimp ceviche to chipotle-molasses chargrilled short rib, twice-cooked pork belly fajitas, and tacos in both hard-shell form or chalupa-ish “puffy” versions.
BhojanicAddress and Info
3400 Around Lenox Rd
There was once a Decatur location, just like there was once a Scientology overlord named Xenu, but who knows what the hell happened because one day it just went away. Fortunately for you -- unless you’re Beck or John Travolta -- Bhojanic reappeared in Buckhead and is still slamming Punjabi cuisine like it never left. Even the food truck serves incredible samosas, but since you’re in the area, you might as well grab plates of veggie items like eggplant makki ki roti (you’ll never miss the meat), or boneless lamb curry.
Tuk Tuk Thai Food LoftAddress and Info
1745 Peachtree St NE
Because of the semi-hidden, upper-level location of Tuk Tuk, many people thought they wouldn’t last. But the chef, DeeDee Niyomkul, whose parents are behind Nan (Midtown’s unquestionably great Thai fine-dining establishment) took a turn from her folks’ menu stylings and focused on street food. The results are small plates like moist Thai beef jerky and crisp mussel omelette, to Bangkok street noodles (glass, rice, egg, rice sticks... ), and whole fried chili-lime red snapper.
Dolce ItalianAddress and Info
3035 Peachtree Rd NE; Suite 201
You’ll feel indulgent before you even begin spiraling the seafood-rich linguini al frutti di mare -- or any other handcrafted pasta -- around your spoon, since Dolce’s classy, mid-century-modern designed dining room opens up the feasting experience to the community. You could also go al fresco while peeping the shopping scene, but rather than stare at people spending money on this season’s most-easily-torn scarf, you could put your head down and scarf up a helping of veal scaloppine alla sorrentina w/ potato gnocchi, mozzarella, and eggplant, or one of their exceptional Neapolitan style pizzas.
Le BilboquetAddress and Info
3035 Peachtree Rd NE
One of the most reputed new restaurants of the past year, Le Bilbo goes bistro with a truly Parisian experience, right in the middle of The Shops at Buckhead Atlanta. Originally from NYC’s Upper East Side, where they know good food when they get it because all the good food isn’t normally there for some reason, their house-made duck foie gras terrine is a good place to start, followed by the Mediterranean branzino or beurre-blanc-ed Cajun chicken with crispy fries on the patio with a light and refreshing glass of rosé.
Best place to pretend you’re not in Buckhead
Yebo Beach HausAddress and Info
111 West Paces Ferry Rd
It’s South African food in a coastal-designed white building with a vine-draped floating trellis outside. And it’s on West Paces Ferry, not too far from the governor’s mansion. But here you can get small plates served cold (steak carpaccio w/ dijon and fried capers), or hot, such as the ostrich sliders or the peri-peri chicken skillet. They’ve got bigger sharable plates such as lamb chop lollipops, a platter of prawn, beef filet, and chicken kebabs, and white wine linguini and clams.
Atlanta Fish MarketAddress and Info
265 Pharr Rd NE
You don’t build a 65ft-tall bronze fish next to a sidewalk if you’re just an oversized Long John Silver’s. You have to be an institution, like Dominique Wilkins, except, well, shaped like a fish. And that’s EXACTLY what AFM is: a throwback that’s still great and still down for the home team, with over 100 varieties of swimming supper flown in fresh daily, which you can purchase and cook at home (good luck with that), or let professionals pan-fry, roast, broil, or bake. Sure, newer kids selling meals to pescatarians have hit the Pharr Rd block, but none have hung as tough.
Most romantic restaurant
AriaAddress and Info
490 East Paces Ferry Rd NE
This 16-year-old institution of American edible exceptionalism was white-on-white all around until this spring. Now, with a down-to-earthier attitude that includes warmer hues and a more casual atmosphere, it’s certainly going for a younger crowd, but the food and feeling still tell your guests that you are sexually attracted to them, in a very sweet, non-threatening, expensive sort of way. With entrees priced at a minimum of $28, your pursuit of some unlucky person’s heart/draws may bankrupt you, but at least you’ll live an exceptionally beautiful dream.
Best non-fancy place to eat
Landmark DinerAddress and Info
3652 Roswell Rd NE
There’s a damned comedy club -- The Punchline -- in the back, for god’s sake. But you’ll get the last laugh instead of the certain hangover that would claim your next morning as long as you soak up those bad liquid decisions with breakfast, steak, Italian -- hell, pretty much every other type of food we’ve featured in this roundup can probably be ordered here. Is it delicious? For diner food, yeah! But look, it’s open 24 hours. It’s quick. And people are always coming in and out. You’ll never eat alone.
1. Buttermilk Kitchen4225 Roswell Rd, Atlanta
2. Chops Lobster Bar70 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta
3. Holeman & Finch Public House2277 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta
4. Vine and Tap2770 Lenox Rd NE, Atlanta
5. Southern Art & Bourbon Bar3315 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta
6. Umi3050 Peachtree Rd NE, Ste 1, Atlanta
7. South City Kitchen3350 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta
8. Superica99 Krog St NE, Atlanta
9. Bhojanic3400 Around Lenox Dr, Atlanta
10. Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft1745 Peachtree St, Atlanta
11. Dolce Italian3035 Peachtree Rd NE Ste 201, Atlanta
12. Le Bilboquet3050 Peachtree Rd. Suite A140 Atlanta, GA 30305, Atlanta
13. Yebo Beach Haus111 West Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta
14. Atlanta Fish Market265 Pharr Rd NE, Atlanta
15. Aria490 E Paces Ferry Rd NE, Atlanta
16. Landmark Diner3652 Roswell Rd NW, Atlanta
Buttermilk Kitchen's a down-home comfort food den with lamps made from buckets, salvaged window shutters on the ceiling, an open kitchen with a customer-friendly walkway, and Suzanne Vizethann's Southern comfort dishes. The daytime-only restaurant is known for its excellent breakfast menu, which features dishes like white bread French toast, a three-egg pimento omelet, and stone-ground grits. Once a month, the restaurant opens at night for its Fancy Fried Chicken Dinner, a four-course BYOB dinner centered around, you guessed it, fried chicken.
Serving authentic Wagyu beef with a BMS (Beef Marbling Score) of 12 out of 12, Chops Lobster Bar in Buckhead has cornered the surf n turf market. Step into this dark wood dining room, and you won't hesitate at ordering a bone-in filet or something from the fresh seafood menu, like Rockefeller oysters and lobster tails in a savory butter-sage sauce.
Let's be honest: you're coming to this contemporary gastropub for the famous Holeman & Finch cheeseburger, which, you should know, is now permanently on the menu, day and night (it used to be a secret of which only the lucky few knew, exclusively served when the clock struck 10pm). One of the best in the country, it's a double patty on a house-made bun with melty cheese, pickles, onions, and a side of fries. They have other quality dishes like shrimp & grits and lamb sweetbreads, but seriously, order the burger.
Buckhead has earned awesomely weird wine science points in the form of this swanked-out vino bar: Owner Ian Mendelsohn is one of the few using the “Coravin," which scientifically extracts wine from the bottle without uncorking it, thus keeping its fresh winely goodness intact as it heads to your mouth. Vine & Tap's menu features small plates like delectable bruschetta, panini, rabbit terrine, and more.
Southern Art & Bourbon Bar is a down-South dinner destination helmed by Art Smith, who use to be Oprah's personal chef, which, really, is all you need to know. But I'll continue: it's situated inside the InterContinental with an artistic interior highlighted by vibrant ceiling-hung paintings, plus a spacious, Peachtree-facing patio and three bourbon-focused bars. When it comes to the food, be sure to try the Addie Mae's chicken-and-dumplings soup (named after Smith’s mother) or the braised pork belly with yams and sorghum syrup.
In the heart of Buckhead, Umi features a 23ft sushi bar where Fuyuhiko Ito -- formerly of sushi house MF Buckhead -- slices and dices denizens of the sea for the citizens of Atlanta. Its white oak walls give the space a warm feel, as do the charred wood walls, which were hand-burned using the ancient Japanese application of Shou Sugi Ban. That kind of attention to detail is evident in the dishes, too, like the the assorted nigiri, spider and shrimp tempura rolls, and changing desserts that have included a Yuzu lemon meringue with blackberries and creme anglaise.
Chef Jason Starnes has made a major impact with South City Kitchen in Buckhead, 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, they're 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.
Krog Street’s elevated Tex-Mex restaurant, Superica, stands out among the many other Mexican spots nearby. Tacos can be puffy, but we recommend the plain ol’, super-crispy hard shell, which doesn’t fall apart when you bite into chicken tinga or picadillo. You know once you’ve tested the taco that the bigger time bites like the slow-braised short rib w/ chipotle molasses, wood-grilled shrimp fajitas, crispy whole fish, or mesquite-grilled quail will excel.
The Buckhead iteration of Decatur's authentic Indian go-to looks sort of a like a classroom in some fancy new-age school you can't afford. The menu features fusion tapas and drinks like a specialty mango lassi, chili pakora (spicy green chiles fried and served with yogurt sauce), and the curry-marinated chicken.
Tuk Tuk is a spacious upper-level sanctuary with an open kitchen that boasts authentic noodle-cooking street carts and a main dining area smoothly decorated with large colorful vases and booths. Chef DeeDee Niyomkul took a page out of her parents' playbook (they're behind Nan, Midtown's Thai fine-dining restaurant), focusing on scrumptious street-food small plates, like Thai beef jerky and crisp mussel omelette, Bangkok street noodles, and whole fried chili-lime red snapper.
Dolce serves contemporary Italian dishes among mid-century furniture to create an authentic -- yet contemporary -- atmosphere. The menu offer Neapolitan pies, artisanal meats and cheeses, specialty cocktails, pasta, and seafood.
Le Bilboquet is easily the best French fare you'll find in Buckhead. With an authentic Parisian bistro feel -- smack in the center of The Shops at Buckhead Atlanta -- this bright space is chic without trying too hard, relying on modern artwork and classic white tablecloths to elevate its look. On the menu, you'll find traditional and delicious Fresh dishes like house-made duck foie gras terrine, Mediterranean branzino, and Cajun chicken with crispy fries.
Need an escape? You won't even know you're in Buckhead at this coastal-inspired white building with a vine-draped floating trellis and South African fare. Nosh on cold small plates like steak carpaccio with dijon and fried capers, or hot ones like ostrich sliders or a peri-peri chicken skillet. You can also upgrade to larger (but still shareable) options like lamb chop lollipops, a platter of prawn, beef filet, and white wine linguini and clams.
Not surprisingly, Atalanta Fish Markets reigns as Atlanta's best spot to eat freshly-caught fish, which is flown in from the coast to this Buckhead spot every day. It's not possible to go cheap here (I mean, what do you expect of a restaurant with an enormous, extravagant fish sculpture in its parking lot), but that's due to large portions and top-notch quality. You can simply choose a fresh fish and the way you'd like it prepared, choose a main course like smoked Scottish salmon with asparagus on the side, or delve outside European territory and get a few sushi rolls for the table.
A chic yet comfortable Buckhead establishment, Aria offers a menu featuring modern American fare that changes seasonally. In the summer months, you can't go wrong with the butter-braised lobster, black truffle potatoes, and broccoli mousseline, especially when you pair it with one of their craft cocktails, like the Ten Too Late (gin, tea, honey, lemon). Aria has a much more casual feel than its first decade and a half (swapping all white everything for warmer hues), but it's retained the elegance that makes it a prime date spot.
You can eat pretty much whatever you want at Landmark: breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, steak, Italian. It is a diner, after all. And a comedy club, too, actually -- housed in the back of the space. You can also stop in whenever you want: it's open 24 hours and is always abuzz with customers. No matter what you order, you're getting tasty food at diner quality and price, plus a side of laughs if you stop in The Punchline.