Favorite Atlanta Restaurants List(last updated 09.16)
I’m over writing; however, I’m still eating around the city just as I’ve always been. In lieu of penning long-winded bloviations, I have elected to keep an up-to-date list of my favorite Atlanta restaurants. If you want to see where I’m eating on a day-to-day basis, check out my instagram feed. I post there pretty frequently (and occasionally on twitter as well).
As for this page, I’ve tried to format the list by category (therefore you might see a place pop-up more than once) as well as neighborhood. Please do not mistake this for a best of list. Also, as I no longer have the pleasure of dining anonymously, I cannot say that my experiences will definitely translate to the casual dinner. Don’t be deterred if this list hasn’t seen an update in awhile, it just means my flow hasn’t moved.
Additionally, I’ve added a list of restaurants that I intend to try. I want to differentiate between restaurants that aren’t listed because I wasn’t impressed with them and restaurants that I may not have visited that I’m inclined to check out
Barbecue | Burgers | Breakfast & Brunch | Chinese | French | Italian & Pizza | Japanese | Korean | Mediterranean | Mexican & Tex-Mex | Raw Bars | Sandwich & Deli Shops | Southern & Soul Food | Steakhouses | Tweezer Food & Bank Breakers | Vietnamese | Wings & Pubs | Desserts, Bakeries, Coffee Shops | Odds & Ends
- Heirloom BBQ (Smyrna) ~ Really awesome spot and heads and shoulders my favorite in the city. It’s traditional American BBQ with many of their proteins offered with Korean spices. Sadly, it’s take out only these days so either sit in your car or stand at their outdoor communal table.
- Fox Bros (Little 5 Points) ~ Not amazing overall but they do a handful of things very very well. Really love their frito pie and their smoked wings.
- Honorary Mention :: Moonie’s (Flowery Branch) ~ This one time I’m going to make an exception. I haven’t been there, and doubt I’ll get there anytime soon (on account of it being WTFOT), but my boy Jimmy really likes this place (he writes all fancy), so I’m including it.
Breakfast & Brunch
- Bread-And-Butterfly (Inman Park) ~ All-day French bistro with an omelette du jour that is spank.
- Callie’s (Virginia-Highland) ~ A smattering of bite sized biscuits … some sweet, some savory. They also do large format biscuit sammies. Late-night grub on the weekends.
- Gato (Candler Park) ~ The only place in the city I’ll ever make it a point to go to breakfast at. Check out their evening activities as they have a handful of pop-ups that operate out of the location … they run on a fixed schedule.
- Home Grown (Reynolds Town) ~ The comfy chicken biscuit may be the best breakfest offering in the city.
- Houston’s (multiple locations) ~ In a city awash with double patty burgers on the flattop (which, albeit are quite tasty), the burger at Houston’s offers a nice reprieve. One patty, cooked to temp and really good.
- These spots
- Good Luck Gourmet (Doraville) ~ Szechuan spot in the old Gu’s Bistro location.
- Masterpiece (Duluth) ~ Szechuan
- Tasty China (Smyrna) ~ Szechuan
- TJ House (Gwinett) ~ Taiwanese
- Chef Liu (Doraville) ~ Dumplings. Soup dumplings are pretty meh around the city and Liu isn’t really a gem but it’s easily the best option around.
- New Lan Zhou (Chinatown) ~ Hand pulled noodles.
- Royal China & Oriental Pearl (Chamblee) ~ Dim Sum. Neither is good but they are both passable.
- Canton Cooks (Sandy Springs) is another really popular option – it works for American Chinese food and a few traditional dishes.
- Bread-and-Butterfly (Inman Park) ~ relatively new café from the folks behind Cakes & Ale. While C&A isn’t always my favorite, B&B is one of my new favs. Open breakfast thru dinner.
- Cafe Bombay (Druid Hills) ~ Pretty solid North Indian food. The lunch buffet is a good bet at $11 for AYCE.
Italian & Pizza
- BoccaLupo (Inman Park) // Pasta ~ awesome pastas that aren’t exactly straightforward Italian … good drinks, nothing on the menu over $20 save for the specials and the nightly tasting menu.
- Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante (Buckhead) // Pasta ~ The expanded & relocated version of the Buckhead pasta shop now has an awesome restaurant menu to go with their awesome pastas (and other assorted goodies) available at the shop. Affordable, friendly, and focking delicious. The only caveat is that it’s not the quietest of places. If you have a big group, try and grab the kitchen table.
- Sotto Sotto (Inman Park) // Pasta ~ One of the mainstays of the ATL restaurant community, it’s pasta offerings are more classic than at BoccaLupo. It’s a little more buttoned up than some of the other spots, but it’s still casual and consistently good.
- O4W Pizza (Duluth) // Pizza ~ This joint relocated from Inman Park to downtown Duluth. It’s worth it. A much expanded menu with different styles, the Jersey style grandma pie is the best of the bunch.
- Varasano’s (Brookwood Hills) // Pizza ~ sort of a hybrid neapolitan/ny style.
- Ammazza (Inman Park) // Pizza ~ prefer Varasano’s & O4W for any number of reasons but Ammazza ain’t half-bad.
Sadly, we’re deprived of anything that I can recommend without reservations on some front. That said –
- Sushi Hayakawa (Doraville) ~ Recently reopened and totally revamped, it’s now the most intimate spot in the city. 1 chef and reservations required mean it’s a place where patience is a must … but if you are in the mood for sushi + serenity … this is the choice.
- Brush Sushi Izakaya (Decatur) ~ They have a full bar and izakaya offerings of kushikatsu and binchō-tan robata that I haven’t gotten into yet but the sushi-ya experience is pretty damn solid. The sushi+nigiri omakase is my usual go to. The sushi offerings stretch the spectrum moreso than any other place in Atlanta.
- Craft Izakaya (Inman Park) ~ The omakase (chef’s choice) is the way to go. Not as big of a fan of the izakaya options but some of them are pretty solid.
- Haru Ichiban (Gwinnett) // Ramen ~ There isn’t a single great bowl in the city but this place is consistent and easily the best amongst the number of actual ramen shops found around town.
- Miso Izakaya (Edgewood) // Modern Izakaya ~ Technically too diverse to be referred to as Japanese. Stay away from the sushi; definitely get the shoya tomago.
- Shoya Izakaya (Doraville) // Traditional Izakaya ~ Reasonably decent, best of the traditional options.
- Tomo, Umi (Both in Buckhead), MF Sushi (Inman Park) // High-end sushi/kaiseki ~ These are the high-end sushi-ya’s in Atlanta. Each one has a different personality. I don’t think these are nearly as good as comparably priced options in places like NYC, SF, LA, etc… but each has its upside. Umi is the high energy, club kid of the group.
Way too many places to suggest with few that stand clearly head and shoulders above the others.
- Stone Bowl (Doraville) // Traditional Korean fare ~ One of the few places in the city that isn’t a tofu spot or a KBBQ spot. Go say hi to grandma, closed on Wednesdays.
- Yet Tuh (Doraville) // Korean comfort cooking. I forgot how much I enjoy this place.
- KBBQ Spots (all in Duluth) ::
- Café Todahmgol has the best pork in the city
- 678 :: Currently, my favorite option for AYCE KBBQ
- Iron Age :: It’s gone downhill in recent years but it’s still decent. It’s main draws are the AYCE menus and the Kpop videos. Fun, inexpensive and good – make sure you get the fried rice at the end.
- Honey Pig, Han Il Kwan, Hae Won Dae, Myung Ga Wong all get tossed in there as well.
- Sun-O (Multiple locations) ~ cool little Korean shaved ice spot.
- Al’s Cafe Agora (Buckhead) // Greek & Turkish fare ~ There’s a small satellite location in Midtown.
- Kabob Land (Buckhead) // Middle Eastern ~ Really stellar kabobs.
- Yalla (Krog St. Market) // Middle Eastern ~ The Mediterranean answer to the burrito bar. Falafel are a good option but the shawarma really rock.
Mexican / Tex-Mex
Plenty of options – few that really move me. Here’s the best of what we got ~
- Taquería La Duranguense (Smyrna / Vinnings) // Gorditas ~ The gorditas here are probably my favorite Mexican bite in the city. They don’t speak a lot of English and the menu is nothing more than gorditas & tacos but go there and go there now.
- Taquería La Oaxaqueña (Joneseboro) // Cantina ~ Full selection of traditional mexican grub – try the tlayuda
- Chicago Supermarket (Doraville) // Taquería ~ Inside a grocery store, they have a taquería in back. Helps if you speak espanol but not necessary. Taqueria every day of the week with an expanded menu on the weekends.
- Nuevo Laredo (Westside) // Tex-Mex ~ Not amazing, but quite a scene and it is consistent.
- Taqueria Del Sol (Multiple) // Taco Bar ~ A Tex-Mexish chain with a tight menu. I don’t love it but it’s quick and it’s incredibly consistent. Secret to making it super quick: skip the lines and go get a seat at the bar.
- Carniceria Ramirez (Smyrna) // Taquería ~ Nobody talks about this place but it’s good and cheap. It’s a grocery store with a taqueria attached. Some of the proteins are better than others but WTH. Here’s the link to my notes on the place.
- Kimball House (Decatur) ~ I go there once a week. 5-7pm is happy hour where all of their oysters are b/w $1-$2. One of the best oyster programs in the city, let alone the country.
Sandwiches & Deli’s
- Fred’s Meat & Breads (Krog St Market) ~ sandwich stall in Krog Street Market. Best cheesesteak in the city, a great burger, and a really excellent grinder.
- AJ’s Famous Seafood & PoBoys (Marietta) ~ New Orleans style sandwich shop with excellent po’boys and the best Muffuletta in the city.
- The General Muir (Emory) ~ Consider this the reward for reading everything I wrote. I go there all the damn time – it’s a Jewish delicatessen with a modern approach. It’s mentioned in the burger link, but I do love their chicken salad sandwich as well. Anyway, lots to enjoy there, not everything is perfect but most of the menu is great. Todd is really coming into his own and I love where he is taking that place.
- E. 48th St. Market (Dunwoody) ~ Amazing deli/market with awesome Italian deli sandwiches. Try the No. 1 and the No. 7.
- Henri’s (Buckhead) ~ Decent little sandwich shop, they are actually a bakery and have an extensive selection of cookies, cakes, and such. Satellite location in Sandy Springs.
- Star Provisions (Westside) ~ High-quality? Yes. Expensive? Also Yes. Their sandwiches aren’t inexpensive – people go all ga ga for them – some of them are good (shrimp po boy) some are not (banh mi). Their cheese shop is one of the best in the city.
- Muss & Turners (Smyrna / Vinings) ~ Really nice sandwiches, they are a little bit more robust with their menu offerings than a straight deli, but I felt this was the best place to put it.
- BB’s Bagels (Alpharetta) ~ Bagels are few and far between in this metro-area. Sure you can find them at lots of places but they suck at most of those. BB’s Bagels is a bit of a treck, but it’s as good as you’ll find in the area. Kettle-boiled & lots of spreads/schmears for you to pick and choose from.
Southern & Soul Food
- Busy Bee Cafe (MLK) ~ One of the longer standing food establishments of this ilk, great fried pork chops and highly regarded fried chicken.
Never do too many of these as inconsistency is rampant. Usually I just order from Flannery and kick ass at home but …
- Bones (Buckhead) ~ Admittedly, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve visited but this is the place for your old school steakhouse experience.
- Chops Lobster Bar (Buckhead) ~ The menu is the same as it is upstairs, just prefer the vibe.
- The Palm (Buckhead) ~ Cuz, ya know.
Tweezer Food / Bank Breakers
- Bacchanalia (Westside) ~ The long-standing prix fixe establishment. You can also sit at the bar and do a la carte.
- Aria (Buckhead) ~ White table-cloth on white walls (for serious), weird little joint but the food is okay. The real winner here is the wine.
- Atlas (Buckhead) ~ Inside the St. Regis, prices aren’t cheap but the chef filtered through Thomas Keller’s kitchens so he can cut it.
- Le Fat (Westside) ~ Vietnamese bistro from Guy Wong. Some very strong dishes and excellent cocktails from Fable.
- Nam Phuong (Buford Highway) ~ Full Offering
- Pho Dai Loi #2 (Buford Highway) ~ Pho
- Lee’s Bakery (Buford Highway) ~ Banh Mi
- Quoc Huong (Buford Highway) ~ Banh Mi
Wings & Pub Food
One of my favorite things to eat, there are several competent options around town.
- Jamal’s Buffalo Chicken Wings (GA Dome) ~ A shack that’s literally across the street from the GA Dome complex, it’s cash only, wings only. Best in the city.
- Clay’s Sports Cafe (Sandy Springs) ~ Wings are the only good thing here. It’s a dive if there ever was one, just what you want out of your wing joint. Delivery is a plus.
- Wing Factory (Buckhead) ~ Affordable and a solid offering of gut expanding menu items. Some of my favorite wings in the city.
- Moe’s & Joe’s (Virginia Highlands) ~ Overlooked amongst the wing fiends, but it’s definitely one of my preferred locations.
- Fox Bros BBQ (Little 5 Points) ~ best smoked wings in the city.
- Minero (Ponce City Market) ~ best grilled wings in the city.
Desserts, Bakeries, Coffee Shops
- Jeni’s Splendid & Morelli’s ~ Ice cream shops.
- HF Bread Co. (Westside) ~ IRob Alexander is the whole reason that place is on the map. He’s now gone but it’s still there and still good.
- Alon’s Bakery (Multiple Locations) ~ A bakery at heart they have a bunch of other stuff to choose from.
- Octane Coffee + Little Tart (Grant Park) ~ Octane has multiple locations but this one is the best, they share space with Little Tart so you can get desserts and stuff and at night they have a full bar and some guys that make a solid cocktail.
- Little Tart Bakeshop (Krog St. Market) Their stand alone operation in Krog St. Market, damn good.
- Dancing Goats (Ponce City Market) – another good coffee shop.
- Rhodes Bakery (Cheshire Bridge) – Old school bakery that I really like … I’ve been eating their orange chaufan (spelling?) for years.
- Sublime Doughnuts ~ A fun take on doughnuts (goofy flavors like oreo and reese’s and so forth). Home Park next to Georgia Tech .. really good stuff
Odds & Ends
- Desta Ethiopian (Druid Hills) ~ Awesome Ethiopian and i used to hate Ethiopian.
- Gato (Candler Park) ~ The only place in the city I’ll ever make it a point to go to breakfast at. Check out their evening activities as they have a handful of popups that operate out of the location … they run on a fixed schedule.
- Las Brasas (Decatur) ~ Peruvian rotisserie and the only place you should buy that type of chicken in the city.
- White House (Buckhead) ~ Greek diner. Fun, Check it out.
- Majestic (Poncey Highlands) ~ Old staple of the late night/early morning crowds. A dive diner in every sense of the words.
Cocktails, Wine, & Beer
While I think our city is dreadfully lacking in restaurant power, our cocktail culture is awesome. These are in no particular order.
- Kimball House (Decatur) ~ Previously mentioned b/c of their raw bar, the cocktails are the shizzzz and go.
- Ticonderoga Club (Inman Park) ~ Located inside of Krog St. Market, this is the new Greg Best / Regan Smith / Paul Calvert endeavor… go. At lunch, they have the Spiedie, which is one of the best sandwiches in the city.
- Pinewood Tippling Room (Decatur) ~ Casual, doesn’t get as much press as some of the other cocktail bars but plenty legit.
- Ration & Dram (Decatur…ish) ~ The Cocktail slinger/owner is Andy Minchow, he knows booze as well as anyone. The most comfortable seats in the city. Seriously, the chairs are lucious.
- Cakes & Ale (Decatur) ~ Some ex-Holeman folks wrangle the drinks here.
- Sound Table (Edgewood) ~ Navarro makes great drinks, often there’s a dj or some sort of live music.
- Leon’s Full Service (Decatur) ~ See a pattern developing?
- Empire State South (Midtown) ~ Kelly Thorn makes awesome cocktails, plus they have bocce court and an upscale sort of environment.
- Little Trouble (Westside) ~ Cocktail lounge from the folks behind Victory Sandwich Bar. It’s very new, and it may not offer the best cocktails on this list, but it’s a solid option with a great vibe. Think of it as the Blade Runner cocktail bar. Stay away on weekends unless you want a packed house with a lot of young folks.
- Eleanor’s (Smyrna / Vinings) ~ I’m ashamed that I forgot to put Eleanor’s on my list earlier. They are the best booze option in that neck of the woods. It’s a speakeasy, though not pretentious at all. Their online handle is “thecoolerdoor”.
- Miller Union (Westside) ~ One of my favorite wine lists in the city … when the food is on, it too is fantastic. But the wine, the wine is always good.
- Vine & Tap (Druid Hills) ~ Tucked away on Lenox Rd, the space, the food, and the crowd don’t do a lot for me, but the wine is great.
- Atlas (Buckhead) ~ Really fun wine list despite the upscale digs.
- Aria (Buckhead) ~ I can’t say I love the food here, but the wine is probably my favorite in the city.
- Porter (Little 5 Points) ~ Impressive cellar and the nasty ass smell that was pervasive in the early days seems to have dissipated.
- Brickstore (Decatur) ~ From the guys who also do Leon’s, this is a great beer bar.
- Wrecking Bar (Little 5 Points) ~ Brewpub, their lead mixologist just bolted so not as keen on the cocktails as I used to be.
- Northside Tavern (Westside) ~ Classic blues bar, total shithole and totally awesome.
- Clermont Lounge (Poncy Highlands) ~ The one and only.
- Mr. C’s (Berkeley Park) ~ It’s a dive bar, do I really have to explain it?
- Righteous Room (Poncey Highlands) ~ Juke box!!!!
These are places that I either need to try or still haven’t been to enough times to decide on whether or not they belong up above.
- Little Bacch (Westside) ~ A new, high-end American concept from the people behind Star Provisions, Bill Addison (Eater Dining critic) is super high on this spot.
- Watershed (Brookwood Hills) ~ need to revisit now that they have a new chef
- Ton Ton (PCM) ~ So far, the best bowl of ramen available in the city. Needs a little more time to cook to see if it holds up.
- I Love Pho (Chamblee) ~ Recently this place has been pretty awesome. If it’s consistent it’ll end up my go-to pho spot.
- Jerry’s Gourmet Burgers (Villa Rica)
Places That Don’t Make The Cut
A lot of people ask me about places that aren’t on the list and many of them are not on the list for a reason. Here are a bunch of places that don’t make the cut.
Antico Pizza, King & Duke, Gaja, Gunshow, Marcel, Makan,The Optimist, Revival, Superica, Boccado
- September 2016:
- Added: Storico Fresco & Sotto Sotto
- Removed: Toscano & Son’s (closed)
- June 2016:
- Added: A few dive bars & updated o4w’s new location.
- Removed: H. Harper (closed)
- May 2016:
- Added: Callie’s, Brush (new), and Hayakawa (renovated + re-opened)
- Removed: Taka (closed for relocation)
- February 2016:
- Added: Bread-and-Butterfly
- Removed: Lusca (Closed)
- December 2015:
- Added: Ticonderoga Club
- Removed: Sobban (closed)
- November 2015:
- Added: Yet Tuh
- September 2015 :
- Added Cakes & Ale, Eleanor’s, Muss & Turners [All three should’ve been on the list already but I just plain forgot], Moonie’s
- Removed: Crawfish Shack
- August 2015 :
- Added Little Trouble, Le Fat, MF Sushi, E. 48th St Market
- Removed Paper Plane (Closed)
- June 2015 :
- Added Masterpiece, Good Luck Gourmet
- Removed Bobo Garden
- April 2015:
- Added Aj’s Seafood & PoBoys
- March 2015:
- Added Yalla, O4W Pizza, Taquería La Duranguense, Atlas, New Lan Zhou
- Removed Gu’s Bistro (Closed)