Whether you are a local or visiting Atlanta for first or fiftieth time, you probably have not made it to many of these restaurants. Atlanta is an ever evolving ever changing city and it’s difficult even for a local to keep up. So here’s your delicious guide to dining at the best restaurants in this Southern City.
Arnette’s Chop Shop in Atlanta
You can choose from several spots to dine – upstairs in the bar area, the main dining room or score one a few tables that overlooks the kitchen. the staircase is flanked by curved wooden columns, to mimic a rib cage and the music beckons as you get closer. Owner, Michel Arnette, a huge music buff, commissioned a local artist to create one of a kind paintings of musician. While steaks are the main attraction, the sides are nothing to sneeze at, especially the roasted cauliflower and mushrooms with spinach. Our trio of steaks included a filet, NY Strip and Spinalis (Ribeye Cap).
Atlas – romantic art lover’s restaurant in Atlanta
Atlas pleases with its fine decor and matches that with its lovely well thought out dishes. Plus, it is perfect to visit in any season. During winter, cozy up to the fire place and in the warmer months enjoy the patio or fire pit in the fall. Protip: the bar has it’s own menu if you want to experience the restaurant without the full meal prices. But for an incredible experience go all in and have dessert too (those bespoke doughnuts don’t are worth the calories).
Beetlecat – quirky seafood spot in Inman Park Atlanta
If you have lived in Atlanta for any length of time and enjoy food, you will have no doubt heard the name Ford Fry. Behind almost every genre of food, Italian, Southern, Seafood, Tex-Mex, his restaurants are known for their exquisite decor and incredible dishes. Beetlecat in Inman Park, is no exception with seafood dishes that shine. Highlights are the lobster roll and mussels. Skip the dessert and have a cocktail instead.
Botica – Upscale Mexican cuisine in Buckhead
The restaurant might be new to the area, the chef is not. Chef Mimmo has been creating excellent food in Atlanta for years, with his Red Pepper Taqueria. Though Botica is still somewhat laid back, it has a fun vibe perfect for a group. Protip: visit for Brunch. With items like the chilaquiles and breakfast burrito topped with turkey gravy, you’ll love it. If you’re on the Birria taco craze, get the lamb tacos. There are plenty of drinks, but the Siesta Margarita definitely hits the spot every time.
Bully Boy – Exquisite Asian inspired seafood dishes in Atlanta
Quite possibly one of the most underrated restaurants in Atlanta is Bully Boy. Yes, the name may sound strange but they are serious about their food and service. What’s the cuisine? Asian Seafood. Start with items like seaweed salad, roasted brussels sprouts and the Octopus. While the Oyster Bar is prominently displayed, unless you are craving oysters, go for some of the more one of a kind items like the King Kong Roll or the Miso Cod which melts in your mouth or the Yuzu creme brulee dessert!
Fia – glamorous hotel dining in Buckhead, Atlanta
Located inside the Burgess hotel in Buckhead, you get a sense of the rooms by the look of the lobby and restaurant. The decor reflects the owners’ travels around the world. As for the restaurant, it makes for perfect intimate meals for double dates or couples. For starters, hummus may be on every menu but this one, served warm, seems to be layered with flavors and they unfold as you savor. Scallops and a Bone in short rib cooked on the wood fired grill, which is viewable from nearly every seat in the restaurant is worth it.
Five Church – the Atlanta outpost of this posh spot has killer cocktails and dishes
With the words to the book Art of War painstakingly painted on to the ceiling, it’s just one of the jaw dropping features at Five Church. You’ll love the sexy vibe at this Midtown spot. The menu changes seasonally so think New American dishes form the chef. If there isn’t a special event sneak upstairs and snag a photo on the rooftop.
Food Terminal- Atlanta’s ethnic melting pot of cuisines is Buford Highway
For a several mile stretch, you’ll find Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and more on Buford Highway. If it’s your first time dining in this area, Food Terminal is a great option. The interior is sleek and modern, way different from many of the other restaurants you’ll find on Buford Highway. With many choices, this menu may be daunting as it is the thickness of a magazine. Come with a group and order a ton, you’ll be surprised at how reasonably priced everything is. Start with Roti Canai and the Shiitake Ground Pork. Braised Beef and Grandmother BBQ Pork are huge and excellent for sharing.
Heirloom Market + BBQ – no frills shack serving up the best que in Atlanta
In the south, we take barbecue very seriously. So it may spark some controversy to name Heirloom Market the best barbecue in Atlanta, but there’s just something addictive that will draw you back when you have this barbecue that seems to be literally a shack. Sure, there’s a small number of seats but most regulars would rather dine there instead of schlepping their tasty barbecue home. still, some die hard fans will open up the back of their SUV and make it a picnic-like lunch.
KR Steakbar – Italian Steakhouse from Award- winning chef Kevin Rathbun
Though the location of this Atlanta restaurant is Buckhead you might be surprised as it is located in a somewhat residential neighborhood. Chef Kevin Rathbun is no doubt one of the most talented chefs in Atlanta who no doubt put Atlanta in the forefront of dining cities. You might not realize it but besides the choice cuts of steak available at this low key neighborhood spot, there is an excellent selection of pasta too. Insider tip: there is a speakeasy attached and you can visit if you ask your server about it.
Kyma – Upscale Greek for date night or business dinner
Tasting menus can be hit or miss. But at Kyma, a spectacular Greek restaurant in Buckhead, has all the hits, just like a terrific classic radio station. Here it consists of a tasting of spreads, think hummus and the like, some starters and a split entree. Tuna tartare, shrimp wrapped in filo and Octopus, served with olives and capers. Protip: The patio has heaters to be open year round, so even if you weren’t in the mood for a tasting you can pop in for drinks and light appetizers here like calamari or Octopus or Lobster morsels. Get the lobster morsels. Don’t forget the Baklava!
Mission + Market – Fancy special occasion dining in Buckhead, Atlanta
The faux grass walls and turquoise velvet booths on paper sound like they could be too much, but they are actually quite beautiful in the upscale restaurant. If you love seafood, don’t miss out on fish specials when you are dining at Mission + Market in Buckhead. The noise level is quite palatable, unlike many Atlanta restaurants where you may find yourself shouting to be heard by your dinner mates.
New Realm Brewing – delicious brews, food and views on the Atlanta Beltline
If you know Atlanta, you know there’s nothing better than hanging out on the Beltline on a warm day. If you didn’t know that, now you do. And New Realm Brewing has carved out a fantastic spot for day drinking and people watching, while you enjoy their craft beers. Food is much more than an afterthought here. The asian loaded fries are a fantastic way to start and the Cuban sandwich is absolutely delightful.
Nick’s Westside – Atlanta chef takes “Pivot” to a whole new level
If there’s one restaurant that deserves the “Pivot Award” it’s Nick’s Westside. Opening as an upscale French cuisine, the onslaught of closures from COVID-19 prompted a transition away from dine in to carry out. The complex dishes didn’t lend themselves to takeaway, so owner Nick Leahy, swapped to a more casual menu of sandwiches and the like. It stuck and patrons supported him, and returned when restaurants re-opened. Dine-in does feature some excellent fish entrees like Artic Char and a Basil Curry Cream Spaghetti and spectacular desserts. The best part of dine in with Nick’s is taking in the spectacular decor
O-Ku – romantic sushi on Atlanta’s Westside
The thing that will strike anyone dining at O-Ku, after you stop admiring the decor, is how well staff knows every aspect of the sushi menu at O-Ku. Our server was able to take us through the drink list, recommend his favorites on the appetizers, all while taking into account our preferences, which he asked when we first sat down. The Hamachi Carpaccio was the ultimate kickoff to dinner, followed up by the Mackerel special. But you’ll want to spend most of your money on the Nigiri and Sashimi portion of the menu. The Sake Toro (salmon belly) just about melts in your mouth. And the Sea Bream is quite tasty too (but get the sashimi – (no rice) for that one. There’s a roof top bar for pre-drinking.
Poor Calvins – Europe meets Asian with a touch of the South
What do you get when your roots are Asian, you grew up in Germany but then decided to move the southeastern United States? The culinary genius of Calvin Phan. He expertly takes foods from each area and folds them into his unique dishes. Think kale with Asian spices or a fried Grouper in curry. A standout dish is the fried grouper in curry sauce. Pook Calvin’s is located in downtown Atlanta in a renovated house, so make sure to make reservations if you plan on dining there.
WIN Gastropub – A taste of Bali without leaving Atlanta
If you have not had Rijsttafel it’s a combination of Indonesian dishes developed during the Dutch Colonial era. These include curries, vegetables, sauces, condiments, salad all presented at the same time with a big bowl of rice in the middle. Think of it like a bento box on steroids.