Your taste buds are in for a treat when you head to Atlanta. Recently named one of the top foodie cities in the United States by Wallet Hub, there’s something for every palate. From award-winning white tablecloth locales to rustic local’s favorites, here’s where to find the best food the city has to offer.
The All Stars
Atlanta’s booming food scene is home to a variety of culinary concepts from James Beard-nominated and TV chefs. Staplehouse is one of the nation’s most praised restaurants, named by Bon Appetit as the Best Restaurant in America in 2016. It was the brainchild of a chef who died of cancer before the restaurant opened, but his wife, sister-in-law, and friend continued his legacy, donating profits to charity. Spring in suburban Marietta followed in its footsteps, being named by the culinary magazine as one of the nation’s best in 2017. The menu focuses on seasonal and local ingredients for New American dishes. Kimball House and Miller Union also can’t be missed.
Top Chef runner-up Kevin Gillespie has made a name for himself in Atlanta with the modern dim sum spot Gunshow. Guest judge and James Beard-winner Hugh Acheson has also left his mark all over the city with restaurants including Empire State South.
Don’t miss out on the international eateries either. Among Atlanta Magazine‘s 50 Best Restaurants are Masterpiece, Yet Tuh, Nam Phuong, and Mamak, which are all located on Buford Highway, known as the city’s international dining corridor.
Let There Be Meat
Barbecue is a longtime staple of cooking in just about every corner of the world, but is certainly a notable part of Southern cuisine. Atlanta has no shortage of barbecue joints, from casual spots to modern interpretations. Fat Matt’s Rib Shack in Midtown has been featured in television and film for its smoked ribs, served with slices of white bread, and live blues music. Another local favorite is Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, which brought Texas-style barbecue to the South, set in an old service station. Smoke Ring in Castleberry Hill has views of downtown and modern barbecue dishes, including BBQ deviled eggs and the smoked brisket burrito. Virginia Highland’s D.B.A. Barbecue excels at house-cured pastrami and smoked Springer Mountain chicken wings. Perhaps the most unique is the Korean-influenced Heirloom Market BBQ, which offers up spiced pork sandwiches with kimchi and hand-cut french fries.
Not Your Average Food Court
What’s better than multiple options that showcase the city’s best dishes? Food halls are a cure for the indecisive and can be found all over Atlanta. Ponce City Market‘s Central Food Hall is perhaps the most well-known, with celebrated chefs claiming their spots before the building even opened. Don’t miss H+F Burger, Botiwalla, and Minero in this former Sears Roebuck building. Another one nearby is the smaller but mighty Krog Street Market, which has small shops, bars, and restaurants. Little Tart Bake Shop crafts award-winning pastries, while Yalla has the best Mediterranean fare in the city. Long before the food hall trend, the Sweet Auburn Municipal Market was the community’s go-to for produce and meat, which it still sells. But there are also outposts of favorite local restaurants, including Grindhouse Burgers, Arepa Mia, and Bell Street Burritos.
Newer, smaller markets have also popped up around the city. The Canteen is Midtown’s “micro food hall,” with additional Yalla and Fred’s Meat & Bread locations as well as TGM Bagel and Square Bar (which makes boozy slushies popular with the after-work crowd). Calling itself a “global grub collective,” East Atlanta’s We Suki Suki has a rotating selection of vendors, including Moroccan dishes at Marrakech Express, sushi burritos at Poke Burri, and ramen at Lifting Noodles.
After you’ve satisfied your belly in Atlanta, relax at a Hilton.