33 Best Restaurants in Atlanta – the Ultimate 2020 Guide for Newcomers

Did you know that Georgia’s capital is one of the top-rated foodie cities thanks to its culinary scene and plenty of food festivals? If you’re a gourmet, there’s no doubt you will enjoy some of the iconic dishes and specialties in the best restaurants in Atlanta. Since you’re about to enter a world of absolute culinary delight, we will give you a heads up on some of the finest joints the A-Town has to offer.

If you’re moving to Atlanta, also known as The Big Peach, Black Mecca, ATL, and A-Town, because of a new job or want to form a family, one of your priorities should be to find out what to expect in your new surroundings. In addition to safety, educational options, job opportunities, the cost of living, and unique things to do in Atlanta, you shouldn’t forget to learn more about Atlanta’s eateries. So, if you’re wondering What restaurants is Atlanta known for, you can rest assured that its culinary diversity will leave you speechless. According to Southern Living, a lifestyle magazine that features recipes and information about Southern culture and travel, ATL comes in at number five on The South’s Best Food Cities list, leaving behind the culinary heavyweights like Austin and Memphis. Thanks to A-Town’s big-name chefs and booming cuisine, its role has recently become more important in gourmets’ eyes. ATL’s specialties can be compared to Charleston’s and New Orleans’ most popular dishes providing various meals, flavors, and ingredients.

If you’re in search of finger-licking Italian pizzas, juicy steaks, or vegan and gluten-free options, A-Town has it all. Moving to Georgia’s capital and living in Atlanta may be one of the most impressive experiences in your life, especially if the southern chow is your weakness. So, don’t sit on the fence anymore, hit the road, and try those famous meat-and-three dishes!

What Is a Must-Eat in Atlanta?

You know what they say: if you love good eating, there’s a ton of tasty bites you have to try before you die. If your prospective destination is going to be ATL, even better. This city has plenty to offer and its dining options will satisfy even pickiest. So, let’s have a glimpse into Atlanta’s delicacies and must-try specialties:

  • Aunt Bertha’s Fried Chicken
  • San Gennaro Pizza
  • Carnitas Tacos
  • A-Town Cream Donut
  • Pork Belly Risotto
  • Funghi Fritti
  • Chili Cheese Dog
  • Breakfast Pizza
  • Fried Goat Cheese Balls
  • Zuppa al Cioccolato
  • Shaken Beef
  • Bone Marrow
  • Vegetarian Soul Food
ATL will satisfy all your cravings

Some of the Best Restaurants in Atlanta Are Women-Led Dining Spots

As the birthplace of the civil rights movement, ATL has always had an inclination toward progress. So it should come as no surprise there are ambitious women who proved to be great chefs. In addition to their passion for cooking, they are owners of some of the most relaxed and cozy eateries where you will satisfy your appetite.

Meet the Most-Popular Female-Owned Eateries in ATL

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, this spot in the Brady Apartments will fascinate you thanks to its excellent bill of fare with creative, contemporary touches served in a modern space. Its president and managing partner is a woman, Lei G. Ho, founder of popular Rice Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Cumming before moving into the ATL. With 20+ years of business experience in sushi bars, she decided to open Eight Sushi Lounge in 2015 and serve nothing but top-notch Japanese fares. Good vibes and delicious meals are ensured thanks to knowledgeable service and a menu with excellent choices, such as pork and lobster ramen, sushi deluxe, garlic buttered escolar, or Manhattan roll.

“There’s a lot of love that goes into our food at Cibo e Beve,” chef Linda Harrell often claims with pride. And everyone who visited this Italian eatery knows exactly what she’s talking about. This lady has been in the culinary world for more than three decades, and opening an eatery that serves Italian specialties in 2011 was the crown of her knowledge and experience. Guests can enjoy a cozy, intimate, and inviting space where authentic Italian cuisine features traditional ingredients from Italy and unique family recipes. If you’re looking for an ideal venue for a date or pleasant moments with your loved ones, try this top-notch place located in Belle Isle Square.

There are plenty of romantic things to do in Atlanta if moving in with your significant other. It’s easy to find a perfect location, for example, it might be Babette’s Cafe, where you can spend really unforgettable moments with your significant other. In 2018 this place earned a nomination as one of OpenTable’s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the U.S. Located in one of Atlanta’s hippest neighborhoods, Little Five Points, the venue offers French cuisine in an ambiance inspired by the award-winning film “Babette’s Feast.” If you’re Mediterranean cuisine aficionado, you’ll love the combination of French, Italian, and Spanish provincial cooking. This mixture creates masterpieces with a touch of exotic and a twist of the romantic. Chef and owner Marla Adams brought a lot of love and skill into this job, highlighting that cooking is a real craft, and essential to everyone.

Chef DeeDee Niyomkul had only one wish when she opened Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft in 2010: to bring authentic Bangkok street chow to A-Town, spicing it with original creations, and recipes used by her granny. With a variety of small plates prepared in a tapas-style and larger main courses that will satisfy gourmets’ appetite, you will enjoy elevated views from the restaurant in Midtown. If you want to spend leisure time on the balcony patio, experience top-notch service, and try mouth-watering meals such as beef jerky or short ribs, this is a must-visit venue.

If you’re looking for some of the best Atlanta neighborhoods packed with excellent eating spots, search no more. Inman Park is just such a location, and there, tucked in a romantic and cozy ambiance, sits Il Localino, a perfect spot for special occasions and anniversaries. It was also nominated for Neighborhood Gem. Its owner Gale Parker has an infallible instinct for blending good food with good vibes. This family-owned eatery is the recipient of many awards – Best Italian Restaurant, Best Ambiance, and Open Table’s 2018 list of Best Overall Restaurant. Those who have already visited this unique place can confirm that all those are well-deserved. The perfect setting, Italian music, disco lights later in the evening, and menus tailored to suit your needs are some of the amenities that Il Localino offers.

Located in the historic Castleberry Hill neighborhood, the Old Lady Gang (OLG) is a family-owned eating place, with old-fashioned southern cuisine. The OLG opened its doors for Atlantans thanks to three sisters – Joyce and Bertha Jones, and Nora Wilcox. People simply love this venue. It’s not only because of incredible meals – the atmosphere there is second to none. With multi-level dining and entertainment options, two full bars, and an outdoor patio, the Old Lady Gang will get under your skin.

Where Do Celebrities Go in Atlanta?

Georgia’s and Atlanta’s culinary scene is celebrated worldwide, and it’s no wonder that you can meet some famous people or even have dinner next to their table. Actually, there are plenty of film productions bringing celebrities to Georgia and its capital, so take a glimpse into some of the most popular eateries in ATL where celebrities go:

  • Cypress Street Pint & Plate – Justin Timberlake and Tina Fey drop by occasionally and enjoy the Sublime Doughnut hamburgers
  • Watershed on Peachtree – this is Jane Fonda’s stomping ground, perhaps because of Southern-inspired dishes
  • Gunshow – If you decide to come here and order pork belly and short ribs, you’ll meet Kevin Gillespie (the owner) and Mindy Kaling
  • Busy Bee – even the ex U.S. president Obama visits this spot to enjoy the best fried chicken
  • Bone Lick BBQ – locals say that if you want to eat the most delicious wings in ATL, go to Bone Lick BBQ. Most celebrities pop up between filming scenes, such as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Jon Hamm, etc.
  • STK Atlanta – juicy steaks, amazing ambiance and top-notch service, attract celebrities like Selena Gomez, Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johanson, etc.
It's hard to resist toothsome steak, even to celebrities

Where Can I Eat Outside in Atlanta and Take Pleasure in Excellent Bar Options and Amazing Views?

ATL is a city that boasts a moderate climate with four distinct seasons. That’s why it earned one more nickname – Hotlanta. If you’re moving in the summer, you should know that the hottest month is July (88.9°F), the coldest is January (32.9°F) if moving in winter, while the wettest is usually March (5.38 inches). However, it is not unusual when March comes around that you can start wearing lighter clothes and enjoy the first sunrays. So, if you’re wondering when is the best time to move, know that spring in ATL might be a perfect chance to spend your leisure moments nibbling snacks and sipping your favorite drink beneath the open sky. Luckily, the capital of Georgia has lots of amazing places where you can spend a fun time outside.

JCT Kitchen & Bar

Can you imagine something better than live music, laid back atmosphere and southern fare, with stars or the blue and sunny sky above you? Kitchen & Bar is one of the favorite spots among locals, due to its breathtaking ambiance and cuisine, which is the combination of tradition and current trends. If you’re looking for a traditional farm-to-table restaurant with fresh ingredients and finger-licking specialties, such as fried chicken, deviled eggs and mussels, and coconut cake – the cherry on the top, this is a place to be.

The Rooftop at Hotel Clermont

When it comes to special occasions, such as romantic dinners or family lunch, it’s often hard to find a perfect place that satisfies all requirements. With Hotel Clermont and its famous rooftop, you just can’t go wrong. Besides, you can choose a cocktail or fresh coffee to your liking and taste hand-made pastries and enjoy magnificent city views. Also, after spending some time drinking and satisfying your palate, you can use this location wisely to take a walk. Some of the greatest A-Town attractions – Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Georgia Aquarium – are within walking distance.

O4W Pizza and La Tavola Are Among Best Italian Restaurants in Atlanta

Is there anyone who doesn’t like Italian spaghetti al’ dente or a crispy pizza? Probably not, and the same goes for Atlantans. Folks here adore their Southern fares and smoked BBQ but, like all gourmets, they won’t say no to any other cuisine. Italian is one of the most popular in A-Town. By entering some of these trattorias, ordering a meal, and enjoying the ambiance, you will experience almost the same feeling as being in Italy.

If you happen to come across the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, having dinner at La Tavola is a must. This place has everything for everyone – from meatballs, tagliatelle Bolognese, and mushroom taglioni, to squid ink spaghetti. Of course, pedigree wines are something you shouldn’t miss to complement your order.

However, if you’re feeling a bit old-fashioned when it comes to menu choices, thinking that pizza is the masterpiece that can never be surpassed, O4W Pizza will be a place you will always come back to. An insider tip: you won’t find fancy toppings, gimmicks, hip decor, or something similar on your pizza. Here are some good reasons why you should try it:

  • Traditionally-made Jersey-style pizza
  • Hand-stretched dough
  • House-made sauce and hand-pulled mozzarella as toppings
  • Sausage and meatballs followed by family recipes
Because of hand-stretched dough and traditional recipes, pizzas are among the most delicious in the country

Best Vegan Restaurants in Atlanta

If your lifestyle and eating habits are vegan-oriented, you might be worried about your eating options in ATL. However, there’s no room for stress, since A-Town has plenty of hidden gems where your appetite will be satisfied. It has become a mecca for all those who exclude meat, dairy products, eggs, and all other animal-derived ingredients from their diet.

Become a Part Of Healthy-Eating Story in Herban Fix

Herban Fix is located in Midtown’s heart and offers not only healthy ingredients but a completely healthy lifestyle. Its chef Wendy Chang sees Herban Fix as a healthy and green movement, trying to make our environment a better place for everyone. As a real vegan expert, she prepares delightful luncheons from Southeast Asia merging unique dining experience and calming surroundings. Some of the most interesting meals on the bill of fare are:

  • Coconut soup with vegetables, shallots, coriander, and galangal
  • Grilled eggplant topped with vegetable chutney
  • Ja Jiang buckwheat noodles with Asian pear and cucumber
  • Truffle wild rice topped with sautéed assorted mushrooms

Fresh and Tasty Ingredients in Slutty Vegan

Have you ever tried a meat-free burger? At Slutty Vegan, you can try some extraordinary combinations such as turnip greens, baked beans, barbecue jackfruit sandwiches, and many more unusual combinations. You will see people standing in line for several hours to buy soy burgers.

The menu is rich and full of surprises, meaning you can find all your favorite foodstuffs sans animal products. For example, the hit is a burger on a soft bun, with slices of vegan bacon and fake cheese, piled with caramelized onions, chopped lettuce, and tomato slices. It’s called One Night Stand, and it is so juicy and tasty that even meat-eaters are delighted with its flavors. Burgers make up most of the bill of fare, but you can also find vegan sausages and vegan shrimps.

Cafe Sunflower and Green Sprout Stand Out Among Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Atlanta

If you love to eat eggs or drink milk, but avoid eating meat or fish, you’ll be fine, too. In ATL, you don’t need to worry about your order and server’s reaction in a style, “We’ll try to put some sides together for you.” A-town has accepted that many people don’t eat meat, and chefs decided to open eateries with appealing and toothsome menus.

A lot of vegetarians say that meat-free cuisine with a Chinese flavor is the most delicious. Green Sprout is all about fresh ingredients and homemade preparations based on Asian specialties. Besides, its friendly and warm atmosphere is one more important factor that attracts ATL’s vegetarian community. The greatest part is that meals are healthy, made of high-quality ingredients, and above all affordable. People with gluten intolerance will also find several gluten-free options, such as:

  • Sauteed tofu and mixed vegetables
  • Spicy sauteed string beans
  • Curry tofu
  • Curry mixed vegetables
  • Steamed mixed vegetables

Cafe Sunflower is another excellent example of meat-free meals that can be nourishing, tasty, and much more than seeds, salads, and sides. Well-rounded meals with plenty of veggies, vegan cheeses, soy, and shrimps will leave you speechless. Next to each menu item, you can find ingredient descriptions and nut-free, gluten-free, or dairy-free labels. Treats and desserts are so tasty that even a sweet tooth person will be fascinated. Don’t miss trying Old-fashioned chocolate cake, or Key lime pie, and who knows – you might even start thinking of becoming a vegetarian.

Vegan and vegetarians have lots of choices when it comes to eating

Best Mexican Restaurants in Atlanta Are Mecca for Tacos Aficionados – Taqueria del Sol and Taqueria La Oaxaquena

Whether because of seasonings or unique tacos, people can’t resist Mexican cuisine. Burritos, handmade tortillas, posole, chilaquiles, and roasted corn, to mention just a few. If you’re in search of authentic Mexican fare and a cozy atmosphere, you can find everything you need in ATL. And be sure that if you bring family members or friends, the pleasure will reach a peak after several tequilas.

With specific restaurant policies and Mexican cuisine combined with cross-cultural flair, in Taqueria del Sol you’ll find nothing but the efficiency, top-notch service, and plates that will blow your mind. If you’ve never been before here, you might be surprised with a simple bill of fare, at first glance even ordinary. But, several chosen specials, starters, soups, tacos, or side dishes are quite enough. They feature high-quality ingredients, a skilled way of preparation, and extraordinary taste, which are in line with the restaurant’s philosophy: “We would rather do fewer things great than many things just okay.”

Taqueria La Oaxaquena is a kind of place that locals will recommend you if you ask where to eat the most savory Mexican fare. Whichever plate you choose, you’ll realize that meals are prepared very carefully, highlighting Mexican flavor. Even more, with impeccable service, clean place, and affordable prices, this venue is something you really should visit. Finding out why it is called one of the greatest authentic Mexican eateries in the country may provide you with an unforgettable experience, especially if you start with the lunch menu and its 16 entree choices. And you can’t go wrong, whatever you order.

If you want excellent flavors and great fun, choose some of the many Mexican taquerias

Visit South City Kitchen Midtown and Swan Coach House to Enjoy Best Lunch Restaurants in Atlanta

Sometimes, it might be hard to find a nook to enjoy lunch in a tranquil environment, avoiding crowded spots and unpleasant services. At South City Kitchen, you will experience nothing less than top-notch ambiance and kind staff serving Southern classics mixed with regional cuisine elements. If you want to impress your business partner or make your first date a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it will meet all your wishes. The kids-friendly card is another benefit, so you shouldn’t worry about your picky little one, while your cravings will be satisfied thanks to fried chicken or smoky grilled pork chop.

Located in Atlanta History Center, Swan Coach House is an excellent venue after sightseeing some historical spots. Whether you drop by because of brunch or bridal luncheon, this place will fascinate you with its beautiful setting and nice sized and delicious portions. After an excellent meal, you may enjoy a strolling art gallery, a gift shop, or just spending some leisure moments in beautiful gardens that surround this venue.

ATL boasts attractive spots specialize only in lunch options

If You’re Looking for the Best Asian Restaurants in Atlanta, LanZhou Ramen Is All That You Need

When it comes to Chinese cuisine, hand-pulled noodles and dim sum are a must. The joy becomes even greater if you and your kids are allowed to watch the noodle-making process and stretch the dough with your own hands. LanZhou Ramen is a warm place welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds, putting a great effort to feel like home. Besides hand-pulled and knife sliced noodles, here you will find the following Chinese specialties:

  • Small bite-sized portions of chow (dim sum)
  • Chef specialties
  • Appetizers
  • Cold dishes
  • Rice and fried rice
Hand-pulled noodles are the main staples in Chinese cuisine

Experience Mix of Classical and Modern Japanese Flavors in One of the Best Sushi Restaurants in Atlanta

Located in the Buckhead neighborhood, Umi is a place well-known for its sophisticated and contemporary setting. The elegant and simple interior is a place where you can get the freshest fish, the highest quality ingredients, traditional Japanese dishes, and the diverse beverage list. Although you can expect high prices, sushi served here is worth each cent. If you decide to eat at the sushi bar, that will be a fantastic experience. Chefs prepare plates in front of you, expressing their creativity and offering something unique.

Sushi at Umi will provide you with an unforgettable experience

Find Best Steak Restaurants in Atlanta and BBQ Spots to Tease Your Palate

A well-known fact is that steak has long been a beloved menu item in A-Town. In the meantime, Georgia’s capital gave birth to various fares and international cuisines, including vegan and vegetarian options. Still, steakhouses remained the alpha and the omega of good bites, not just among locals but also newcomers.

Community Q – Until the Meat Runs Out

There’s no doubt that fresh meals are the most palatable meals. And if you don’t want to miss some specialty, it is recommended to order the day before, especially in Community Q. That being said, if you want beef brisket – go early and satisfy your palate. Mouth-watering BBQ is served in a huge portion at a reasonable price: from $7.25 to $13.5. Whether you prefer ribs, smoked meats, or mac ‘n’ cheese, this place has it all. Located in Decatur, this place closes early during the week and on weekends, so pay attention to enjoy your meal earlier.

Go to Bones Restaurant for Business Lunches and Business Dinners

According to Zagat, the restaurant discovery platform offering guides and reviews in major cities around the US, Bones ranked the highest among steakhouses in A-Town 2019 – for food and service. Conceptualized as an old-school eatery where you can find juicy steaks and lamb chops, this place is considered as one of the finest dining establishments in ATL. Located in Buckhead, the residential district known for its art galleries, unique Atlanta nightlife, and eateries, it is usually the first choice of special occasions or corporate parties. Locals say this bastion of meat never disappoints, this is a venue where you can rest assured that important business events will go smoothly. Although it’s pricey, most agree you get your money’s worth.

Steak and barbecue is one of the favorite options among citizens of ATL

Find Out Why Bacchanalia and Waikikie Hawaiian BBQ Are Considered One of the Best Family Restaurants in Atlanta

If you’re moving with children to A-Town, you’re probably wondering are there fun things for kids to do in Atlanta, including family-friendly eateries. Don’t worry, because the culinary scene of Georgia’s capital is packed with kid-friendly spots with menus no child could resist.

Every parent is looking only for the best when it comes to raising his children, including healthy daily habits and proper nutrition. Bacchanalia offers contemporary American cuisine with creative and light plates. Its seasonal bill of fare contains only organic ingredients appealing to almost everyone’s palate. This pricey eatery is located just north of West Midtown, in Blandtown, a historic neighborhood with a quiet atmosphere.

If you rather choose meat and barbecue and grill, Atlanta’s Waikikie offers your favorite food mixed with the concept of “local dishes.” The traditional cuisine includes gravy-covered rice and meat lunch bowls. In addition to these specialties, you can choose among a wide selection of grilled meat, such as BBQ (beef, chicken, short ribs), chicken katsu, fried shrimp, and fried mahi-mahi. This venue boasts indoor and outdoor seating, so your kiddos will have plenty of space to feel comfortable and let off some steam running and jumping around. Also, the menu offers items for kids like wings or chicken tenders.

A-Town has plenty of kid-friendly eateries

A-Town Eateries Offer Delivery and Takeout Options to Enjoy Mouth-Watering Meals From Your Home

Sometimes you are too tired to go anywhere, even if that means fast-food options near your home. Luckily, A-Town is a place where you can sit on your couch, watch TV, and enjoy your favorite treats thanks to the possibility of ordering fresh and warm meals. Whether you’re in the mood for a salad, appetizer, or a large portion, ATL offers a wide variety of different eating places ready to prepare your meal and deliver at your address. Thanks to newly opened venues and their menus that change daily, you can enjoy excellent improvisations and make a foodie oasis in your home.

Grab Takeout from Lyla Lila, One of New Restaurants in Atlanta

Southern European tradition and creative plates have merged, bringing a unique experience for all gourmets. Lyla Lila offers Italian cuisine, excellent wines, and well-crafted cocktails. Located in Midtown with a friendly and cozy ambiance, you can expect nothing less than top-notch quality. If you’re curious about ingredients in each dish and how it’s made, ask the chef, and you’ll see there are no secrets. Next time when ordering something special at your home address, don’t hesitate to ask for the recipe and impress your friends eating tasty meals together.

Takeout and delivery options are the first choices when you want to enjoy at your home

Iconic Dining Venues – Staplehouse and Union Miller

When one thinks about the best restaurants in Atlanta, the first thought that pops into their mind are probably famous Staplehouse and Union Miller. And perhaps these are Atlanta’s dining spots where it is most difficult to reserve a table.

Well-known for its non-deductible meals and its for-profit subsidiary status of Giving Kitchen, Staplehouse is much more than a place where you can eat high-quality meals. Located in the Old Fourth Ward, it’s a mecca for all people who like good food, excellent handmade drinks, and positive vibes. The same holds for Union Miller, located in Home Park, where you will find only organic cooking, seasonal ingredients, and an authentic approach to meal preparation. Leaning on Southern history tends to provide simple, creative, and refined dishes paired with excellent wines. People love places like these – with soul, a fantastic atmosphere, and above all, meals created with love.

The Big Peach Is Much More Than Countless Eateries – It’s a Blend of Good Bites and Great Vibes

Fortunately, ATL is packed with many spots where you can feel the real joy both for your eyes and taste buds. It’s good to know that the cost of living in Atlanta is 1% lower than the national average, so you can quickly get used to different eateries and try their specific specialties. Whatever your reasons to move are, keep in mind that, before hiring professional Atlanta movers, and using their moving and packing services, do some research about Atlanta suburbs, their options, and dining spots. Because you know what they say: “People who love to eat are always the best people.” And you should seek like-minded neighbors.

Written By: Mila Tacon