19 of the Absolute Best Restaurants in Atlanta
When visiting Atlanta, it is important to know the best places to enjoy a meal, no matter which part of town you might find yourself exploring.
Atlanta is a trendy, bustling city that is growing steadily in popularity among the many tourists that flock to its streets every year. This large hub of culture and entertainment provides plenty of excitement to its residents as well as to the people who visit while on vacation. Of course, any time you travel to a new location, it can be a daunting task to try to find the best places to eat while you exploring your surroundings. Atlanta is a vast city with many different districts, and it can be especially hard to figure out where to grab a bite in each unique part of town. Not to worry! Read on to unravel the mysteries of Atlanta’s dining scene, one district at a time.
Many of the city’s best restaurants can be found in north Atlanta, a short drive from the city center and including areas such as Vinings, Buckhead, and many others.
Seed Kitchen & Bar
Begin your journey through Atlanta’s best restaurants at Seed Kitchen & Bar, located in the East Cobb district. This restaurant serves up American meals in a trendy but relaxed environment that is sure to keep you coming back again and again. The food served at Seed is seasonal, meaning the menu changes throughout the year, aside from some year-round staples, and the rotating offerings allow the restaurant to utilize locally sourced, fresh ingredients in every way possible. Of course, sustainable eating isn’t the only great thing about Seed, but dining here will definitely make you feel like you’re doing something to help the community as well as the environment.
Menus do change, but the iron skillet cornbread with a side of house-made jelly is a standard at Seed, and it’s a great place to start your meal. Any of the soups are incredible here, but you might want to save your appetite for the main course and sample one of the unique options available during the time when you plan your visit. Of course, you can always go with a pork chop or filet mignon, both of which are available most of the time, and both of which are delicious and perfectly prepared to order. The choice is yours!
Seed Kitchen & Bar is located at 1311 Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta.
Aria Restaurant is easily one of the nicest restaurants in Atlanta, located in the swanky Buckhead part of town. This modern American style restaurant has a hip and trendy vibe that draws crowds of sophisticated guests who want to enjoy delicious food in the most elegant of settings. Of course, Aria is decked out with stylish interiors and comfortable seating that makes it feel more like a high quality club than a restaurant, and even though it is an upscale place to eat, you can let yourself relax in the atmosphere here. If you aren’t traveling on a budget, don’t pass this one up!
Begin your meal at Aria with an appetizer of ruby red and golden beets served with pistachios and Meyer lemon yogurt, or try the excellent roasted butternut squash soup before your main course. For dinner itself, go for the roasted cervena venison loin with rutabagas and radicchio. This is an excellent combination of savory and tangy flavors that will please any palate. The farm-raised roasted duck with squash and mushrooms is another good option for those looking to try something a little more local. Finish your meal with a slice of lemon pound cake, and wash it all down with a Naughty Pine, which is a cocktail made of tequila and Earl Grey.
Aria Restaurant is located at 490 East Paces Ferry in Atlanta.
Take a step away from the trendsetting dining of Aria for a formal meal at Bone’s Restaurant, also located in Buckhead. Bone’s, voted as the best steakhouse in Atlanta and deemed the highest quality steakhouse in the United States, has a strong reputation for excellent service and even better food. Businesspeople and higher-ups in corporations from around the world host their luncheons and dinners within the walls of this great steakhouse, so why not give it a try for yourself and see what all the fuss is about?
Be sure to try the beef barley and shiitake mushroom soup before your main course, as it’s a surprisingly extraordinary dish. You might also want to order a traditional shrimp cocktail to share as an appetizer or sample some foie gras. Bone’s is one of the best places in Atlanta to try this elaborate snack. Move on then to the main course, and don’t pass up the steaks at this world-renowned steakhouse! Although there are plenty of other dishes available at Bone’s, steak is the way to go. Choose your cut and size, and add on lobster tail, foie gras, crab meat, or many other delicious toppings to make it the perfect dinner.
Bone’s Restaurant is located at 3130 Piedmont Road Northeast in Atlanta.
Canoe is located in the Vinings district and is owned by the same people who run Aria. Despite this, it has a much different vibe than its hip cousin. This elegant little restaurant is situated along the Chattahoochee River and surrounded by the beauty of nature and a perfectly-kept landscape full of gardens, greenery, and hidden walkways to make your evening that much more romantic and memorable. The building itself is rustic and comfortable and showcases the charm of old Atlanta blended with modern style sensibilities for an elegant and inspiring setting.
Canoe serves a Sunday brunch that is well worth making a special trip for if you have the time. However, if you plan to visit on any other day of the week, stop by for dinner and enjoy the best the restaurant has to offer. For your appetizer, sample the oxtail tortellini with baby carrots and beef broth, or order the house-smoke salmon with a potato cake and Vermont goat cheese. Any of the items on the main menu are excellent, and it can be difficult to get a single recommendation out of anyone who frequents this place! For something a little different than you might find at most other area restaurants, try the slow roasted rabbit with fettuccine and parsnips. If you prefer more traditional meats, go for the rainbow trout with smoked trout ravioli.
Canoe is located at 4199 Paces Ferry Road Southeast in Atlanta.
Floataway Café, in Atlanta’s Emory Village neighborhood, is the type of restaurant that has a lot of modern charm with a handful of industrial touches that work together to make guests feel like they’re enjoying a meal somewhere in a European eatery. The building in which Floataway Café is housed was once a warehouse that has since been renovated into an excellent place to get Mediterranean, Italian, and French dishes with a modern American twist. Weather permitting, dine in the outdoor courtyard in the evening and enjoy a romantic, relaxed experience.
Menus change seasonally, but you can always sample some excellent house-made pizza at Floataway Café. Try the margherita pizza with mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and olive oil, or go for a prosciutto pizza with red onion, prosciutto, and oregano. This restaurant serves delicious pasta dishes as well, so depending on what’s available when you visit, you might want to sample some pasta instead. If it’s in season, try the squid ink maccheroni with shrimp and octopus. Finish your meal on a sweet note with a trio of seasonally flavored sorbettis.
Floataway Café is located at 1123 Zonolite Road in Atlanta.
Tomo Japanese Restaurant
Head to Tomo Japanese Restaurant for the best sushi in the entire city! Tomo serves up exquisite Japanese dishes with a contemporary American audience in mind. There are many different dining options available at Tomo, but the sushi is by far the tastiest category on the menu. Whatever you order when you visit, you can be sure that it will be prepared lovingly and with all of the freshest and highest quality ingredients available, and served in an atmosphere of prestige and luxury in the heart of Buckhead.
Try the jumbo soft shell crab roll, which is made with avocado, cucumber, and flying fish egg sauce, or go for the house special, a sushi roll made with yellowtail, tuna, salmon, smelt, and white fish with eel, egg, and avocado. Both are truly delectable choices. If you’re looking for an entrée, go with the Scottish sushi-grade salmon with a wild mushroom teriyaki sauce for an interesting blend of flavors. Of course, when money is no object, the Kobe ribeye direct from Japan is an expensive but exquisite alternative to anything else on the menu.
Tomo Japanese Restaurant is located at 3630 Peachtree Road in Atlanta.
Heirloom Market BBQ
Check out Heirloom Market BBQ if the other restaurants listed so far are a little bit pricey for your tastes! Heirloom Market is an affordable place to eat in the Smyrna part of town, and even though you won’t be dropping as much cash on your meal here, you will still receive a delicious dinner you won’t soon forget. This tiny eatery combines traditional barbecuing methods and recipes with the tastes of a contemporary palate to create something altogether new and delicious. Ingredients are kept simple, and dishes are always fresh and tasty at this grab-and-go restaurant.
Because Heirloom Market BBQ is small and prefers to keep things simple, there aren’t a lot of different choices on the menu. Simply pick your favorite smoked meat and pair it with one or two of your preferred sides. As with most barbecue restaurants, you can also order larger amounts to feed big families, provided you call ahead of time to place that order. Although everything at Heirloom Market is very tasty, be sure to try the brisket or the smoked kielbasa for your main dish, and enjoy a hearty side helping of traditional Southern style collard greens along with it.
Heirloom Market BBQ is located at 2243 Akers Mill Road in Atlanta.
C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar
You might notice that there are no other oyster bars on this list of great Atlanta restaurants. This is because, although there are a few other good ones, none of them can top the quality and taste of the food you can find at C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar. The raw bar is the highlight of this classy restaurant, but there are also plenty of great menu items to keep everyone in your party satisfied, even if raw oysters aren’t their cup of tea. Sit back and enjoy your relaxed, casual meal in the heart of the Vinings neighborhood.
If you plan to dine at the raw bar alone, try the C&S Plateaux de Fruits de Mer, which includes six clams, six oysters, four shrimp cocktails, and a pound of red king crab. If you prefer to grab a few raw oysters along with your entree, sample your raw preferences before enjoying a broiled flounder or a steamed sea bass, both of which are always excellently prepared at C&S. You might also enjoy a whole Maine lobster, or two Maine lobster tails, as your seafood main course. Pair your meal with one of dozens of wines available to order by the glass or by the bottle, or try a ginger limeade, made with vodka, ginger beer, and limes, to quench your thirst.
C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar is located at 3240 Cobb Parkway in Atlanta.
Just east of downtown, a handful of delicious Atlanta restaurants are just waiting to be discovered.
What can you expect from a restaurant that openly calls itself a dive? If you’re headed to Dish Dive in the Kirkwood district, then you can prepare yourself for quality service, affordable prices, a casual atmosphere, and the best food you’ve had in a long time! Everything at Dish Dive is hand crafted out of ingredients that were selected that morning from local markets. Leftovers aren’t kept around because the crowds stay steady enough that the restaurant usually runs out of food by the end of the day.
Because of the unique nature of this tiny eatery, there are only a handful of selections on the menu at any given time, and these can always change depending on what was or wasn’t available during the morning grocery run. If they’re available, be sure to try the Dive Fries, which are hand-made French fries topped with a gravy made of braised goat and smoked mushrooms with cheddar and pickled veggies. The shakashuka is also an excellent choice for anyone looking to dine meat-free. This dish contains bell peppers and tomato, jalapenos, okra, purple potato puree, corn, feta, and egg.
Dish Dive is located at 2233 College Avenue Northeast in Atlanta.
The General Muir
When you visit The General Muir, you might not quite be able to peg what kind of restaurant you are in. Is it a deli? Is it a fine dining location? Actually, it’s a little of both, and The General Muir, located in the Druid Hills neighborhood, prides itself on its deli-with-a-twist vibe. Based on the traditions of Jewish delis in New York City, this restaurant serves up simple meals with a home-cooked flair in a classy atmosphere every day. It’s also a great place to grab an espresso beverage, cocktail, or craft beer—whatever you’re in the mood to drink!
Despite being a deli, The General Muir is open for dinner as well as for breakfast and lunch every day (and brunch on weekends). There are plenty of tasty treats awaiting you no matter which meal you enjoy at this restaurant, so take your pick! Chow down on open-faced bagel sandwiches at breakfast, including a baked salmon salad topped bagel with horseradish and pickled celery, or munch a pastrami sandwich piled high for lunch. At dinner, grab some poutine before your meal, then order corned beef on a reuben sandwich or go for the hanger steak with potatoes.
The General Muir is located at 1540 Avenue Place in Atlanta.
The Octopus Bar is an altogether unique culinary experience on the eastern side of the city. Like many other modern restaurants, ingredients are sourced locally and menu items may change throughout the year. However, unlike other dining venues, Octopus Bar considers itself a punk rock experience as much as a place to eat and drink. The walls are adorned with graffiti art, and the patio is designed to make guests feel like they’re outdoors without having to deal with potential inclement weather. This is definitely one of the most pleasantly bizarre restaurants in Atlanta, and well worth a trip, but keep in mind that it caters to a late night crowd only.
The food at Octopus Bar is designed with off-duty chefs and servers in mind, and it all has a little added panache that makes it memorable. Grab some sake-marinated sushi in a hand roll, or try a monkfish liver torchon with trout roe on top to whet your appetite. The main dishes are just as eclectic as the appetizers are at Octopus Bar. The salt and pepper Georgia shrimp with chili and jalapeno is a perfect spicy way to end your day, and the rabbit and shrimp wontons create a beautiful flavor combination you have to taste to believe. Whatever you try, be prepared for an experience!
Octopus Bar is located at 560 Gresham Avenue Southeast in Atlanta.
Known as one of the best Spanish restaurants in Decatur, just outside of Atlanta, the Iberian Pig is a place where people go to hang out with friends and coworkers after a long day, sip a few drinks, and stuff themselves full of incredible food. Dishes served at this popular Atlanta restaurant focus on contemporary flavor profiles but incorporate traditional cooking methods and Spanish-influenced flavors all along the way. If you love tapas, you definitely won’t want to miss out on the Iberian Pig! There is a lot to sample here, which is a great excuse to order a lot and share among your party.
Try one of the several charcuterie options, including the cured pork sausage with smoked paprika, or go for the Grand Iberico Tasting board and try them all. Order a serving of idiazabal cheese dip for the table. This dip is made of raw, smoked, aged sheep’s milk for a rich and enticing flavor profile. There are tons of tapas to choose from, as well, but be sure you sample the rabbit empanadas with salsa verde and the clams in Serrano chile broth, among your other selections. End your tour of Spanish cuisine with an espresso custard topped with berries, known as a copa catalan.
The Iberian Pig is located at 121 Sycamore Street in Decatur.
Before leaving the eastern part of the city, head to Duluth, where you will find Kurt’s Bistro. This European style restaurant provides an intimate setting for small groups or romantic couples to enjoy a meal together. Kurt’s has been a part of Atlanta’s dining scene for nearly three decades, and it continues to provide quality food at good prices to crowds of locals and visitors alike. There’s a little of everything at Kurt’s, but if you like European dishes, you’ve found the right place.
Try the burgundy snails with mashed potatoes and gruyere for a tasty treat before your meal. There aren’t a lot of places in Atlanta to get well-prepared snails, so don’t pass this one by! You might also enjoy an order of cheese fondue with bread and apples, and at Kurt’s, it’s affordable enough to add on to any meal. For your main dish, try the classic wienerschnitzel with lemon butter sauce, or opt for the Schwabian platter, which includes several different German sausages with sauerkraut and potato salad.
Kurt’s is located at 3305 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth.
Of course, as with any city, downtown Atlanta is packed full of incredible places to grab a bite to eat.
The Busy Bee has been a beloved Atlanta tradition since the late 1940s, when its owner chose to follow her dream of owning her own restaurant and opened it to the public, serving as the cook herself. Today, the Busy Bee no longer retains its original owner, but her self-taught cooking techniques and country-inspired flavors still abound in the food that is prepared and served fresh daily in this affordable Southern style restaurant.
Like any true down-home diner, the Busy Bee offers weeknight specials to entice its customers. If you visit on a weeknight, consider trying whatever the special is for that particular day. The neck bones on Tuesday nights are especially nice! Outside of the specials, there are plenty of traditional Southern dishes available any time at the Busy Bee. Try the chitlins or the ham hocks for some truly authentic eating, or go for the fried half chicken if you prefer something a little more common. Don’t forget your serving of Georgia peach cobbler!
The Busy Bee is located at 810 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Southwest in Atlanta.
The Inman Park neighborhood has been home to Rathbun’s for over ten years, since just around the time the area began to grow. Since its humble beginnings, this restaurant has truly taken off and become a very popular place among Atlanta locals. With a modern American menu full of unique flavors and an ambiance with a stylish bent, Rathbun’s continues to delight its customers with delectable dishes and quality cocktails in a low-lit, sophisticated setting.
Whether you’re looking for something small, filling, or extravagant, you can find what you crave at Rathbun’s. In the small plates category, choose the roasted bone marrow with lemon crumb or the charred octopus with radishes to share with your party or enjoy all on your own. When you’re feeling extra hungry, go for the seared duck breast with Thai risotto and green curry sauce, or opt for the swordfish with pattipan squash. The menu also includes a category called “Second Mortgage,” and while these plates are pretty pricey, they are large and delicious. Try the lobster tacos with cream and pico de gallo for a phenomenal, out of this world treat.
Rathbun’s is located at 112 Krog Street in Atlanta.
When your tastes run toward Italian food, look no further than the upscale dining venue known as Sotto Sotto, another Inman Park classic. This warm and inviting restaurant in Inman Park serves up authentic dishes with a nod toward the finer things in Italian cooking. Several times Sotto Sotto has been deemed the best Italian restaurant in Atlanta, so you can be sure that a meal here will satisfy your taste buds as well as your stomach!
Sotto Sotto serves several different types of pasta to suit all of its guests. Try the risotto mantecato, topped with Reggiano cheese and a 12-year aged balsamic, or order the naked ravioli, filled with spinach and ricotta and uniquely lacking any sauce. The pappardelle with a braised duck ragu is another delicious choice that’s sure to please. Of course, there are a few non-pasta dishes available, and the halibut cooked in wine with tomatoes, garlic, and peppers provides plenty of flavor with none of the grain.
Sotto Sotto is located at 313 North Highland Avenue Northeast in Atlanta.
Wisteria Restaurant, located in Inman Park, is a historic restaurant with a lot of old Southern charm. The building itself is about a hundred years old, and although the restaurant hasn’t been around nearly that long, it is nevertheless an important part of Atlanta’s culture and heritage. Wisteria Restaurant is known for its unique takes on traditional Southern dishes, combining the flavors of home cooking with the presentation skills of contemporary dining to create unbelievable results.
Share a plate of Ancho chili rubbed sea scallops or cornmeal fried calamari before your meal, or go for the house-made chicken sausage and dumplings to really bring home the Southern vibe. The beef and veal meatballs with ricotta gnocchi are an excellent dinner choice, but again, if you truly want to experience the blending of country cooking and modern tastes at Wisteria, try the fried lemon and rosemary catfish with spicy green tomatoes and okra.
Wisteria Restaurant is located at 471 North Highland Avenue in Atlanta.
With a name like Gunshow, it has to be good! Gunshow takes its design inspirations from Chinese and Brazilian dining, where a la carte items are displayed to customers who may order whichever ones they want directly from their servers. Worldwide flavors combine to create an international taste testing phenomenon at Gunshow, and where one server might come by with an authentic Brazilian meat, the next might have something French or Italian to display. This restaurant proves that a little ingenuity goes a long way in creating outside-the-box dishes that wow guests every day.
The menu at Gunshow changes every Monday, and because it is a small and locally-owned business, sometimes the owners don’t even know what they’re going to offer until time to post the menu. The week’s offerings are available on the restaurant’s Facebook page, but it can be even more enjoyable to just show up and see what comes around while you’re there. Half the fun of eating at Gunshow is in the experience!
Gunshow is located at 924 Garrett Street in Atlanta.
No list of the best restaurants in Atlanta would be complete without mentioning Bacchanalia. Located in Westside, this high-class restaurant may not be budget-friendly, but it is an excellent place to go when you want to celebrate an important occasion or just have a little extra money to spend on fine dining. Bacchanalia’s claim to fame is its five-course menu, with several selections available to tailor the experience to your own personal preferences.
Although the course choices are entirely up to you, there are a few options that go above and beyond expectations. The Kumamoto oysters, served raw with apple and grapefruit, are a perfect first course, while the gulf red snapper with celery root risotto makes for an ideal second course. For your third selection, consider the pumpkin tortellini or the venison, both of which are exquisite. The fourth course focuses on cheeses, one of which is a local Georgia selection called Capra Gia that you are sure to love. Finally, wrap up your meal with a fifth course of Georgia apple cake with candied pecans. If you really want to spend a lot on your meal, you can add on some caviar to the experience.
Bacchanalia is located at 1198 Howell Mill Road in Atlanta.
Get ready to eat your way around the beautiful and vibrant city of Atlanta! Keep track of the restaurants you want to try, and when you find yourself in the right part of town, be sure to hit up each one on your list. Pretty soon, you won’t feel so intimidated by the complexity of Atlanta and its vast number of eateries. You'll be hopping around town from one fabulous dining establishment to the next, sampling all the mouthwatering dishes you can find along the way. Good luck, safe travels, and most importantly, bon appetit!
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