Atlanta’s Best Restaurants

Atlanta’s culinary scene is exploding, with everything from humble eateries to James Beard Award winners popping up all over the city. Restaurants here bring together the cuisines of international cultures, creating a melting pot of flavors.

224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
If you ask anyone who’s visited Atlanta for restaurant recommendations, they’ll almost certainly suggest Mary Mac’s Tea Room. While the spot is a favorite of tourists—and celebrities, for that matter—it’s also a classic American eatery that locals frequent for special occasions. The space itself is sprawling, covering dozens of rooms and feeling much like a teahouse—although the only tea you’ll be drinking here is sweet and cold. The menu has remained relatively unchanged since Mary Mac’s opened in 1945 and includes hearty portions of fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and Georgia peach cobbler. Go with a group, order several items to share, and don’t be alarmed when goodwill ambassador Jo Carter comes by your table to rub your shoulders. It’s all part of the experience here.
265 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
Polaris’s blue, spaceshiplike dome was once a fixture of the Atlanta skyline. Opened in 1967, the rotating restaurant and bar played host to such legendary celebrities as Jim Morrison before closing its doors in 2004. In an effort to re-create the magic, the Hyatt Regency reopened Polaris in 2014, bringing back much of the original staff and keeping beloved menu items like the peach daiquiri. While the latest incarnation features modern elements like farm-to-table fare, rooftop honeybees, and a bourbon bar, the restaurant still rotates like the old days. The revolving can be a bit dizzying, but cardinal directions on the walls let you know when you’ve made a full lap. Also fun is the ride up in the elevator, which rises through the hotel and opens into the restaurant.
2277 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
In a city full of burger joints, Holeman and Finch Public House stands out for its extensive drink selection and Southern twist on farm-to-table fare. Tucked into the back of an apartment complex on Peachtree Street, the popular spot serves specialty cocktails and what seems like every obscure beer, wine, and liquor that exists. In fact, H&F also owns a bottle shop, where it sells many of its rarest selections. To pair with your drink, the restaurant offers a signature burger with two patties, cheese, onions, pickles, and a side of fries. What makes it so fantastic, however, is the bun, which H&F bakes in-house and even sells to other restaurants. It was originally available only after 10 p.m. nightly or during Sunday brunch, and the restaurant once made just 24 each day. To make matters more complicated, H&F doesn’t take reservations, so it’s not uncommon to find a line out the door and a wait time of up to 2.5 hours. Plan accordingly.
1238 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA
One of Atlanta’s most popular barbecue joints, Fox Bros. is packed every day, rain or shine. Locals jam the Little Five Points favorite for Texas-style fare like pulled pork and Flintstone-size ribs, best paired with sides like macaroni and cheese, tater tots, and Brunswick stew. You might have to loop around the block to find a parking spot, but it’ll be worth the wait. If the weather allows, sit outside on the patio.
924 Garrett St, Atlanta, GA 30316, USA
After helming Woodfire Grill, starring on Top Chef, and writing his first cookbook (which was nominated for a James Beard Award), chef Kevin Gillespie opened Gunshow in 2013. He named the spot after a Sunday tradition with his father but created an entirely unique concept for the menu, combining elements of Chinese dim sum and Brazilian churrascaria. Here, diners pair small plates like Japanese bacon-and-shrimp pancakes, Caribbean red snapper crudo, and Southern-style banana pudding with quirky cocktails, made with ingredients like asparagus vodka and shishito syrup. Popular with locals, Gunshow is also a favorite of celebrities, so make a reservation to avoid waiting.
541 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
Named 2016’s best new restaurant in America by Bon Appétit, Staplehouse is still Atlanta’s hardest reservation to score. Husband-and-wife team Ryan and Jen Hidinger dreamed up the restaurant after a series of successful supper clubs, which they hosted in their own home. Before they could open, however, Ryan was diagnosed with stage IV gallbladder cancer. Atlanta’s restaurant community rallied around the couple, raising money for Ryan’s treatments and eventually founding the Giving Kitchen charity. Eventually, the Hidingers leased a space and brought in Ryan’s sister Kara and her boyfriend, Ryan Smith, to run the restaurant. Ryan passed away in 2014 but his legacy lives on at Staplehouse, where Jen now serves as the business manager. While Ryan’s story is at the heart of the restaurant—a portion of the proceeds goes toward his charity—it’s Smith’s seasonally inspired menu that has kept Staplehouse on top.
5000 Buford Highway Northeast
Located on the international culinary corridor that is Buford Highway, Food Terminal brings the flavors of a Malaysian food market to Atlanta. Here, Amy Wong and Howie Ewe (who also own Sweet Hut Bakery and Café and Top Spice, a Thai and Malaysian chain) cook family recipes, drawing from memories of their homeland. Grab a seat in the modern space and choose from a menu of numbered noodle and rice dishes. The Grandma Wonton BBQ Pork Noodles—served with fried pork wontons, tender pork belly, egg noodles, bok choy, and a fried egg—are a favorite, but the Hainanese chicken and roti canai are also popular.
290 Elizabeth St NE F, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA
A favorite for weekend brunch, this French-inspired bistro in Inman serves flaky croissants, avocado toast, and brioche topped with scrambled eggs and smoked trout. Later in the day, it also offers ratatouille, beef tartare, and steak frites. Complete with stamped ceilings, bistro tables, and green-tiled walls, the intimate spot is even great for dessert and a drink, whether you’re after a negroni, a glass of chenin blanc, or a locally brewed beer. For drink specials, come during the week when B&B offers its version of happy hour, called L’Apéro. Note: Bread & Butterfly does not take reservations.
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