Ethnic Eats in the Empire City South

Over the years, Atlanta has become a culinary mecca, not just for fine dining. Dozens of ethnic groups have settled here, bringing affordable tastes of faraway lands. Pick a country and it’s surely represented in some part of the Perimeter.

240 M.L.K. Jr Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
An unassuming white building is consistently named a local favorite for its delicious hummus and gyros as well as the cheap price tag. The eatery also serves favorites like spanakopita and souvlaki. Go on a nice day and sit outside at a picnic table, after a trip to nearby Zoo Atlanta.
1745 Peachtree Street Northeast
Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft brings the country’s street food scene to Atlanta, offering tapas-style dining with unbeatable views of the skyline. Tucked into the top floor of a shopping center, guests are greeted with a real tuk tuk next to the elevator that takes you to the dining room. The flavors are authentic, with items like soups, curries, and street noodles. The ba-mee moo dang, barbecue pork noodles, and a lychee martini offer the full experience.
3125 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305, USA
For a unique dining experience, try Divan—a Mediterranean restaurant and hookah lounge. Guests are transported to Arabia, surrounded by pillows and curtains. Order small bites like the lamb kufta and hummus while you smoke the hookah. Divan also has a full bar.
4427 Roswell Road
For an affordable night out, seek out La Fonda Latina, a local chain that offers Spanish, Cuban, and Mexican fare. The margaritas are strong and the Cuban sandwiches are authentic. Share the paella with a friend and top it all off with a bottled Mexican Coke (made with real sugar).
48 S Park Square NE, Marietta, GA 30060, USA
I’ve lived in Marietta for most of my life and spent many days wandering past the Australian Bakery Cafe before going in. I assumed that they served all sorts of weird delicacies, like kangaroo. But before moving to Australia for a year, I went in and had one of their signature meat pies. It was as good if not better than the ones I had down under and the staff is mostly Australian expats. They also have less adventurous dishes, like sandwiches, as well as a full range of desserts. The store sells everything an Aussie expat living in Atlanta might need, namely Vegemite and their favorite Cadbury chocolates. Australian Bakery Cafe hosts bluegrass concerts on the weekends and brings in a big lunch crowd of people working in the courthouse and around Marietta.
6112 Roswell Road
Named for Persian poet Jelaluddin Rumi, Rumi’s Kitchen is the place to sample Persian cuisine in Atlanta. Uniquely Middle Eastern flavors cover the menu with ingredients like saffron, turmeric, and mint. Open for lunch and dinner, Rumi’s is best shared, so order the large portions of lamb kabobs and sides of yogurt and hummus to share between friends.
220 Sandy Springs Cir #209, Atlanta, GA 30328, USA
An unassuming strip mall may not be where you expect to find authentic Thai food, but Little Thai is a pleasant surprise. Expect all the favorites, including Thai tea, spicy curries, soups, noodles, and stir fries. Their coconut cake is an unexpected, but delicious, addition to the menu. It’s the kind of place where actual Thais eat and the restaurant has even received awards from the Thai government.
300 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA
A short walk from Atlanta‘s top attractions and sporting venues, Der Biergarten has made a name for itself by bringing Bavaria to the South. German natives opened the restaurant just in time for Oktoberfest in 2010 and have kept up the festivities since then. The restaurant has a fine-dining section as well as more casual beer garden tables. Enjoy the foosball, shuffleboard, and flat-screen TVs that broadcast sporting events. On the menu, you’ll find traditional fare such as bratwurst, spaetzle, schnitzel, and goulash. And then, of course, there’s the beer: A selection of German brews, including Paulaner, Warsteiner, and Spaten, is flown in from the motherland. If you can’t make it to Munich, Der Biergarten is a close second.
242 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
Wedged between former cotton mills in the neighborhood of Cabbagetown, Agave is an Atlanta favorite for its eclectic Southwestern cuisine. The posole soup and spicy tequila anejo shrimp with grits put a Southern spin on Southwestern classics. Most of the dishes come in gluten-free varieties. Try the classic margaritas or go funky with mango or passionfruit varieties.
1495 Chattahoochee Avenue Northwest
This colorful building in an area of warehouses may not look like much, but Nuevo Laredo Cantina is consistently rated among the best Mexican restaurants in Atlanta. It specializes in pork brisket, chicken mole, and chiles rellenos, but everything is good. Take note of the photos and mementos on the wall from patrons who have fallen in love with the restaurant.
4061 Jonesboro Road
Touted as the best Vietnamese food in Atlanta, the no-frills Pho Dai Loi’s three locations, (including one just minutes from the airport) serve some of the most flavorful and adventurous cuisine in the state. There’s a range of meat-based pho combos including flank, round eye, brisket, tendon, and tripe. It’s recommended to get the steak served rare on the side and then add it to the hot broth to cook for the best flavor. The service is quick, quantities are large, prices are low, and the bubble tea and cool, coconut juice perfectly pair with the restaurant’s heated dishes.
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