There are a lot of new restaurants opening up in Atlanta these days. However, unless you’ve found a way to clone yourself, or adjust your schedule to fit seven meals in per day, you probably aren’t going to make it to all of them.
That’s where we come in. We’re here to help you decide which of those new places are worth your time. The Infatuation Hit List is a regularly updated guide to the newest Atlanta restaurants we think you should know about, and that we think you’ll actually like.
One key thing you can always rely on: we’ll only put restaurants on this list that we have actually vetted. You know that new spot your friends have all mentioned because they saw it on Instagram? There’s a good chance that place might suck, and we’re not going to recommend that you check it out unless we’re reasonably sure that it doesn’t. Here are the best new restaurants in Atlanta.
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Golden Eagle feels like the cool drinking club your grandpa belonged to in the 1950s or 1960s, but with way better food and less smoking. This Reynoldstown spot serves a mix of dishes that don’t really make sense together, like crab rangoon and duck confit, but still somehow works. They also specialize in classic cocktails, so you can drink a blue Hawaiian or mai tai while you debate with your friends if you could pull off a fedora. Between the exposed wood, art deco design, and giant elk’s head above the bar, this is a place you should sit inside to get the full experience. However, if you really need a reminder of which decade it really is, there’s a patio outside as well.
When your last five brunches have all been a rotation of eggs benedict, omelettes, and avocado toast, it’s time for brunch at The White Bull in Decatur. You can eat freshly baked crumpets with strawberry jam and build your own cocktail, which will either inspire you to immediately buy a bar cart, or leave the drink making to the professionals moving forward. We’re also into dinner at this seasonal new American restaurant and while the menu changes often, you can expect dishes like excellent black spaghetti with shrimp, jalapeno and mint and chicken liver toast with honey and radishes.
On the nights when you finish work and just want to eat some good bar food on a patio without having to think about the back to back to back meetings you had today, check out Babalu in Midtown. This upscale Latin spot has a big menu with everything from burgers and steak to short rib tacos and tapas, so regardless of who you come here with, everyone will be happy. Grab a spot outside, get a cocktail, and split a few dishes, like the queso, crab cakes, and Spanish meatballs, while you try not to think about it only being Tuesday.
Just like its sibling restaurants Nan Thai and Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, Chai Yo serves really high quality Thai food. That said, this Buckhead spot is expensive, with entrees ranging from the $27 green curry to a $90 Thai-style rib eye. But with a menu and space that are a little more modern and upscale, it’s a good alternative to a nice steakhouse or going out for high-end sushi. The panang curry with braised beef cheeks and lobster tom kha are both excellent and when you pair them with the giant pina colada for two, you have more than enough reason to try this place out.
There are a lot of options to choose from at Krog Street Market, but Bar Mercado has three things going for it that we like a lot. It’s from the same team as two other very good Spanish restaurants, The Iberian Pig and Cooks and Soldiers, and they also have a patio that’s ideal for snacking and day drinking on the weekend. Most importantly, all of their tapas - from the crispy artichokes to the empanadas - are really good, and make this place a great destination for Happy Hour, a casual date, or brunch.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or you just bought a new shirt that’s too fancy for work and want an excuse to wear it, Mission + Market can help. This new spot in Buckhead is one of the best recent additions to the north ITP, with a big wine and cocktail list and a diverse enough menu that everyone from your pregnant coworker to your vegan/gluten-free best friend will find something they like. They serve plenty of dishes that are kind of healthy, including lots of seafood, salads, and Mediterranean small plates, but there’s also a great burger and a few different pizza and pasta options as well.
You wouldn’t expect to find a New Orleans-inspired spot in a bright pink building in the heart of Midtown, but that’s exactly what’s happening at Bon Ton. This spot serves mostly seafood, along with some Vietnamese options, like a catfish banh mi and frozen Vietnamese coffee. Between all of the seafood boils, the Crabstravaganza - which includes three types of crab, crawfish, shrimp, sausage, hush puppies, and Cajun fries - and a long list of beer, wine, and cocktails, it’s just as great a place to come with a group on the weekend as it is to stop by for a few drinks with your team after work.
If you’re heading back from OTP and want to eat somewhere without the words “never ending pasta bowl” on the menu, head to The Alden in Chamblee. Not too far from Buckhead, this upscale Mediterranean and American restaurant serves small plates and a variety of shareable entrees, like harissa shrimp and grits and basil-cured salmon with onion marmalade. Stop by for a glass of wine at the bar, or for Sunday brunch on the patio outside.
Doraville is definitely not Tokyo, but when you want to forget that for a while and eat some really good sushi at the same time, go to Kura for lunch or dinner. This Japanese spot is also a great option for when you don’t feel like speaking to another actual human being, since all of the ordering is done on a touchscreen at your table and your food is delivered to you via conveyor belt. And while those two details might make you think of eating at the airport, the large selection of nigiri, specialty rolls, and hand rolls are all really excellent. For those who don’t want sushi, Kura also serves ramen, udon, and tempura.
Buckhead is full of good restaurants, but as the capital of valet and dress codes, it’s not usually a neighborhood where you can just go out somewhere on a whim. That’s where Chido and Padres comes in. This new Mexican spot is a little hidden away on East Andrews, but once you turn the corner, you can’t miss this standalone restaurant with its massive sign and patio. Head here for Happy Hour with your friends, have some margaritas, and try out the tacos or their creamed corn tamales. It’s fun, super casual, and the perfect place for when you don’t want to deal with the production of actually going out in Buckhead.
When you need a date spot right off the BeltLine, ignore the 75 suggestions your friends sent you and just go straight to Lingering Shade Social Club instead. This new spot near Krog Street Market has a big patio and a lengthy wine and drink menu that can turn a “quick pitstop” into a whole afternoon. It’s a really attractive and airy space with an open garage door that’ll look great in the inevitable photos you take of yourself with any of the dogs on the patio. Stop by for a glass of wine and some deviled eggs or pimento cheese crab dip to start the night, or skip the whole “where should we go next?” conversation and just stay here instead.
Change isn’t always good, especially when it’s to something we like. So when the new Blu Cantina opened in East Atlanta Village earlier this year after the original location’s roof collapsed, we weren’t sure how we would feel about it. Thankfully, while the space is bigger, brighter, and a little further east than before, they still serve the same great Tex-Mex. Everything on the menu is consistent and solid, but regardless of whether you post up at the bar with a friend, have a margarita on the patio, or just grab something to-go, make sure to order the steak fajitas and the wings, which are some of the best in the city.
Located next to Suntrust Park, Punch Bowl Social is a massive entertainment complex with arcade games, karaoke, bowling, and loud music. While it sounds a little like a 2018 reboot of Dave & Buster’s, the food and drinks come from the team at Empire State South and both are actually really good. They serve everything from fried bologna sandwiches to street tacos to buckets of fried chicken, all of which go great with a few beers or any of their punches, which come in single, four, or eight person sizes. This place is definitely a nighttime spot to check out after a Braves game, but if the blaring music and bright lights really do it for you, they’re also open for brunch and lunch.
Imagine if your best friend’s slacker little brother, who always seemed like a space cadet but had a lot of creative potential, opened a restaurant. It would be disorganized, but with really good food, which is basically what’s going on at Hungry Ghost. Their website doesn’t work, they stay open late, and the menu is all over the place with a mix of both Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese food. Stop by for lunch and grab a fried chicken banh mi or ghost pepper chicken burrito to go, or come here at 2am with your friends for one last drink and a bowl of meatball pho before you go to bed.