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.
New to The Hit List (as of 9/20): Hattie B’s, Tiny Lou’s, Recess, Arnette’s Chop Shop, Miso Ko, Watchman’s Seafood and Spirits, Zunzi’s, Momonoki
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Atlanta has plenty of great fried chicken spots, but when Nashville hot chicken makes its way east, people still get excited. So much so that despite being open for a few months now, Hattie B’s still has a nearly constant line, but we promise it’s worth the wait. Once you finally get to order, go with some wings and a sandwich and choose your spice level - from mild to “Shut The Cluck Up.” If you’re trying to avoid the crowds, and don’t mind crying into your food before noon, show up when they open at 11am, or stop by for a second dinner on a Friday or Saturday when they’re open until midnight.
You could very easily spend an entire day at and around the Clermont Hotel if you wanted to. Start on their rooftop bar with a drink, end at the Clermont Lounge, and then stay the night in one of the hotel rooms. But when you inevitably get hungry for dinner, or wake up and need brunch, there’s Tiny Lou’s. It feels like an upscale French bistro from the 1930s, complete with cocktails in crystal glasses, steak frites, and escargot, all in a large dining room with big comfortable booths. Bring a date and try to impress them with your flawless pronunciation of “fromage brulee” before heading up to the rooftop for after-dinner drinks and the great view.
At first, Krog St. Market seemed only to have places with things like beer, tacos, ice cream, and other generally unhealthy food, but then Recess came along. Head to the walk-up bar with a bright red neon sign and embrace your new healthy lifestyle - or healthy breakfast at least. Recess could easily become your new go-to breakfast or brunch spot, with things like fresh juices and mocktails, chia bowls, and breakfast sandwiches, but they’re also open for lunch and dinner, too.
When Miso Izakaya closed, we had to completely reevaluate our sushi options in the area. Thankfully we didn’t have to shift too much because the same team is back with a new spot in Ponce City Market. Miso Ko works great for lunch, with a walk-up sushi bar and grab-and-go options, in case you need to take your freshly made rolls back to the office for a conference call. It works just as well for dinner, although take out might be the better option since there are only a few seats.
Maybe you got a raise, or you found some money yesterday in an old pair of pants. Either way, when you have some cash to spend, check out Arnette’s Chop Shop. This Brookhaven steakhouse has all the classics, plus a 60-day aged, 40 oz tomahawk that’ll set you back $140, in case you and five friends want to make a night out of just dinner. If you’re heading here with your parents, or for a special occasion, make a reservation. But if you’re coming with a group of friends, just spend some time on the open-air second floor while you wait.
Zunzi’s, a sandwich shop that first opened in Savannah, has made its way to Atlanta, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Their subs combine South African, Swiss, Italian, and Dutch influences, which means you’ll find sandwiches with things like boerewors (a South African sausage), vegan frikkadels (meatballs), and curry chicken salad, most of which are topped with what they like to call “sh*t yeah” sauce. It’s exactly what you want for lunch when the last three days have been a blur of turkey and swiss. Get one to go, or stay and hang out on their patio with a craft soda.
If you’re beach-starved and want to go somewhere that will make the city feel a little less landlocked, Watchman’s in Krog Street Market is the place. The space is bright and airy with plenty of hanging plants, which makes it feel more casual than its sister restaurant, Kimball House. Their menu is filled with fresh seafood, and a long list of daiquiris and other cocktails. Come here to catch up with a friend over drinks and oysters, or with a big group to order one of everything on the menu.
Momonoki is a new spot in Midtown, and comes from the same team as Brush Sushi Izakaya in Decatur. Their menu includes things like ramen, katsu sandwiches, and donburi, and it’s one of the first places around to serve dipping ramen. They also have a cafe attached that serves coffee, matcha, and freshly baked pastries, as well as black sesame and matcha-flavored soft serve.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.