What To Eat And Drink In East Atlanta Village  guide image

ATLGuide

What To Eat And Drink In East Atlanta Village

From the city’s best beef bulgogi to bagels that’ll score points with your NYC friends, these are our favorite spots in the EAV.

Until the real estate tycoons re-design every square inch of the city into polished “mixed-use developments,” we’ll cherish EAV. Luckily, the main strip of EAV between Glenwood and Flat Shoals has remained edgy, original, and the most likely spot in the entire city to crash a witchcraft book club. We hope that never changes, and until then, here are some of our favorite spots to hit in East Atlanta Village.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Nolan Wynn

Banshee review image

Banshee

$$$$

1271 Glenwood Ave SE, Atlanta
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Innovative dishes, chic lighting fixtures, dark blue draperies that divide the dining area, and a bird wallpapered bar make Banshee the nicest place in EAV. And menu items like the sweet potato agnolotti with tender lamb will make you forget you're in the super casual neighborhood. It all adds up to being the perfect spot if you’re planning a pull-out-all-the-stops date on that side of town. Plus, how many other fancy restaurants bring in a DJ after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and serve late-night hot dogs from Screamin’ Weenies on their back patio? Buckhead could neva.

If Gaja Korean Bar feels hidden, it’s because it kind of is. Aside from the tiny sign with its name in red lettering above the door, it’s an easy-to-miss entrance on the back side of a brick building shared by a mini market and CBD store. You’ll know you're getting warm when you pull into a parking lot that definitely hasn’t been re-paved since the ’70s. No windows, concrete walls, and mustard yellow neon lights make Gaja feel just as secretive inside. Nothing on the menu at this Korean small plates spot in EAV is more than $15, and the smallish space serves up some of the best beef bulgogi this side of I-20.

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A trendy gastropub might not sound like it fits with EAV’s nonchalant aesthetic, but Argosy somehow manages to both fit in and stand out. They’ve got a famously long craft beer list that goes well with any of their wood-fired pizzas. Dim lighting and wood paneling everywhere make it hard to tell what time of day it is, so sit on the patio if you don’t want to get sucked into a time vortex. If pizza isn’t your jam, get the wings or Mamma’s Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy (it’s definitely better than your mom’s. Sorry Ma). And if you’re pulling a John Mulaney and questioning whether to get house-cut fries for the table, the answer is hell yeah. If you don’t have time to try all eight fry dips, our faves are the curry ketchup, wasabi mayo, and yum sauce.

Emerald City Bagels has come a long way from their roadside stand in Cabbagetown. Stepping through the door of their brick and mortar location in EAV feels like a portal into another era, with workers in white aprons and white paper diner hats, making seltzers in house (try the lemon basil and add a shot of ginger). The whole place is very ’60s, with a wooden counter that looks like a fanned-out accordion, and gold posts that hold up glass dividers over that counter. There’s a variety of bagels, cream cheeses, and bagel sammies, so grab one of their signatures like the classic bacon, egg, and cheese on an onion bagel or create your own with their variety of toppings.

What does a boat oar, an old bicycle, a moose head, and a PBR pennant all have in common? Nothing, which is why we always question why they’re all hanging on the walls at The Earl, a small, much-beloved music venue and dive bar in the heart of East Atlanta. Nothing really goes together, but no one really cares because they’re drinking cheap beer and listening to loud rock music. To blend in, grab a beer and order the Big Earl—their messy version of a Big Mac that has caramelized onions, sauce, and cheese dripping out the sides—it’ll sober up anyone who has had one beer too many.

Ok Yaki started as a pop up serving street foods from Osaka. The popularity of their crispy cabbage-based pancake, okonomiyaki, led to a brick and mortar in EAV. Now it’s served alongside delicious cocktails that have boba at the bottom—another reason why this Japanese restaurant is one of our favorite relaxed environments for any occasion. The open kitchen runs the length of the one-room dining area, so you can watch as the cooks make okonomiyaki on repeat all night. For a change of scenery, head outside to their surprisingly large patio and enjoy a shochu, which we like to order as a highball.

We’ve found the perfect go-to for a quick, affordable lunch in EAV—Pollo Primo, which continuously churns out hella seasoned chicken plates, hella fast. It’s pretty simple: order a quarter bird, half a bird, or a whole bird (aye). And it’s not an exaggeration—when you order the whole bird, you get an entire chicken. Each meal comes with tasty rice, beans, tortilla, and salsas. Their lunch special rotates every week but usually features some type of chicken dish, a few sides, and a drink for around $15. Make sure to order the churros since their sugary, cinnamon goodness is the perfect cap to your meal. Their patio is a pleasant place to relax on your lunch break, just know that when the weather is nice, you won’t be the only one there.

So Ba isn’t on the main drag of EAV, so it’s a little harder to accidentally stumble across, but we think their pho alone makes them a worthy landmark. The small, unassuming green exterior is matched by their laid-back interior that squeezes in roughly 10 tables, which are always filled. Whether you’re having a casual date night, eating with your new baby in tow, or grabbing a cơm or bun dish with friends before hitting the bars, anything goes here. So Ba closes at 10pm and transforms into late-night spot Octopus Bar, so come early to get any of their pho options (they’re all tasty) and be sure to order extra brisket because it melts in your mouth and we always leave wanting more.

For more than 30 years, Grant Central Pizza East has been serving up huge, thin-crust New York-style slices of pizza, which gives you the maximum amount of cheese and toppings in every bite. You can’t see it but we’re doing the chef’s kiss motion right now like we do every time we think about their slices. EAV really isn’t with all the extraness you’ll find in other parts of the city, so keeping it on brand, this neighborhood pillar and pizzeria sticks to the basics with the usual toppings—the only show you’ll get is from pizza makers who nonchalantly cut off hunks of dough and roll them into balls in the middle of the room, then make huge pies cut into slices the size of our heads.

photo credit: Courtesy of Hippin' Hops/ Photography By Ari Skin Photos

Hippin’ Hops Brewery & Oyster Bar review image

Hippin’ Hops Brewery & Oyster Bar

Hippin’ Hops is a Black-owned brewery with two locations, one in Kirkwood and the other here in EAV. A brewery and oyster bar isn’t a combination you hear too often, so we love Hippin’ Hops for giving us a place to slurp down great craft beer and awesome oysters. Try out their Collardfeller oysters, which is a Southern twist to the traditional Rockefeller with smoked turkey and collard greens. If oysters aren’t your thing, grab a Rolling Dank IPA, sit at the long cafeteria style tables, and enjoy the party tunes thumping from the speakers. But don’t let the loud music fool you, Hippin’ Hops keeps the vibe chill and relaxed with soft lit neon lights and cornhole outside. 

East Atlanta Village isn’t exactly synonymous with sports. But drinking? Yes indeed. So when we want to participate in two of our favorite activities, we head to Midway Pub at the end of the EAV strip to grab a pitcher from their lengthy on-draft list and watch sports on the many TVs and projector screens that line the walls above the wooden bar. The standout here is the massive, partially covered patio, dotted with string lights that set the mood at night–and we’re suckers for some well-placed string lights. Midway’s food is typical bar fare, but they do offer Walking Tacos, in which beef or impossible chili is scooped into a bag of corn chips and topped with the usual fixings.

When you’re sort of in the mood for sushi but also won’t mind a big warm bowl of massaman curry, this is your place. A brick wall, a wood paneled wall, and an absurdly loud red wall make up the interior of EAV Thai and Sushi, and somehow they all work well in this small-ish one-room dining space. Spend time thinking how this unlikely wizardry can inspire your home redesign as you enjoy a sushi roll or three—get one with crab sticks like the Bali Paradise Island, which also packs in cream cheese and baked scallops. And then proceed to the perfectly creamy and robust spicy panang curry. There’s also a whole speciality martini menu and an extensive list of other cocktails and spirits, but we like the Black Raspberry Sake Martini.

As one of the few places on the main drag of EAV serving Mexican food, Holy Taco is clutch when the taco cravings hit. You won’t find a larger patio in East Atlanta Village than the one at Holy Taco (sorry Midway, we still love you). You’ll often see families with little kids and strollers the size of Buicks because the place is so spacious. To avoid the kids entirely, go later in the evening and get a Holy Margarita and the Tres Amigos, which is a trio of salsa, queso, and guacamole. It feels painfully obvious, but if you’re going to Holy Taco for a full meal, you should get tacos. It just makes sense. We recommend the skirt steak or the tender braised pork belly on corn tortillas.

Whether you’re in the mood for day-drinking or late-night “brewsing,” Flatiron is a chill little neighborhood bar where you can get a reliably good beer. Hit it for lunch or an early dinner, and you’ll be one of only a few folks sitting by the windows watching runners zip by on the sidewalk. It’s ballsy to tout your own food as famous, but “Our Famous Chicken Egg Rolls” earn the label, expertly fusing traditional chicken salad and Asian flavors. Things ramp up at night, when it’s not unusual to see people spilling out of the tiny wood-paneled interior and hanging out on the sidewalk. If you can’t find a spot, head upstairs to The Trophy Room, which houses an additional bar, darts, and a pool table, and order the jalapeno chili mac and cheese bowl from the late-night menu.

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