Where To Eat When You’re Visiting Atlanta

New in town? We have some suggestions.
dining room with plants

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

​​Maybe you’re here to visit your friend who came for college and never left, or maybe you’re one of the 500 people working on Avengers 12: Hulk Goes To Camp. Either way, you’ve made it to Atlanta and regardless of whether you flew into Hartsfield-Jackson or drove in via the interstate, you deserve a medal and maybe a stiff drink.

There are a lot of bars and restaurants to choose from, and just like the 70-plus streets in Atlanta with the word “Peachtree’ in the name, it can be tough to navigate your way through all of them. Luckily, that’s where we come in with our guide to the best places to eat and drink during your trip to Atlanta—from brunch to late night.


photo credit: Amy Sinclair



$$$$Perfect For:People WatchingImpressing Out of TownersBrunchBreakfastDay Drinking
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A velvet rope at the entrance of this popular venue can make it feel like you’re waiting to get into the club. Hell, there’s a strong chance you’ll see people still hungover from an actual club experience slumped over the subway-tiled bar in search of needed nourishment. But with some of the best brunch offerings in town, Barney’s is the morning-after spot you need—both to refuel and squeeze in one last see-and-be-seen experience. There’s a dish for everyone here, including thick and fluffy 24 Karat Gold Pancakes that taste as good as they look and fried catfish and spaghetti, a Deep South delicacy. If you’re still recovering from last night’s shenanigans, try one of their vegan entrees with a fresh pressed juice, which may help you recall who you gave your number to last night.

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

It would be a shame if you didn’t get to taste the world’s greatest pancakes while you're in the city. These butter-rich, fluffy hot cakes are worth every minute of the usual 30 to 45-minute wait to get a table. And there’s really nothing that disappoints at Ria's (other than the views since it's located across the street from the historic Oakland Cemetery). If you’ve gone paleo or plant-based this week, try the overstuffed omelets, slow-cooked brisket and eggs, or delicious country-fried tempeh with vegetarian gravy. When a seat at the counter opens up, slide in to claim your flapjacks.

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Bomb Biscuit’s lemon pepper chicken biscuit is a brilliant showcase of Atlanta’s two famous food exports (lemon pepper wings and the chicken biscuit). Don’t be dissuaded by the 60-minute wait for a table or the winding takeout line, a stop here will give you a new benchmark for breakfast biscuits. The fried cutlet is made from thigh meat, so the chicken is juicy and rich, and the breading has a salty, lemony tang that provides a nice contrast to the buttery biscuit. Bomb Biscuit is also walking distance from the Jackson Street Bridge, so you can grab a photo opp after your meal.

While a late-night Waffle House visit is a worthy slot on your Atlanta checklist, there’s no better place to get a taste of Southern diner culture than at this retro Poncey-Highland classic that’s been serving shortstacks since 1929. The smell and sounds of sizzling bacon greet you on arrival and regulars are usually hunched on red stools at the open kitchen counter as cooks crack egg after egg into well-worn pans. Plan to go early if you want a taste of their incredibly fluffy biscuits slathered with gravy and chopped up sausage bits—they sell out fast. If you miss out on the biscuits, grab a juicy, cheesy patty melt instead.

The Breakfast Boys is the Beyoncé of Historic College Park’s brunch mile, but it's also one of the best places to get brunch in the entire city, especially if you’re staying near the airport. Booking ahead is essential on weekends since the pink and blue-striped room is reliably packed with locals ready for a day party. When that Rihanna hit blends into an ’80s soul classic, don’t be afraid to dance at your table—you won’t be alone. Bites of crispy catfish and grits and tasty jerk chicken with moist sweet potato pancakes sending signals to your pleasure receptors make it even harder to resist the groove.


Miller Union is a casually upscale West Midtown restaurant that’s been a fixture in Atlanta for over a decade, thanks to their consistently brilliant, seasonally driven menu. We’re always impressed with their vegetable wizardry, best demonstrated on the plate of turnips, sweet potatoes, and squash (or whatever’s in season). Plus, you can have a great lunch here for around $30, so post up at the bar for some afternoon entertainment. It could involve eavesdropping on soap-opera level conversations while sipping a thyme-infused gin cocktail. Or enjoy creamy, vanilla-caramel ice cream that comes sandwiched between two thick, lightly crisped churros.

Ponce City Market is a massive food hall, shopping haven, and Atlanta landmark (the historic structure used to be the Sears, Roebuck & Co warehouse and later our city hall). On weekends, this place can get stadium-levels congested, but the nice variety of restaurants and convenient access to the BeltLine make visiting PCM a must for out-of-towners. The main food hall has solid options like H&F Burger (home of one of the best burgers in America), a fast-casual Mediterranean spot, and a sit-down refuge to chill out with a margarita and giant burrito. For a less crowded scene, get a ticket up to The Roof to score brilliant skyline views of the city and play carnival games and mini golf.

photo credit: Cameren Rogers



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The Downtown Atlanta dining scene can look a little post-apocalyptic (we doubt The Walking Dead needed CGI). But walk into Ray’s In The City for lunch or dinner, and you’ll find every seat filled, from the bar to the rear dining room. That’s because this great Southern seafood restaurant is a decades-old, dependable go-to for local suits and business tourists who’ve been given company clearance to expense a couple hundred on a meal. Get the hot seafood platter, which comes with Ray’s signature tasty barbecue shrimp, and finish your meal with the gooey lemon butter cake (one of our favorite desserts in the city).

If you’re visiting the Jimmy Carter Center, the Poncey-Highland neighborhood is a great nearby area to explore. Here you’ll find Tio Lucho’s, a popular pop-up-turned-restaurant that serves fun, affordable, and creative takes on coastal Peruvian food. Try their signature juicy chicken thigh sandwich, the Pollo Anticuchero, for less than $15. The beachy inside is as lively as the menu, filled with sunlight, green plants everywhere, and groovy Latin music that makes it feel like summer all the time. The shareable plates, fair prices, and upbeat environment make it perfect for kids or your big lunchtime group after you’ve been sightseeing all day.

There’s usually a line snaking around the corner of this Edgewood neighborhood taqueria. Plan for a 30-minute wait to avoid hangry frustration, but also know that you can grab a margarita or Bloody Mary at the bar to keep you company in line. El Tesoro only has outdoor seating, so it’s best to swing by when the weather isn’t giving us a reason to use the banned term "Hotlanta." But on balmy days, there’s nothing better than lying back in a colorful patio chair with a juicy barbacoa de res taco and enjoying the laid back vibes. 


If your goal is to take down some Southern soul food while in Atlanta, then Busy Bee Cafe in the West End should be a required stop. Though they’re only offering takeout for the moment, there’s some heavy history happening in the walls here. Opened in 1947, this place is famous for its best-in-the-city crispy fried chicken, greens, pork chops, and other soul food staples that have fed famous patrons from Martin Luther King Jr. to former President Barack Obama. Since it’s near the Atlanta University Center, drive by to see the Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark campuses before your visit.  Or check out the Mercedes-Benz complex just a few blocks down.

Back in the day, Paschal’s was like the Avengers headquarters, a gathering spot for civil rights activists like MLK, John Lewis, and Andrew Young. It’s still a great venue for big groups, but these days, you’ll see locals, corporate types rocking the latest in lanyard fashion, and families hanging out at the large two-level restaurant. Join them in appreciating massive photos of the aforementioned icons on the restaurant’s walls while you dig into your savory greens, cinnamony candied yams, buttery mashed potatoes, and sweet cornbread that could double as dessert.

Unlike your wayward auntie who is forever banned from family cooking duties, Twisted does an excellent job remixing soul food favorites. Instead of raisin-topped potato salad, you’ll find cilantro-chili salmon rolls, hoisin-glazed oxtails, crispy fried chicken with sweet potato chutney, and cocktails made from ingredients like matcha and sorrel. The wood paneled dining room even feels like a house, but feel safe in the knowledge that Aunt Irene won’t be showing up with a tray for this family brunch.


Around dinnertime, I-75/85 is a parking lot, so by the time you land somewhere to eat, it damn well better be good. Southern National, an upscale Southern restaurant, in the historic Summer Hill community is a sure thing. The crowd is a mix of couples and post-work friends hanging out at the back-lit, U-shaped bar. But it’s the crispy, juicy fried chicken, and sticky-sweet Asian BBQ baby back ribs that make dealing with the traffic worth it. Don’t leave without trying the bread plate—the delicious johnny cakes and sheet pan biscuits that are worth a return visit by themselves.

You'll find both giant Cousin It-like furry lighting fixtures and huge heads of cauliflower roasting on spits in the open kitchen at this upscale Mexican restaurant in West Midtown. A typical dinner here involves a variety of tasty dishes like creamy patatas bravas mixed tableside and tender carne asada served with a side of marrow that you scoop directly out of the bone. But what we love most about Palo Santo is their late-night rooftop bar that caters to a 25+ only crowd, has incredible skyline views, rotating DJs spinning EDM tracks, and small bites that aren’t available in the main dining room (get the tasty nori tacos). So if you’re looking to extend your date night, hit the rooftop for post-dinner cocktails.

Even if you aren’t planning to catch a Braves game at Truist Park, it’s worth visiting The Battery—the city’s best proof that a giant mixed-use district can be equally loved by locals, tourists, and folks whose age doesn’t end in "teen." And in that complex is Antico, Atlanta’s Michael Jordan of pizza. They’ve nailed the perfectly charred, chewiness of the Neapolitan pie like no other, and much like legendary “flu game Jordan,” they never disappoint (probably because they keep the menu short and have a strict no-substitutions rule). Pizzas topped with imported Italian meats and cheeses will come to your table minutes after you’ve placed an order at the counter.

With multiple chefs on the floor and a bar cart making the rounds, the noisy and somewhat chaotic atmosphere in this dining room provides the perfect backdrop for a unique experience in Atlanta. Each dinner features 15 creative small plates that change weekly, and they’re presented to your table by the chef who cooked them. It’s hard (but sometimes necessary) to say no to the chef’s face when unfortunate dishes like chocolate foie gras sandwich cookies appear. But other dishes, like a fun, cold bulgogi topped with miso ice cream work well and warrant multiple orders. What could feel like an of-the-moment-gimmick is actually more like a chef experimentation lab meets dim sum-style experience, created by owner and celebrity chef Kevin Gillespie. Because of the high energy and unpredictability, this Glenwood Park spot is always an Atlanta highlight.


The Rooftop at Hotel Clermont, above the iconic Clermont Lounge and down the street from Ponce City Market, is a must-visit for its photogenic views of the Atlanta skyline and status as a quintessential ATL hangout. Come during golden hour or make it a pit stop on an Atlanta bar crawl (next stop The Local or something on the BeltLine). The cocktails here aren’t the main draw—they’re usually heavy on the alcohol and sometimes come in large, pre-mixed batches to keep up with the demand of the swarming twenty-something crowd—but the addition of a taco truck with incredibly good queso fundido (packed with a sweet chorizo, pico de gallo, and cilantro) helps them go down smoother.

You can spend all day at the West End’s Lee + White Complex—it features a collection of local breweries, a distillery with whisky slushies, and a food hall. Stop by Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, where you can sit at the bar and have a drink or sneak into their nocturnal hideaway, Bovino After Dark, for cocktails. If the weather’s nice, Monday Night Brewing has a huge wrap-around patio and outdoor seating area with a fire pit. At ASW Distillery you can sample whiskey flights at the barrel-shaped bistro tables and fruity slushies, while at Wild Heaven Beer you’ll find the outpost of one of our favorite tacos in the city at El Tesoro. It all sits on the Westside BeltLine Trail, which (if you're still not done) you can use to walk to Best End Brewing and its vacation-like tropical patio.

You can get well drinks anywhere. Vacation calls for drinks with pizzazz. Ticonderoga Club is a funky dining den and bar on the Eastside BeltLine with high standards for its food and drink. The cocktail lineup is like a temperamental teenager—changing constantly. But if you spot A Turf Club on the menu, know you’ll be in for a good night with this lightly sweetened, herbal gin martini. If you’re steering clear of alcohol, they have excellent mocktails too, like the Rose Bush, a citrusy drink with apple cider vinegar, pineapple, and lemon, that tastes like a lemon ball drop.

El Malo is a beautiful cocktail lounge in the Atlanta Dairies with a Latin-Caribbean food and drink menu that’ll keep the party going after you catch a show next door at The Eastern. Giant art deco light pillars make the bar seem primed for a Charleston dance-off, but clubby hits played by weekend DJs and colorful neon lights make us feel comfortable trying out moves from this century. There are a handful of solid (but small) signature cocktails featuring rums, mezcals, and other Latin-Caribbean spirits. Make a reservation ahead of time if you want a plush lounger or be prepared to stand and sip.

The vibe at this Edgewood bar will vary, which is why Our Bar is always a fun night out. Roll the dice and you might get a clubby night with a full dance floor and a dorm party feel, or a quieter evening with video games being played and an Uno tournament going on. Check their IG if you actually want to know what you’re in for, but for us the mystery is part of the fun. Just make sure to snap a pic of the ‘Dis ATL Hoe’ neon sign out front—it’s an Edgewood rite of passage.

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