photo credit: Amy Sinclair

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Best New Restaurants


Southern National



$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersDate NightDrinks & A Light Bite


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We think it was beloved street poets Rocko and Jeezy who said it best: “You just do you/Imma do me.” And while those sage words have absolutely nothing to do with Atlanta’s current dining scene, they apply to Southern National’s mission. Where a lot of newer soul spots seem motivated more by “vibes” and plating as small a lambchop as possible, SN is mixing things up at the stove while, at the same time, setting the bar for how good down-home cooking done with a global gaze can be.

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photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Once an underserved neighborhood lost in Downtown Atlanta’s shadow, Summerhill is now a magnet for trendy donut shops and gourmet hot dogs. When Southern National came in, it didn’t need to do anything special to get the block’s love. Young professionals in the area see an apron-donning waitstaff in a polished dining room with exposed ceilings, overhead garage door patios, and a back-lit, U-shaped bar and feel right at home. Sipping coconut negronis to Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee” is just the cherry.

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photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Everything about the food at SN starts with the co-owner/chef, a former stand-up comedian who helped put One Flew South on the map. Here, he doubles down on taking Southern staples to places the elders never envisioned. You’ve had fried chicken thighs before, but the moment they’re speckled with herbs and paired with jalapeño maque choux, you might find yourself praying that Southern National can keep doing them for as long as possible.

Food Rundown

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photo credit: Amy Sinclair


If someone’s ever made you homemade biscuits, these fabulous pieces of johnny cakes and sheet pan biscuits will stir some memories. If you didn’t, generously spread cane syrup butter and pepper jelly across them, take a few bites, and make new ones.
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photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Loaded Sweet Potato

Every time we dine here, the sweet potato has come out a noticeably different size. But even when we get a teeny-tiny one, the succulent lamb and curry yogurt sauce do so much of the flavor work that we hardly mind the slight.
Southern National image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Lamb Burger Helper

This is another dish that employs lamb brilliantly. Though it doesn’t explicitly say on the menu, each forkful of mozzarella, parmesan, and rigatoni comes with a side of nostalgia. Easily one of our favorite dishes of the year.
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photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Herb Butter Broiled Red Fish

The redfish over field peas and miso sauce is the sort of satisfying concoction you’d expect from an auntie who would read Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking during the commercial breaks of her afternoon stories.

Cornmeal Seared Steelhead Trout

Not on the restaurant’s original menu, this winning dish proves two points: 1) kitchens should always be open to change, 2) when cooked right, a fish covered in a coarse cornmeal batter (and complemented by well-seasoned greens and roasted tomatoes) can still be an elevated dining experience.

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