Atlanta’s Best Chef-Owned Restaurants
Some of the best restaurants in any city are the ones owned by chefs. In Atlanta, we’ve got so much talent, and lucky for us many of them open up more than one restaurant. Here’s a list of the dozen best chef-owned restaurants in Atlanta.
- 4th & Swift. Atlanta Chef Jay Swift perfects the art of comfort food. 4th & Swift is unique, a combination of refined and relaxed you won’t find anywhere else. Upscale but not uptight. Enjoy Southern hospitality in full effect.
- Aria – Chef Gerry Klaskala’s Aria is a gorgeous space in Buckhead. This refurbished house sits away from the hustle and bustle of the newer developments, but the food is quite impressive. Klaskala lends his hand at helping to open other Atlanta restaurants, so he is still quite sought after for his expertise.
- Bacchanalia – Owned by Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia consistently scores the No. 1 spot for fine dining in Atlanta. Though she’s expanded with other restaurants, Bacchanalia is still the flagship. It’s quite expensive, so save it for a special occasion. If you can’t make it there, head to Star Provisions with lots of quality food to go.
- Better Half – Zach Meloy, a Marietta native, honed his culinary skills after school by traveling around our neighbor to the south. It was in Costa Rica, that he met and fell in love with his wife, Cristina. They moved to Atlanta and began their pop-up supper club, which then led to the opening of Better Half, where he impresses with his artistic looking dishes.
- Foundation Social Eatery – Mel Toledo is killing it in Roswell with his chic restaurant. Though the restaurant takes reservations, it also has several tables available for walk-ins. Make sure to get the mushroom ravioli and fried octopus.
- Gunshow – Owned by Top Chef alumni and James Beard-nominee Kevin Gillespie, this version of Dim Sum features a handful of chefs in an open kitchen presenting their creations to diners to accept or reject.
- Heirloom Market – Don’t be fooled by this small shack of a restaurant. The co-owner chefs, one from Texas and one from Korea, combine the best of their hometowns for a unique spin on barbecue.
- No. 246 – Chef Ford Fry seems to be taking over Atlanta and expanding into every cuisine. There’s Mexican with Superica, Southern with his original JCT Kitchen, Mediterranean at St. Cecilia and seafood at the Optimist. No. 246 in Decatur is consistently incredible. The pizzas and pastas are simple yet fantastic. Tip: Book the chef’s table for a special five-course meal for $55.
- Poor Calvin’s – How do you meld Asian and Southern food? The two seem so different, but chef Calvin Phan has found a way to make the two not only an incredibly tasty combination but a beautiful one, too. It’s worth the drive downtown to eat at this quaint restaurant.
- Rathbun’s – Top Chef winner Kevin Rathbun had a hit on his hands with his namesake restaurant. He’s also continued his success with KR Steak. It’s a top choice for many Atlanta diners looking for an exceptional steak.
- Restaurant Eugene – Linton Hopkins named this restaurant after his grandfather, who was a great influence in his life. The upscale restaurant is quite pricey but worth it. If you are looking for another great restaurant, Hopkins also owns the popular, Holeman & Finch across the street from Restaurant Eugene.
- Vingenzo’s – If you think you can leave the confines of the city, it’s worth a drive out to Woodstock to Michael Bologna’s Italian restaurant. Here you’ll find made-from-scratch pasta with simple ingredients and Neapolitan pizzas.
- Wisteria – Jason Hill elevates Southern Food to a new level at his beautiful Inman Park restaurant. Mussels are a super choice for a starter as is the hummus. The pork tenderloin is also a signature item that everyone should try. There is quite a selection of vegetarian and gluten free items as well.
Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and has been featured on HGTV, Huffington Post and About.com. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. She is the president of the Association of Food Bloggers and her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram.
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