Bright and airy, The Optimist has a beach-like feel, and the seafood is great.

There's something for everyone at Eight Sushi.

Bacchanalia is a favorite for special occasions, with its decor and exquisite food.

Though the menu changes often at Better Half, the dishes are always on point.

The 7 Best Restaurants on the Westside

While Atlanta has its share of hot and trendy restaurants (see them all here!), some of the best restaurants in the city can be found on Atlanta’s Westside. Here are some top Midtown dining picks:

  1. Bacchanalia – Restaurants come and go, but this one has continued to thrive, serving quality food and service. As you may recall from the film Baby Driver, it is often a top choice among diners looking to celebrate a special occasion. It is pricey, but the experience is something every Atlantan should experience at least once. 
  2. Better Half – If you fall in love with a dish turned out by chef Zach Meloy, you probably won’t find it again on a return visit as the menu changes often. But that hasn’t stopped crowds from visiting. In fact, it may even make customers want to return more frequently. One item does remain on the menu – the Silk Handkerchief pasta. For an extra special meal, sit at the chef’s table. 
  3. Cooks and Soldiers – Think Pintxos not tapas. The restaurant draws inspiration from the Basque region in Spain. Here, small bites are referred to as Pintxos. Start with the persimmon salad. More hits are are the lamb tartare, a braised veal cheek and the octopus, served with chickpeas, sausage and smoked eggplant.
  4. Eight Sushi Lounge – With a bevy of raw and cooked items, there’s something for everyone at this hot spot, making it perfect for a group. Cocktails are inventive (get the Damson in Disguise) and the bar is beautiful even if you just want to pop in for a drink. But who knows? As you see the gorgeous plates go by, you might want to stay for a meal. Tip: Want to try a sampling of everything? Call ahead and order the omakase tasting menu.
  5. JCT Kitchen – Ford Fry has made quite a name for himself in Atlanta, but it all begin with his Southern restaurant, JCT Kitchen. Southern dishes like shrimp and grits, fried chicken and deviled eggs are customer favorites. Looking to save some money? There’s also a Sunday Supper menu, which JCT calls a “fancy meat and three” that is priced affordably. Plus, the lunch menu is quite similar to the dinner menu but less expensive. 
  6. Miller Union – The farm to table restaurant was one of the first to place roots in the Westside. A farm egg baked in celery cream is probably the most popular menu item and shouldn’t be missed at this trendy spot. If you don’t love vegetables, this may not be the place for you. Plates are served with an average of three different seasonal vegetables, making them the main attraction. 
  7. The Optimist – Though we are landlocked in Atlanta, stepping inside The Optimist you’ll feel like you just walked in from the beach. The seafood-heavy menu features plenty of freshly caught fish, oysters, shrimp a la plancha and a lobster roll worth returning for, among others. Tables are quite close together and it is very noisy, so it might be hard to have an intimate dinner here but it will be tasty. Tip: The front bar has plenty of seating if you can’t score a table in the main dining room. 

Malika Bowling is the author of Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!, and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. Her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram

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