Atlanta’s Most Iconic Restaurants

Tried-and-true dining experiences around the city

ATL has a flavor all its own, and these tried, and true dining destinations are the must-try restaurants you can’t afford to miss.

Every major city has those restaurants you have to try. You know the ones we’re talking about. They occupy a certain place in locals’ hearts and bear a reputation of being the go-to place to experience the flavors and vibes that embody what a city is all about. The dining destinations residents say, “You can’t visit *insert awesome city like Atlanta* without eating at *insert one of our many well-known and time-tested restaurants*. And with ATL being a foodie city, we’ve got quite a few with that street cred you’d be remiss if you didn’t try. From classic soul food haunts and brunch bastions to blues-belting barbecue joints and fine dining forays, these are Atlanta’s most iconic restaurants.

*Please note that some of these businesses might have changing hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check websites for the most up-to-date information.


Chris Watkins is an Atlanta-based content creator with a deep love and connection to the Atlanta dining and nightlife scene. In his past life he was the Atlanta editor for Thrillist with bylines in the pages of Jezebel Magazine, Men’s Book Atlanta, and Where Atlanta Magazine. He currently operates Watkins Branding, a digital marketing and social media agency with focus on the restaurant and hospitality industry.


CASUAL

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Where: Midtown

Mary Mac’s Tea Room has delivered on serving up down-home faves like fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and copious amounts of sweet tea (never order unsweet here; it’s blasphemy) since opening its doors in 1945. Yes, for 75 years, it’s been a legend in Atlanta’s culinary story, and if you ask anyone where to go for a healthy dose of proper Southern cooking, this Ponce de Leon icon will be first on the list.

The Colonnade

Where: Buckhead

From the outside, The Colonnade may not be much to look at with its vintage wood paneling and retirement community vibes, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And inside the Atlanta institution that’s been around since 1927 is a lively and loyal crowd of regulars that live by Cheshire Bridge Road restaurant’s penchant for stellar fried chicken and comforting nightly specials.

The Busy Bee Cafe

Where: Vine City

The Busy Bee Cafe is essential ATL dining. No pretense. Just great food and a history that spans more than 70 years in serving up consistent, time-tested recipes you won’t soon forget. A favorite of celebrities and politicians alike over the years, the West End soul food diner is a necessary stop to explore for their signature fried chicken, vegetables and other Southern delicacies.

Paschal’s

Where: Castleberry Hill

With a storied history going back to 1947, Paschal’s has cemented a legacy in Castleberry Hill as one of Atlanta’s foremost destinations for fall-out-of-your-seat fried chicken — it’s that good. After you pick yourself up off the floor and calm your nerves with their award-winning peach cobbler, immerse yourself in the restaurant’s civil rights heritage where it served as the central meeting place for the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson and more leaders of the movement.

Pittypat’s Porch

Where: Downtown

Since opening in 1967, little has changed at Downtown stalwart Pittypat’s Porch. And that’s part of its mystique as one of Atlanta’s most iconic establishments. Named after Scarlett O’Hara’s aunt in the film “Gone With the Wind,” dining at Pittypat’s is like traveling back in time. A time of prim and proper Southern dining on pewter and floral adorned plates piled high with Georgia catfish, Southern sides and pecan pie. Complete the antebellum experience by sipping stiff mint juleps on their upstairs vintage rocking chairs. It’s what Pittypat would’ve wanted.

Eats

Where: Poncey-Highland

With a name like Eats, you know what you’re getting yourself into. The casual Ponce de Leon cafeteria opened its doors in 1993 as a no-nonsense respite from the day’s worries. Since then, it’s become an Atlanta institution best known for its uncompromising meat and three plates of their famous jerk chicken, meatloaf and veggies. These comforting dishes, combined with cheap prices, made it a welcome addition to the nearby college community and workers searching for the best bang for their buck. That continues to resonate to this day.

Manuel’s Tavern

Where: Poncey-Highland

Manuel’s Tavern has always been a burgeoning destination for beers and bright conversations. After opening in 1956, it became the foremost neighborhood bar and meeting spot for politicians, journalists and locals to either catch a sports game or debate the latest politics. The latter was its claim to fame. Even former President Jimmy Carter was a regular, and if you take a look around at the slices of nostalgia adorning the walls, you’ll see why this Eastside establishment is so highly revered. It now sits on the National Register of Historic Places (if that tells you anything about the Poncey-Highland mainstay).

Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

Where: Morningside

Fat Matt’s Rib Shack is an ATL icon through and through, and a consistent player on residents’ lists of their favorite barbecue spots. Whether it’s racks upon racks of saucy, savory ribs, pulled pork sandwiches or comforting sides, you know you’re in for a treat when you pull up to the neon-lit Morningside ‘cue house.

Johnny’s Hideaway

Where: Buckhead

Catering to an older crowd as the go-to destination for marathon dancing and bar-driven eats  like tater tots, nachos and wings, Johnny’s Hideaway has lived a storied history in Buckhead for over 40 years. The old school disco with little pretense has welcomed countless celebrities, played as the backdrop to Hollywood movies and reinvented itself over the years by offering a mix of classic hits and modern tunes to draw in younger patrons. Based on its long reputation of being the place to dance like nobody’s watching and fill your spirit with nostalgia and great vibes, it’s a vital piece of old Atlanta’s story.

Murphy’s

Where: Virginia-Highland

Bring on the brunch! A Virginia-Highland staple for 40 years, Murphy’s penchant for delivering game-changing comfort food and brunch has cemented its legacy as one of the most beloved destinations to enjoy a weekend breakfast/lunch feast. Park yourself in front of signature favorites like the chilaquiles, crab cake Benedict, banana-covered French toast and more hits that will have you making a standing appointment at this Atlanta icon.

The Varsity

Where: Downtown

You’ve heard the rally cry from eager carhops ready to serve. “What’ll ya have?” isn’t an easy question to answer when there’s so much to choose from at the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity. This downtown Atlanta institution has been keeping college students, sports revelers and locals fed with coma-inducing chili-cheese dogs, onion rings and more fabulous fast food since 1928. And don’t get us started on the Frosted Orange shake. The Varsity is an Atlanta icon like no other.

Nakato

Where: Buckhead

Japanese fare doesn’t get any better than Nakato. As the oldest Asian restaurant in Atlanta, it’s called the luxe neighborhood of Buckhead home for more than 45 years and is still going strong welcoming a new generation of sushi and omakase lovers. The real star of the show is the authenticity of technique and service where time-honored traditions of private tatami dining, high-flying hibachi and razor-thin cuts of sashimi impart elements of wonder that keep patrons coming back for more.

Grand China

Where: Buckhead

Far East flavors of China, Japan and Thailand combine for a global melange of flavors at Grand China. Since 1978, the Buckhead institution has been a neighborhood favorite featuring an extensive menu that would take weeks to eat through. Whether you’ve got a taste for Peking duck, shrimp lo mein, beef pad Thai, sushi or ramen, Grand China has you covered no matter the mood.

The Silver Skillet

Where: Home Park

Atlanta loves a good diner, especially for breakfast, and The Silver Skillet has been the go-to since 1956. That’s a long time, and the Midtown eatery is still bursting with 1950s nostalgia. Its vintage decor has made it a top filming location for many tv shows and movies. The Silver Skillet can be seen in “Traveling Man,” “Remember the Titans” and “I’ll Fly Away,” plus many more movies, TV shows and music videos. For folks looking for an essential Southern breakfast, you can’t go wrong with their famous country ham with red-eye gravy, country-fried steak and cheese eggs. Top it all off with their signature and award-winning lemon icebox pie and you’re already ahead of the game.

Majestic Diner

Where: Poncey-Highland

Serving up “food that pleases,” Majestic Diner has been a long-standing fixture in Poncey-Highland since 1929. As one of Atlanta’s oldest restaurants, the time-tested greasy spoon brings many quality breakfast and lunch options daily. You’ll find everything from burgers and sandwiches to omelets, pancakes and waffles.

Sublime Doughnuts

Where: Various Locations

Since opening in 2008, Sublime Doughnuts has been one of Atlanta’s favorite stops for doughnut deliciousness. And while not technically a restaurant, the numerous accolades under its belt and a reputation for bringing unique flavors to life in doughnut form made it a must-add to this list. I don’t make the rules, sorry. From its raspberry-filled dark chocolate-covered heart doughnuts and A-Town cream to its orange-glazed dream star and fresh strawberries-n-cream, this is one dough dealer not to miss.

FINE DINING

Canoe

Where: Vinings

Tucked along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, the peaceful serenity of riverside restaurant, Canoe, is only enhanced by its fine dining moxie. Consistently featured on national lists for its pristine New American cuisine and romantic environs, take a relaxing before/after-dinner stroll through their lush garden. Step outside your comfort zone with bites of their signature house-smoked salmon and peppercorn crusted kangaroo loin.

The Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar and View

Where: Downtown

Set atop the towering disco ball that is Westin Peachtree Plaza, the Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar and View is an essential fixture of downtown Atlanta’s sprawling skyline. Since its inception, Sun Dial has garnered praise as one of the most romantic restaurants in the city and serves as the litmus test for bucket list experiences that every visitor and local must try. Brilliant brunch and contemporary American dining combine with the most breathtaking views the city has to offer.

Polaris

Where: Downtown

Atlanta restaurants with out-of-this-world ambiance really ramp up the romance factor on date night, and sky-high revolving restaurant Polaris is one of the most engaging destinations to show your lover something new. While the blue-domed “spaceship” perched atop the Hyatt Regency Downtown closed in 2004 after decades of service, it reemerged in 2014 to reclaim its glory as one of the city’s most iconic landmarks for cocktails and contemporary dining.

Nikolai’s Roof

Where: Downtown

Atlanta loves a good rooftop restaurant, and Nikolai’s Roof is no exception. Sitting atop the Hilton Atlanta, this Downtown icon has been around since 1965, serving up sophisticated cuisine with Russian influence in exotic items like piroshki, borscht and foie gras. Ranking high on the romance factor, city views, an extensive wine list and mind-blowing desserts (Grand Marnier souffle, anyone?) make this city mainstay a must.

Aria

Where: Buckhead

Aria is nothing short of essential fine dining in Atlanta, with contemporary updates on classics and immaculate service. It’s a place where memorable meals happen, and chef/owner Gerry Klaskala’s culinary passion front and center in thoughtful, meticulously-crafted dishes that read more like works of art than simple appetizers and entrees. And in the 20 years Aria has called Buckhead home, the James Beard Award “Outstanding Service” semifinalist has painted the picture of what bespoke dining in ATL is all about.

La Grotta

Where: Buckhead

Located in the heart of Buckhead, La Grotta has been an Atlanta fine dining tradition since 1978. The basement-level Italian restaurant oozes old-world charm and romance amplified by classic pasta dishes like goat cheese ravioli, penne bolognese, pappardelle lobster and more comforting offerings. And there’s just something special about black truffles shaved tableside to take your meal to the next level. Don’t say “when.”

Chop’s Lobster Bar

Where: Buckhead

You can’t talk about iconic dining in Atlanta without several Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s concepts coming into the conversation. Just take Chops Lobster Bar, the quintessential steakhouse driving the ATL’s ultimate fine dining experience for over 30 years. We’re talking the finest cuts of USDA prime steaks, A5 wagyu and all the fixings you’d expect from a Buckhead icon that continues to garner awards to this day. Whether it’s celebrating a birthday, business deal or you want to be pampered with pristine service; you’ve gotta add Chops to your must-try list.

Atlanta Fish Market

Where: Buckhead

Giant fish outside, big seafood flavors inside — that’s Atlanta Fish Market. As another gem from the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, this sea-faring icon in one of Atlanta’s most upscale neighborhoods has delivered on showcasing the freshest seafood and unadulterated service since it opened in 1993. Featuring Atlanta’s largest selection of wild-caught fish, don’t miss out on the feast of broiled or fried seafood platters adorned with lump crab cakes, jumbo shrimp, scallops and more.

Kevin Rathbun Steak

Where: Inman Park

There are steakhouses, and then there are steakhouses. The latter being the incomparable fine dining experience you’ll receive at Kevin Rathbun Steak. Chef Kevin Rathbun’s celebrated ode to all things steak in Inman Park is one of the top steakhouses in the United States. Sizzling sides and sauces play well with impactful appetizers like sriracha-molasses covered bacon and seared foie gras, but you’re here for the steak — and Rathbun’s savory selects of USDA dry-aged cuts is the thing dreams are made of.

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Best Atlanta Lunch Restaurants for a Delicious Dining Experience

Best Atlanta Lunch Restaurants for a Delicious Dining Experience

Whether you have a business meeting and need a quiet, convenient place to talk shop or are looking to catch up with friends over lunch, we’ve got you covered. Lunch options in Atlanta are bountiful and delicious, no matter what part of the city you find yourself in. From Downtown to Midtown to Buckhead, enjoy a terrific midday meal experience at one of Atlanta’s best lunch restaurants. 

Please note: Restaurants throughout Georgia can offer in-person dining using social distancing guidelines set forth by the governor’s office. Make sure to visit the restaurant website or call ahead to confirm dine-in, takeout or curbside pickup and delivery options.

Dine in Style at the Best Places for Lunch in Buckhead

The upscale neighborhood of Buckhead is not only known for its shopping but has long been home to great dining as well. Whether you are looking for a spot to host a lunch meeting or a place for a quick bite, here are some of the best restaurants for lunch in Buckhead that are sure to please.

Blue Moon Pizza

Everyone loves pizza, and Blue Moon does not disappoint. Offerings range from classic pies to specials like the Luna, drizzled with spicy ranch, house cheese blend, chorizo sausage, caramelized onions, and other goodies. Blue Moon also offers sandwiches, salads, wings and more.
Dine-in, curbside pickup and no-contact delivery available.

325 East Paces Ferry Rd NE #3, Atlanta, GA 30305
bluemoonpizza.com
(404) 814-1515

Order the lobster roll at Capital Grille. (Malika Bowling)

Capital Grille

Those in the know associate the Capital Grille with a great steak, but the restaurant also offers a delicious two-course lunch plates that will have you in and out in no time. Choose the porcini mushroom bisque followed by mini tenderloin sandwiches with Parmesan truffle fries for a decadent and filling lunch that’s just $20.
Dine-in and curbside pickup available.

255 East Paces Ferry Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305
thecapitalgrille.com
(404) 262-1162

La Fonda

This Latin restaurant features Cuban and Mexican specialties, including Cubanos and arguably the best enchiladas in town. Though La Fonda has both the traditional (with all the meats) and seafood-only paella, one of the most unique options is the vegetarian paella which includes, eggplant, artichoke hearts and squash. All paella is available in one- or two-person quantities. You will have a hard time choosing what to eat from the extensive menu.
Dine-in and takeout available.

2813 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305
lafondaatlanta.com
(404) 816-8311

Red Pepper Taqueria

Located in the heart of Buckhead, this taqueria offers traditional Mexican fare using only the freshest local ingredients to create the best tacos. A local favorite is the Al Pastor taco with braised pork, pickled onions, pineapple y salsa verde. You will also find an assortment of weekly specials so make sure to check the menu.
Dine-in and takeout available.

3135 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305
eatredpepper.com/buckhead
(404) 869-2773

Squash blossoms are a must when you visit Storico Fresco. (Malika Bowling)

Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante

Not only can you fill up on fresh-made pasta dishes at Storico Fresco, this Buckhead lunch restaurant is also one of the best places around to buy fresh pasta to take home with you. Part of the dining room at Storico Fresco has been converted so that it connects to the covered patio and street, making it easy to get all the fresh pastas, paninis or tasty salads you want.
Dine-in, takeout or curbside pickup, and no-contact delivery available.

3167 Peachtree Road NE, Suite S, Atlanta 30305
(404) 500-2181
storico.com/strada

Sufi’s

This Persian restaurant offers a great variety of specialty kebabs served with aromatic saffron basmati rice. There are lots of veggie options, falafel, lamb shank and a great Persian stew. There is even a special kid’s menu.
Dine-in, curbside pickup, and delivery available.

1814 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 888-9699
sufisatlanta.com

Try a spicy pork burrito and fries at Yumbii. (Malika Bowling)

Yumbii

Not your average Taco Shop. Yumbii, a fusion of Mexican and Asian flavors, offers dishes like panko-crusted fish, Asian rib-eye tacos and spicy pulled-pork burritos. Sides include sesame fries tossed in sesame oil and Yumbii’s own special spice mix with chipotle ketchup.
Dine-in, curbside pickup, and no-contact delivery available.

1927 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 975-3444
yumbii.com

Explore even more great restaurants in Buckhead Atlanta.

Chow Down at the Best Lunch Restaurants in Midtown Atlanta

Looking for a tasty spot in Midtown to have lunch? Whether you are taking a break from shopping, museums or the office — try this list of the best restaurants for lunch in Midtown.

Smoked crab legs are a highlight at Bon Ton. Save room for the corn nuggets.

Bon Ton Boil House

A mash-up of Cajun and Vietnamese flavors? Yes please! Bon Ton Boil House offers mouth-watering sandwiches like the catfish banh-mi, boiled and fried platters, noodles and plenty more savory Cajun seafood entrees. And don’t forget the corn nuggets.
No-contact curbside pickup and delivery available.

674 Myrtle St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
bontonatl.com
(404) 996-6177

Cafe Agora

If you love Mediterranean food, you will not want to miss Cafe Agora. It offers all the classics including a delicious gyro, shish kebab and tempting salads, but the appetizers are really where Agora shines. Greek favorites like spanakopita, domas, hummus and fried eggplant are delish, but we recommend you get the Maza Platter and try a little of each.
Dine-in, takeout, and no-contact delivery available.

92 Peachtree Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 253-2997
cafeagora.com

Pho King

If noodles are your game, Pho King is the place to eat. Generous helpings of tasty noodle dishes with a variety of meats and garnishes make a healthy and delicious lunch. The banh mi sandwiches and pho noodle soup filled with rice noodles, broth and your choice of meat, fresh veggies and herbs are other delicious options.
Takeout and delivery available.

950 West Peachtree St. NW Suite 240, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 565-1953
phokingexpress.com

South City Kitchen

Specializing in contemporary Southern cuisine, South City Kitchen doesn’t disappoint. Nestled in an iconic bungalow on Crescent Avenue, enjoy lunch with a view of the city skyline from the patio. Dine on Southern classics such as buttermilk fried chicken, tasty shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes and she-crab soup.
Dine-in and takeout available.

1144 Crescent Ave. NE, Atlanta , GA 30309
(404) 873-7358
midtown.southcitykitchen.com

Tabla’s colorful foods are appealing to all senses.

Tabla

Tabla is an outstanding lunch restaurant to add to your list. Boasting a mouth-watering selection of Indian dishes such as tandoori shrimp or octopus, lamb sheek kebab and an array of delicious curries that are sure to please your palate. For lunch, the small plates are a great option, and if you’re in a hurry, try the wraps. A variety of sides and breads are available as well.
Dine-in, takeout, and no-contact delivery available.

77 12th St. NE #2, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 464-8571
tablaatlanta.com

Vortex

The Vortex is a longstanding Georgia establishment known as “The Godfather of Burgers.” In addition to some of the best burgers in Atlanta, you will also find some scrumptious bar foods and drinks, all set within a rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere. Not into the beef, the Vortex offers beef alternatives, salads and other tasty snacks. Got your kids along? Skip this place as its strictly 21+, all day, every day. 
Dine-in and takeout available.

878 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
thevortexatl.com
(404) 875-1667

Explore more restaurants in Midtown Atlanta.

Try One of the Top Restaurants for Lunch in Downtown Atlanta

With so many things to do in Downtown Atlanta, you need a list of restaurants nearby to keep handy for a lunch stop. Whether you are looking for a fancy place for a business meeting or a quick and casual spot to refuel, stop in at one the best downtown Atlanta restaurants for lunch.

Amalfi Pizza

Be transported to Naples, Italy right in the heart of Downtown Atlanta when you visit Amalfi Pizza. With the frescoes and cobblestone entryway, it perfectly sets the mood for pizza and other Italian goodies. Get the specialty, Pizza Carnevale, filled with pockets of ricotta cheese, and add an assortment of toppings like spicy sausage, meatballs, caramelized onions, peppadew peppers or Neapolitan spicy salami.
Dine-in, takeout, and delivery available.

17 Andrew Young International Blvd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
amalfipizzaatl.com
(404) 228-7528

Der Biergarten

Der Biergarten is a German beer garden and restaurant located only a short walk from Centennial Olympic Park in the Lucky Marietta District of downtown Atlanta. One of the go-to items here is the Jagerschnitzel. If you are feeding a hungry group, go for the König Ludwig Platte, a variety of the best items that serves six. Note: Der Biergarten is open for lunch only on weekends.
Takeout only.

300 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
derbiergarten.com
(404) 521-2728

The Hub at Peachtree Center

Riding MARTA downtown for an event? Allow enough time for a lunch stop at The Hub because where you’ll find plenty of great lunch options. Gus’s Fried Chicken is a restaurant worth seeking out for its slightly spicy fried chicken and generous, tasty sides, like mac and cheese. Panbury’s, another great option at The Hub, is known for its delicious savory pies. Get the country chicken. Other great options in The Hub include Tin Lizzy’s and top-rated Aviva (even if there’s a line, it’s worth the wait).

Peachtree Center MARTA Station or 225 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
peachtreecenter.com
(404) 654-1296

Lots of tempting seafood options await at Ray’s in the City.

Ray’s in the City

Right in the heart of Downtown near the entrance to the AmericasMart, you’ll find Ray’s in the City. Known for its delicious seafood flown in daily from the Atlantic and Pacific, a stop at Ray’s will be well worth the time spent. At lunch, sandwiches are a good choice if you want to be in and out in a hurry. Want to keep it light? Get the Cobb salad with steak or lobster. And you can’t go wrong with the signature horseradish-crusted grouper.
Dine-in, curbside pickup and delivery available.

240 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30303
raysrestaurants.com
(404) 524-9224

Reuben’s Deli

New York style, New York taste, New York vibe, in the South. Reuben’s Deli is a hands-down favorite for deli sandwiches in Atlanta. This spot stays busy but that oh-so- delicious flavor will be worth the wait. Reuben’s homemade soups and desserts are excellent options to add-on to any lunch. Just follow the posted rules for ordering — “Yell. Watch. Eat” — your tummy will thank you.
Takeout and delivery available.

57 Broad St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 589-9800

Do your grocery shopping and have lunch at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

Sweet Auburn Curb Market

Why not do your food shopping and have lunch all at the same place? The Sweet Auburn Curb Market, steeped in history, features tons of fresh vegetables, seafood, and all kinds of cuts of meats. Need chicken feet or pigs’ ears? You can find them here. Plus, there are several food stalls featuring everything from Southern cooking to trendy burgers (Grindhouse Killer Burgers) to sweets. It’s a fun experience to share with your out-of-town guests.

209 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30303
municipalmarketatl.com
(404) 659-1665

Bright and upscale, White Oak is perfect for a business lunch or celebration.

White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails

If a bright and swanky spot is what you are looking for, then head to White Oak Kitchen, an upscale Southern restaurant featuring excellent lunch entrees. White Oak offers the perfect ambiance for a quiet business lunch, and its upscale enough for a celebration. Start with the savory beignets and then get the lamb burger.
Dine-in, takeout and delivery available.

270 Peachtree St. NW, 100, Atlanta, GA 30303
whiteoakkitchen.com
(404) 524-7200

Explore a full list of places to eat in downtown Atlanta.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ve always got plenty of dining options in Atlanta.

Where to Eat on Atlanta’s Buford Highway

Where to Eat on Atlanta’s Buford Highway

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Some restaurants might be closed due to COVID-19 outbreak precautions. Please check official restaurant websites to confirm the operating status.

Take a culinary trip around the world along Buford Highway in North Atlanta. The Buford Highway corridor, one of the most ethnically diverse regions of the country, is home to more than 1,000 different immigrant-owned businesses. The corridor’s excellent restaurants and shopping centers represent cultures from all over the world. Signs along the highway in Cantonese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish, Bangladeshi and more transport visitors to other countries instantly, and the wide variety of cuisines and restaurants can make it hard to choose or where to start.

There are three ways you can explore Buford Highway – shopping for exotic ingredients in farmers markets, sampling delicious food options at specialized shopping centers or eating your way around the world at some of the best restaurants on Buford Highway.

Stock Up at the Buford Highway Farmers Market

VISITORS CAN FIND EXOTIC FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN BUFORD HIGHWAY FARMERS MARKET. 📷: SBELL

Find Delicious Food Options at Buford Highway Shopping Centers

SWEET HUT BAKERY IS YOUR STOP FOR ASIAN-INSPIRED GOODS. 📷: LILY LEIVA
PLAZA FIESTA IS A COLORFUL SHOPPING CENTER THAT WILL TRANSPORT YOU TO MEXICO AND BEYOND. 📷: LILY LEIVA

Amid stores selling cowboy boots, Quinceañera dresses, futbol jerseys and other merchandise, you can sample mouth-watering tacos, carnitas, ceviche, fresh fruit, pastries and much more.

Eat at Some of the Best Restaurants on Buford Highway

Eating your way along Buford Highway can be more challenging given the diversity of cuisines and establishments, but here are some of the best restaurants on Buford Highway to help you narrow your focus to the cuisine of your interest. Most restaurants here are casual family style, although there are a few finer dining establishments.

CANTON HOUSE OFFERS POPULAR SELECTIONS FOR DIM SUM. 📷: LILY LEIVA

TRY THE DELICIOUS VIENAMESE CHICKEN NOODLE BOWL AT CO’M. 📷: SILEI LI

ENJOY AUTHENTIC SALVADORIAN FARE AT RINCON LATINO.

DELICIOUS KOREAN FARE AT WOO NAM JEONG STONE BOWL HOUSE.
PENANG DOESN’T DISAPPOINT.
8 FAHRENHEIT’S ROLLED ICE CREAM. 📷: MELISSA MCALPINE

Entertainment on Buford highway

There’s more to Buford Highway than food. After dinner, you can head to LIPS Atlanta for a drag show or be the entertainment yourself at one of several karaoke bars.

For some daytime fun explore Buford Highway Farmer’s Market to pick up cooking supplies or Plaza Fiesta for plenty of stores with lots of diverse offerings. You’ll find tons of surprises and delight in the variety.

How to Get to Buford Highway

Begin your world culinary tour along the famous Buford Highway, a 35-mile stretch of road that connects Atlanta with the city of Buford. Buford Highway is situated less than six miles from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta and only two miles from Lenox Square in Buckhead. The best way to get there is by car, taxi or a ride-sharing service. MARTA also offers bus service. And the Doraville station is the closest for rail.

Experience the array of cultures and cuisines on Atlanta’s Buford Highway and it’s easy to see what makes it such a popular option for locals and visitors alike.

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

chocolate. spice.

makes 3 dozen

Sugar Cookies - Emma Colon
Chef Emma Colon

dough

½ lb butter, unsalted
11 oz sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 oz milk
3 oz cocoa powder
14 oz ap flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp cayenne powder
sanding sugar, for decoration

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time. Add milk and vanilla.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients in three parts, mixing gently between each addition.

Be careful not to over mix the dough.

Once the dough is ready, scoop into desired size (a 1 ounce scoop works best). Roll each cookie in sanding sugar.

Place cookies onto a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 8-12 minutes at 350 F.

plating

tall glasses of cold milk

Put as many into your mouth as can fit. Wash down with milk.

Southern French Toast

Southern French Toast

challah. brown sugar. french cream.

serves 4

Chef Stacey Eames

batter

2 eggs
14 g (1 tbsp) sugar
¼ tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
236 ml (1 cup) whole milk

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Whisk in the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add milk and whisk until mixture is fully incorporated.

brown sugar batter

227 g (8 oz) butter
454 g (16 oz) brown sugar
158 ml (2/3 cup) water

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is fully melted, whisk in brown sugar and water. Continue heating and whisking until sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Bring to a boil. Then cut off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate.

french cream

132 g (4.7 oz) cream cheese
42 g (1.5 oz) powdered sugar
158 ml (2/3 cup) half ‘n’ half

Allow cream cheese to warm to room temperature. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate unused portion for up to two weeks.

griddle

neutral oil
8 slices challah
dipping batter

Heat a cast iron griddle over medium. Lightly coat with a neutral oil. Once oil is shimmering, dip two slices of challah into the batter, and place onto the griddle.

Cook until golden brown, about 4-7 minutes on each side. Remove finished slices to a cutting board. Slice all pieces in half on the diagonal.

plate

brown sugar butter
french cream
16 strawberries, sliced
½ pint (2 cups) blueberries

Slice strawberries.

Arrange french toast slices on warm plates. Garnish with blueberries, strawberries, french cream, and brown sugar butter.

Sunday Biscuits

Sunday Biscuits

Table bread

makes 24

Chef Chrysta Poulos

Biscuits

2½ lbs AP flour
1 oz salt
4½ oz sugar
3 oz baking powder
1 lb butter
1 qt (4 cups) buttermilk

Freeze butter. Shred with a box grater. Return to the freezer so that it refreezes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Whisk together dry ingredients. Add frozen shredded butter to dry mix. Incorporate thoroughly using fingertips to work flour into butter shreds. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined. The dough will be fairly stiff.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a square. Sprinkle with a little water. You can use a spray bottle filled with water, if you have one.

Fold one half the square over on top of the other half. Rotate the dough so that the open end of a “book” fold is facing you. Do another fold. Roll out to about 1” thick.

Using a ring/round cutter dipped in flour, cut and portion biscuits. Place onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.

Be sure to dip your cutter in flour in between each and every cut. When cutting, be sure to press straight down. Do not turn the cutter as you press down.

Brush the biscuit tops with buttermilk. Bake until golden brown. Rotate sheet tray halfway through baking.

Farmhouse Fried Chicken

Farmhouse Fried Chicken

white oak pastures. romanesco. mac ‘n’ cheese.

serves 6

Chef Nicolas Bour

marinade

6 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on, from
White Oak Pastures
3 cups kosher salt
½ gal buttermilk, whole fat
2 tbsp hot sauce, Texas Pete
salt
black pepper

Place the chicken breasts in a metal bowl and cover in kosher salt. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Under running cold water, scrub the chicken with the salt and rinse off. Pat dry.

Place the buttermilk in a sealable container. Add hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add the chicken. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

fry

5 eggs
1 tbsp hot sauce, Texas Pete
12 cups all-purpose flour, organic
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp black pepper, f resh ground
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp aleppo pepper, ground
12 cups manteca

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, aleppo pepper, and salt until homogenized.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Remove chicken from the buttermilk, letting any excess buttermilk drip off. Dredge in the flour mixture, then lightly shake. Dip into the egg mixture and let excess drip off. Dredge once more in the flour mixture. Set aside on a sheet pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat lard to 345 F. Gently place chicken into the skillet, skin side down. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a sheet pan.

Once all breasts are fried, place the sheet pan into the oven. Cook until chicken reaches 165 F internal temperature.

vegetables

1 lb tri-colored carrots, organic and washed
1 lb romanesco florets
4 oz olive oil
4 tbsp ras el hanout
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until seasoning is evenly distributed. Place on a sheet pan and into the oven for 20 minutes or until vegetables are slightly brown. Toss in oil from the pan before serving.

mac ‘n’ cheese

2 lbs penne pasta
1 lb sharp cheddar
1 lb Thomasville Tomme
1 vidalia onion
2 tbsp flat parsley leaves
4 eggs
1 qt heavy cream
salt
black pepper
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp Texas Pete hot sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Pyrex works best.

Cook the penne according to instructions on the package. Strain and lay out on a sheet pan to cool. Do not rinse.

Shred the cheddar. Cut the tomme into large dice. Grate the onion with a box grater. Chop the parsley leaves.

In a large mixing bowl, whip the eggs and cream together until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Add the hot sauce, onion, parsley, worcestershire, and ½ of each cheese to the cream and egg mixture. Mix with a spoon to blend all ingredients.

Mix the panko and remainder of the cheeses together and set aside.

Toss cooked pasta in the cream mixture. Rest for 10 minutes, letting noodles fill with as much mixture as possible. Transfer into the casserole dish. Top with cheese and panko mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and return to the oven. Bake until the cheese is golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut into single portion squares.

Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings

Jerk Marinade.

serves 4

Chef Todd Richards

Marinade

16 chicken wings, jumbo
1 onion, medium
6 cloves garlic
3 scallions, medium
2 Scotch bonnet chiles
2 sour oranges
1 lemon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 bunch thyme
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp kosher salt
½ cup maggi seasoning
½ cup worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp blended vegetable oil
4 cups pineapple juice
1 cup water

Coarsely chop onion, garlic, scallions, and scotch bonnets. Quarter oranges and lemon. Smash allspice berries. Coarsely grind black pepper. Freshly grate nutmeg.

Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a large bowl and allow to come to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours. If at room temperature, marinate for only 3 hours. Must be cooked the same day if marinated at room temperature.

Wings

blended vegetable oil
salt
black pepper

Heat grill to medium, approximately 325 F.

Remove chicken from marinade and rub with oil. Season with additional salt and pepper. Place on the grill. Ensure even cooking by rotating, but do not move too much. Some char brings out the flavor.

Remove orange and lemon quarters from marinade. Grill alongside wings.

Cook until the wings’ internal temperature reaches 175 F or there is no red at the bone, about 12 minutes.

Grilled Okra

Grilled Okra

yogurt. peanuts. mint.

serves 4-6

Chef Steven Satterfield

Yogurt

1 cup whole-milk greek yogurt
1 large clove garlic
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp red pepper flakes, dried
½ tsp kosher salt
6 inch wooden skewers, soaked in water
1 lb f resh okra pods

In a medium bowl combine yogurt, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt. Using a microplane, grate the garlic clove then sprinkle it and the lemon zest over the yogurt. Cut zested lemon in half. Juice over a small wire mesh strainer into the yogurt, to catch any seeds or pulp. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

okra

6 inch wooden skewers, soaked in water
1 lb f resh okra pods

Prepare the grill. Place natural charcoal and/or wood and light. Let flames flare up and die down before cooking on them. If using a gas grill, heat to medium-high. Prepare the remaining ingredients while the grill preheats.

Wash okra and place on a towel to dry. Arrange okra pods side by side on a work surface with all tips facing in the same direction.

Holding the pods in place with one hand, thread a skewer about ½ inch from the top of each pod, just below the cap of the okra, with your other hand.

Thread a second skewer about ½ inch from the bottom of each pod, just above the tapered tip, creating a row of secured pods that looks like an okra plank. Be sure to leave the ends of the skewer exposed an inch to prevent
the pods from falling off. Repeat with more skewers and okra until all the pods are secured and planked.

grill

okra planks
3 tbsp peanut oil
kosher salt

Brush the okra planks on both sides with peanut oil; sprinkle evenly on both sides with kosher salt.

Place the okra planks on the hot grill. Cook until the pods begin to char slightly, about 2 minutes; flip and grill the okra on the opposite side about 2 minutes more.

Transfer the grilled okra to a platter to cool and then remove the skewers when cool enough to handle.

plate

½ cup peanuts, roasted
spiced yogurt
3 to 4 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
charred okra

Place the yogurt in a serving bowl and top with peanuts and fresh mint. Place the individual grilled okra pods around the bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Oxtail Kare-Kare

Oxtail Kare-Kare

Bagoong. Tripe. Peanut Butter.

serves 6

Chef Mia Oriño

Broth

4 lbs oxtails
1 lb tripe
2 stalks celery
1 carrot
1 onion
oil

Rinse oxtails and tripe under cold, running water. Trim off excess fat. Slice tripe into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and brown oxtails on all sides.

Cut onion into large dice. Place into a deep pot, with oxtails, tripe, celery, and carrot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 ½ to 3 hours or until oxtails are easily pierced with a fork. Remove any foam that accumulates on top. Add more water as needed to maintain about 10-12 cups.

Drain oxtails and tripe, reserving the broth.

Blanch

4 cups oxtail broth
3 Asian eggplant, hansel variety
¼ lb green beans
1 bundle bok choy

Trim the ends of eggplants and cut into 1 inch thick pieces. Cut green beans into 3 inch lengths. Trim bok choy and separate the leaves.

In a pot over medium heat, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil. Blanch eggplant for about 1 minute. Remove from broth and set aside.

Blanch green beans for about 1 minute. Remove from broth and plunge in a bowl of ice water.

Blanch bok choy for about 30 seconds. Remove from broth and set aside.

Seasoning

reserved broth
¼ cup rice flour
1 ½ tbsp annatto powder
1 ½ cups peanut butter

In a skillet over medium heat, add rice flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and toasted. In a bowl, combine toasted rice flour and ¼ cup reserved broth. Whisk until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine annatto powder and ¼ cup reserved broth. Stir until powder is dissolved and color has dispersed.

In a small bowl, combine peanut butter and ½ cup of reserved broth and stir until well-blended.

Soup

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, medium
6 cloves garlic
black pepper
kosher salt
⅓ cup pecans and peanuts, chopped
⅓ cup bagoong

Peel and thinly slice onion. Peel and mince garlic.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until limp, aromatic, and the onion caramelizes. Add oxtail and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the tripe. Add 5 cups of reserved broth and bring to a simmer.

Stir in annatto water, rice flour mixture, and peanut butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until it begins to slightly thicken.

Add blanched vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes, until heated through and tender yet crisp. Serve hot over steamed rice with shrimp paste on the side. Garnish with pecans and peanuts.

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