Can’t-Miss Southern Flavors

Southern food restaurants in Atlanta, serve more than just fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and grits (although these are undeniably Southern food mainstays). Atlanta’s favorite restaurants aren’t restricted by stereotypes, but rather, they break boundaries daily. World-class cooks and chefs fill the city, offering visitors and locals alike, a vast array of Southern and soul food options — discover high-end restaurants, home cooking, and hole-in-the-wall establishments throughout the city. The food here is more than delicious, it is an immersive cultural and historical experience. When dining in Atlanta, you’ll find that the food is intrinsically linked to the community and the people who make it. Visit one of these 14 restaurants and experience firsthand why Atlanta’s Southern food is the best in the world.

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

Chef Deborah Vantrece serves up a menu based on soul food principles with a modern twist. Located in West Midtown, the restaurant’s specialties are Grandma Lueticia’s cast iron burger, turkey meatloaf, Southern-marinated fried chicken and Cajun grilled tofu. Brunch favorites include Jack Daniels honey pecan wings, hoisin oxtails, and crab and shrimp open-faced omelet. 

Busy Bee Cafe

This is perhaps Atlanta’s best known “meat and three” (a phrase used to describe a style of cooking: one meat, with three sides). It was launched in 1947 by Lucy Jackson, when restaurants were still segregated. The restaurant regularly makes the lists for “best fried chicken.” Other favorites are neck bones, Joe Lewis ham hocks and red velvet cake. 

Mary Mac’s

This is perhaps Atlanta’s best known “meat and three” (a phrase used to describe a style of cooking: one meat, with three sides). It was launched in 1947 by Lucy Jackson, when restaurants were still segregated. The restaurant regularly makes the lists for “best fried chicken.” Other favorites are neck bones, Joe Lewis ham hocks and red velvet cake. 

Miller Union

Since its opening, Miller Union, on the Westside, has remained quite popular with its progressive Southern food. Chef Steven Satterfield is a big proponent of organics and of supporting local foods. He is the author of  “Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons.” Satterfield, dubbed the “Vegetable Shaman” by the New York Times, guides readers on using not only what’s in season, but also on using the entire vegetable in the cooking process. The James Beard Foundation also chose Satterfield as a finalist for Best Chef, Southeast in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

JCT. Kitchen & Bar

Located in Atlanta’s Westside Provisions District, Ford Fry’s first restaurant JCT. Kitchen & Bar serves up classic Southern dishes and refined comfort food, like fried chicken, deviled eggs and shrimp & grits. Upstairs at the city-style JCT. Bar, guests can gaze at the skyline while enjoying drinks and small bites including hot boiled peel and eat shrimp and truffle parmesan fries.

South City Kitchen

Celebrating 20 years as one of Atlanta’s favorite restaurants, South City Kitchen Midtown specializes in contemporary Southern cuisine with a sophisticated twist. Combining the energy of Atlanta with the warmth of a Southern home, the restaurant is nestled in an updated, historic bungalow on the city’s famous Crescent Avenue. Dine on local Southern favorites such as shrimp and grits, buttermilk fried chicken, she-crab soup, fried green tomatoes and banana pudding while enjoying the view of our exhibition kitchen or the city skyline on one of the best patios in the city. This truly is dining the way the new South intended.

Empire State South

Chef Hugh Acheson made a name for himself in his Athens restaurant Five & Ten, but it would be several years before Atlanta residents would know his talent. The Midtown restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is known for its organic and locally sourced food and wine. Try the pickled shrimp, the shoofly pie or the quail.

Table and Main

The lovely Roswell restaurant in a refurbished home features plenty of locally sourced items from the local Georgia cheese to the trout, shrimp and the peas in the Hoppin’ John. Treat yourself and try the tomato pie, grits or cornbread muffins.

The Colonnade

Atlantans have been dining at the Colonnade Restaurant, located on Cheshire Bridge Road, for decades. And, if they don’t dine in, they carry out some of their favorite foods, such as coconut cream pie, fried chicken and cheese squash casserole. The portions are large and so is the hospitality.

Wisteria

 If a cozy atmosphere is what you’re looking for, visit Wisteria in Inman Park. This historic brick building, with lowlights and white tablecloths, certainly impresses. Start with black-eyed pea hummus and follow that up with the signature entrée, fried catfish.

Home Grown

Home Grown is located in Reynoldstown and excels at locally sourced, fresh ingredients in their dishes. Try the catfish po’boy or the award-winning, vegan Sloppy Joe.

Revival

Establishing roots in a refurbished elegant Southern home, Revival took great care to keep elements such as windows and hardwood floors the same as in the original building. If the Southern chowder is available, go for it. Standouts are the fried catfish and lemon icebox pie.

Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails

The 150-year-old farmhouse and cottage dating to the 1930s were preserved and restored with classic elements and charming details. Plus, many of the ingredients come from the restaurant’s own on-site garden. Make sure to get the shrimp and potato fritters to start. Steaks here are fantastic, too.

Matthews Cafeteria

It was always popular, but after being featured on TV’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” this Atlanta landmark has exploded in popularity so expect long lines at peak times. Unlike the other restaurants, there is no table service here, as the name suggests. The best on the menu is chicken and dumplings. The chicken is smoked in house for use in their Brunswick stew.

Discover More

Get to know Atlanta, and discover the best things to do around the city.