What Food is Atlanta Known For? Try These

What foods define the ATL? Southern dishes come to mind but that’s definitely not all. While we still serve up delicious crispy fried chicken, mouth-watering barbecue and hearty meat-and-threes, we’re also home to a burgeoning craft beer scene, diverse international cuisine and innovative sweet treats. Sample some of these famous ATL dishes. 


Atlanta is known for it fantastic barbecue.
Beef, pork, or chicken and traditional side make up a fantastic barbecue meal.

Slow-smoked, meaty goodness abounds in the ATL. Whether you prefer tender, juicy brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs or melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, Texas and Kansas City ain’t got nothing over the ATL when it comes to ‘cue. Take your pick from our BBQ Smackdown.  


You might be able to get a burger anywhere but you won’t find these choices on just any burger menu. Head to Hobnob for a strawberry aioli or Southern Belle pimento cheese-topped version. At FLIP Burger Boutique, order the Butcher’s Cut, with Angus beef, Emmi Roth buttermilk bleu cheese, caramelized onions, soy truffle vinaigrette, frisée, pickled shallots and red wine jam. Pair it with one of their famous adult milkshakes. At Grindhouse Killer Burgers, try the Apache, with pepper jack cheese, grilled onions and New Mexico green chiles. Daring diners at Cypress Street Pint & Plate can order the Krispy Kreme Burger. If you prefer your burger dairy-free Wonderkid has got you covered, and the meatless crowd knows to head to Slutty Vegan for the One Night Stand. Discover more places to find the best burgers in Atlanta.

Fried chicken

Traditional or with a twist, fried chicken is one of Atlanta most famous foods.
Traditional or with a twist, fried chicken is an Atlanta must-have.

A Southern staple, there’s no shortage of tasty options for fried chicken in the ATL. The place to meet over a plate during the Civil Rights movement, Paschal’s is still serving up their Famous 1947 Fried Chicken. Mary Mac’s Tea Room is favored for their double-battered goodness, and The Colonnade, another longtime ATL dining establishment, serves up “old-school chicken done right.” Busy Bee Cafe is known for their “moist, juicy and bee-licious” fried chicken and The General Muir’s version of the dish was featured in Garden & Gun.

Traditional eats

For years, the legendary downtown Rich’s department store was known for its chicken salad and frozen fruit salad, served in the Magnolia Room. While Rich’s is no more, another legendary Atlanta restaurant is keeping the tradition alive. Swan Coach House serves its signature chicken salad in delicate handmade timbales. Pair it with Swan Coach House cheese straws and their famous creamy frozen fruit salad. The perfect light lunch for a hot Southern day.  

International foods

Ethnic foods abound off the Buford Highway
Ethnic foods abound off the Buford Highway

Korean, Latin American, Malaysian and Vietnamese are just a few of the global flavors you’ll find in Atlanta and on Buford Highway. Dive into a Stone Bowl from Woo Nam Jeong, or a puspa from Rincon Latino. Try the chicken curry at Penang or a noodle bowl from Co’m. Follow it up with a frozen treat from 8 Fahrenheit, the perfect cooling dessert after a spicy tour around the world. 

Craft brews

There is plenty of diversity in the ATL’s craft beer scene, from European-style ales and German pilsners to fruity sours and hoppy IPAs. Pop into Monday Night Brewing for one of their cleverly named brews or sip a fruited gose at Red Brick Brewing, two of the first on the ATL brew scene. Discover what’s on tap at the Lost Druid or kick back with a kolsch on the patio of the Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Little Five Points. There are plenty of hops to choose from to quench your thirst in the ATL. 

Ice pops

Gourmet flavored ice pops are another food Atlanta is known for.
Gourmet flavored ice pops hit the spot.

Look for the rainbow umbrella, and under the rainbow, you’ll find King of Pops, with adult appealing flavors like chocolate sea salt and Thai iced tea and a nod to the South with banana pudding. 

Fried pies and naked dogs

Pull into The Varsity — or The V, as Atlantans fondly call it — and tell the car hop you’d like a “naked dog walkin’ (plain hot dog to go), an FO (frosted orange shake) and a fried pie. Be sure to ask for a Varsity hat.   

Sweet tea

Southerners love their sweet tea and you can’t go wrong at Mary’s Mac’s Tea Room, where a tall, cold glass is the perfect accompaniment alongside a plate of their Southern cookin’ — fried chicken, pot likker with cracklin’ cornbread, fried green tomatoes and Brunswick stew. Take home a dozen cinnamon rolls. Explore more places to drink tea in Atlanta. 

Meat and three

A Southern tradition, the meat-and-three is a hearty plate of your choice of meat — fried chicken, ham, country-fried steak, meatloaf or pork chops — with a choice of three sides, usually a vegetable, potatoes, mac and cheese or creamed corn. Served up with a slab of cornbread and an ice-cold tall glass of sweet tea to wash it down, there’s nothing more Southern — or hearty — than a plate of meat and three. Tuck into a meal at one of many long-serving ATL dining rooms like the Colonnade or the Busy Bee Cafe, considered the ATL’s Soul Food Kitchen, and we agree. Southern comfort at its finest. 

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