The Top 9 Places for Lunch in Downtown Atlanta

Stop in for lunch at a downtown Atlanta restaurant.
  • Bright and upscale, White Oak is perfect for a business lunch or celebration.
    Bright and upscale, White Oak is perfect for a business lunch or celebration.
  • Do your grocery shopping and have lunch at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
    Do your grocery shopping and have lunch at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
  • Smoke Ring serves delicious 'cue in an upscale atmosphere.
    Smoke Ring serves delicious 'cue in an upscale atmosphere.
  • Lots of tempting seafood options await at Ray's in the City.
    Lots of tempting seafood options await at Ray's in the City.

With so many things to do in Downtown Atlanta, you need a list of restaurants 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, we’ve got you covered.

  1. Alma Cocina – Within walking distance of many Downtown attractions, Alma offers a lovely respite from downtown hustle and bustle. Make a meal from the guacamole, empanadas and other appetizers or get one of the hearty lunch sandwiches.

  2. Amalfi Pizza – Be transported to Naples, Italy, right in the heart of Downtown Atlanta when you visit Amalfi. 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.

  3. Der Biergarten – Soak up the lovely views from this patio. My go-to item here is the Jagerschnitzel, but if you’re feeding a hungry group, go for the König Ludwig Platte, a variety of the best items that serves six. Note that it is open for lunch only on weekends.

  4. Gus’s – Riding MARTA downtown for an event? Allow enough time for a lunch stop at Gus’s Fried Chicken. The restaurant well worth seeking out for its slightly spicy fried chicken and generous, tasty sides, like mac and cheese.

  5. Panbury’s – Located in the Peachtree Center food court, Panbury's is known for delicious savory pies. Get the country chicken.

  6. Ray’s in the City – Right in the heart of downtown, near the entrance to the Americas Mart, you’ll find Ray’s in the City, known for delicious seafood. 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.

  7. Smoke Ring –This Castleberry Hill restaurant proves that a barbecue spot can serve excellent barbecue and still be trendy. Although it can get busy at lunch, food comes out quickly. You can get pork or brisket, which is mighty tasty, and Smoke Ring also has pork belly and lamb belly barbecue if you are feeling frisky.

  8. Sweet Auburn Curb Market – Why not do your food shopping and have lunch all at the same place? This market, steeped in history, features tons of fresh vegetables, seafood and all kind of cuts of meats. Need chicken feet or pigs ears? You can find them at this market. 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 take your out-of-town guests.

  9. White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails – If a bright and swanky spot is what you want, then head to this upscale Southern restaurant for lunch. It’s got the perfect ambiance for a quiet business lunch and also is upscale enough for a celebration. Start with the savory beignets and then get the lamb burger.

 Malika Bowling is the author of Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!, and founder of Roamilicious. 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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