14 Fun Places for Foodies in Atlanta

Foodies, get out your notepad and jot down these restaurants. Then, go. And eat.
  • Grouper cheeks at Polaris are presented on a croissant.
    Grouper cheeks at Polaris are presented on a croissant.
  • Eat with your eyes first at Better Half.
    Eat with your eyes first at Better Half.
  • Indian/American fusion rocks at Midtown's Tabla.
    Indian/American fusion rocks at Midtown's Tabla.
  • Foodies visiting Atlanta can dine at Saltwood inside the Loews Hotel.
    Foodies visiting Atlanta can dine at Saltwood inside the Loews Hotel.

It's no secret that the South is experiencing a culinary boom. And Atlanta is the considered the heart of that boom. Here are several Atlanta restaurants that exemplify this and are a fantastic fit for foodies.

  1. 10 Degrees South – For quite some time, this was the only South African restaurant in Atlanta. The luxe decor is perfect for a date night. Dishes contain a unique blend of spices and flavors that are quite difficult to decipher. Foodies will love the sosaties, skewered beef in an apricot curry sauce over rice, and biltong, a cured meat. For dessert a great choice is Di’s Delight, a moist sponge cake made daily by the owner’s mother.

  2. Better Half – Atlanta native Zach Meloy impresses guests at his West Midtown restaurant. The food is inspired from his time spent traveling in Central America. It combines Southern and Latin favorites. Think collard green empanadas. The dishes are works of art, and the menu changes often so foodies will never be bored.

  3. Boccalupo – If you’ve been on a low carb kick, this Italian spot with house-made pastas, will make you give it up. The signature is  black spaghetti, which comes with sausage and shrimp. Starters like the octopus and mortadella spiedino or the bruschetta banh mi are quite interesting, too.

  4. Cast Iron – Even with the open kitchen, it remains quiet enough here to hold a conversation with your pals or sweetheart. Cocktail lovers will appreciate drinks like the Boggie Stop Shuffle with paprika-infused vodka, lemon apricot and coffee. Start with the creamy and savory duck confit with pickled onion cream and duck skin. Also get the pork tagliatelle made with pork shoulder and collards if available.

  5. Food TerminalBuford Highway has long been considered a fantastic place for adventurous foodies to dine without spending a fortune. The no-frills ethnic restaurants provide tantalizing cuisine. Food Terminal is a departure from the usual ho-hum decor, with modern design. The huge menu is literally a magazine and features steamed buns and lots of Malaysian noodle dishes.

  6. Iberian Pig – The city of Decatur has quite a few foodie restaurants, but the Iberian Pig, just off the square, is one of the best. It gets quite loud, so don’t expect a quiet date night. Get the pork cheek tacos.

  7. Krog Street Market – The new trend toward food stalls creates havens for hipsters. Historic buildings are refurbished and contain stalls with different kinds of foods. Inman Park’s Krog Street Market features dumpling, barbecue and high-end sandwich stalls, just to name a few. Tip: You can also order beer or wine by the glass from Hop City.

  8. Polaris – High atop the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta is the much famed Blue Dome or Polaris. DYK (Did you know)? The Polaris has its own bourbon through a partnership with Elijah Craig. Plus, Polaris makes its own honey and grows many of its own herbs. The menu is small and changes quite often. But highlights that have been featured are grouper cheeks, crisp on the outside and velvety soft on the inside.

  9. Poor Calvin’s – Located downtown in a nondescript former residence, you could miss this outstanding restaurant if you weren’t looking for it. Foodies will love the scallops melange with black ink pasta.

  10. St. Cecilia – This Mediterranean restaurant in Buckhead exudes sexiness. Start with a crudo of hamachi with serrano pepper and pistachio. Tip: Save your money and eschew pricey entrees in favor of the pasta dishes like dandelion fettuccine with  prosciutto and garlic scapes.

  11. Saltwood – Who would think a hotel would have a restaurant fit for foodies? Saltwood in the Loews Hotel features charcuterie options like beef tongue, quail terrine and more. Local cheeses and other locally sourced items are available, too.

  12. Staplehouse – Born from the Giving Kitchen, the restaurant was named one of  Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants in 2016. The menu features lots of fascinating small plates like aged duck, eggplant and blue barley miso.

  13. Tabla – Fusion remains a hot food trend. Though Tabla leans to the Indian side, you'll still find the marriage of Indian and American fabulous. Plus, there’s an exceptional cocktail menu and presentations are beautiful. You certainly can find favorites like biryani, but foodies will look beyond that to items like bison osso bucco.

  14. Two Urban Licks – One of the first foodie restaurants to grace Atlanta, it still remains one of the most popular. The decor is matched by the food. Get the salmon chips, a hearty portion for sharing, and move on to the chimichurri steak or scallops.

Looking for a more family friendly restaurant? You can always bring the kids

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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