The Best Restaurants in Midtown Atlanta

Up your cool factor at these Midtown restaurants.
  • Neon signs and killer cocktails await at Bon Ton.
    Neon signs and killer cocktails await at Bon Ton.
  • Livingston, inside the Georgian Terrace, is a beautiful setting inside a historic building.
    Livingston, inside the Georgian Terrace, is a beautiful setting inside a historic building.
  • No expense was spared on 5Church's decor.
    No expense was spared on 5Church's decor.
  • Enjoy cocktails at STK's bar, then dinner in the plush booths upstairs.
    Enjoy cocktails at STK's bar, then dinner in the plush booths upstairs.
  • ONE Midtown's twinkling lights are magical.
    ONE Midtown's twinkling lights are magical.

You don't have to venture far in Midtown to find terrific food. But the cool factor? That's another thing. From stunning décor to exuberant murals, here are the top 11 places to eat in Midtown to impress a date or an out-of-town guest. 

  1. 5Church – With words from "The Art of War" written on the ceiling, this restaurant has an ultra sexy vibe. Special feathered lights loom over the bar, while the dome-shaped lamps have a beautiful leaf pattern stamped inside. The black leather booths and chairs are comfy. The cuisine is bold and saucy, to match the design. Highlights are the squid ink tagliatelle (lump crab in each bite) and Wagyu steak.

  2. Bar Margot – If there’s any special spot for cozying up to a date it’s Bar Margot, located inside the Four Seasons Hotel. Not only are the craft cocktails amazing, but simple dishes like the rib eye and crab toast shine.

  3. Better Half – Sit at the bar/chef’s table and be mesmerized by the artful dishes turned out by chef Zach Meloy. Surprisingly, he updates the menu weekly, save for one item – the Silk Handkerchief pasta, which is always available.

  4. Bon Ton – With the popularity of sister restaurant Crawfish Shack located on Buford Highway, the Midtown spot is a hit, featuring incredible cocktails like the Painted Snipe or Smoked Bourbon Mai Tai. Steamed or fried plates can be found, but the smoked crab legs are a specialty.

  5. Eight Sushi Lounge – With a bevy of raw and cooked items, there’s something for everyone at this West Midtown hot spot, making it perfect for a group. Cocktails are inventive (get the Damson in Disguise, Eight Sushi’s twist on a margarita) and the presentation of everything is gorgeous, with edible flowers on nearly every dish. Tip: Want to try a sampling of everything? Call ahead and order the omakase tasting menu.

  6. Livingston – Unbeknownst to many Atlantans, there’s a fabulous restaurant inside the Georgian Terrace hotel – Livingston. The building itself is historic and has lovely details. Drinks such as the Bruha are craft cocktails at their finest. Plus it is one of the few Atlanta restaurants that is low on noise. Linger over the pork belly appetizer and the outstanding rib eye for your main meal.

  7. ONE Midtown Kitchen – Twinkling lights greet you as you enter the dining room. Take your time and explore the excellent and well-crafted wine list. Then move on to items like the wood-grilled octopus or gnocchi. Tip: The restaurant has been featured in several movies filmed in Atlanta (trivia for your out-of-town guests).

  8. Optimist – Though we are landlocked in Atlanta, you will feel as if you just walked in from the beach when you step inside the Optimist. The seafood-heavy menu features oysters, shrimp a la plancha and a lobster roll worth returning for, among others. Note that tables are quite close together and it is very noisy, so it is difficult to have an intimate dinner here, but it will be tasty.

  9. Pijiu Belly – The name of this small restaurant translates to “Beer Belly” so, as you can imagine, there are many beers on tap. The concept of Pijiu Belly is comfort food with Asian influence. Think items like Thai tater tots or a bulgogi cheesesteak. Must order: The grit stix topped with bacon crumbles and cheddar.

  10. STK – Part bar and part restaurant, the STK decor is quite posh. Sip a cocktail at dazzling bar then head up to the plush booths for dinner. Some fantastic starters are the beef or tuna tartare. For entrees, scallops don’t disappoint, but at least one person at the table must get a steak. I recommend the sirloin, dripping with butter and served with eight – yes eight – dipping sauces.

  11. Tabla – With a chic decor, Tabla bucks the trend of drab Indian restaurant decor. Sip: The mocktails are just as tasty, if not moreso, than the cocktails. Though the chai old fashioned is hard to beat, a kokum spritzer (non-alcoholic) with its lovely cranberry color is intoxicating. Choose from the different curries with meats like duck, lamb or short ribs. Save room for the kheer (rice pudding).

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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