Not only that, but it’s got one of the most amazing international food scenes in the entire country. You could literally just drive down Buford Highway and live happily for the rest of your life.
Staplehouse is The One. If you have one meal in Atlanta, go here. Google them and look at all the accolades—it’s okay, we’ll wait. Yeah, now you know. Not only is the contemporary New American food amazing and fun and unexpected and ugh we’re in love, but the story behind the restaurant is just as incredible. Watch this video (but only if you’re in private because you are going to cry). Then make a reservation.
Photo courtesy of Staplehouse
Do you understand how confident you have to be in your food to call your restaurant Masterpiece? Lucky for chef Rui Liu, this Szechuan restaurant lives up to its name. The restaurant started off small and keeps growing, which makes sense considering the mountain of awards its received. The menu may look like your standard Chinese menu, but the family-style dishes are truly authentic. Chef Liu shows the nuance on Szechuan cuisine instead of the “nothing but fire” you see at many American Chinese restaurants.
Atlanta’s airport is one of the busiest in the world, which makes it perfect for a restaurant trying to import the best and freshest fish from around the globe. Sushi Hayakawa’s Chef Atsushi Hayakawa is an artist with a blade, and the intimate space is reserved for reservations only. You can do the normal sushi counter option, but we implore you to splurge on the chef’s Honkaku Omakase, a 14-course meal of the night’s best offerings. Make sure to read the restaurant’s FAQs, too—they have a strict cologne/perfume policy.
Photo courtesy of Sushi Hayakawa
Remember when we said if you have one meal to eat in Atlanta, you should go to Staplehouse? Well, if you have two meals, Miller Union should be up at the top of that list. Chef Steven Satterfield takes the best in local Southern ingredients and works his magic on them, creating dishes that will have you rethinking everything you know about Southern food. The menu changes as the seasons do, but dishes like the farm egg baked in celery cream never leave.
Photo courtesy of Miller Union
Ethiopian food is hard to find, but once you get your hands on it, you never want to let go. Desta has it all! Want to try Ethiopian breakfast? Well, they’ve got it all day. The menu is fairly large and diverse, making it a super flexible option for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. We like the tibs, a tender cubed meat of your choice cooked with Ethiopian spices and vegetables, served with a side and injera, a flatbread unlike any you’ve had before. Bring a group, get a ton of food, then never stop going back.
Multiple locations. Photo courtesy of Desta Ethiopian Kitchen.
We vote that The General Muir should be replicated in every city. This 21st Century take on a Jewish deli is open all day, which is perfect because we want to be there all day. You can kick things off with a bagel, schmear, and smoked fish, or go big time with something like The General: Two pieces of pastrami, two eggs, and two latkes. Good lord. Lunch is more of the same, including a 14 oz pastrami sandwich. The dinner menu does offer some larger plates, like steak, but c’mon, you can’t turn down a corned beef sammy.
Photo courtesy of The General Muir
Bread & Butterfly takes all the whimsy and beauty of a Parisian bistro and drops it into the middle of Atlanta. Breakfast is always a good choice, but lunch and dinner will never disappoint. The restaurant does a great job holding back the heaviness of French cuisine (god bless them and their love of butter), even with some of their more decadent dishes (hello, truffled penne au gratin). Whatever you do, just make sure you’ve got your Instagramming hand ready for action.
We love Ponce City Market (PCM), both as indecisive eaters and as gluttons. The Food Hall is home to over 30 different food stands and restaurants, and HOW ARE THEY ALL SO GOOD? It’s brutal. You’ll be sitting there eating Botiwalla’s unreal takes on Indian street food, then someone will walk by you with a buttery biscuit and fried chicken from Hop’s, and as you get up to go get that, you walk by Five Daughters Donuts, and everything just falls apart. Lock us in here and throw away the key.