Atlanta is both Georgia’s largest city and its capital. There’s a lot of history here, too, making Atlanta a prime spot for tourists, as well as business travelers. No matter your reason for visiting, you’ll need to eat at one of the city’s many restaurants. In fact, the plethora of eateries can make finding the best food in Atlanta somewhat challenging!
Like many places in the south, Atlanta restaurants take pride in offering staples such as barbeque, fried chicken, and vegetable side dishes. However, there are some local specialties that many visitors aren’t aware of: Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta, and its headquarters is still located there. Many restaurants incorporate the soft drink into sauces and marinades. You can also find Coca-Cola chocolate cake at tea rooms, cafes, and bakeries around town.
Another popular Atlanta treat is gourmet ice pops. King of Pops sells its sophisticated frozen treats at local restaurants, grocery stores, and from rainbow-umbrella-covered push carts that rove around the city. Flavors include chocolate sea salt, raspberry rosewater, and matcha lemonade. There’s even a “banana puddin’” pop as a nod to Southern cuisine.
Expect to find restaurants that are inspired by tradition while also not being afraid to innovate. You can certainly find many traditional “meat and three” places that offer a square lunch or dinner composed of a meat entree and three side dishes. But don’t be afraid to explore different cuisines: The Buford Highway corridor is lined with ethnic restaurants and food markets.
According to both locals and visitors, some of the best food in Atlanta can be found at these restaurants:
Crawfish Shack: Located on Buford Highway, Crawfish Shack is a Vietnamese-Cajun fusion restaurant, offering fresh seafood boils that incorporate the flavors of both cultures. Only live, in-season seafood is used, so the menu changes regularly.
West Egg Cafe: Thoroughly southern in its cuisine and sensibilities, this breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurant is known for updated traditional specialties. Try the pimento cheese omelette, Coca-Cola cupcakes, or fried green tomatoes.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room: In business since 1945, Mary Mac’s offers traditional southern cooking, including made-from-scratch entrees and sides, along with house-baked breads, biscuits, and desserts.