Top Restaurants in Downtown Atlanta

For years, Atlanta observed as Charleston and New Orleans fought for the title of “Southern Culinary Capital.” Not any longer. Atlanta restaurants are grabbing hold of the rope—and pulling hard. Spring frequently ranks at the top of national best-restaurant lists, while Sushi Hayakawa and Masterpiece are redefining the way the James Beard Foundation—and the rest of the world—view Atlanta cuisine. This is no longer just a town for hearty, deep-fried Southern fare. It’s a culinary powerhouse where big-name chefs are showcasing their talents—and proving Atlanta is ready to compete. We hope that our list of Top Restaurants in Downtown Atlanta will serve as a starting point for you.

1: Miller Union


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Steven Satterfield, a James Beard Award winner, creates poetry out of produce at Miller Union, a warehouse-turned-restaurant on the Westside. The farm egg appetiser, baked in a thick celery cream and served with crusty grilled bread, is his most popular—and probably the most photographed—dish. There are plenty of meaty entrées to choose from, but the seasonal vegetable plate, which includes heirloom tomatoes with basil and local feta cheese, crispy fried okra, and pickled beets with ginger, is a must-try. The brown-butter bourbon cake is a delicious way to round up the meal.

Hours: Mon–Thu: 5:00 PM–9:00 PM – Fri–Sat: 5:00 AM–10:00 PM
Address: 999 Brady Ave. NW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30318


2: Lazy Betty


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If you ask any Atlanta foodie about popular local eateries, you’ll almost certainly hear about Lazy Betty. Chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips, both of whom have worked at Le Bernardin, started crafting their menu with a series of pop-ups that rapidly sold out. Hsu, an Atlanta native, kept the momentum going when he appeared on Netflix’s The Final Table, wowing viewers with his calm under pressure. So it’s no wonder that when Lazy Betty and her tasting menu eventually opened her doors to the public, it was an instant hit.

Hours: Tue–Thu, Sun: 5:30 AM–10:00 PM – Fri–Sat: 5:30 AM–10:30 PM
Address: 1530 DeKalb Ave NE Ste F, Atlanta, GA, 30307


3: BoccaLupo


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Bruce Logue has a lot of restaurant experience: Before getting his Master Italian Cooking certificate and opening La Pietra Cucina in Atlanta, the Atlanta native worked as a sous chef at Babbo in New York and as an executive chef at Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad. The chef-owner of BoccaLupo, located on a home street in Inman Park, demonstrates why The New York Times dubbed him the “local pasta king.” Black spaghetti with spicy sausage, red prawns, and scallions, as well as 20-yolk tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and Tuscan kale kimchi, are two must-try meals.

Hours: Mon–Thu: 5:30 PM–10:00 PM – Fri–Sat: 5:30 PM–11:00 PM
Address: 753 Edgewood Ave. NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30307


4: Bones

This is a full-fledged steakhouse. Bones has become a Buckhead institution since it first opened in 1979, and the original menu is a significant reason for that. Start with the shrimp, crab legs, and lobster on a sharable cold seafood platter. Try the velvety lobster soup, which has just the proper amount of heat and is worth a visit in and of itself. You should also order a steak; the dry-aged bone-in ribeye is a must-try. Rich sautéed mushrooms and truffle-butter mashed potatoes are among the sharing sides. Finish your lunch with a slice of warm Georgia pecan pie with praline sauce and vanilla ice cream in honour of your surroundings.

Hours: Mon–Sun: 5:30 PM–9:00 PM
Address: 3130 Piedmont Rd. NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30305


5: Kimball House


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Kimball House, a James Beard Award finalist every year, is known for its cocktails, but it has so much more to offer: Thanks to the tireless efforts of partner and oyster-bar manager Bryan Rackley, the oyster programme is widely regarded as the greatest in the city (and, some say, the Southeast). (Stop by between 5 and 7 p.m. for the daily oyster happy hour, during which all bivalves are half-priced.) Georgia fish with fermented chile grits and delicate duck breast with shishito peppers and okra are two standouts on Chef Brian Wolfe’s main menu. Pastry Chef Yesenia Justiniano’s crowd-pleasing treats, such as the frozen peanut-butter bombe, are a must-try.

Hours: Mon–Thu, Sun: 5:00 PM–1:00 AM – Fri–Sat: 5:00 PM–2:00 AM
Address: 303 E Howard Ave. Decatur, Georgia, 30030


6: 8Arm


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Many questioned if chef Angus Brown’s eccentric, rule-breaking restaurant, 8Arm, would survive when he died abruptly in early 2017, only four months after opening. Chef Maricela Vega’s arrival in March of last year provided a triumphant response to that query. Her bold menu of 13 innovative meals, the majority of which are vegan, has sent Atlanta’s food scene into a frenzy. Locals flock to 8Arm’s little white-brick building in the Poncey-Highland area, which sits in the shadow of Ponce City Market.

Hours: Mon – Thu: 6:00 AM–3:00 PM, 6:00 PM–1:00 AM
Fri–Sat: 6:00 AM–2:00 AM
Sun: 8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Address: 710 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30306


7: Umi


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The staff at Umi, a Buckhead see-and-be-scene hotspot, flies in fish from all over the world to make clean, crisp dishes. Start with a special cocktail created by bar manager Gabe Bowen—we recommend the gin-forward Tomu Kat O—and then ask your server to pair your dish with sake or wine. Begin with a thinly sliced yellowtail appetiser topped with jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and ponzu sauce, as inspired by Nobu. Is this another Nobu riff? Spicy tuna crispy rice is a must-try. Then there’s a large range of nigiri, sashimi, and sushi rolls to choose from. Finish the night with a glass of 12-year Yamazaki Japanese whisky. If you want to impress your date—or find one—come here.

Hours: Mon–Thu: 5:30 PM–10:00 PM – Fri–Sat: 5:30 PM–11:30 PM
Address: 3050 Peachtreet St. NW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30305


8: Aria


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Aria had a makeover in 2016 after more than 15 years in Atlanta, when chef-owner Gerry Klaskala set out to lure casual evening diners to a Buckhead restaurant that had previously been reserved for special occasions. Klaskala did not eliminate his most popular meals throughout the remodel, much to the relief of many Atlantans. The famous short ribs with hakurei turnips, snow peas, carrots, and potato puree are still available.

Hours: Mon–Sun: 5:30 PM–10:00 PM
Address: 490 East Paces Ferry Rd. NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30305


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