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Sarah
Seattle

Atlanta

Authentic Southern Food!

I grew up in Seattle so believe it or not I have never had southern food. I'm heading to Atlanta this summer and want to try the real deal. Where can I find the best fried chicken, sweet tea, etc? Doesn't matter if it's a nice restaurant or hole-in-the-wall, just looking for the good stuff!


12 Answers

top answer by
Eric

Hi Sarah - a few of my more upscale favorites: 

Empire State South South City KitchenHope you enjoy Atlanta!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State South (restaurant)
  2. South City Kitchen (restaurant)
9 thankscomments (1)


answered by
April from Atlanta

Ohhhh Sarah ... southern food ... where to begin?  Old timey southern food is called "Meat & Three".  Fried chicken,  greens, black eyed peas, deviled eggs, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits. It's home-kitchen style, made in big batches and loaded with pork fat.  And delicious.

So, here's the thing - Atlanta has a few of those places, but doesn't really "embrace" cliche old school Southern food the same way as say, Charleston SC.  Atlanta is much more metropolitan than other southern cities, as a result the food is very diverse.  You can find great fried chicken, and BBQ, but where Atlanta really shines is in farm-focused restaurant mashups, all with a southern "spin".

Restaurant suggestions will depend largely on where you're staying. Atlanta is a huge metro area ... are you staying intown or in one of the suburbs (ITP or OTP)? Each neighborhood has dive joints and nice restaurants alike.  We live intown and our absolutely favorite place is Empire State South in midtown. Chef Hugh Acheson (google him) is so creative. Fresh food, house pickled everything in mason jars, yummy cocktails. Really interesting recipes - from kitchen and bar. Great vibe.

Also check out Atlanta Magazine's dining sectionand if there's a neighborhood festival while you're here try to check that out. I hope you enjoy your trip to Atlanta and the southern hospitality that goes along with it ... we're as likely to invite you over for dinner as give restaurant suggestions!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State South (restaurant)
7 thankscomments (2)


answered by
James

There's lots of good choices because southern food is everywhere but you could go with Busy Bee Cafe which I think has the best fried chicken in the city. Watershed on Peachtree is more upscale. Rosebud is another one that is more upscale but also tasty. I'm not a fan of where most people would send you which is Mary Mac's Tea Room which is downright nasty to me. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Busy Bee Cafe (restaurant)
  2. Watershed on Peachtree (restaurant)
  3. Rosebud (restaurant)
  4. Mary Mac's Tea Room (restaurant)
7 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Caroline from Atlanta

So many places! I recommend the chicken and waffles at Gladys Knight's Signature Chicken & Waffles. For a more modern take on Southern food, I highly recommend Miller Union, which is a bit pricey, but well worth it. I agree with the other options listed as well! Lots of good spots to be found in both traditional and modern Southern fare, as well as those influenced by the years of different cultures moving in like Cardamom Hill and everything on Buford Highway. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gladys Knight's Signature Chicken & Waffles (restaurant)
  2. Miller Union (restaurant)
  3. Cardamom Hill (restaurant)
6 thanks


answered by
Jennifer from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Try The Colonnade Restaurant. Some might say Mary Mac's Tea Room which is a long time institution that serves terrible food in my opinion. There is also lots of New Southern cuisine restaurants like JCT Kitchen & Bar, South City Kitchen Midtown both have some great old traditions like fried chicken or more modern spins on southern fare. Enjoy!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Colonnade Restaurant (restaurant)
  2. Mary Mac's Tea Room (restaurant)
  3. JCT Kitchen & Bar (restaurant)
  4. South City Kitchen Midtown (restaurant)
6 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Sabrina from Tecumseh, Missouri

I think the best fried chicken is a bit south of Atlanta, in Jackson (Georgia) at a restaurant called Buckner's Family Restaurant.   They have the juiciest chicken and wonderful southern style side dishes including peach cobbler!  This is served family style, all you can eat.  They are only open Thursday through Sunday and I think they only take cash.  The food is amazing and it's a great country down-home atmosphere. http://www.bucknersfamilyrestaurant.com/ and great reviews on Yelp! http://www.yelp.com/biz/buckners-family-restaurant-jackson-2


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jackson (Georgia) (city)
  2. Buckner's Family Restaurant (restaurant)
6 thankscomments (1)


answered first by
Rockie from Atlanta

Busy Bee Cafe is THE place to go.  The Colonade is also good.  Many non-foodie types will probably recommend Mary Mac's Tea Room--it is a sloppy and stinky tourist trap.  For something upscale, try Empire State South.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Busy Bee Cafe (restaurant)
  2. Mary Mac's Tea Room (restaurant)
  3. Empire State South (restaurant)
6 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Maria from Marietta

Mary Mac's Tea Room has been around about 70 years and is your authentic Southern Food Restaurant.  Located not too many blocks away from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. 

http://www.marymacs.com/


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mary Mac's Tea Room (restaurant)
4 thanks


answered by
paulette from Atlanta, Georgia

Mary Mac's Tea Room is very popular and pretty good.  South City Kitchen in Midtown is a little more upscale but more reasonable prices for lunch.  I would go to South City if I had a choice.

Hope this helps and enjoy ATL.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mary Mac's Tea Room (restaurant)
  2. South City Kitchen (restaurant)
2 thanks


answered by
Steve from Asheville

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pittypat's Porch (restaurant)
2 thanks


answered by
Sam from Atlanta

Carver's Country Kitchen

Its seriously good, and as someone who has lived in Georgia almost all of my life, this place is my go to.  

For upscale southern food i would recommend Empire State South which is pretty delicious but consists of more upscale versions


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Carver's Country Kitchen (restaurant)
  2. Empire State South (restaurant)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
rich from Athens, GA

JCT Kitchen & Bar for some good soul food.  

Flying Biscuit Cafe for breakfast.  

I would recommend some BBQ but I don't know the good places in Atlanta to get some. I usually find a small joint with a bunch of cars around it at lunch time.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. JCT Kitchen & Bar (restaurant)
  2. Flying Biscuit Cafe (restaurant)
1 thanks




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