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Good Restaurants Unique to Atlanta?

I'm a college student traveling to Atlanta for the weekend with a group of classmates for a conference.  We don't have too much time for sight-seeing but we will have a few free hours for lunch one day and dinner one night.  What are some of the best places to eat in Atlanta (anywhere that's about $30/person or less) that I wouldn't get the chance to eat at anywhere else?   

13 Answers

top answer by
Rachel from Atlanta

There are two approaches to great food experiences in Atlanta.

1. The Atlanta Institutions. Sure, their food may not be the most unique, but you'll have a memorable experience.

The places that top this list are The Varsity and Ormsby's. Both of these spots should be within your budget and will reward you with a good time.

Ann's Snack Bar is a must if you can get there early (think 15-30 min. before she opens). Get the Ghetto Burger and make yourself proud.

2. Food You Can't Find Elsewhere. It's a bit tricky to narrow it down, but I have some solid recommendations.

For lunch, I recommend The General Muir (the matzoh soup and loaded poutine will change you). They're open for dinner, too, but lunch is definitely cheaper.

For an early dinner, try Antico Pizza Napoletana. You literally can't find this pizza outside of Naples, Italy, and they stay open until 9 or whenever the dough runs out. The dough usually runs out first. And it's BYOB, so BYOB!

If Antico runs out of dough, stop by next door at Gio's Chicken Amalfitano. It's from the same folks who run Antico, and the amazingly simple, fresh flavors are amazing.

If you're looking for new Southern fare, you can pick from Empire State South (Hugh Acheson) and JCT Kitchen & Bar (Ford Fry). Again, both can get pricey at dinner, so try visiting them for lunch.

To really experience the chill vibe that define the Atlanta food scene, be sure to make time (and belly room) for dim sum meets fine Southern food at Gunshow and a snack and a beer Krog Street Market (My personal favorites are SupericaFred's Meat & BreadHop City Craft Beer & Wine, and The Little Tart Bakeshop.)

Finally, you should cap off any evening in Atlanta at Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium (or "Church" for short). It's easily the hottest spot in town, the best place to spot celebrities, and the best sangrias around. Caveat: Church is not the most pious of places and not for the most religiously sensitive of folk.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Varsity (restaurant)
  2. Ormsby's (restaurant)
  3. Ann's Snack Bar (restaurant)
  4. The General Muir (restaurant)
  5. Antico Pizza Napoletana (restaurant)
  6. Gio's Chicken Amalfitano (restaurant)
  7. Empire State South (restaurant)
  8. JCT Kitchen & Bar (restaurant)
  9. Gunshow (restaurant)
  10. Krog Street Market (attraction)
  11. Superica (restaurant)
  12. Fred's Meat & Bread (restaurant)
  13. Hop City Craft Beer & Wine (attraction)
  14. The Little Tart Bakeshop (restaurant)
  15. Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium (restaurant)
7 thanks

answered by
Lauren from Atlanta

Atlanta has some amazing dining options! I suggest checking out:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fat Matt's Rib Shack (restaurant)
  2. Antico Pizza Napoletana (restaurant)
  3. Gunshow (restaurant)
  4. King + Duke (restaurant)
6 thanks

answered first by
Rockie from Atlanta

You can go to Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site then have lunch on Edgewood. Edgewood Corner Tavern, Thumbs Up Diner, and Noni's Bar & Deli are good.  If you want AUTHENTIC Atlanta, have lunch at Busy Bee Cafe. It is the best southern in town.  For out-of-towners, it will be something you will always remember.

The Colonnade Restaurant has awesome southern cuisine too.  It is good for dinner and cash only. Watch out! --People may recommend Mary Macs but I dont like it.  Food is sloppy and the whole place smells.

Jack's Pizza & Wings is a great local joint. For something a bit more trendy, try Après Diem or Café Intermezzo

Let me know if you have more questions. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (attraction)
  2. Edgewood Corner Tavern (restaurant)
  3. Thumbs Up Diner (restaurant)
  4. Noni's Bar & Deli (attraction)
  5. Busy Bee Cafe (restaurant)
  6. The Colonnade Restaurant (restaurant)
  7. Jack's Pizza & Wings (restaurant)
  8. Après Diem (restaurant)
  9. Café Intermezzo (restaurant)
4 thanks

answered by
Stephen from Douglasville, Georgia

For lunch, The Varsity is a well-known Atlanta spot for greasy burgers, hot dogs, and Frosted Orange ("FO") sherbet milkshakes.  

Vortex Bar & Grill in midtown is an excellent gastro-burger grill and bar offering burgers ranging from the ordinary to the extreme (like the Triple Coronary Bypass with three beef patties, three fried eggs, 14 slices of cheese, and grilled-cheese sandwiches in place of the buns).  My favorite is the Hangover Helper (2 patties, 2 eggs, bacon, white gravy, tater tots).  The beer selection is top-notch as well.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Varsity (restaurant)
  2. Vortex Bar & Grill (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Jacob from Atlanta

Antico Pizza Napoletana is a classic pizza place here in ATL with brick ovens shipped in from Italy. Unique environment. Mother in Edgewood is a bar in a very eclectic part of town with great food too. Serpas True Food is a bit more expensive but you could eat for ~$30 with a drink or two, probably my favorite restaurant in ATL.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Antico Pizza Napoletana (restaurant)
  2. Mother (restaurant)
  3. Serpas True Food (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Melody from Atlanta

Tomatillos in East Atlanta has fresh excellent Tex Mex. They also have a wide variety of freshly made drinks (the red Sangria is awesome). It has a very hip vibe and usually there's not a long wait. The price is very reasonable.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tomatillos (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Natalia from Simpsonville

You can't go wrong with Antico Pizza Napoletana, as others have previously mentioned.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Antico Pizza Napoletana (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Caroline from Atlanta

So many great answers listed! Another favorite of mine is Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand, which has two locations. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Jack from Atlanta, Georgia

You should go to the top of The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta. They have a bar on the very top floor which provides an incredible view!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Westin Peachtree Plaza (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Laura from Atlanta

Fritti is a fabulous pizza place in a cool neighborhood.

Star Provisions / Westside Urban Market on Howell Mill is a great area with 10 plus restaurants, some shops and cool bars.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fritti (restaurant)
  2. Star Provisions (restaurant)
  3. Westside Urban Market (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bartaco West Midtown (restaurant)

answered by
paulette from Atlanta, Georgia

The Varsity is a hang out for Georgia Tech kids and has burgers etc.  It is an Atlanta landmark.  Their slogan is whatayahavein

Enjoy Atlanta!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Varsity (restaurant)

answered by
Kia from Detroit

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gladys Knight's Signature Chicken & Waffles (restaurant)

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