As with any world-class city, Atlanta boasts a number of audacious and international restaurants that offer splendid culinary experiences. With concept menus, fusion dishes, and the very best of Southern food, the best restaurants in Atlanta will wine and dine you.
The Best Restaurants in Atlanta
To experience the best restaurants in Atlanta, drape yourself in your best attire and head to these locations.
Recommending any specific dish on the menu at Staplehouse would be almost impossible, since its menu changes based on the season and the whims of the chefs. Most ingredients are locally sourced, so you can expect every meal to be fresh, imaginative, and, above all, delicious.
Because of its popularity and top reviews, Staplehouse is one of the most exclusive restaurants in Atlanta, operating on a reservation-only basis. Reservations open on the second Friday of every month around noon, and tables are quickly snatched up. Profits are partially used to fund The Giving Kitchen, a non-profit that helps local members of the restaurant business who are facing hardship.
1 Kept Kitchen & Bar
Dimly lit and intimate, this is one of those places locals hope tourists don’t find out about. (Sorry, locals!) You can count on flavorful dishes served in a rustic atmosphere. The truffle popcorn is surprisingly perfect for an appetizer—and gluten-free, too! The duck risotto and fried brussels are also worth a try, but the gold medal undoubtedly goes to the pimento cheese board, which has yet to leave a (sane ) customer unsatisfied.
American steakhouse and French food meet in perfect harmony at this upscale Midtown restaurant. Every dish is infused with flavor, and the cocktails have a great reputation of their own.
Start with garlic-infused bread and go wherever your fancy takes you, from escargos to shrimp risotto to steak frites doused in green sauce. Don’t shy away from the cheeseburger, either—it gives a whole new meaning to fine dine burgers.
One of the best concept restaurants in Atlanta, Gunshow is the creation of Kevin Gillespie, who competed on Top Chef. With minimal decoration and communal tables, this experience is truly just about the food, which comes to you in roving carts. The chefs themselves come out with each dish and present their creations in minute detail and obvious passion.
If one of the chefs offers something that sounds interesting, you can order it then. Otherwise, you can simply decline politely and wait for the next offer. The menu changes constantly, often even from one day to the other, so your meal is always unexpected.
Located at the St. Regis Hotel, Atlas receives rave reviews for its tasteful decoration (which includes a collection of 20th-century art) and farm-fresh American cuisine. Each dish is perfectly balanced, with the steaks being the restaurant’s crowning glory. A wide-selection of fish and seafood is also available, and changes depending on the season.
The dessert menu is equally blissful, though even those with no room for dessert will receive complimentary hand-made chocolates. The restaurant is complemented by The Tavern, which offers locally sourced cocktails and small, but nevertheless delicious, plates.
Ray’s in the City
Come for the seafood, stay for the live jazz. Ray’s has made a name for itself with a selection of seafood and steaks that are not only delicious, but also combine culinary traditions. Get the shrimp and grits if you’re feeling like comfort food, the eel nigiri for Japanese flavor, and the broiled seafood platter for when you want to feel like you’re right next to the ocean. Top off your meal with a seasonal cheesecake or the classic, but never disappointing, Red Velvet Cake.
Often referred to as the best restaurant in Atlanta, many locals believe this should be the city’s first Michelin Star. Bacchanalia offers a four-course prix fixe seasonal menu, which is made exclusively with organic ingredients, often sourced from the owner’s/chef’s own farm. The menu offers exquisite supplements for those who want more, and includes wine pairing suggestions for every dish.
New American with an international twist makes Saltyard one of the best restaurants in Atlanta. The seasonal menu offers everything from tapas, tacos, and scallops, to summer meals made with sweet Georgia peaches. Pair your meal with a craft beer or cocktail and enjoy the minimalist industrial-chic decor.
When you’ve got a reputation for being one of the best Tex-Mex restaurants in Atlanta, you know you’re doing something right. A welcoming and intimate atmosphere gets you ready to enjoy delicious food at affordable prices. All-around favorites include the steak nachos for appetizers, and wood-grilled shrimp fajitas and the slow-braised short rib for entrees.
The tacos are also something worth writing home about, especially the perfectly juicy tacos de carnitas. Accompany your meal with a fresh margarita.
Cooks & Soldiers
An interesting name with an even more exciting menu, Cooks & Soldiers serves dishes inspired by Basque Country cuisine. It offers exquisite pinxtos, or Spanish-French tapas. You can spend the evening trying numerous pinxtos for a mix of flavor, or get a woodfire grilled meal to share.
The pinxtos are all delectable, but some favorites are the Vieras, butter roasted scallops, jamon iberico, and hazelnuts; and the Barbakoa Vasca, Kalimotxo braised beef with aioli and pickled peppers.
– Original reporting by Mariana Zapata