Atlanta is gaining notoriety as a “foodie destination” with farm-to-table restaurants, prominent chefs and a tradition of good Southern cooking. Here are some of my recommendations for some great meals in Atlanta:
Empire State South: Located at 999 Peachtree St. NE, this is chef Hugh Acheson’s restaurant featuring southern food with fresh locally sourced ingredients. He just won the James Beard Award for best cookbook and for Best Chef in the Southeast. I enjoyed lunch with friends and had a great catfish dish. He has two other restaurants in Athens GA.
Bocado: Formerly located at 887 Howell Mill, in the emerging West Town area, this restaurant had a great, contemporary design. It was closed here in March, 2021 and is being relocated to a new location, so check out the website for the details.
FLIP Burger Boutique: At 1587 Howell Mill, north of 17th Street, this is a fun, casual burger spot with its chef Top Chef participant and Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais. It has a sleek décor with a burger bar where you can eat and watch the chefs. I loved my beet salad and my lamb burger with arugula and goat cheese was amazing. Everything was fresh and well-prepared. I avoided the milk-shakes but they looked great also. The foie gras milk shake sounded interesting! There is a another location in Buckhead.
Barcelona Atlanta Wine Bar: I saw this listed in Travel + Leisure as one of America’s best wine bars, so I decided to host a group of friends for drinks and tapas. It is located at 240 N. Highland. It is attractive and has both indoor and outdoor seating. The tapas were good and the design was very warm and contemporary. The staff could not have been more accommodating. It is a popular spot so go early.
Star Provisions: At the attractive Westside Urban Market where you will find a number of restaurants and home design stores, Star Provisions is a wonderful store featuring the highest quality food products including fresh cut meats, fish, foie gras, cheese (over 200 variations), freshly baked breads, sweets plus wines and beer.
The Varsity Downtown: Billed as the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, this is a long-time favorite since 1928. It is touristy and huge, but quite fun to experience. I stopped in for some great peach ice cream. The original is located at 61 North Ave.
Other recommendations from friends include: Bacchanalia, offering five course prix fixe dinners, which is located in the West Town Design Center in back of the very attractive Star Provisions Market. This is supposed to be one of the best in town. I saw the attractive space, but it was closed. The chef has other restaurants including Abattoir Chophouse, Quinones at Bacchanalia and Floataway Café.
Also in the West Town Design Center is the very popular Taqueria de Sol with a Mexican driven menu.
The Optimist Fish Camp & Oyster Bar: The Optimist was named Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant 2012. “Right now, the Optimist is American dining at its best, and that’s why it’s Esquire’s 2012 Best New Restaurant of the Year.” It is located at 914 Howell Mill Rd.
Another friend recommends Local Three Kitchen & Bar for fresh farm-to-table food.
Still another recommends Miller Union which offers monthly family-style harvest dinners. I will have to try it on my next trip.