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Go-To Guide: Mihoko Obunai Edition

Ever wonder where your favorite local chefs love to chow down? Us, too. Thus Eater Atlanta gives you its Go-To Guide—your chef's guide to Atlanta, the southeast, and beyond.
Mihoko Obunai. [Photo: Christopher Watkins]

Mihoko Obunai has a posse. Her loyal fans have followed her from Repast to Joli Kobe to Mibo Love Ramen at So Ba, and they are anxiously awaiting her arrival at Southbound in Chamblee (set to open next month). Obunai's rep is based on culinary skills she's developed since childhood in Japan, where her mom whipped up ten-course family meals, then as a student in New York, and even as a Peace Corps worker in Peru. She played a major part in Atlanta's recent cult of ramen and now Obunai takes a break to dish on where she likes to eat while she's planning the next big thing.

Weekend brunch:
General Muir—"The Lower East Side" [lox, nova, smoked trout salad] is my favorite starter; with their kick-ass Bloody Mary I feel like I am back in the day I lived in NYC. Matzoh ball soup for dessert!

No. 246—Anything slow cooked in a wood-fired grill. Chef Drew's vegetable plates are also spectacular. [Recently] I had a roasted half spaghetti squash dish and it blew me away!

Quickie lunch:
The Cafe at Cakes & Ale—Daily special salad—healthy and local, fresh ingredients. The salad greens are still alive!

Casual dinner:
Kimball House—Raw oysters (especially for happy hour), the best and freshest selection in the city, plus amazing cocktails by mixologist Miles and his great staff. Kimball House is my second house. I live a few blocks away from there and ride my bike.

BBQ joint:
Community Q—I am not a big fan of BBQ, but their ribs are very tender and tasty.

Ethnic restaurant(s):
Hmm, that is a hard one. I go to different places along Buford Highway…
For Vietnamese [I go to] Pho Bac, the best and cheapest pho. I love pho and have tried many places and this place's broth has less MSG taste and is well seasoned. I love their pho with just beef tendon.
For Mexican [I go to] El Ray Del Taco. Their tacos are just like eating at a taqueria in Mexico City—the taste and price [$1] is right. I like the champignon (mushroom) taco and lamb taco, and I have to drink Negra Modelo. Watching Mexican soccer on TV, listening to salsa music, and eating tacos, I am very happy—no need to travel to Mexico!

Late night snack and booze:
I rarely eat and go out late night anymore [but] I would go to Paper Plane or Leon's.

Fancy night out:
Empire State South—[for] the wine list, service, bocce court, and amazing seasonal, local-ingredient dishes by Chef Josh. I just love to walk in the space…I can stay there all night, great atmosphere.

Top five Atlanta restaurants not mentioned above:
Antico Pizza
Cakes & Ale
One Eared Stag
4th & Swift

Out-of-town fave (regional):
5 & 10 (Athens)

Out-of-town fave (national):
All in NYC:
The Marrow
Pearl Oyster Bar
Aburiya Kinnosuke

Out of the whole country fave:
Merotoro, Mexico City—incredible new Mexican modern fine cuisine, great local wine (their vineyard), and Baja California beer selection. Chef Jair Téllez is my culinary school colleague and the top chef in Mexico.
· All Go-To Guide Coverage [-EATL-]
· All Mihoko Obunai Coverage [-EATL-]

no. 246

129 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, , GA 30030 (678) 399-8246 Visit Website

Five and Ten

1073 South Milledge Avenue, , GA 30605 (706) 546-7300 Visit Website


1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30318 (404) 892-3335 Visit Website

One Eared Stag

1029 Edgewood Avenue Northeast, , GA 30307 (404) 525-4479 Visit Website

Community Q BBQ

1361 Clairmont Road, , GA 30033 (404) 633-2080 Visit Website

The General Muir

1540 Avenue Place, , GA 30329 (678) 927-9131 Visit Website

Paper Plane

340 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030

Kimball House

303 East Howard Avenue, , GA 30030 (404) 378-3502 Visit Website


1093 Hemphill Avenue Northwest, , GA 30318 (404) 724-2333 Visit Website

Empire State South

999 Peachtree Street Northeast, , GA 30309 (404) 541-1105 Visit Website