Welcome to this week’s edition of the Atlanta weekend planner or 5 to Try, where Eater Atlanta recommends five restaurants or bars. The list includes a mix of hot, new restaurants on the scene, old standbys worth a revisit, and the occasional can’t-miss food event.
Got a restaurant or bar recommendation? Send a message with a brief description as to why Eater Atlanta should consider including it in the next weekend planner.
MAY 18 - MAY 20
Masterpiece in Duluth
Duluth-based Masterpiece on Buford Highway is a popular spot for Sichuan, and 100-percent worth the drive north. Some have called its food the “best Chinese food in the Atlanta area.” Others even claim the ultra spicy soups and dishes here are magical cure-alls for everything from a raging hangover to a bad cold. The restaurant is not only an Eater 38 perennial, its chef, Rui Liu, was a semifinalist for best chef Southeast at the 2018 James Beard awards. 3940 Buford Highway, Duluth.
Tea House Formosa in Doraville
There are plenty of places for tea around Atlanta, but few offer the wide assortment of tea-based drinks quite like Tea House Formosa on Buford Highway. This stylishly-appointed Taiwanese spot sells pots of loose leaf tea in varieties like rose pu-erh and peppermint green or concoctions like butter tea—an iced tea topped with salted cream—and black tea pan cotta. The shop also sell toasts and baos in addition to other light bites. 5302 Buford Highway, Suite A3, Atlanta.
Java Jive in Virginia-Highland
Java Jive on the edge of Virginia-Highland has been a popular neighborhood breakfast spot for over 23 years. Long before this stretch of Ponce de Leon became home to high rents and Ponce City Market, the retro-chic diner served breakfast classics like egg-in-a-whole with an affordable price tag. Thankfully, it still does. Most of the dishes on the menu are under $10. Be warned, weekend breakfast here gets crowded, and it’s cash-only. 790 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta.
El Mexicano on Moreland Avenue—last weekend for street tacos
Say it isn’t so? El Mexicano, the beloved Moreland Avenue Mexican restaurant near East Atlanta, is closing this Sunday [May 20]. The restaurant, owned by Roxana and Octavio Aguirre, is known for its addictive street tacos. However, there’s a ray of hope, as the Aguirre’s will open Patria Cocina this summer on the border between Grant Park and Peoplestown. 1341 Moreland Avenue SE, Atlanta.
Viva la Vegan in Adair Park
Viva la Vegan, owned by a brother and sister team, lies just on the outskirts of Adair Park. The no frills restaurant serves quick—and delicious—“all-American” and Southern food with a vegan twist. Try the fried green tomato sandwich or the Philly, which replaces steak with jackfruit. The menu at Viva la Vegan categorizes its dishes by soy, non-soy, and raw items. 1265 Lee Street SW, Atlanta.
APRIL 27 - APRIL 29
Anh’s Kitchen in Midtown
Vietnamese restaurant Anh’s Kitchen from MF Sushi’s Alex Kinjo opened in Midtown last November. The menu here is simple and straightforward with traditional dishes including several choices of pho, banh mi, and fried rice along with larger entrees such as shaking beef or sautéed squid and pineapple. Try the wild gulf shrimp clay pot, special banh mi with ham, pork, and paté, or the spicy beef noodle soup with rare beef, brisket, and pork sausage. 855 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.
Don Sige Taqueria in College Park
Fans of this taco spot might rather it remain a secret. The College Park counter-serve restaurant lies just beyond the East Point line and is easily missed hidden behind a Chevron station. Its storefront is on Vesta Avenue. But once found, area residents swear Don Sige serves some of the best tacos in Atlanta. Try the beef tripe, cheek, or tongue tacos. Beware, the salsa verde has a surprising kick. 1720 Vesta Avenue, College Park.
Royal Caribbean Bakery in Stone Mountain
Jamaican bakery Royal Caribbean Bakery is a Stone Mountain institution and heralded as the holy grail of patties (at $2 per). It’s also home to some seriously volcanic spice levels. Try the beef patty or the vegetarian-friendly spinach patty The pastry counter offers treats like plantain tarts and coconut drops as well as other glutenous goods shipped straight from their Bronx shop in New York. 4859-A Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain.
Jang Su Jang Korean in Duluth
Jang Su Jang or “The Meeting Place” has been a favorite (much loved) Korean restaurant in Duluth for over ten years. This is the spot to grab dishes with authenticity and traditional touches like kalbi (barbecue beef short rib), bibimbap, and soondubu-jjigae (tofu stew). Some have said the banchan here could be Atlanta’s best. 3645 Satellite Boulevard NW, Duluth.
Brunch at Ration & Dram in Kirkwood
Ration & Dram in Kirkwood is run by Holeman & Finch bar alum Andy Minchow. While most come for the cocktails, bar snacks like the totooine (tater tots with pimento cheese, bacon, ranch dressing), or entrees such as chicken and dumplings, brunch is not to be missed here. Sit outside on the shady patio at one of the picnic tables with a bloody mary. Order the McDowell breakfast sandwich (English muffin with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar) or the indulgent eggs benedict with split biscuit, poached eggs, country ham, and hollandaise sauce served with a side of potato hash. 130 Arizona Avenue NE, Atlanta.
March 30 - April 1
Banh mi at Quoc Huong in Doraville
Many consider the banh mis at Quoc Huong in the Asian Square complex (where Sweet Hut Bakery is also located) to be the best in metro Atlanta. The fresh, French bread definitely contributes to this reputation. The favorite order here is the barbecue pork. This place is cash only, but sandwiches average around $3.00 per. Get five, and that sixth one is free. 5150 Buford Highway NE, Doraville.
Korean fried chicken in Duluth
Take a trip to Duluth this weekend for Korean fried chicken at Thank U Chicken. It’s totally worth the trek north. While Thank U offers traditional batter-fried chicken on its menu, the standout stars at this spot include the soy sauce marinated and the spicy sauce fried birds. An entire chicken here averages around $25. Beer and wine are also available. 3473 Old Norcross Road, Duluth.
So much more than Southern comfort at Twisted Soul Cookhouse
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours in Westside is where the beloved dishes of the South meet the classically-trained chef/owner Deborah VanTrece. Her world travels and 30 years cooking professionally are present and accounted for on the menu and in the service; which strikes a lovely balance between casual and fine dining. Expect an amuse bouche to whet the appetite like a delicate bite of chicken salad, shared dishes such as black eyed pea salsa fresca served with fresh tortilla chips, and graciously plated entrees like the Cajun-spiced roast chicken atop a bed of red beans and rice. 1133 Huff Road NW, Suite D, Atlanta.
Burger brunch, duck wings, and champagne at Kimball House
Known for its oysters, seafood and cocktails, Decatur’s Kimball House serves a mean Sunday lunch which includes the KH double stack burger with bread and butter pickles, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, and secret sauce served on their fresh-baked Hawaiian roll. It comes with a serious side of home fries, too. Not into burgers? Order the Buffalo duck wings with Sriracha and blue cheese. Pair it all with a champagne. 303 East Howard Avenue, Decatur.
A sunny, warm weekend calls for ice cream
Queen of Cream, just down the street from breakfast hot spot Highland Bakery in the Old Fourth Ward, serves freshly-made, from-scratch ice cream daily. Try the lavender honeycomb, the cold brew coffee with cocoa nib crunch, or the Tahitian vanilla. The shop offers seasonal flavors like carrot cake as well as vegan options such as the black pearl with vegan coconut ice cream, coconut ash, and chocolate. 701 Highland Avenue NE, Suite 1, Atlanta.
March 23 - March 25
Coffees and waffles in Poncey-Highland
The Poncey Highland Cafe & Coffeehouse, owned by Jamie Fahey of Atlanta Cupcake Factory, is located in the former Cafe 640 space next door to Highland Inn. The quaint cafe serves Counter Culture coffee, pastries, and Emerald City Bagels in addition to its own menu of waffles, toasts, and sandwiches. Try the waffle with prosciutto, arugula, and balsamic reduction topped with a poached egg, the four cheese grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, or the feta, chive, and chickpeas toast. Open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 640 North Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta.
‘Early bird special’ in Home Park
Better Half located on 14th Street went from Goat Farm supper club to brick-and-mortar in 2013. The restaurant, owned by chef Zach Meloy and his wife Cristina, serves its dishes a la carte and via a five or nine-course tasting menu. Between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., a three-course tasting menu is offered at the chefs counter. The menu changes frequently but expect dishes like shrimp ceviche taquitos with cucumber pico de gallo, black bean glazed pork belly, or seared snapper with mussels in escabeche. The vegetarian handkerchief pasta is a menu standard. Be sure to follow Better Half’s Instagram for a daily dose of beautiful food shots. 349 14th Street NW, C-100, Atlanta.
Tortas on Buford Highway
Located in the Powers Plaza in Doraville, Tortas Factory serves more than just tortas on its menu, there’s also tacos, huaraches, sopes, and taquitos. And, everything on the menu is under $8. Try the carne asada torta or the egg, bean, and ham torta. The lamb barbacoa tacos are a solid choice, too. Tortas Factory is open for breakfast at 7 a.m. daily so, grab an egg and bean torta before work. 5781 Buford Highway NE, Suite 101, Atlanta.
Ethiopian fare in College Park
Bole Ethiopian in College Park has been a longtime favorite of the area’s residents. This is the place to head to when after a bit of authenticity. While the restaurant is vegetarian-friendly (try the samosas), those seeking meat should order the lamb or beef to scoop into injera (spongy Ethiopian flatbread). Don’t forget to order a glass of honey wine. 1650 Virginia Avenue, College Park.
Chicago dog in Marietta
Some days call for a hot dog. Chicago Delights in Marietta located in a strip mall along Roswell Road offers low-key vibes and darn good hot dogs, including its famed Chicago dog. The dog is topped with mustard, ketchup, onions, relish, peppers, and a dill pickle served in a poppy seed bun. Add celery salt for extra authenticity. 1392 Roswell Road, Marietta.
March 16 - March 18
Tiki cocktails and omakase dinner in Decatur
Now that the weather is getting warmer, people are beginning to flock to Atlanta’s numerous patios. The alleyway patio at S.0.S. Tiki Bar in Decatur acts as an escape from reality with its mix of Caribbean and surf-punk music overhead matching the bar’s rather creative and strong tropical cocktails. A tight food menu specializing in unpretentious and inventive small plates from chef Jarrett Stieber’s Eat Me Speak Me is available until the bar closes. Good food and tropical cocktails wrapped in island vibes—hard to beat on the weekend. 340 Church Street, Decatur.
Breakfast and coffee in Westview
Part catering company, part cafe, D Cafe and Catering in Westview is a family-owned restaurant which serves up homestyle breakfast, brunch, and lunch fare. The cafe is cozy and casual, offering homemade biscuits with bacon or sausage topped with eggs, fish and grits with toast, and lunch plates named for the Westside’s many historic neighborhoods. The majority of the menu items are under $10. The cafe recently began a coffee and espresso collaboration with Koinonia Coffee ATL owned by recent Westview transplant Eduardo Lowe. 1550 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. Atlanta.
College Park Speakeasy
This dimly lit speakeasy in College Park has one of the more believable secret entrances for a “secret” cocktail bar in metro Atlanta. Duck Club Speakeasy feels like it’s several stories beneath the ground and possibly the headquarters for organizing the area’s best house parties. They make a mean fried chicken sandwich, serve church-inspired hot plates of spaghetti on Wednesdays, and take their improved whiskey cocktails seriously. 3719 Main Street, College Park.
Night owl ‘fine dining’ in East Atlanta
East Atlanta’s Octopus Bar from the owners of 8Arm brings late night dining to another level. The restaurant opens its doors at 10:30 p.m., after many restaurant kitchens have closed for the night. The chef-driven menu includes selections like braised and fried rabbit leg, salt and pepper shrimp, and steamed, whole snapper with kimchi. The cocktails here are some of the best in the city and change frequently. Open until 2:30 a.m. Closed Sundays. 560 Gresham Avenue. Atlanta.
Grocery stall tacos on Buford Highway
Few things are as satisfying as grabbing tacos to-go from a counter stall in the back of a Buford Highway grocery store. Supermarket Chicago in the Pinetree Plaza in Doraville makes their tortillas and salsas fresh daily. Meat fillings include everything from pollo and pork to goat and beef tongue. 5263 Buford Highway, Doraville.
March 9 - March 11
Four cheese grilled cheese and fresh fruit in Old Fourth Ward
LottaFrutta, located in the heart of the Old Fourth Ward, serves Cuban grilled sandwiches, frescas (fresh cut fruit cups), smoothies, and snacks. Order the dolce vitta fresca with banana, orange, apple, pineapple, honeydew, kiwi, mango, watermelon, grapes, and cantaloupe mixed with yogurt and granola. The queso quartet sandwich might be one of the best grilled cheeses in town. For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, try the LottaEnergia smoothie with bananas, strawberries, and whey protein blended with orange and pineapple juices. 90 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta.
Brunswick stew in Little Five Points
The Euclid Avenue Yacht Club (EAYC), located just a few doors down from The Porter Beer Bar, is a favorite among locals gathering for drinks and bites as well as for the curious checking out the Little Five Points scene. The bar has been in business for nearly 30 years. Order a budget-friendly beer or the dive bar classic Jack and Coke. Whatever the drink, pair it with EAYC’s Brunswick stew and a side of tater tots. The people-watching here is hard to beat. 1136 Euclid Avenue NE, Atlanta
Malaysian cafe in Doraville
Mamak on Buford Highway in Doraville might be the closest thing Atlanta will get to true Malaysian cooking, which is often reflective of the country’s diverse population. This small, congenial cafe serves everything from roti (flat bread) with curry sauces to pork porridge to lemongrass chicken or curry braised beef brisket. 5150 Buford Highway NE A-170, Doraville.
The ‘Ghetto’ burger at Ann’s Snack Bar
The now famous ‘Ghetto’ burger created by the late “Miss Ann” Price of Ann’s Snack Bar in Kirkwood is a must-eat-before-you-die dish in Atlanta. Her burger stand, now run by her sister Josephine Culver, has been on Memorial Drive for 46 years. People still line up for the two loosely-packed patties topped with cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, bacon, and chili. The burger is so beloved (as was the often fiery Miss Ann,) Atlanta-based writer Austin Ray wrote a tribute to her and the burger that made her little stand on Memorial Drive famous for Atlanta Magazine. 1615 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta.
Tacos, tlayuda, and tamales in Jonesboro
Taqueria La Oaxaqueña, owned and operated by chef Rosalia Ruiz in Jonesboro, has been a favorite Mexican spot for those living in the south metro for 20 years. But, it’s well worth the drive for those living in-town and beyond. Come here for a taste of Oaxaca, handmade tortillas and chips, a vast selection of tacos, and tlayuda; a pizza-like Oaxacan dish consisting of toasted tortilla typically topped with refried beans, cheese, meat, and lettuce. The 12-page menu affords plenty of choice including some great tamales and an all-day breakfast section. 605 Mount Zion Road, Jonesboro.
March 2 - March 4
South Carolina barbecue (and biscuit breakfasts) in Riverside
Barbecue in Atlanta is serious business, something not lost on pitmaster and owner of B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue Bryan Furman. He and his wife Nikki opened the west Atlanta outpost of their Savannah smokehouse in September 2016 and quickly became not only a neighborhood favorite, but a favorite among local barbecue enthusiasts. Located in the former Hottie Hawgs space in Riverside, the Furmans serve whole-hog ‘cue, South Carolina-style hash and rice, and more. On many Saturday mornings (like this Saturday), B’s plays host to biscuit whisperer Erika Council and her Bombass Biscuit breakfast pop-up. 2061 Main Street NW, Atlanta.
Arepas in Avondale Estates
Arepa Mia has been making arepas (an unleavened, Venezuelan bread filled with a variety of toppings) since 2011. Owned by Lis Hernandez who moved to America from Venezuela in 1998, the menu consists of arepas topped with beef, chicken, seafood, avocado, or scrambled eggs, empanadas, cachapas (Venezuelan sweet or savory pancake), and pabellón with shredded beef, black beans, fried plantains, queso, and Jasmine rice. In addition to its brick-and-mortar restaurant, Arepa Mia also has a food stall at Sweet Auburn Curb Market. 10 North Clarendon Avenue, Avondale Estates.
Healthy-ish food at Krog Street Market
Recess is the newest (as in it opened this week) addition to Krog Street Market. Located in the former Spotted Trotter stall, the menu leans heavily vegetarian with some meat and seafood options available. Think grain bowls, a shiitake and crimini mushroom patty with Swiss cheese on rye, or a lamb sandwich with pea mash, ricotta, and pickled fennel on ciabatta. Beverages consist of cocktails (including the frozen variety like frosé,) wine, beer, smoothies, and fresh juices. Breakfast is available on the weekends. 99 Krog Street, Atlanta.
‘Real’ Thai food in Candler Park
Chef Parnass Lim Savang debuted his ‘real’ Thai food perma-pop-up Talat Market at Gato in Candler Park last April. The menu consists of five to eight traditionally cooked Thai dishes made with Georgia-grown ingredients. Savang posts each week’s menu on Instagram along with shots of the food he and his kitchen partner chef Rod Lassiter are working on for reference. Savang was just named a Rising Star Chef semifinalist in the James Beard Foundation Awards. On March 21, he will team up with “Everyday Korean” cookbook author Seung Hee Lee for a collaborative dinner. Talat Market is open Friday - Sunday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. First come, first served. BYOB. 1660 McLendon Avenue NE, Atlanta.
Gyros near Oakland Cemetery
Nick’s Food to Go is a family-owned-and-operated Greek restaurant on the corner of MLK Drive and Hill Street. It survived a near-shutter a few years back due to redevelopment in the area. Thankfully, after more than 20 years, Nick’s is still around serving traditional gyros and its famous “Greek lasagna”. Gyros run between $6 and $7, but for a real deal, grab a combo (gyro, fries, and a 16-ounce drink) for just $10. Closed on Sundays. 240 M.L.K. Jr Drive SE, Atlanta.
February 23 - February 25
Laotian street food in Doraville
Snackboxe Bistro located in the Super H Mart plaza in Doraville is one of metro Atlanta’s newest Laotian restaurants and is already drawing big crowds. The southeast Asian country of Laos is located between Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. The menu is a mix of traditional Laotian dishes and street foods including larb (meat salad), khao poon (spicy rice noodle soup), mok pha (steamed fish), and fried spared ribs and wings. Drinks include the popular cold iced tea drink Thai tea with sweetened condensed milk, black tea, and syrup. Order at the counter, take a number, and the food will be delivered to the table. Peachtree Pavilion, 6035 Peachtree Road, C114, Doraville.
Quaint and quiet French cafe in Decatur
Cafe Alsace located just up from No. 246 on East Ponce de Leon offers a welcome respite from the crowds who frequent this popular Decatur dining area. The menu offers traditional French and Alsatian dishes (northeastern France) such as quiche, various types of spaetzle (egg noodles), choucroute garnie (sauerkraut, sausages, potatoes), and sandwiches like the croque-monsieur or mauricettes made with pretzel bread. The wine list is lovely mix of both French and Alsatian region bottles with affordable price points. Open for dinner on Saturday and brunch and dinner on Sundays. 121 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur.
Under-the-radar sushi in North Atlanta
Sushi Huku is an unassuming and under-the-radar Japanese restaurant located just inside the Perimeter on Powers Ferry between I-75 and I-285. A tight menu features both traditional and riffs on Japanese dishes with a well-curated list of sushi. Sushi Huku also includes the option to partake in an omakase or chef’s choice. The restaurant is open for dinner on Saturdays but is closed on Sundays. 6300 Powers Ferry Road NW, Atlanta.
One last meal at One Midtown Kitchen
One Midtown Kitchen located on the edge of Piedmont Park in Midtown announced earlier this week it would be closing on March 4 after 16 years. The restaurant known for its elevated takes on traditional Southern and contemporary American dishes has been a popular date night spot in Atlanta for over a decade. One’s closing menu will feature many of its most popular dishes which include the lobster mac and cheese, calamari, the burger, and steak and eggs at brunch. Reservations are highly encouraged. 559 Dutch Valley Road NE, Atlanta.
Tacos and breakfast burritos in Tucker
San Pancho is located just west of the Home Depot in a strip mall along Lawrenceville Highway in Tucker. This small, counter-serve Mexican spot offers several authentic taco options including carne asada, pollo, tripe, and shrimp. San Pancho also makes a solid tostada con carne. Breakfast burritos are available beginning at 10:30 a.m. Order a horchata (rice-based drink sweetened with cinnamon and sugar) to pair with the meal. 4880 Lawrenceville Highway, Tucker.
February 16 - February 18
Indian street food in Decatur
There’s no shortage of great Indian restaurants around metro Atlanta. So, when chef Meherwan Irani chose to open a second location of his Asheville-based Indian street food restaurant Chai Pani in Decatur, Atlanta gained one more. Chai Pani’s signature Indian street food dishes include a few with local twists, like the kale pakoras, as well as traditional dishes like the thali-style platters. Irani was recently nominated as a semifinalist for a 2018 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef Southeast. 406 West Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur.
A chill, BYOB restaurant in Kirkwood
Dish Dive, a 22-seat BYOB restaurant located on the border of Kirkwood and Decatur, serves both lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The restaurant is owned by chef Travis Carroll and restaurateur Jeff Myers (both formerly of Midtown’s shuttered Top Flr). The partners operate Dish Dive out of a small home they share with Molasses Beauty Barber next door. Its relaxed atmosphere and elevated yet unpretentious dishes have made Dish Dive a favorite among Atlanta’s chefs and food-obsessed. The menu changes weekly. Be sure to check their Instagram for updates. Dinner reservations are highly encouraged. 2233 College Avenue NE, Atlanta
Korean tacos in Westside
Hankook Taqueria was born from a food truck and bills itself as a Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant with an assortment of Korean barbecue tacos and burritos. This no frills taco shop has become a mainstay on Collier Road in Westside. Try the spicy pork or chicken tacos or burritos with Korean-marinated meats. Don’t forget to order sesame fries. For something with a bit of kick, order the spicy firedog with green cabbage kimchi. 1341 Collier Road NW, Atlanta.
Hand-pulled noodles in Doraville
LanZhou Ramen, located in Pine Tree Plaza on Buford Highway, offers a variety of comforting soups on the menu but it’s the hand-pulled noodles made in-house by Chef Liu which are the stars of the show here. In addition to traditional Chinese soups, the restaurant offers soup dumplings, traditional Chinese rice dishes, and entire sections of hand-pulled noodle dishes. Try the pork or duck hand-pulled noodles or the beef stir-fried hand-pulled noodles. 5231 Buford Highway NE, Doraville.
Bacon, egg, and cheese brunch sandwich at Krog Street Market
The Yankee B.E.C (bacon, egg, and cheese served on a TGM Bread kaiser roll) listed on the Sunday brunch menu at Krog Street Market’s Ticonderoga Club is one of those simple, oh-so-satisfying breakfast sandwiches. Pair it with a cup of hot coffee or The Club’s gin-based version of a bloody mary, The Snapper. Krog Street Market, 99 Krog Street NE W, Atlanta.
February 9 - February 11
Vegan pizza in Westview
KarbonStar Vitality Vegan Cafe in the historic Westview neighborhood has quite the following among Atlanta’s vegan and vegetarian communities. But this small, counter-serve restaurant and juice bar is also attracting Atlanta’s non-vegans and vegetarians. Grab an alkaline kale sizzla (vegan pizza) with kale, cashew “un-cheese”, mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Wash it down with one of KarbonStar’s fresh-pressed juices or vegan smoothies. For those unfamiliar with alkaline-based food (foods made from nuts, fruits, legumes, and vegetables,) the friendly staff is happy to help navigate the menu. 1542 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Atlanta.
Korean “army stew” and karaoke in Duluth
This weekend may be a washout with the inches of rain predicted in the forecast. That calls for comfort food. Han Shin Pocha USA in Duluth near Gwinnett Place Mall is a small Korean restaurant that mirrors the atmosphere of a Japanese izakaya. The interior is covered in warm woods with rows of tables and cozy dining “huts” flanking the perimeter. Regulars swear by the smoked pork slices with bean sprouts or the budae jjigae (“army stew”) made with ham, sausage, baked beans, and kimchi or the spicy kimchi hot pot. Great for late nights, beer, soju, small bites, and karaoke. 3515 Mall Boulevard NW, Duluth.
Southern Mediterranean brunch, lunch, and dinner in Grant park
Mediterranea opened in Grant Park last January and has become a popular neighborhood dining spot. For owners Gerard Nudo and Gary McElroy this was their opportunity to promote the gluten free lifestyle while also demolishing the stereotype that gluten free equals stale and flavorless. Mission accomplished. The restaurant’s dishes are packed with the flavors of the southern Mediterranean with a lengthy (and good) wine list to complement it all. Favorites include the eggplant tart, steak frites, flatbread pizza, and green shakshuka. Mediterranea’s kitchen and bakery are 100% gluten free, save a handful of beers behind the bar. A number of dishes on the lunch, brunch, and dinner menus are also marked vegetarian or vegan. 332 Ormond Street SE, Atlanta.
Counter cheeseburgers in Cabbagetown
The beloved bodega Little’s Food Store on Carroll Street in Cabbagetown might be where the neighborhood heads for groceries and provisions, but it’s also the spot where Atlantans head for one of the best burgers in town. With so many overpriced and over-the-top burgers in the city, Little’s double patty, half-pound classic with American cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomato is simple, straightforward, and damn good. Order a burger and fries to go or grab a seat at the counter with a cold beer or bottle of Coca-Cola. Check out the story behind Little’s Food Store and how it became an Atlanta cult classic on Eater.com. 198 Carroll Street SE, Atlanta.
Meaty Latin-inspired dishes in Smyrna
Chef Andre Gomez opened Porch Light Latin Kitchen on Smyrna’s village green in 2015. The restaurant is inspired by his Puerto Rican and Argentinian roots. As a former chef de cuisine for Kevin Rathbun Steak, Gomez knows his way around smoked and grilled meats. Try the Puerto Rican fried pork chop “can can”, confit duck fried rice, the cumin-spiced St Louis ribs, or the citrus brined beer can chicken. Be sure to order a cocktail here like the tropical sangria made with rosé and coconut rum or the Jim’s Collins with rye whiskey and agave sour mix. Porch Light is open for lunch and dinner. 300 Village Green Circle, Smyrna.
February 2 - February 4
Breakfast in Kirkwood
Le Petite Marché is a charming cafe and market located in the heart of Kirkwood. It’s a popular neighborhood spot for breakfast and lunch; especially on the weekends when the line to order at the counter can wind out the door. There’s a good reason for that line—the food is worth the wait. Le Petite Marché serves an all-day breakfast menu including a build-your-own egg biscuit, salmon croquettes served over grits, and a savory Mediterranean scramble with feta, basil pesto, olive, and spinach. Make sure to leave them a love note in the journal provided at each table. 1984 Hosea L Williams Drive NE, Atlanta.
Jerk chicken in Castleberry Hill
Located on the corner of Larkin Street and Northside Drive in Castleberry Hill, Dat Fire Jerk Chicken has dubbed itself “Atlanta’s best jerk chicken.” And, by all accounts (and the daily lunch lines,) that’s not hyperbole. The small restaurant (with no inside seating) serves authentic Jamaican jerk pork and chicken as well as curried goat, oxtails, and sides of cabbage salad and rice and peas. Don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the restaurant’s step and repeat wall and to tag them on Instagram. 226 Northside Drive SW, Atlanta.
Ramen and sushi in Westside’s Berkeley Park
Located in Westside’s Berkeley Heights shopping plaza in the old Cardamom Hill space, Ginya is the in-town sister of Doraville darling Shoya Izakaya. Diners will find traditional variants on tonkotsu ramen served here along with a lengthy selection of sushi and sushi rolls, sashimi, yakisoba (fried wheat noodles), and kushiyaki (grilled meat or vegetable skewers). Sadly, Ginya is not open for lunch and can get busy on the weekends so, plan accordingly. Waits are usually short. 1700 Northside Drive, Suite A5 NW, Atlanta.
Coffee and fancy toast in Toco Hills
Ok, technically this isn’t a restaurant but Spiller Park’s Toco Hills coffee shop location on North Druid Hills Road is drawing daily crowds for its solid fair-trade coffee beverages and fancy toasts. The light food menu here includes local pastries, baked goods, and a selection of toasts. The oft-ordered avocado toast is made with chile butter and radish. Other toasts include cinnamon sugar, cashew nut butter, and cheese with jam or fruit and honey. Toco Hills Shopping Center, 2929 North Druid Hills Road NE, Atlanta.
Burmese food in Clarkston
A recent addition to the Eater Essential 38, Burmese restaurant Royal Myanmar in Clarkston just east of the perimeter has been receiving high praise from food critics and diners alike since it opened two years ago. Regulars to this no-frills spot on Brockett Road swear by the fish soup with vermicelli noodles, palata flatbread with curry sauce, tea leaf salad, chicken coconut soup, and Burmese fried rice served with half a fried egg and curry. The warm, comforting flavors in the dishes make this restaurant an especially good choice on a chilly weekend. 1353 Brockett Road, Clarkston.
January 26 - January 28
Steak, oysters, and kimchi fried rice in Duluth
Noona, the newly-opened Korean steakhouse and oyster bar in Duluth’s Parsons Alley, has been generating a lot of good buzz since its December 2017 debut. That includes praise from Atlanta Magazine’s tough food critic Christiane Lauterbach. She tweeted recently about Noona’s “exquisite knife work” done on the steak tartare with Korean hot pepper paste and cured egg yolk. The restaurant from Michael Lo and George Yu (Taiyo Ramen and Suzy Sui’s Baos) is influenced by the flavors of Korea. The menu also includes poke, kimchi fried rice, a pork and cabbage wrap, and a variety of steaks. And, of course, oysters. 3550 West Lawrenceville Street Suite 310, Duluth.
Bowling and bites in Decatur
This weekend’s weather forecast is calling for rain. That means a lot of indoor entertainment is in store for Atlantans. Comet Pub & Lanes at the Suburban Plaza in Decatur remodeled the old Suburban Lanes when it took over the space two years ago in order to bring the bowling alley back to its former, mid-century glory days. The pub portion of The Comet offers from-scratch pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, cocktails, and bottled, canned, and draught beers. There are 32 bowling lanes, three dart lanes, and two shuffleboard courts. 2619 North Decatur Road, Decatur.
Tacos on Buford Highway
There is no shortage of places to grab great tacos around Atlanta. Everyone has their favorite. While popular (and often crowded) Mexican spot El Rey Del Taco is usually top of the list, try La Pastorcita four miles south on Buford Highway (south of Briarwood Road.) The small, unassuming restaurant serves traditional Mexican dishes and freshly-made tacos. Popular orders include the steak, pollo, and shrimp ceviche tacos. The menu is in Spanish but the friendly servers are happy to help navigate. 3304 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta.
Pasta, sandwiches, and garlic fries on Edgewood Avenue
Noni’s Deli is an Edgewood Avenue mainstay serving generous pasta portions like grandma used to make only paired with lots of beer, wine, and cocktails. Try the tagliatelle with bolognese or keep it simple and order farfalle with marinara and freshly-shaved parmesan. Noni’s also offers deli-style sandwiches with a side of addictive garlic fries. Popular orders include the Patricia with prosciutto, turkey, mozzarella, sriracha, sweet pickles, and fruit preserves on toasted focaccia and the spinozzi with chicken salad, arugula, balsamic, and lemon vinaigrette on toasted ciabatta. 357 Edgewood Avenue SE, Atlanta.
Breakfast in Avondale Estates
While lines often snake out the door at many of Atlanta’s popular weekend breakfast spots, there are still plenty of places around town to grab a great first meal. Rising Son in Avondale Estates offers Southern comfort breakfast fare with a local spin. Much of the restaurant’s produce, eggs, and meat come from area farmers. Dishes worth the order include the frittata ensalada with eggs, roasted tomato, shallots, arugula, and parmesan, the fried trout and grits, or the chorizo and scrambled egg tacos. 124 North Avondale Road, Avondale Estates.
January 19 - January 21
Bowling, dinner, and drinks
After being iced-in this week, Atlantans may be looking to shake off the cabin fever. The Painted Duck is a 26,000-square-foot, old school gaming parlour located in the Stockyards Atlanta. It offers 16 lanes of duckpin bowling, two Belgian feather bowling lanes, two indoor horseshoe pits, knuckleball, and two indoor deck shuffleboard courts. Bowlers can dine on light bites, small plates, and family-style entrees with cocktails, beer, and Champagne flowing at the bar. While The Painted Duck is 21+, kids are allowed on Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 976 Brady Avenue NW, Atlanta.
Pho for breakfast
Avoid the weekend brunch crowd and grab pho which happens to be a Vietnamese breakfast tradition. Listed on Eater Atlanta’s Essential 38, Pho Dai Loi 2 in the Little Saigon shopping plaza on Buford Highway offers a lengthy list of pho choices. Pair that bowl of pho with jasmine tea or traditional Vietnamese coffee. The restaurant opens at 10 a.m. For a bowl of pho earlier in the morning, there’s Lee’s Bakery which opens its doors at 8 a.m. Don’t forget to order a banh mi here, too.
Pho Dai Loi 2, 4186 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta. Lee’s Bakery, 4005 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta.
Tacos in Riverside
Acapulco Mexican Taqueria is a hole-in-the-wall, no frills taco spot in Riverside and worth the drive to this northwest Atlanta neighborhood. Located at the fork between Bolton and Hollywood Roads, Acapulco is a small, family-owned restaurant serving traditional tacos, tortas, and burritos. Order a taco trio of carne asada, chicken, and steak and chips and spicy pico de gallo. The restaurant has limited indoor seating and a small patio outside. There are daily specials, and the TV is often tuned in to soccer. Order at the window inside. 2102 Hollywood Road, Atlanta.
Grab a grandma pie in Duluth
When the now Duluth-based O4W Pizza announced its return to the Old Fourth Ward, there was much rejoicing amongst the devoted fans of Anthony Spina’s grandma pie. For those who can’t wait until this summer for grandma to arrive back home ITP, the New Jersey-style pizza pie with garlic, marinara, mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, pecorino, and fresh basil is still worth the trek OTP to Gwinnett County. 3117 Main Street, Duluth.
All-day eating at R. Thomas’
There isn’t anything quite like R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill in Atlanta, and there wasn’t anyone quite like Richard Thomas who built the popular 24-hour breakfast spot on Peachtree Street. After more than 30 years, Thomas’s legacy is still a restaurant menu filled with healthier breakfast and brunch fare, including gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian dishes. Try the breakfast quesadilla in a sun-dried tomato tortilla full of eggs, cream cheese, basil, cheddar, bacon, peppers, and onions or the breakfast stew with red potato corn chowder, quinoa, veggies, dulse, and nori. Open 24/7. 1812 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta.
January 12 - January 14
Ramen on a cold weekend
Friday’s massive cold front ushered in another round of chilly weather. This weekend calls for ramen. Hajime is tucked away in a corner of the Cheshire Square shopping plaza, adjacent to Tara Cinemas. The restaurant offers both spicy and ultra-spicy versions of the traditional tonkotsu ramen along with a seafood ramen with squid, shrimp, and scallops and a “green” ramen made with vegetable broth and served with scallions, corn, and bell peppers. Add rich soup to any ramen order for increased flavor and a side of chasyu roasted pork rice.
2345 Cheshire Bridge Road Northeast #101, Atlanta
New burger in town
Christina Conde, executive chef at the newly-open cafe GATHER at Grant Park Market on Memorial Drive, has a solid burger listed on the menu. The burger is cooked-to-order, served with a choice of provolone, American, or cheddar cheese, avocado, lettuce, pickled red onions, and bread and butter pickles. The cafe offers a tight list of wine and local beers, too. Also, there’s wifi.
519 Memorial Drive, Suite A-04, Atlanta
New brewery on the BeltLine
New Realm Brewing opened on Monday, January 8 on the Eastside trail of the BeltLine in Poncey-Highland. The brewery comes to Atlanta from brewmaster Mitch Steele, formerly of Stone Brewing in California. Beer offerings include two pilsners (the hoppy, German, Euphonia and the unfiltered Zwickel), Hoplandia IPA, Perun American pale ale, a coffee porter, and a Belgian dubbel. New Realm also features a full-service restaurant and a menu filled with pub fare, small plates, and bar snacks. Head up to the rooftop bar and patio for a spectacular view of the city skyline.
550 Somerset Terrace Northeast #101, Atlanta
Korean fried chicken (aka KFC)
Hello Chicken is a fairly new restaurant on Buford Highway just inside the perimeter but it may serve some of the best KFC in Atlanta. The chicken is double-fried and coated in a gojuchang-based (red pepper paste) sticky sauce. Order a side of kimchi fried rice or a banchan of Napa kimchi, stir-fry potato, and Korean cucumber radish to accompany the meal.
5295 Buford Highway Northeast, Doraville
Crepes for breakfast and lunch
Julianna’s is a petite restaurant tucked inside a circa-1901 house on Lake Avenue in Inman Park serving Hungarian-style savory and sweet crepes made from an old family recipe. The Breakfasty One with scrambled eggs, ham, Swiss, and sautéed mushrooms or the Pecan Pleasure with strawberry, cinnamon, and pecans topped with honey are both good choices in the morning. The Royale with Tasso ham, Gruyere, field greens, and peach chutney is a hearty choice for lunch. Order at the counter and grab a seat. Open for breakfast and lunch only.
775 Lake Avenue Northeast, Atlanta