Atlanta’s population is booming as people discover there’s more to this Southern city than conferences, Coca-Cola, sports, and traffic. Months-long warm weather conducive to outdoor dining and a diverse culinary scene mean endless eating options, from French fare, soul food, and Brazilian dishes to Korean cuisine, barbecue, and all-day brunch. Atlanta also features a thriving pop-up food scene that shouldn’t be missed and is the driving force behind the next generation of restaurants opening here.
In Atlanta for a short stay or visiting for a holiday and looking for places to eat? Consider this 24-hour food tour as merely an introduction to the South’s gateway city, and get to know ATL in the best way possible — through food. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of other restaurants to explore during that next visit to Atlanta.
It’s best to take MARTA (rail or bus) whenever possible or to travel by Lyft or Uber.
8 a.m. - Comfy biscuit at Home Grown
Start the day off with one of Atlanta’s most iconic (and super filling) dishes, the comfy biscuit at Home Grown in the Reynoldstown neighborhood. This Memorial Drive restaurant is a breakfast favorite among locals and chefs. The biscuit is topped with fried chicken and smothered in sausage gravy. There’s almost always a wait on the weekends, but it’s definitely worth it. Take a post-breakfast stroll through the beautiful and historic Oakland Cemetery, one mile west on Memorial in Grant Park. Read more about the comfy chicken biscuit and its cult status in Atlanta. Located within walking distance of the Eastside Beltline. Accessible via MARTA buses 21 and 107.
BREAKFAST ALTERNATIVES: Lee’s Bakery on Buford Highway for an early morning bowl of hot pho (and maybe some crispy spring rolls) and jasmine tea. Java Jive on Ponce De Leon Avenue is a longtime institution in Atlanta with its retro decor and hearty diner breakfast dishes like the Sante Fe scramble and delicious biscuits. West Egg Cafe at Westside Provisions District for sour cream pancakes with spiced honey butter or the blue plate (eggs, biscuit, breakfast meat, roasted garlic grits or skillet potatoes). Julianna’s in Inman Park for Hungarian-style crepes and coffee. Le Petit Marche in Kirkwood for breakfast scrambles, grit stacks, and even seafood gumbo.
10:30 a.m. — Lattes and scones Garnet Gal’s Coffee Shop & Bakery
Pat Azogu opened this coffee shop and bakery in 2019 at Lenox Village, bringing Buckhead a place to grab organic coffee and crafty lattes and pastries, baked goods, and sandwiches all made from scratch using local and healthful, wholesome ingredients. Many food items on this menu are vegan, too. Order a smoothie or seasonal latte paired with a citrus cardamom scone. Or try a sweet potato biscuit or the vegan apple carrot muffin. Accessible via MARTA bus 27 .
MID-MORNING ALTERNATIVES: Buzz Coffee and Winehouse on Cascade for nitro coffee on draft and macarons or a daily pastry (wine and wine cocktails served later in the day, alongside sandwiches and sharable snacks). Larakin in Midtown for no-nonsense coffee and espresso paired with biscuits and focaccia, tinned fish, and cheese and charcuterie with wine in the afternoons and evenings (currently BYOB). Golden Drops Cafe in Decatur for Latin American pastries and sandwiches, including guava and cheese empanadas, and coffee. The Daily in Berkeley Park or Inman Park for a black sesame latte and seasonal salad filled with local greens and grains.
1:00 p.m. — Lunch at Daily Chew
This cafe from chef Julia Kesler Imerman features coffee, protein breakfast bowls, and shakshuka in the morning, followed by rotisserie chicken pitas and salad and grain bowls in the afternoon all leaning into Imerman’s Jewish and South African roots. For lunch, order the vegan rotisserie cauliflower and eggplant bowl mixed with house-made hummus, local greens, sumac onions, and avocado tossed in a lemon herb dressing and green tahini. Or try the generously stuffed rotisserie chicken pita with hummus, local greens, Calabrian aioli, red pepper sauce, tahini, and green onions. Make sure to order the za’atar fries and one of the cafe’s fresh-pressed juices. Accessible via MARTA bus 27.
LUNCH ALTERNATIVES: Lan Zhou Ramen for hand-pulled noodles and dumplings on Buford Highway. Busy Bee Cafe on the edge of Vine City for some of Atlanta’s most iconic fried chicken served with an assortment of Southern and soul food sides. Wagaya in Home Park or Emory Village for jewel boxes featuring sashimi or teriyaki or katsu proteins with rice, greens, edamame, pickles, cucumbers, baby radishes, and miso soup. Fishmonger in Poncey-Highland for one of the city’s best blackened grouper sandwiches and other daily seafood specials. BonaFide Deluxe in Edgewood for seriously legit deli sandwiches, like the chopped chicken or porchetta melt. Get the pickled beets.
3:30 p.m. - Exploring Sweet Auburn Curb Market
Grab a snack from one of the many food stalls at the Municipal Market (Sweet Auburn Curb Market) in downtown Atlanta, like Jamaican beef patties from Afrodish or poke and egg rolls from O’ Mi Ga. Wash it down with a cold-pressed juice or smoothie from Rawesome Juicery or order coffee and gelato from Three Peaches. Then explore the market’s produce, meat, and seafood vendors. Make sure to pick up some pralines from Miss D’s. Accessible via the Atlanta street car and MARTA bus 3.
MID-AFTERNOON ALTERNATIVES: Just Add Honey for tea service and light snacks on John Wesley Dobbs. Bread and Butterfly for coffee, wine, or an aperitif and a scone, a slice of quiche du jour, or rice croquettes. Yay Beignet at Irwin Street Market for beignets dipped in praline sauce and a cup of Ethiopian coffee. Explore the many food stalls at Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway.
5:30 p.m. — Garden patio happy hour at Staplehouse
Before heading to dinner, grab a charcuterie and cheese spread and a bottle of wine to share with friends at Staplehouse, an Edgewood Avenue neighborhood market offering a menu of daily dishes from its back counter. Food here ranges from meaty grinders and perfectly smoked pork tacos to wood-fired pizzas and burrata and farro bowls topped with a jammy egg. Order cocktails, wine, or beer and head out back to the covered patio or find a seat at one of the tables in the garden. Accessible via the Eastside Beltline trail.
HAPPY HOUR ALTERNATIVES: Located next door to Staplehouse, Biggerstaff Brewing Co. is a brewpub serving shareable snacks, like smoked Vidalia onion rings and crispy cornbread bites, paired with pale ales, pilsners, lagers, and sours. Martinis and shrimp cocktail or cheesy bread at LLoyd’s on DeKalb Avenue. Poor Hendrix in East Lake for cocktails, wine, or beer and basket of sticky sesame wings. Happy hour at Thai restaurant Talat Market in Summerhill should include shrimp chips and wine or a martini made with vodka, gin, or pisco. Ranger Station in the Old Fourth Ward above Ladybird Mess Hall for snacks and national park-themed cocktails like the El Capitan made with sage and cardamon-infused gin.
7:45 p.m. - Dinner at Gigi’s Italian Kitchen and Restaurant
Chefs Eric Brooks and Jacob Armando transformed their former pop-up into a permanent restaurant in Candler Park in 2022. A cozy Italian bistro with tables draped in red checkered linens set off by candlelight and flowers, this now award-winning restaurant serves a menu of traditional red sauce classics made with in-season produce and fresh-made pastas. Expect dishes like rigatoni fazool with cowpeas replacing cannellini beans and chicken marsala served with daily-baked focaccia. Dessert features Gigi’s popular tiramisu, and a tight list of cocktails includes the Dirty Gigi martini and a rye Old Fashioned punched up with espresso and coffee bitters. Limited reservations due to small dining room. Prepare to wait or get here early to be seated quickly without a reservation. Accessible via Candler Park MARTA station.
DINNER ALTERNATIVES: Lucian Books and Wine for seasonal dishes (try the duck) and a carefully curated wine list by co-owner and sommelier Jordan Smelt. Peruse the shelves to purchase books thoughtfully selected by co-owner Katie Barringer with titles on art, food, and architecture. Highland Tap, a local hangout in Virginia-Highland for below-street-level steaks, martinis, and chill vibes. Little Bear in Summerhill for a low-key meal of wildly creative food, drinks, and natural wine from chef Jarrett Stieber. OK Yaki in East Atlanta for great takes on Japanese street food, like okonomiyaki, and cocktails leaning into ingredients and flavors from Japan. Check out Laotian pop-up So So Fed at OK Yaki on Sunday and Monday evenings.
10:30 p.m. - Drinks and snacks or dessert Whoopsie’s
Head over to Reynoldstown and the delightfully unpretentious bar and restaurant Whoopsie’s for late-night snacks and bites from chef and co-owner Hudson Rouse and outstanding takes on classic cocktails from barman and co-owner Tim Faulkner. Order the snack tray of deviled eggs, house-made chow chow, pimento cheese, and pickled vegetables with toast points or the Tarzan’s Delight, based on Rouse’s grandmother’s chocolate mousse ice box pie. There’s also prime rib dinners, meaty sandwiches, and fresh seasonal salads for hungry night owls. Pair with an amaretto sour or an El Presidente from Faulkner, or try one of the fun and funky wines on the daily specials menu. Whoopsie’s is only 40 seats, so prepare to wait for a table or bar seat during prime hours. Accessible via MARTA busses 4, 32, 74.
LATE-NIGHT ALTERNATIVES: Led by longtime Atlanta bartender Kysha Cyrus, Mambo Zombi resides just above Georgia Beer Garden. Step into a space (via a neon-lit pink coffin) themed after celebrations like Día de los Muertos for Caribbean-style drinks and classic cocktails. La Pastorcita for late-night tacos on Buford Highway. Local haunt Octopus Bar in East Atlanta Village for drinks and snacking into the wee hours. Our Bar ATL on Edgewood for drinks, dancing, and late-night wings or food from an automat. Northside Tavern for cheap beer, shots, and Blues music. Grab a King slice from Edgewood Pizzeria on Edgewood Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward. Midtown Bowl for late-night bowling, snacks, and close to 200 local, domestic, and imported craft beers.
1 a.m. - Beer and a show at the Clermont Lounge
Hit up the infamous Clermont Lounge in the basement of the Hotel Clermont on Ponce, directly beneath restaurant Tiny Lou’s (another great option for dinner in Atlanta.) This iconic strip bar is a frequent stop for both tourists and locals, and has been for over 50 years. The dubious vice den is where to head for PBR and a peep show filled with aging strippers, including beloved Atlanta icon, Blondie. Watch the Atlanta living legend crush a few beer cans between her breasts. Absolutely no photos allowed. Lyft or Uber. Buses tend to stop running after 1 a.m.
8 a.m. - Redemptive breakfast at R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill
Seek out the comfort foods found on the menu R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill on Peachtree Street in Brookwood Hills. After more than 30 years, R. Thomas’ is still bringing a healthy dose of breakfast and brunch paired with strong coffee and power smoothies. The menu here caters to folks living vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free lifestyles, too. Try the breakfast quesadilla in a sun-dried tomato tortilla filled with eggs, cream cheese, basil, cheddar, bacon, peppers, and onions or the breakfast stew with red potato corn chowder, quinoa, and veggies topped with dulse and nori. Accessible via MARTA bus 110.
BREAKFAST ALTERNATIVES: Bomb Biscuit for chicken biscuits and a cinnamon bun at the restaurant on North Highland Avenue. Panaderia Karina for a bean and cheese pupusa and a side of plantains and coffee in Forest Park. Mount Paran Country Store in Buckhead for gas station biscuits and biscuit sandwiches. Sublime Doughnuts on 10th Street for an A-Town Cream, a chocolate-glazed, A-shaped doughnut filled with custard. Omni Coffee and Eggs in Castleberry Hill for creative lattes like sweet potato, dulce apple, and blueberry lavender, as well as cortados, strong cold brews, and frozen coffee. Pair with a BEC or one of the daily breakfast burritos or bowls. A popular destination for breakfast, Petit Chou serves up French bistro-style dishes with a Southern spin in Cabbagetown.