Ponce City Market (PCM) dominates the landscape between Ponce De Leon and North avenues in the Old Fourth Ward. The historic factory and warehouse set along the Eastside Beltline was once home to Sears, Roebuck and Co., and later the headquarters for Atlanta’s City Hall East. In 2011, Jamestown Properties purchased the 2.1 million-square-foot building for a cool $27 million in order to transform it into the largest adaptive-reuse complex in the Southeast. Nearly a decade later, Ponce City Market now includes pricy apartments, creative and tech studios, a number of retail shops, and a large central food hall offering restaurants and stalls from some of Atlanta’s most well-known chefs.
The market can be expensive and overwhelming to navigate, especially when trying to decide where to eat inside its large and bustling food hall. It’s best to go prepared with a firm budget and an eating plan. Eater Atlanta is here to help with a list of the best dishes to try right now at Ponce City Market.
Tagliatelle at Bellina Alimentari - $15
Owned by Tal Baum (Aziza), this petite wine bar and osteria in back of the Italian market offers limited seating, but it’s worth seeking out for the tagliatelle. It’s made with Radio Roasters espresso, which gives the dish a beautiful brown hue as well as a slightly roast-y flavor. The pasta is then tossed with shiitake mushrooms, kale, and parmigiano-reggiano to amp up the earthiness. Pair the tagliatelle with orange wine, for which the bar is known.
Protein #2 bowl at Lucky Lotus - $7.50
It can be hard to keep it light in an indulgent food playground like PCM. Head to Lucky Lotus and opt for one of the acai bowls — the protein #2 bowl with bananas, strawberries, peanut butter, chocolate chips, granola, and coconut is especially delicious.
Steelhead trout poke bowl at W.H. Stiles Fish Camp - $14
Chef Anne Quatrano’s seafood sister to Star Provisions, “Dubs” Fish Camp includes table service. However, it’s more fun to sit along the curved oyster bar and watch the shuckers do their thing. Order the steelhead trout poke bowl. It’s packed with sticky rice, raw steelhead trout, and a ginger scallion relish. Make sure to order a few oysters, too.
Hoppin’ John burrito at Minero - $11
Minero’s burrito might cause sticker shock — $11 before adding a protein — but it’s absolutely worth it. It’s huge, and filled with cheese, sour cream, hoppin’ John (peas and rice,) avocado, poblano peppers, and fresh salsa verde. The tortilla is made in-house and comes served with a crust of cheese.
Vanilla bean glaze 100-layer doughnut at Five Daughter’s Bakery - $4.25
The Nashville transplant is known for its 100-layer doughnut. It’s without a doubt one of the best sweet treats at PCM. This doughnut-meets-croissant is rich, while still being remarkably light and flaky. Keep it simple and get “the Purist” — a 100-layer doughnut with a vanilla bean glaze.
Vegan “Downward Facing Dog” at Drafts and Dogs - $10
Reformed carnivores will take pleasure in the vegan dog offerings at Drafts and Dogs, owned by Missy and Kristin Koefod of 18.21 Bitters and the James Room. All of the hot dogs on the menu here can be swapped out for vegan options. The “Downward Facing Dog” is a delicious vegan dog topped with dijon mustard, crunchy radishes and carrots, and tangy banana peppers.
Cubano Mixto sandwich at El Super Pan - $7.50 half; $14 whole; $28 super size
The dish to order at chef Hector Santiago’s El Super Pan counter is the Cubana Mixto sandwich. If hungry, order half a sandwich. Starving? Get a whole one. Feeding multiple people? Order the super size. Cuban bread is stuffed with roasted pork, ham, salami, pickles, yellow mustard, and Swiss cheese and then pressed. There are vegetarian options on the menu, but are lackluster in comparison.
Tamarind-glazed spare ribs at Botiwalla - $14.99
It’s hard to choose just one dish at Botiwalla, Chai Pani chef Meherwan Irani’s restaurant specializing in Indian street food. The rolls filled with various proteins like chicken tikka and masala tri-tip are all satisfying. Do try the SPDP, stuffed with savory puffed flour crisps. However, the true star here is the tamarind-glazed spare ribs. Tender and hearty, the ribs are served with a cooling slaw and naan to help soak up the glaze.
Popcorn with shaved biltong at Biltong Bar - $10
Beef jerky and booze — what more does one need? This stylish South African watering hole specializes in biltong (thinly sliced, air-dried beef.) The best way to enjoy biltong is shaved over the bar’s popcorn. The butter-soaked popcorn complements the lean meat, and a sprinkle of peri peri salt adds a burst of zest to the dish. Enjoy it with a pineapple daiquiri.
“Invincible” dan dan mazemen at Ton Ton - $12
Owned by chef Guy Wong (Le Fat), the classic tonkotsu ramen is a solid choice. However, the “Invincible” dan dan mazemen is the way to go here. This broth-less ramen comes topped with minced pork, a soft boiled egg, and Szechuan oil. For extra oomph, add the butter garlic corn bomb.
Half fried chicken meal at Hop’s Chicken - $9
There’s a reason why Hop’s frequently has a wraparound line: the chicken is fried to perfection and happens to be a pretty good value for PCM. Get a half bird, which comes with two buttermilk rolls, and add a side of French fries and buttermilk ranch. The chicken meal itself easily feeds two people and costs around $9. Fries cost $3.
Double cheeseburger at H&F Burger - $12
Once a coveted nighttime feature on the menu at Holeman and Finch Public House in Buckhead, the double cheeseburger is now readily available to all who want to indulge in it. Stick to the original here — a double beef patty, bread and butter pickles, shaved red onion, and Kraft American cheese (yes, the processed kind.)
Apples and “Lil Moo” cheese toast at Spiller Park Coffee - $6.10
The PCM location of Spiller Park coffee (there’s a larger shop in Toco Hills) has a food menu limited to mainly toasts. Fortunately, the shop does toast really well. Of the toast selections on the menu, the apples served with “Lil Moo” (goat cheese) is the tastiest. The bread is thick and holds up to the fully loaded toppings, which includes a drizzle of honey.
Gnocchi at Brezza Cucina - $19
The team at Brezza Cucina, led by executive chef Andrew Cacioppo, do many dishes well. This includes pizza and a variety of burrata (especially the baked burrata with marinara) appetizers. However, the standout here is definitely the gnocchi. Pillowy soft with a thin crisp outer layer, the gnocchi is tossed with smoked triple tail sauce and horseradish, and topped with trout roe. It’s unusual, but it works. The sauce changes seasonally.
Seasonal vegetarian sandwich at Root Baking Co. - $13
Root Baking may be hidden away on the second level of the central food hall, but just follow the scent of freshly baked bread up the stairs. Owned by Chris Wilkins and Nicole Lewis, the bakery makes delicious salads, soups, sandwiches, and plates with labneh and hummus. Make sure to try the seasonal vegetarian sandwich here. Currently, it’s roasted sweet potatoes, pickled hakurei turnips, and green olive tapenade served on daily baked grit bread. The unlikely combo just works, and is a textural delight. Save room for a big chocolate chip cookie.
The mixed grill at 9 Mile Station - $32
There’s usually only one reason people opt to dine at 9 Mile Station on the rooftop of PCM — the stunning skyline views. None of the dishes here are revelatory, but the mixed grill on the menu is a solid option — especially when dining with a group of friends. The board is loaded with grilled hangar steak, chicken thighs, bratwursts, and grilled vegetables served with chimichurri.