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Atlanta restaurant critic Jennifer Zyman flags Nina and Rafi as one of her go-tos when off duty
Nina and Rafi

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Atlanta Dining Experts Name Their 2019 Restaurant Standbys

Where Atlanta’s food writers eat when they’re off the clock around the city

Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

The year is drawing to a close and, as is tradition, Eater Atlanta surveyed several Atlanta food writers and dining experts on everything from where they love to eat when not in pursuit of a story to their best meal in 2019. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited. Be sure to check back throughout the next few days for more Year in Eater.

Here, Atlanta’s dining authorities name their regular restaurant standbys for off-duty dining.

Let us know the restaurants you frequented this year in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Mara Davis — Radio and TV personality for WABE, the Bert Show, and Atlanta Eats

Floataway Cafe, Varuni Napoli, Houston’s, Cafe Lapin, Ma Li, Grindhouse, Little Rey, Alon’s, General Muir, Nam Phuong, Aria, Sotto Sotto.

Jennifer Zyman — Contributing writer and restaurant critic for Atlanta Magazine, Thrillist, Eater Atlanta, AJC

Snackboxe Bistro, Urban Wu, Fred’s Meat and Bread, Rumi’s Kitchen, Houston’s, Las Brasas Lan Zhou Ramen, Royal China, Nina and Rafi, and La Guelaguetza in Tucker (even if they have weird hours).

Mike Jordan — Thrillist Atlanta editor and contributing writer for Eater Atlanta, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Atlanta Magazine

8ARM, Zab-E-Lee Thai in College Park, Gu’s Dumplings in Krog Street Market, Biltong Bar in Ponce City Market, Argosy, Nina & Rafi, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, Raging Taco & Burrito. Strangely, I didn’t eat a lot of barbecue this year.

Beth McKibben — Eater Atlanta editor

It’s never easy to really dine off the clock in this job. You’re always in pursuit of the next meal, story, and restaurant to write up. However, these are my go-tos when I’m not working the Eater beat: Mandolin Kitchen, Chong Qing Hot Pot at Atlanta Chinatown, Sinaloense Pollo Asados, Mercado Acapulco Y Taqueria, Zyka, Man Chung Hong (the new reno job is beautiful,) BoccaLupo, and LLoyd’s Restaurant & Lounge.


710 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 Visit Website

Sotto Sotto

313 N Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 404 523 6678 Visit Website

Nina & Rafi

661 Auburn Avenue Northeast, , GA 30312 (404) 549-8997 Visit Website

Sinaloense Pollo Asados

5303 Buford Highway Northeast, , GA 30340 (770) 986-7752


490 East Paces Ferry Road Northeast, , GA 30305 (404) 233-7673 Visit Website

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

1133 Huff Road Northwest, , GA 30318 (404) 350-5500 Visit Website

Krog Street Market

99 Krog Street Northeast, , GA 30307 Visit Website

Ponce City Market

675 North Avenue Northeast, , GA 30308 (404) 900-7900 Visit Website


753 Edgewood Avenue Northeast, , GA 30307 (404) 577-2332 Visit Website

Chong Qing Hot Pot

5385 New Peachtree Road, , GA 30341 (770) 936-1379 Visit Website

Floataway Cafe

1123 Zonolite Road Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 892-1414 Visit Website

Mandolin Kitchen

6152 Roswell Road Northeast, , GA 30328 (404) 705-8880 Visit Website

Snackboxe Bistro

6035 Peachtree Road, , GA 30360 (770) 417-8082 Visit Website

Las Brasas

614 Church Street, , GA 30030 (404) 377-9121 Visit Website

Varuni Napoli

1540 Monroe Drive Northeast, , GA 30324 (404) 709-2690 Visit Website

LLoyd's Restaurant & Lounge

900 DeKalb Avenue Northeast, , GA 30307 (404) 228-7227 Visit Website

Atlanta Chinatown

5383 New Peachtree Road, , GA 30341 (770) 458-6660 Visit Website

Little Rey

1878 Piedmont Avenue Northeast, , GA 30324 (770) 796-0207 Visit Website

Urban Wu

3330 Piedmont Road Northeast, , GA 30305 (404) 816-8008 Visit Website


470 Flat Shoals Avenue Southeast, , GA 30316 (404) 577-0407 Visit Website

Lan Zhou Ramen

5231 Buford Hwy NE, Doraville, GA 30340 678-691-2175

Biltong Bar

675 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast, , GA 30308 (678) 515-0620 Visit Website

Mercado Acapulco Y Taqueria

2179 Cheshire Bridge Road Northeast, , GA 30324 (404) 477-3202

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