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Ribs, chopped whole hog, baked beans, and collards at B's Cracklin' Barbeque.
Ribs, chopped whole hog, baked beans, and collards at B's Cracklin' Barbeque.
Jonathan Phillips/Eater Atlanta

The 38 Essential Atlanta Restaurants, Fall '17

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Ribs, chopped whole hog, baked beans, and collards at B's Cracklin' Barbeque.
| Jonathan Phillips/Eater Atlanta

It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This highly elite group covers the entire city (inside the perimeter, loosely), spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs. Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.

This time around, after much reflecting, the 38 bids adieu to and Le Fat and SottoSotto. New additions to the list, mapped north to south, are Bon Ton and The Federal.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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O4W Pizza

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The location has changed, but Anthony Spina is still serving up his famous Grandma Pie. The pizzeria is no longer in its namesake neighborhood, residing in the former Steverino's space in downtown Duluth.

Masterpiece

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There was a time when Gu's Bistro was the Sichuan staple on Buford Highway, but that ended when the restaurant closed in March 2015. In its place is Masterpeice, which has received rave reviews from critics. Jennifer Zyman awarded four stars and called it "the best Chinese food in the Atlanta area."

Chef Brian So, previously of the sadly shuttered Sobban, opened a new Marietta restaurant in April 2016. In an time when "seasonal" and "local" are overused and not necessarily an indicator of quality, So's techniques allow the best Southern ingredients to shine.

Sushi Hayakawa

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After going on a lengthy hiatus, chef Art Hayakawa opened his renovated Buford Highway restaurant in March. Hayakawa's skills may be the best in Atlanta, so reservations in the small, spartan dining room should be made well in advance.

Yet Tuh

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Head up Buford Highway toward Doraville and Duluth, and several great Korean restaurants can be found. Yet Tuh may be the best at executing traditional dishes such as banchan, bibimbap, and kimchi stew. Matt Kang, host of Eater's K-Town web series, says it can hold its own against any Korean restaurant in America.

Heirloom Market BBQ

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This barbecue spot has limited seating, but the duo behind it, who plan to open a second location in South Korea, bring more than enough flavor to compensate for the cramped quarters or a ride home with a to-go box. Look for Korean-inspired Southern ‘cue and pitch-perfect sides.

Porch Light Latin Kitchen

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As a former chef de cuisine at Kevin Rathbun Steak, Andre Gomez should know a thing or two about grilled and smoked meats. Now at his own restaurant, which opened in Smyrna in November 2015, and he's serving big cuts of meat with Puerto Rican flavors, such as cumin-spiced St Louis ribs and a "roasted little piggy" that must be ordered two days in advance.

Pho Dai Loi 2

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Pho Dai Loi, with three locations in the area, continues to serve Atlanta's best pho. The #2 outpost, tucked into the Buford Highway international enclave, is a fan favorite.

Umi Sushi

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Chef Fuyuhiko Ito continues to serve one of Atlanta's best omakase experiences, and this glitzy Buckhead dining room might be the best place to spot a film-industry celebrity. Complete your experience by grabbing a drink at Umi's nearby sister cocktail lounge Himitsu.

Located in Buckhead's St. Regis Hotel, Atlas is a critical darling. Christopher Grossman is reviving American fine dining cuisine, and the restaurant has received three stars from Atlanta Magazine and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and four stars from Creative Loafing. Grossman was chosen as Eater Atlanta's Chef of the Year for 2015.

Brian Gassel

Feeling his dining room had gone out of fashion, Gerry Klaskala recently revamped his Buckhead restaurant. The food is as good as ever, and now the restaurant feels a little more modern and casual.

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

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In operation for a decade in North Druid Hills, Desta is Atlanta's best bet for authentic Ethiopian fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The expansive menu allows diners to build their own meals or order complete dishes created by the kitchen.

Restaurant Eugene

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Chef and restaurateur Linton Hopkins has expanded his empire with a few new ventures in recent years, but Restaurant Eugene is still the flagship. This restaurant puts a definite emphasis on good food and an even bigger one on making sure everything is sourced locally. Order the tasting menu to make sure you don't miss a thing.

B's Cracklin Barbeque

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Pitmaster Bryan Furman and his wife Nikke opened a local outpost for their Savannah smokehouse in September 2016, and it's a hit. Located in the former Hottie Hawgs space in Riverside, the Furmans serve whole-hog 'cue, South Carolina-style hash and rice, and more.

The General Muir

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This upscale Jewish deli concept from Ben and Jen Johnson and Shelley Sweet of popular breakfast spot, West Egg, and executive chef Todd Ginsberg has been winning hearts since it opened in early 2013. The burger is one of the best in town, but other star dishes include the poutine fries, cheesecake, and piled-high sandwiches.

Star Provisions

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Star Provisions' sandwich counter — dubbed Little Star — is still at Westside Provisions District, but Anne Quatrano's market and cafe has moved to a brand new building on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard in Westside. After you eat, walk around the chef's market at peruse the fine home goods, chocolates, cheese, and meat.

Bacchanalia

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Bacchanalia has ditched its tasting menu for a la carte, but it's still serving some of the best food in Atlanta. The restaurant has joined Star Provisions in a new facility on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard in Westside.

The Federal

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Chef Shaun Doty, recently of Bantam + Biddy fame, is back in the kitchen at his latest collaboration with restaurateur Lance Gummere. The duo revamped B+B's Crescent Avenue location, and Doty is now serving Western European bistro fare such as Sardinian flatbread, beef tartare, pork schnitzel. The restaurant the James Beard Foundation's list of Best New Restaurant semifinalists for 2017.

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Miller Union

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Steven Satterfield's farm-fresh, updated Southern cooking is simple and elegant. The farm egg baked in celery cream with grilled bread is a top-10 Atlanta dish, the restaurant has one of the best vegetable plates in town, and the lunchtime-only ice cream sandwiches are the perfect after-meal treat.

Following the tragic death of chef Angus Brown, 8 Arm is pressing on and serving creative dishes morning, noon, and night. Breakfast offers one of Atlanta's best biscuits, and the dinner menu is vegetable forward. Oh, and there's an outdoor, glowing bar made out of a shipping container.

Ponce City Market had dining options for all tastes, but chef Hector Santiago's El Super Pan should be your first stop. Santiago is serving sandwiches and snacks with Latin American flavors, and you can't go wrong with a Cuban mixto.

Bon Ton

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New Orleans-inspired restaurants located outside the Big Easy often disappoint. Fortunately, this casual Midtown spot is a hit for fried seafood sandwiches, boiled crustaceans, and creative, thirst-quenching cocktails. The jicama and papaya salad goes well with any order — just be sure to order it extra spicy — and NOLA admirers will be pleased to see that Bon Ton's po' boys are served on authentic Leidenheimer French bread.

Bon Ton. Eater Atlanta photo

Cakes & Ale

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After overlooking Billy Allin's Decatur staple for a few months, the 38 corrects course and welcomes Cakes & Ale back into the fold. Allin has tweaked the menu format recently, but he still serves outstanding Southern fare such as wood oven-roasted whole trout. Sommelier Jordan Smelt's wine list is the best in Atlanta.

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Eat Me Speak Me

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No, it's not really a restaurant. But Jarrett Stieber's pop-up, now found Wednesday through Sunday at The SOS Tiki Bar in Decatur, offers expertly prepared small plates, fresh ingredients, and incredibly reasonable prices. And now, at the new locale, Stieber's dishes can be paired with The SOS's excellent tiki drinks.

Chai Pani

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Indian restaurants abound in Atlanta, but Chai Pani is still the best in town. From the Decatur spot's signature street food dishes (some with local twists, like the kale pakoras) to the North Indian thalis and the chef specials, which range from well-researched historic dishes to contemporary comfort food favorites, the menu has something for everyone.

Brush Sushi Izakaya

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Former Craft Izakaya and One Sushi + chef Jason Liang is serving raw fish and yakitori in downtown Decatur. Jeff Banks, previously of The Luminary, is pouring inventive, Japanese-inspired cocktails. For the best experience in the modern dining room, grab a seat at the sushi bar and partake in Liang's omakase offerings.

Revival

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After bringing something completely unique to Atlanta when he opened Gunshow, Kevin Gillespie's latest venture is a shrine to traditional Southern cuisine. Gillespie and executive chef Andreas Müller are turning out fried chicken, cornbread, pole beans, and more, all with the intention of reminding diners of meals from their grandmothers. Considering the consistent crowds and critical praise, the two are achieving their goal.

Kimball House

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Housed in the former Decatur train depot, Kimball House's devotion to the way dining (and drinking) used to be shines through in its craft cocktail menu, oyster offerings, and three-course steak dinner. The team recently added a backroom cocktail lounge for even more imbibery.

Bread & Butterfly

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The latest restaurant from Cakes & Ale owner Billy Allin, Bread & Butterfly does an excellent job serving guests from breakfast through dinner. Inspired by the cafes of Paris, this sunny Inman Quarter cafe shines with French bistro fare, a simple but excellent wine list, and a decadent burger with Swiss, caramelized onions, grain mustard, and house mayonnaise.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

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It’s all about the gut-bombs at the icon that proved great Texas-style barbecue is possible in Atlanta. Tater tots covered in chili and cheese, massive short ribs, and Frito pie are staples that make this the only spot you should go for the morning — OK, afternoon — after.

Ticonderoga Club

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With Greg Best and Paul Calvert running the beverage program, it's no surprise T-Club's cocktails are a hit. But the food, from chef David Bies, stands up to the drink. The spiedie lunch is gone, but Bies's dinner menu continues to receive rave reviews.

One Eared Stag

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Ask many a local chef who's cooking the best food in town, and they'll say Robert Phalen. This Inman Park restaurant is known for its bold menu, thanks to Phalen's inventiveness in the kitchen. You can't go wrong with lunch or dinner — or the chef's breakfast, served with a Schlitz, at brunch. And OES's burger, The Meatstick, is one of the best in town.

BoccaLupo

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When it opened, BoccaLupo quickly became both a neighborhood favorite and a destination restaurant. Head in for the pasta (the black spaghetti and the 20-yolk tagliatelle are popular choices), stay for the patio — and you can't go wrong with either wine or the craft cocktails. Chef Bruce Logue also offers a $40 pasta tasting if you're feeling crazy.

Staplehouse

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Staplehouse's September 2015 debut was one of Atlanta's most-anticipated openings in some time. The hype was worth it. Chef Ryan Smith's tasting menus have garnered nothing but critical praise, including four out of four stars from Atlanta Magazine, and Staplehouse was one of five national finalists for the James Beard Foundation's 2016 Best New Restaurant award.

Busy Bee Cafe

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In business since the '40s, this Vine City staple serves some of Atlanta's best fried chicken alongside an assortment of other meat-and-three staples. It's always packed, so be prepared to rub elbows with fellow diners. And don't be surprised if you run into a famous face or two.

Poor Hendrix

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Beard award-nominated pastry chef Aaron Russel knows his way around savory dishes too. Russel, formerly of Restaurant Eugene, and his wife Jamie are leading a new dining movement in East Lake. Poor Hendrix offers what Russell calls "small plates of salty, spicy, and savory comfort food engineered to go best with drinking in a pub atmosphere," and his menu has been received as a hit.

Home Grown

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Home Grown is a breakfast favorite among Atlanta's eaters and chefs alike. And if it hosts Senate campaign events that feature former presidents, it must be important.