Hey, where are all of the people who love interesting food in Atlanta? I've lived here for 11 years and know it's got a long way to come, but really... we're a big city,and very few entries??? Lets talk about pho 79, Pung Mie, etc,...
I've been in Atlanta 22 years, married a native, and for all that time have doggedly persisted in sampling local bbq. Frankly, it still sucks, but I keep trying. As for meat and 3 places, nothing right now stands out, although we still mourn the passing six years ago of The Chicken Man in Norcross.
The Buford Hwy/Chambodia area is the shining star of the local food universe. Current favorites are New Paradise (the best Hong Kong cooking we've ever seen in Atlanta, bar none including the late Hon-To at its height, Kowloon, Hong Kong Harbor, Oriental Pearl (still the local fav for Dim Sum) and Canton House) and the local outpost of Penang (Malaysian)--which since a change in ownership about a year ago is better and more consistent than ever.
Here's some others to try:
--Mediterranean Cafe, Airport Industrial Rd, Marietta.
An absolute hole in the wall (albeit very clean) with good felafel, pastes and kebabs. To get there, head north on 41 from Windy Hill Rd about two lights, and turn left. Its on the right about 1/8 mile.
--Santo Domingo, Buford Hwy inside I-285. Dominican steam table food. Delicious, inexpensive and filling. Try the goat curry and the empanadas
--Udipi, near Dekalb Marketplace Mall. South Indian Vegetarian. Great dhosas and sambal, especally the rice flour dhosa with chiles.
--Woodlands (similar to Udipi), not nearly as good
There's a ton of new Mexican places all around serving the swelling Latino community, and a lot of northern Indian places with lunch buffets and big catering businesses, none which I've found worth returning to.
Tell us what you find!
re: steve drucker
I agree with you on the state of Atlanta bbq. I've been here 3 years and nothing compares to Eastern Arkansas/Western Tennessee bbq (of course for my tastes).
On the positive side, I did eat ribs from Ribs, Etc. the other night. I've driven past it for 3 years without stopping for any number of reasons. Mainly the fact that I truly hate to waste calories and fat grams (and money) on mediocre ribs. Apparently they have new management. Excellent service. Oh and the ribs were actually pretty good. Fall off the bone tender with a decent sauce (sweet). Vinegar slaw was good. Beans were poured from a can and the onion fry appetizer (a pile of onions shredded and fried) was tasteless. Best ribs I've had in Atlanta (not saying much as Fat Matts and Rib Ranch are the only others I've tried).
Have you tried DaddyDs? I've heard mixed reviews and that it's gone downhill lately.
Thanks for the Buford Hwy info. This board should be more active.
After looking back further on this site, I discovered that people have been complaining about the lack of Atlanta entries from the get-go. Sorry if I was redundant with my original message.
A few random thoughts on the Atl. food scene:
Haven't tried the Oriental Pearl dim sum yet but Canton House on Buford Hwy. is pretty good (a lot of greasy stuff).
Best biscuits are NOT at The Flying Biscuit, which I think is way over-rated, but at Java Jive on Ponce.
Tortilla's has gone downhill (jumped the shark - check out the website at jumptheshark) since they got rid of the funky toys they used to give out and went to the "Houston's"-like buzzing and flashing things.
Speaking of over-rated, what is it with the Buckhead Diner?
Ok, now that I've vented...GREAT barbecue sandwiches at OB's near/in McDonough off of I-75. Very good Pho at Pho Bac on Jonesboro Road near the international farmer's market. Excellent Pho and Bun dishes at Pho 79 on Buford Hwy. Of course,like everyone else, I love the dumplings and San Shan Seafood Noodle Soup at Pung Mie (I like it so much I had my wedding reception there). My husband loves the cuban sandwiches at Kool Korners (I haven't had them). We had an excellent meal at Seeger's; very fancy, very expensive, gives Bacchanalia a run for the money. Love the store attached to Bacchanalia - Star Provisions - it's outrageously expensive but the parmesan cheese is worth every penny and so are the baked goods. I'm not a big sweets fan, but every dessert I've tried from Star is worth the calories. They also used to have a vinegar and oil tasting area which they seem to have recently done away with. I think that was a big mistake, as I would never have bought a $35 bottle of olive oil if I hadn't been hopelessly addicted by the taste test. Finally, if you want to make your own sushi or sashimi, the only place we have found to get sashimi-grade fish is the Buford Hwy. Farmer's Market, just outside of the perimiter on the left. Any other suggestions?
I've lived in Atlanta for 11 years, and having completed the BBQ Trek this spring (see below link if you haven't already), I can only reaffirm that BBQ in this city is well below par.
Fat Matt's is OK. I go there quite a bit because I live nearby. But I think they cook their ribs too quickly, and the meat is pretty fatty. It's nothing compared to the joints in places like Tennessee, Arkansas or Missouri.
I haven't been to Daddy Dz in a while. Last time I went, it was fine but didn't make me rush back.
I'm a native New Yorker, so this may sound hypocritical, but I think there are too many big city folk here who wouldn't know good 'cue if it bit them on the butt.
Anyway, thanks to the rest of you for some other good suggestions, particularly the dim sum places. We love dim sum and have yet to find someplace reliably good.
I was premature on my excitement over the changes at Ribs, Etc. The second visit failed miserably, though I didn't have the ribs. The pork sandwich was tolerable, but the vinegar based slaw was inedibile. They do have good french fries...
I love your tour. I can't wait until I can do something similar.
re: Gregg S
Despite my preference for staying in-town, I really enjoy the Swallow at the Hollow on Green St. in Roswell. The only thing I didn't like was the sausage- it was more like smoked Italian sausage than the Texas-style stuff I love. Very solid sides- but that's what Greenwood's is known for (across the street, Bill Greenwood, I think is his name, owns both).
Although I haven't been in a while, I like The Local on Ponce. It's a divey bar w/ good food. They bring you a sixpack of sauces to go with the pork (KC, NC, SC, etc.). When they first opened, they made amazing hush puppies, too, but I think that was short-lived.
Anyone know whether Aleck's ever re-opened? Also, what good meat+3 places do you suggest (looking for a good, inexpensive veggie plate intown)?
Intown meat & 3s where I've been:
Mary Mac's Tearoom on Ponce--I've been once and enjoyed it--though nothing was outstanding.
Son's Place (near Inman Park Marta station)--Also been once but making plans to return. Excellent fried chicken, except they don't give you enough. Really good collards and cabbage and rolls. Other sides were good but not outstanding. Good banana pudding. Good atmosphere. I could eat 6 pieces of the chicken.
Thelma's Kitchen on Marietta--went once late afternoon on an off day the day after we went to Mary Mac's so it probably didn't get a fair shake.
Others I've not been:
Silver Skillet-14th St. near Tech--heard good things, but nothing special.
Busy Bee on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive--read a good review a few days ago. Want to try it.
re: Gregg S
Of those, I've been to Mary Mac's (nothing special, just an 'institution') and the Busy Bee (which I highly recommend). I guess I'm not sure where on your list is open at night, either.
We went to the Cabbagetown Grill a few times right after it opened, but it seemed to go downhill quickly. Haven't been in quite a while now.
Really wish there were something closer to the south end of Buford Hwy.
Not far from the south end of Buford Hwy. is my favorite place for meat & 3 - "Colonnade" on Cheshire Bridge Rd., next to the Cheshire Inn. I've been going there for 25+ years, and the only change has been the welcome addition of a bar (in case there's a wait). There's a huge selection of meat and veggies, and although I sometimes order meat (e.g., fried chicken, turkey & dressing, pork loin, leg of lamb), I usually go for a veggie plate (e.g., pole beans, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, squash casserole, mac & cheese, cole slaw) so I can indulge in dessert! Wonderful hot yeast rolls and corn muffins and delectable coconut cream pie and fudge cake, which is smothered in real, old-fashioned warm fudge sauce. Just good, reliable Southern-style food with fast, polite and efficient service. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days/week, and on Sunday, they serve continuously from lunch to closing (around 8:00P). An especially good choice after a Sunday afternoon movie at the Tara theater down the street.
An acceptable alternative outside 285 is "Matthews Cafeteria" on Main St. in Tucker. It's also been in business for years, and their fried chicken is very close to being as good as Son's. The other meats and the veggies are not as good, IMO, as Colonnade, and their rolls and desserts are not worth the calories, although the corn muffins are very good. The ambience screams dingy hospital cafeteria, so I prefer to "take-out" the fried chicken and make my own sides at home. Open for breakfast, lunch & dinner Monday-Friday, but the fried chicken is served at lunch only on Tuesday and Friday; it's available at dinner Mon-Fri.
P.S. Colonnade continued to offer "wedge of lettuce" on their menu long after it fell out of favor with upscale steakhouses, where it has once again become ubiquitous fare!
Thanks for post on Colonnade; always have planned to try it, but wondered if it was still as good as previous reports suggested. Another good side trip for landscaping lovers is Habersham Gardens on 2067 Manchester Street, phone: 404-873-2484. Manchester St. is off Cheshire Bridge- the road that runs between Rox and Johnny's Pizza.
re: steve drucker
I could reccomend a meat and 3 place, the Our Way Cafe in Decatur, across from Agnes Scott College. They only used to be open Lunches mon-Fri, but last time I was in town, they were open nights.
I also wholeheartedly agree that more people should talk about Atlanta. Pitifully under represented on this board.
C'mon, talk. Tell us what is your favorite Atlanta restaurants!
So many great places. Who can keep up with them all?
Here's a few...
Houcks for the burgers, wings, ribs, fried shrimp and LIVE music
Fugihana in Kennesaw Japanese and Thai
Hong Kong Delight
and On-line, www.TheSweetery.com is a must!!
That's all 4 now!
re: steve drucker
We'd suggest readers exercise caution re: ANY tips posted by any one single poster who doesn't yet have a long track record on this site.
But, Steve, if you have specific issues with specific items on that list, why not get specific about them? Just sort of smearing the whole thing is kind of impolite, not to mention unhelpful.
Unfortunately, "The Food Critic" kind of set himself up for this. A list of "good restaurants" sans opinions, annotations, and specific info is not terribly helpful to the discussion; it's not evocative, it doesn't convey the tipper's personal prefs, and it doesn't tell you what to eat.
You can go anywhere on the internet to get a flat list of restaurants.....this site is about greater richness and depth of information.
re: Jim Leff
I didn't go into detail because I hate to just knock places, which is all I could say about the restaurants on that list.
And I knew that that was a chancy posting, yet I couldn't help myself. Chowhound has been so valuable to me in finding places wherever I go, I wanted to alert others to almost certain mis-steps on my home turf. Since that posting provided no qualifying commentary, however, I shouldn't have worried.
From now on, I promise to behave.
re: steve drucker
I was wondering what you found unpleasant about Seegers's? I actually didn't love one of the courses (filet - could be called the entree -too sweet under it's cloying blanket of onion compote), but found the foie gras, truffle flan, cheese course, and sorbets delicious...??
Also, and probably the most important, the sommelier, Roland, was wonderful. He was polite and funny, not at all snobby, and we actually had an interesting discussion about the woes concerning the state of Georgia's wine distribution system.
In keeping with the "real food" aspect of this board, I'm going for the unfancy places that deliver on the eats. Havana Sandwich Shop on Buford Hwy. for the Cuban sandwich/black beans; Fuzzy's Place - just about round the corner - for bread pudding (God bless Joe Dale for still cranking it out); La Strada on Johnson Ferry Road for no-frills Italian; Raging Burrito in Decatur; Heaping Bowl & Brew on Flat Shoals Rd. For a BBQ trip, I'd suggest heading north to Two Brothers BBQ in Ball Ground. Worth the drive!