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Best Eats in Athens GA

Best eats in Athens GA (in no particular order):

Last Resort (pretty much anything on the menu...the daily specials usually rule...lunch is cheaper and just as good as dinner...and get a slice of cake for dessert...it's awesome)

Rusan's (the menu is six million pages long in Athens, and I love it that way...that said, narrow it down to the crunchy roll, baked spicy tuna roll, shitake maki, and any other sushi you may wish...grab a tower of beer too)

five & ten (sure, why not?)

Five Star a day cafe...in town or on the east side...the meat loaf rules

Kelly's Wings N Tings (Milledge, or Baxter...get a beef patty, small plate w/ chicken, spicy squash, bean/rice, cornbread, sweetest tea...all 7$)

China Wok (Best American-Chinese :) in Homewood (for locals and college students...you will not find better general tso chicken in athens)

Grit (upon general principle...may not be everyone's thing...but caters to veg-heads...and most things are good)

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        1. I've seen dozens of Athens posts giving the Grit thumbs up and most say everything on the menu is good but don't provide much more detail than that. I'm going to try it out this week for my first time. I've seen one post that the noodle bowls are good and several that the tofu is excellent. Any specific menu recommendations?

          15 Replies
          1. re: jcreasy

            Veggie plate. Also, they make some tasty soups.

            Earlier today, I tried to post the comment "China Wok? Really?" but it didn't show up. So I reiterate the sentiment. Best? Hmm.

            1. re: uptown jimmy

              As a matter of fact, I will further elaborate: RuSan's is awful. Absolutely awful. I'm convinced they serve nigiri which has been sliced and frozen thousands of miles away, then simply slapped on a morsel of stale rice here in sunny Athens, GA.

              The Last Resort is mediocre at best, far too inconsistent to impress a true Chowhound. And Cecilia's cakes are not good enough to warrant being served in almost every sit-down restaurant in town. Full of corn syrup. Nasty, heavy things.

              The Grit and Five Star are surely good enough for a college town, but far from exceptional. Inconsistency is the great bugaboo in Athens, and even decent-to-good restaurants in these parts allow themselves far too much latitude in this respect. I understand why folks flock to these two joints, and do not begrudge them their success, but they are not exceptional.

              And anybody who gives 5&10 a "sure, why not" surely hasn't eaten there. It is easily one of the finest restaurants in the South, hands down. Athens is lucky to have it. I wish I could afford to eat there more often. Speak, memory, of sweetbreads and skatewing. ; )

              1. re: uptown jimmy

                that skatewing was absolutely incredible.

                1. re: batdown

                  I go to 5&10 about twice a month. Never unhappy and sometimes blown away.
                  I love skate wing. Hugh's soups are always out of this world. I usually eat the specials which are truly special. Posting them on the black board (with prices) is a nice touch. I hate having to ask the waiter the price at places where they do not disclose the price and it often is way out of line with the regular menu prices (East West upstairs does that at times). But the inventiveness, fresh ingredients, light tasty sauces make 5 & 10 a special experience each time

                2. re: uptown jimmy

                  I totally agree. RuSan's is a college excuse for good sushi. I admit, I've gone there many times with friends, but I ALWAYS go to Utage if I want something good.

                  I've always had good food at The Last Resort, but you're right. It is WAY too inconsistent. I don't ever want to wait 2 hours to sit in a cooped up room with people breathing down my neck waiting for my table. It's annoying. I actually haven't even reviewed it on my blog, www.dawg-food.com. Most of my friends are appalled, but I don't care. I'm on a college budget, anyway.

                  I am SO on the same page with you about the Grit and 5 Star Day. I feel like people hate me when I go in, and I really don't like how I come out of 5 Star Day smelling like the place. If I had to pick one over the other, I'd pick 5 Star Day. I like their menu better, and I think the people are friendlier.

                  The 5&10 was named Restaurant of the Year by the AJC. Meridith Ford, the food editor, got a lot of ridicule for it, but I congratulated her for representing Athens. She and Hugh are good friends, too. I ate there on Easter and wasn't impressed. It made me really sad, but it hasn't kept me from going back. Dawg Food hasn't reviewed the National yet, but the whole college budget gets in the way. I'll get there eventually.

                  1. re: strate87

                    For the National, pick a night when you want to see something at Cine. The $26 dinner and a movie is hard to beat. Many of the items on that menu are also on the regular menu.

                  2. re: uptown jimmy

                    I had a really good breakfast there a few weeks ago. Rabbit hash I think? At brunch. There was also a nice bit of Srirracha on the plate to spice it up and great bacon. I think the resort is ok, just not spectacular.

                    1. re: Dax

                      Ahh, it was duck hash.

                      golden potatoes and duck confit topped with a fried egg over avocado crème fraîche and a hint of chili ... 8.75

                      Nice size portion, reasonably priced and delicious topped with a side of bacon.

                    2. re: uptown jimmy

                      I feel the same way about last resort. I've only eaten there twice, and I wasn't impressed. The time I went for dinner, the hostess sat our table of 6 right next to the only other sat table in the restaurant, making it so we had to bump the other folks if we wanted to get out of our chair. This is one of my pet peeves. I really don't understand why they wouldnt just seat us across the dining room, which is already small. That aside though, I had scallops and they were...well, scallops. They were cooked properly and everything, but nothing about the meal (which included salad and sides) made me say wow. I find that last resort is one of those places that inspires a very devoted following, as evidenced by athaub up there. They have a winning formula, as the place is almost always crowded for lunch especially, I'm just not a huge fan.

                      1. re: batdown

                        Look, my hat is off to them. They have a very successful formula. Methinks that formula would not work just anywhere, but that's neither here nor there. They know their clientele.

                        I just don't want to ever eat there again. That duck hash does sound good, though...

                    3. re: hillarybrown

                      Went to the Grit. I couldn't fight it, the recent thread about Greek in Athens gave me a craving and I chose the Med-E Platter (hummus, falafel, tabouleh, pita spears and raw veggies). Unbelievably good. It should come with a disclaimer though that I will no longer tolerate store bought hummus. Really, really good.

                      My friend got the veggie plate with mac-n-cheese, squash casserole and broccoli with a delicious dijon lemon buttery sauce thing. Vegetarian clearly does not equal healthy at this place, but holy cow was it yummy. I'm sold. Count me in for more trips to the Grit.

                        1. re: tatterdemalion

                          I had the Indian feast last time I was there (it was a special). My vegetarian Son and his girlfriend dragged me there but I was very happy with the Indian food. Well cooked, nicely spiced and authentic flavor. I will go back and try more of their broad ranging menu.

                      1. re: jcreasy

                        Golden Bowl w/ veggies and cheese ... I've been living in Baltimore for 3 years now and I still fantasize about that meal!!

                        1. re: dantastic

                          we just love the GRIT- and have since 1990[never got to the original location at 'the station'' but visited 3x a week when we lived in Athens- no longer live there,but visit 2x a year]].......brunch was a real favorite time to go and get a mondo burrito[ opened faced] and limitless coffee and that PIE!.....blondie brownies too... at night we would have the MID-E platter[ mentioned above] and extra lemon-tahini dressing.. the stand-out tho is the GRIT STAPLE.. a brown rice/pinto bean/cheese/ and steamed vegetable bowl of complete protein and heaven!!...........how do they make that yellow dusted tofu dish ??? we still crave that

                      2. The curried goat at Kelly's is pretty good, especially for Athens. The spicy cabbage if different than I am used to, as it's both sweet and spicy, but it's ok. Beas and rice ok.