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Good food in Atlanta

Hello. I'm travelling to Atlanta next week for a short visit and would really like to experience some real southern food -- biscuits, fried green tomatoes, mac 'n' cheese, fried chicken. You get the idea. I'm not really looking for a chain but more an independent hidden gem that's sort of quirky with a bit of character.

In fact, I'd welcome all recommendations for good places to eat in Atlanta that aren't too $$$ but deliver good food and a dose of originality rather than a generic, big-box type of feel -- southern food or not.

And my last request is for Atlanta's best bakery.

I welcome all of your suggestions! Thank you.

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  1. Best bakery, hands down, is Alon's. Highland Bakery is also quite good, but there is no comparison. There is shockingly little soutehrn food to be had here. For southern-ish food I would recommend Home, Wisteria, and Watershed - though none are cheap. A million years ago Horseradish Grill was good, but I have not been there in so long I can't say if it still makes the cut. My personal favorite is Green's which is definitely a bargain, but it is out in the burbs (Roswell to be exact) and is a haul if you are staying intown. For really good food on a budget there are a lot of options, particularly if you like Indian, Chinese, and Thai. Off the top of my head - I love Com for Vietnamese, Figo Pasta, Din Ho for Chinese, Top Floor for eclectic fun food, Thai Chili (Briarcliff location), Babette's Cafe, and for great burgers Vortex. Enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Narshkite

      great suggestions, thanks so much!

      1. re: Narshkite

        FYI:
        Green's - liquor store on Buford Hwy and Ponce de Leon (best gourmet beer selection in the state)
        Greenwood's on Green Street- excellent southern food experience in Roswell

        Greenwood's is worth the trip; it's a great value (you may bring back as much as you eat, esp. if you get the fried chicken). We had a great meal at Home recently; think the tab was about $140 for 2, but we also had drinks and dessert.

      2. Mary Mac's on Ponce for the old school "tea room" ambience and decent Southern "meat and three;" Watershed in Decatur for best chef-oriented Southern (Scott Peacock is one the city's best, Tuesdays are fried chicken night); Thelma's on Auburn Ave for authentic Southern Soul; Colonnade on Cheshire Bridge for a 60s Southern throwback and a stiff cocktail ("where gay meets gray").

        Wisteria is very interesting French by way of the South and consistently good. Try Restaurant Eugene for high-end southern. Top Flr in Midtown is a great spot for a not too pricey drink and a nosh. Carroll St Cafe in Cabbagetown for the antithesis of Big Box. Vortex for a killer Burger. Fuel in Kirkwood for killer pizza off the beaten path.

        1. Home. Opened in Atlanta in April by this season's Top Chef contestant Richard Blais...Straight forward ingredients, yet adventurous in production. The restaurant is actually an old home itself with a very unique feel. Great food and great service. The wine list is fun and paired very well... Good Luck!!

          1. thanks everyone for these suggestions -- v helpful!

            1. Horseradish still does the job, but not nearly as good as when Scott Peacock was there. For a real southern lunch place, try Colonnade on Cheshire Bridge. Another fun place that offers a real southern feel is the "OK Cafe" on West Paces Ferry at I-75 (had lunch at the counter and was dying seeing all of the great things leaving the kitchen - collard greens, sweet potatoes and sweet potato chips, black beans, mac and cheese - you get the picture. One of the few in town that still offers a true vegetable plate. A great place for dinner is Haven Restaurant - in Brookhaven, just North of Buckhead off Peachtree Road (you could also take MARTA to this restaurant with a couple block, or very short cab ride). Definitely not the big box feel and a great menu - you can check it out at www.havenrestaurant.com.

              3 Replies
              1. re: atlantachowhound

                Or, rather than go to the Colonnade, you could buy the cans of food and open them yourself.

                1. re: hillarybrown

                  OK, that's a bit obnoxious. Not like you'd expect anything different at Mary Mac's. It's old school, and that's how old school works. My Mom still laughs that the common manner of cooking green beans in the 60's and 70's was to put them in the pressure cooker for 15 min. For us these days, it's 5-6 minutes in boiling water then maybe briefly saute to add some stuff.

                  There's a big difference between this type of place and any of the 'nouveau' places that have opened in the last 10-15 years. Doesn't mean they need to change. Not to mention that the "gray" portion of the crowd might eat elsewhere as a result.

                  Oh, and it's still a screaming bargain.

                  And they haven't been open for lunch for a while now.

                  1. re: ted

                    Oh, I don't mean that the "old-school" way is wrong in the slightest. I'm fine with green beans that have been pressure cooked. I'm just saying that the Colonnade is not the best example of that style of food done well. If you're going for atmosphere, that's totally fine.