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inexpensive, good, and unique to Atlanta places?

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Hi all

I'm going to be in Atlanta in November for a four-day conference and would love some recommendations for inexpensive, good, and uniquely Atlanta places to eat in the downtown. I will be staying around the Sheraton and Hampton Inn and will not have a car. I would definitely rank taste well above ambience so it can be a whole in the wall (in fact I'd probably prefer that) so long as the food is good. Any suggestions?

Shpeizmaven from Toronto

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  1. tell us what inexpensive is and we can give you some suggestions

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobstripower

      $10-30/person?

    2. Downtown is hard for dining in Atlanta, but here are a couple inexpensive thoughts.
      I have to suggest grabbing a slice at Rosa's on Broad. Fantastic pizza, though not "uniquely Atlanta". Closes at 6:00 so go for lunch or go early for dinner.
      I think Ted's Montana Grill is still an Atlanta-only chain; bison burgers are their claim to fame. Owned by Ted Turner, hence the name.
      Though I doubt you'd get too many fans on this board, Pitty Pat's Porch is nearby and would give you that Southern Food fix. Open for dinner only.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jboeke

        Ted's is opening their 55th restaurant in the Denver area here shortly- heard that from one of his folks the other night. Started here, but now they're everywhere.

      2. wow. this is the worst response i've ever had to a post on Chowhound for resto recommendations. Is downtown Atlanta food wasteland or is simply no one interested in helping out a Canuck?

        2 Replies
        1. re: shpeizmaven

          I don't think this board gets a lot of traffic. IDK, I'm not from Atlanta but last time I was there I had an awesome brunch at R. Thomas Deluxe grill. Lots of fresh and organic eggs and produce, yummy shakes, it's kind of hippie-ish but the food was great, definitely memorable. I think they're open all day for lunch and dinner too. Not sure if it's close to where you are staying though.

          1. re: nmurawsk

            The best Atlanta information is at 285foodies.com - where there is considerably more traffic. All of the Chowhound information is very good - but here is an option for a few more opinions.

        2. I wouldn't call downtown Atlanta a food wasteland, but Atlanta dining is definitely easier to navigate with a car. Many of my favorites are probably further than you'd like to travel, but here are a few I can think of in your general area.
          Lunacy Black Market Cafe is great for interesting, tasty and super reasonably priced tapas and wine. Dantanna's is basically an upscale sports bar/steakhouse, but food is good and it's a great place to catch a game if you're into sports. (I do prefer the Buckhead location to the CNN Center, but the closer CNN location will be fine) Social Restaurant and Wine Bar is good for international cuisine and cocktails; also nice, laid back vibe late night if you want that. Seafood is good and the vibe is relaxed and fun at Six Feet Under. It should still be warm enough to enjoy the rooftop.

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          Six Feet Under
          437 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

          1 Reply
          1. re: southerngurl

            I will second SIx Feet Under (& get there a tad early in order to wander through Oakland Cemetery across the street).
            Is Thelma's Kitchen still open? That is definitely "Atlanta" and used to be good soul food/meat & three. I think they are on Auburn Avenue (or were a short while ago). What about Auburn Avenue Curb Market during the day? They have some fun and decent places to grab an inexpensive lunch and it is fun to wander.

          2. Downtown Atlanta is not a city in the way you understand the concept. Atlanta is a car town, and the downtown area is abandoned every day at 5:00. Staying there, without a car, yes, you will be spending 4 days in a cultural and culinary wasteland. That's just the way it is. People who live in Atlanta seem oblivious to how odd this is, the rest of us...well...good luck....

            2 Replies
            1. re: uptown jimmy

              Shpeizmaven from Toronto,
              If you are willing to get on the train and/or take a cab you'll have much more luck.
              There are also a bunch of new options close to the CNN center in what we are calling the Lucky-Marietta district. You could walk if you wanted but there is a huge hill/incline between your hotel area and Centennial Park. It's a very short cab ride.

              Der Biergarten is the newest place down there.
              http://www.derbiergarten.com/

              1. re: uptown jimmy

                wow... great choice for a conference venue...

              2. Meehans on Peachtree (just south of international) has very good pub food and an awesome beer and wine selection. I 2nd Social and the Six Feet Under location on Memorial. Six Feet Under isn't too far by cab, and it's right across the street from Oakland Cemetary, which is uniquely Atlanta and a neat place to walk around.

                I haven't checked out Der Biergarten yet, but it's on my list.

                -----
                Six Feet Under
                437 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

                1. Definitely not a lot of ambience at these places.

                  You don't mention what type food or how far you will walk but a good place for a tasty Greek lunch is at Nick's food to go. It's inexpensive but definitely a hole in the wall and only has a shelf bolted on the outside wall to stand at and eat. That's why it's "to go". Delicious but not uniquely Atlanta. Not a place to walk to in bad weather and even eating at the shelf is not good when it's windy. On Thursdays if you go early enough the Greek version of lasagna called pastitio is available, other days there are specials like spaghetti. Best to call first to find out about specials.
                  http://www.nicksfood.com/ http://www.yelp.com/biz/nicks-food-to...

                  Not unique to Atlanta but good southern food not likely to be found in Toronto is at Busy Bee Cafe. Also not a short walk.
                  http://www.thebusybeecafe.com/ http://www.yelp.com/biz/busy-bee-cafe...

                  You seem desperate so I mention those but they may not fit your needs. As was mentioned downtown Atlanta is not much of a walkable place for good food. A car or cab is necessary. There is Marta rapid transit trains that give you some more options like downtown Decatur but time becomes a factor.

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                  Busy Bee Cafe
                  810 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314

                  1. As stated, Downtown is pretty weak for food. Here are a couple more suggestions. The first you can walk to, the others you will need a cab.

                    Gladys Knight's and Ron Wynan's Chicken and Waffles

                    Silver Skillet or Bobbie and June's Country Kitchen on 14th.

                    Antico Pizza Napoletana near GaTech.

                    Sweet Auburn Market (just walk in and start looking around, lots of goodies in there).

                    I worked in downtown for a long time and as previous posters said, its pretty deserted after 5pm.

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                    Silver Skillet
                    200 14th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

                    1. Although it is not in any way gourmet, there is nothing more "Atlantan" than The Varsity at the corner of North Avenue and Spring St.. It is a quick cab ride from your hotel. I suggest a couple of chili-dogs, a double order of 'rings, and a peach pie washed down with either an FO, a PC (they will translate for you) or a great big icy co-cola. Hope you are not prone to diabetes or arterial disease and if you spend more than $10.00 on a meal at the V, you are either starving or a glutton. Some better choices that would include a little longer cab ride are Pizza Antico Napoletana near GA Tech, I believe on Hill street right off 14th and I second the suggestion of Lunacy Black Market. If you want to spend some money and get an incredible meal, there is Miller Union , Holeman and Finch, Woodfire Grill or Abbatoir. DBA Barbecue in Virginia-highlands neighborhood is damn good and close to town. Hector Santiago's new sandwich shop below Pura Vida called Super Pan is only open for lunch Monday--Friday, located close to North Avenue and Highland Ave. just south of Ponce de Leon. This place is inexpensive and delicious beyond description. Atlanta is filled with great restaurants, just not so many in Downtown.

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                      DBA Barbecue
                      1190 N. Highland Ave. NE Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30306

                      Pura Vida
                      656 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

                      Woodfire Grill
                      1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324

                      Miller Union
                      999 Brady Ave Suite 106, Atlanta, GA 30318

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dyrwlf59

                        Atlanta is mostly empty of anything resembling "great restaurants". The OP is coming from Toronto, for chrissakes.

                        And please, dear lord, stop recommending that indigestible filth they serve at the Varsity. I've had better food from vending machines.

                        1. re: uptown jimmy

                          The food is not the point.

                          1. re: uptown jimmy

                            I think Atlanta does have some great restaurants, but downtown is not the place. Even close to downtown is ok, but posters are correct that a cab or car is absolutely necessary. Sucks but just a fact, part of living in/visiting Atlanta. Interesting what they're trying to do to restructure the area, but it's not there (yet?).

                        2. thanks all for the more abundant responses this time. afraid the only place i knew about already was The Varsity. walking is an option but probably not more than 20 minutes from the downtown sheraton or i'll lose my dinner companions and lunch will be on a tight schedule. i will look more closely at the suggestions when i have a little more time. in the meantime i'm happy to get whatever other suggestions people might have. not necesarily looking for "gourmet," just tasty and different.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: shpeizmaven

                            the real Varsity experience is to get the car hops to bring you the food--make sure you get a couple of chili dogs,onion rings,and an orange drink with a hot pie--not gormet for sure,but it is a uniques Atlanta experince.You might pick up a 6 pack before you eat there and dink it in the car--serously--its all about having fun during a boring business meeting,right

                            1. re: shpeizmaven

                              I found this interactive map with restaurant locations marked with circles: http://www.atlantadowntown.com/guide/...

                              Unfortunately I am not familiar with the restaurants in your area. I think the Sheraton is on Courtland St. between Ellis St. and Andrew Young Blvd. Maybe someone who is familiar can zoom in and look for someplace they have heard recommended elsewhere. Or you can Google some of the names. At least you will know they are walkable distance.

                              1. re: shpeizmaven

                                If you're walking from the Sheraton, you could get to Grind House at the Sweet Auburn Market pretty easily. Not fancy- burgers and fries, but they do a good job. And you can get your kung fu fix.

                              2. I can suggest some reliable options, but downtown is not really a dining destination for locals, hence the shortage of unique/charming/standout restaurants to recommend -- they just don't get a lot of support downtown, so they locate elsewhere. When my office was downtown, Azio's on International Blvd. was a regular stop and had consistently good basic Italian offerings -- think thin-crust pizzas, variety of pastas, etc . . . Hsu's on the corner of International and Peachtree Center Blvd. was another reliable choice if you like Chinese. Ray's in the City had pretty good seafood offerings and a reasonably priced lunch menu. FAB (French American Bistro) is walking distance and is probably among the more unique options -- not cheap, but not terribly expensive either, depending on what you order. Mama Ninfa's was always reliable for a cheap Mexican fix, though certainly nothing special.

                                If you want to branch out with a few more options, you might want to hop on MARTA and go a few subway stops north to either the North Avenue or Midtown stations and walk to some other options. Baraonda on Peachtree Street @ roughly 5th is excellent and very reasonably priced. Ecco on 7th (1 block west of Peachtree, which is the main north/south surface street in the city) is excellent, unique, and has tapas options to keep the price down. It is probably closer to the Midtown station (on 10th, also a block west of Peachtree) than the North Avenue station. One block north from the Midtown station, you will find Crescent Street (runs parallel to Peachtree, one block to the west) which has quite a few options. Ri-Ra is a relatively new Irish pub with great cocktails and beer offerings, but which also had surprisingly good food. Vickery's, Front Page News, and South City Kitchen are all further down the block, and Pasta di Pulcinella is one block further west, in a cute house tucked back behind some of the other buildings.

                                So, that should at least give you some more options to check out and see if any appeal.

                                -----
                                Ecco
                                40 7th Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306

                                Front Page News
                                1104 Crescent Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

                                Peachtree Cafe
                                99 Jeff Davis Rd, Thomaston, GA 30286

                                Ray's in the City
                                240 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30303