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Atlanta Restaurants - please help narrow down my list!

Hi everyone,

As usual I need help deciding where to eat on vacay...I'm so indecisive?! Originally I planned to spend 4 days in Atlanta and only 2 in Charleston, but I'm thinking of cutting Atlanta a day short and add that time to Charleston. If I do that though, I'll have to remove a couple places to eat.

Here's my original list:

Hankook Taqueria
Busy Bee Cafe
Flip Burger
Greenwood's (Roswell--stop here after visiting the outlets)
Carver's Country Kitchen
Mary Mac's
South City Kitchen

Which would you say I could do without and which are the "not to be missed"? It will be me and hubby, and our 3 boys (12,7,2) if that matters.


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  1. Eclectic list empiress is very good. Foodie spot. Flip burger is fun. Greenwoods has great food. Casual and terrific pies. Collonade has best chicken in town. The kids might enjoy patting at the westin peachtree its a revolving deal with terrific views

    1. I think that a few of your choices are somewhat similar - Colonnade, Mary Mac, Busy Bee. I'm a fan of Mary Mac's but it gets mixed reviews here. You mght want to hit Silver Skillet one day for breakfast. And for burgers I prefer Farm Burger over Flip.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Enfielder

        Farm burger looks great! Oh man, more choices to add to the confusion! I realize I have a lot of similar places, but my husband's rationale is that this is food we can't get here at home in the Northeast. At the same time I don't want it to be fried chicken overkill that week! lol Are there any that should be definitely off the list? If I do decide on a burger joint though I think farm will be the one. Love the fact it's local grassfed beef.

        Thanks to both of you for your input! =)

        1. re: umieesa

          Skillet is fun spot. Sorry for my spelling. Hard using,v Droid
          Ps. You should consider getting car hop service at the varsity. Kids will love it. Chili dogs and fried pies

          1. re: umieesa

            Hankook Taqueria--DEFINITELY
            Busy Bee Cafe--YES
            Flip Burger--YES, BRING $$
            Greenwood's (Roswell--stop here after visiting the outlets)
            Carver's Country Kitchen
            Mary Mac's--Yes. Be prepared for a wait, unless you plan the arrival time and day.
            South City Kitchen
            Colonnade--you could do without it. Busy Bee will be good chicken.

            1. re: thagoddess9

              Thank you. This is exactly what I need to see. I'll probably scrap Colonnade then.

              Is Mary Mac's generally more busy for lunch or dinner? Don't know how much fun it'll be standing in line with a cranky toddler. We will probably need to go for dinner and unfortunately on a Friday. Would 530 be early enough to avoid lines?

              1. re: umieesa

                I would scrap Mary Mac's and go to Colonnade or Carvers. Both are superior.

                For burgers, I would go to Farm Burger over Flip, more burger for your buck and the burgers are generally better. Grass fed, no hormone, no antibiotic beef is just plain amazing.

        2. Have to disagree with thagoddess9, Mary Mac's is WAY over rated, Busy Bee's may be
          good but not a great part of town. Skip Colonnade? Don't be crazy.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jethro stella

            It just gets more confusing?! I did read quite a lot of mixed reviews about Mary Mac's, but at the same time there are as many positive as there are negative, if not more. At the same time I don't want to pick it just for its nostalgia and being an Atlanta "institution" if the food is sub-par.

            Busy Bee's would probably be at lunch. Is it still not safe?

            jethro stella, is there anything else on my list you'd say to skip? TIA

            1. re: umieesa

              Do any of these similar restaurants have one thing that separates them from another? Like an over the top dessert or something? Not sure how else to narrow it down since they all seem to be very similar in ratings.

              1. re: umieesa

                I live near the Busy Bee 'hood. And it is on the edge of a college neighborhood and a low income 'hood. As with any visit to an unknown part of town, be aware and keep your eyes open. You'll be fine. :)

                1. re: umieesa

                  The last couple of trips to Mary Mac's have been the best we have had in years. They have corrected whatever problems were causing the poor reviews. It is worth visiting for the food, as well as its being an Atlanta institution. I have eaten early in the evening and have beaten the crowd. I think 5:30 pm should work well.

              2. Just wanted to give you a heads up for toddlers at Flip. They don't have a kids menu, but will make a grilled cheese for your 2-yr old (mine won't eat burgers). Mine always steals my milkshake so be prepared to share or get their own.

                If you need a fail-safe everyone-is-melting-down-and-tired option, hit Flying Biscuit. Yes, the original has become a chain in the southeast and lost some of it's charm, but you can get some good food all day and sometimes dinner menus that include an oatmeal pancake or turkey meatloaf are the kind of optinos you need (plus get a beer for you!). There are several locations so there's bound to be one near you.

                1. remove south city kitchen from the list.. nothing special there.

                  i'd pick only 1 or 2 from your busy bee/carver's/mary mac's/colonnade lineup, unless all you're coming here for is super-filling comfort food. and if you're picking just one, Carver's gets my vote every single time.. in my opinion, far better than the others. only open during the week for lunch, and cash only, so keep both of those in mind.

                  while flip burger & farm burger are both trendy/'fun' burger joints with acceptable beef, best burger in the atlanta area is at rhea's in roswell. no frills, no goofy toppings, just incredible burgers. that said, i'm sure your kids would love the gimmick of the liquid nitrogen milkshakes at flip.

                  1. Hi, Umieesa...did you already visit? If not, here's my two cents.

                    I'd go to Farmburger any day over Flip. Farmburger has a kid's menu, and the Buckhead location has similar trendy milkshakes (minus the "smoke", but...). In Decatur they have root beer on tap.

                    And I think Mary Mac's has gotten better recently. If you need to cut, I'd do Mary Macs or Carver's or Busy Bee or Colonnade vs all of them.

                    And I disagree about South City Kitchen--I still really like it, and it's more upscale than your other choices. So if you're looking for a nice atmosphere along with your comfort food, it would be a change from your other choices.

                    Please send where you ended up and what you liked the most.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: ebennettatl

                      the buckhead location of farmburger has the abita root beer on tap as well.. so good.

                      1. re: ebennettatl

                        Thank you all for the advice and recommendations. No, we haven't visited yet; still not for a couple months (obsessive planner in me).

                        I see what you're all saying about the one or two as opposed to all thing. Southern food overdose? I was thinking I'm going to be fried chickened out at the end of this trip :p
                        I just figure that since it's not something we can have all the time might as well try all the popular spots and see what we liked best?! Not sure if that's the right approach though. 10 days of the same food might make me wish I had decided otherwise!

                        There seems to be so many various opinions about which spots to keep and which to drop. I have decided though on Farm over Flip. I'd rather support the one with the grassfed beef since this is all we eat at home (mind you during a vacation all our healthy/ehical food principles go out the window!).
                        I'm even more confused though about which to keep and which to ditch. I have a big sweet tooth though, so is there one that stands out in the dessert department? That might help make my decision easier. Is there anything else that's not on my list that I should maybe swap for? Nothing too fancy since we'll be with the kids. Hubby wanted to try the hand pulled noodles at China House after seeing it on FN, but not sure if I want to drive all the way up there just for noodles?

                        Thanks again to all for all your help and advice!!

                          1. re: umieesa

                            carver's has an amazing coca-cola cake they serve daily.. pretty sure it's unique to the south, as i've never seen it elsewhere..

                            1. re: umieesa

                              I never post here but have to weigh in. I have kids of similar ages. I think you should focus your southern food efforts on Carver's Grocery. It can be difficult to find and parking is limited to the street. The food, however, is the best of its kind. I grew up in S. Georgia and know my southern food. Mary Mac's is long past its prime. Colonnade is known for big portions and stiff drinks but the food doesn't compare to Carver's http://www.carverscountrykitchen.com. I think Greenwood's is terrible. The pies are impressive looking, not tasting. The same folks own Swallow at the Hollow, a barbecue place right across the street. It's a much better alternative if you are looking for something in the Roswell area.

                              As for burgers, I would skip both Flip and Farmburger in favor of Grindhouse. It's great for kids and the burgers are fantastic.

                              I love Hankook but there's nothing Southern about their food. It's a Korean taco joint. Depending on how adventurous you kids are, the may not find anything to their liking on the menu. There is no kids menu.

                              Hope this helps.

                              1. re: ned3610

                                Thanks ned really appreciate the insight. My kids are VERY adventurous eaters. Being from Toronto we've got every ethnic food around, so they are not the hot dog, chicken finger loving typical kids.

                                I want to do Hankook since although we have many Korean restaurants, none that do a different take on typical Korean fare.

                                I'm surprise at the Greenwood's statement though. I've read so many positive reviews. I'm not sure what else to substitute it with though since it will be the dinner on our way back from North Georgia Premium Outlets. I read some mixed reviews about Atlanta Highway Seafood in Gainesville, and considered that as an alternative. Does anyone here on the boards have any experience eating there?

                                If I do remove Colonnade, what else should I consider subbing with? Anything else that I'm missing that may not necessarily Southern, but not something that I might not be able to get up North?


                                1. re: umieesa

                                  My current experience has been very positive at Mary Mac's and at Greenwoods's. Tastes vary, of course, but they are both held in high esteem by many - not all Atlanta diners. Hankook Taqueria is great! I am glad that you are including it.

                                  1. re: umieesa

                                    I would second Ned's opinion on Greenwoods's - including the pies. Not far from there is historic Roswell - they have a variety of places in a 2-3 block area - sushi, latin, steak, mexican, etc.

                                    I've been to Atlanta Highway Seafood a few times, but only to buy seafood to cook at home, all of which has been excellent quality. Usually the dining room has about half the tables filled. When I do go there I stop at a BBQ place called the Hickory Pig - it was voted #1 in Atlanta magazine in 2010 - good BBQ and Brunswick Stew is probably tough to find up North.