Phillips Arena Dinner
What are the best places for food close by the arena?
If you're talking walking distance, carolinadawg is correct. Most of the restaurants in that area are geared toward the visiting expense account crowd, and while there are a number of choices for a decent meal, nothing stands out as Chow-worthy in my opinion. If you wander north on Marietta St. to Broad Street, there are some lunch-only places that cater to students from Georgia State, including a Vietnamese place called Dua. But you specifically asked about dinner.
I had a nice meal at Legal Sea Foods once, which is 1/2 mile north from Phillips Arena, on Baker Street.
The best place for food close by?? Is distance your defining need?
Or do you mean the BEST food close by?
Near the arena there are many options that are "decent."
Take a look at the Luckie-Marietta district website.
For the "best" food, you'll have to go before or after in another neighborhood....Midtown is close via MARTA, taxi, or car.
Exactly. To receive the best advice, the OP should clarify what his priorities are. I would not steer a Chowhound to, for example, McCormick & Schmick, Legal Sea Foods, Stats, Der Biergarten, Max's Pizza, or any of that type of place that is geared toward visitors. Okay, for a chain, Legal is still pretty good, but the prices are not geared for locals. If one wants to spend that kind of money, then drive 10 mins. from downtown to The Optimist for excellent seafood. I totally agree that the places downtown and the so-called "Luckie-Marietta District" (the city only wishes it were a "District" as in other cities) are perfectly "decent" food for a meal if one finds oneself downtown, but nothing noteworthy.