Have you ever been to Atlanta, Georgia? Located in the Northeast part of the state, this city is lively, beautiful, and surrounded by stunning mountains and greenspaces. It was first founded back in 1837 and was the final stop on the Western & Atlantic Railway Line which is where it received its name. Despite its humble beginnings, Atlanta has now expanded into a large and modern city that is filled with entertainment, great food, and an impressive arts scene.
Overall the city's weather is decent but can be rainy, which is why most cafes and restaurants will have both indoor and outdoor seating. Speaking of food, Atlanta has some signature dishes that can't be tasted anywhere else. You won't want to miss out on trying them which is why we've made a list of some of the best treats in the city for you.
If you're a real foodie you might be interested in this guide to the best street food in Atlanta. Not a meat eater? There are some wonderful vegetarian restaurants in Atlanta as well! No matter where you go to eat you won't need to have your suitcases or large items with you. Stow them at a Bounce luggage storage locker in Atlanta.
Atlanta Food: Fried Chicken
You've probably had fried chicken before, but we can guarantee there is nothing like the fried chicken in Atlanta. Try it at Busy Bee Cafe. They've been open since 1947 and appeared right in the middle of the Civil Rights era. At the time the cafe was opened by a self-taught cook named Lucy Jackson, and they are still proudly black-owned today!
The restaurant and its current owner, Tracy Gates, are loved by many locals in the neighborhood. The Busy Bee Cafe still makes this classic chicken dish with as much love and attention to detail as the previous chefs, which has customers always coming back for more!
Prepare for a traditionally prepared meal of crispy, juicy chicken fried to perfection with seasoned crust. Atlanta's signature fried chicken has just the right amount of southern-style spice and kick. Fun fact: the rapper Killer Mike and former president Barack Obama are some of the restaurant's past customers.
Atlanta Food: Sweet Tea
To wash down any delicious Atlanta dish, you've got to try sweet tea. Made with black tea and sugar or simple syrup, sweet tea is a cold refreshing drink that locals love. Some will add mint, raspberry and even peach to enhance the flavor.
Mary Mac's Tea Room has been operating since the end of World War II with its doors first opening in 1945. Since then they have been a symbol of Southern comfort food and are one of the places that you absolutely need to stop by while in Atlanta. Pro tip: if you missed out on the Fried Chicken at Busy Bee Cafe then the dish served at Mary Mac's is also excellent! The Mac n' Cheese, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Brunswick Stew are other great choices.
But what this restaurant is really known for is its delicious sweet tea. Grab a cool glass filled to the brim to go along with your meal; it will make the dish go from great to amazing!
Atlanta Food: Szechuan Dumplings
Lots of people like to stop by the Krog Street Market to get a taste of dumplings! Boiled in an irresistible sauce, Szechuan Dumplings are covered in a dressing flavored with rice vinegar, chili oil, soy sauce and other ingredients specific to the restaurant. Gu's Kitchen is known to have the best dumplings in town. This restaurant along with a few others, were the first to introduce the locals of Atlanta to the delicious food of Szechuan cuisine. Don't miss your chance to try them yourself!
Their entire menu is fantastic, but a common favorite is the Zhong Style Dumplings. They are the perfect warm dish for chilly weather, especially when paired with their incredible spicy and sweet sauce. Other ingredients include toasted sesame seeds, fresh green onions, and robust minced garlic.
Atlanta Food: Popsicles
The temperatures can get pretty steamy in Atlanta and this means finding a way to cool off is essential. Everyone in Atlanta loves the King of Pop, which is a small cart selling popsicles. The rainbow umbrella that keeps the treats from the sun has become an easily recognizable symbol for the people of Atlanta.
The popsicles sold here are delicious, and they come in so many great flavors that you will definitely want to try more than one. Feel like having a taste of Chocolate Sea Salt? Or maybe something more refreshing, like a Thai Iced Tea. We recommend the Banana Pudding!
Atlanta Food: Waffles
In Atlanta, waffles are the perfect meal at any time of day. Fluffy waffles for breakfast or brunch, or the famous chicken and waffles for dinner. What can be more Southern than that? Imagine crispy fried chicken between two of the best waffles ever, smothered in warm syrup.
By far one of the most loved restaurants in Atlanta is the Atlanta Breakfast club. This Atlanta eatery can bring you a sweet and tasty breakfast and brunch in a flash, which is why everyone loves it so much. If you ever find yourself in Atlanta, GA make sure that you stop by, too!
To make this dish at home, you'll need creamy buttermilk, lard, chicken, and seasonings for the chicken portion. Vegetable oil, flour, sugar, and butter will give you a good start to sweet and delicious waffles.
Atlanta Food: Oysters
Not everyone is a fan of oysters. But for those of you who are, Atlanta loves oysters, too. One of Atlanta's best places to eat oysters is Kimball House. Their menu has a selection of dishes perfect for any seafood enthusiast with different varieties coming from around the world. Aside from food they also have some great drinks available. Treat yourself to a yummy cocktail along with your meal!
Try their Grilled Oysters made with seaweed-chile-lobster butter! They have other dishes that you are sure to love as well, like a yummy Hawaiian Roll or Pork Belly Pansotti. Don't miss out on your chance to taste these meals. One of the treats of Atlanta is definitely its oysters. High in copper, zinc, and Vitamin D, Atlanta oysters are good for you, too.
Atlanta Food: Burgers
It is no surprise that Atlanta's people have a deep love for steak and burgers, and one of the first restaurants to really embraced that is the Vortex. If you ever pass by their restaurant it will definitely catch your eye, since the entrance of the building is of a massive laughing skull and it is hard to miss! It has been around since 1995 and everyone in the area knows it.
They have some truly delicious meals but one of the most iconic is the Quadruple Coronary Bypass. It is even more intense than it sounds and can be considered an eating challenge since you will be presented with so much food! Get ready for a feast with 8 slices of Texas toast, 20 ounces of tater tots, 28 slices of American cheese, two 4-ounce griddled sirloin patties, two 8-ounce flame-grilled sirloin patties, and more. We hope you're hungry because if you finish it all in 30 minutes you can eat for free! Estimated calorie count: 9606!
Atlanta Food: Wood-Grilled Octopus
Have you heard of celebrity chef Bobby Flay? Well, if you've watched his show you might know that Chef Pano managed to beat him with his fantastic lamb pie! You just know that anything that Chef Pano cooks is bound to be amazing. Get excited for the Wood-Grilled Octopus at the modern seafood tavern called Kyma since this dish is taken right out of his personal cookbook.
The restaurant is also part of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group which has several award-winning eateries under its wing in Atlanta. This signature dish is made with a grilled octopus, marinated red onions, capers and Greek olives.
Atlanta Food: Lemon Pepper Wings
Chances are that you've tried several different kinds of wings, like the classic buffalo wing or chicken wing. But you don't know what you're missing until you try the tasty Lemon Pepper Wings at J.R. Cricket! This eatery was one of the first to introduce wings to Atlanta's massive food scene and is what they are best known for.
This dish has become popular thanks to Donald Glover's show Atlanta, so if you are a fan then you will definitely want to visit. The food that you will get is close to a regular buffalo wing but it is the lemon pepper seasoning that really makes it unique! If you can't make it here try going to the American Deli; they have a great alternative to the dish.
Atlanta Food: Peach Slider Doughnuts
Got a sweet tooth? Take a trip to Revolution Doughnuts to satisfy any sugar cravings and try some of their seasonal peach slider doughnuts. These treats are made by baking peaches into a fried doughnut which is then perfectly dusted with sugar. This limited-edition dessert is only available during the summer months, so you will have to plan accordingly!
This is one of the foods that you absolutely need to try when visiting Atlanta. Peaches are the state fruit after all! Revolution Doughnuts is a neighborhood favorite at their location in Inman Park, which is where you can find all sorts of other foodie spots just next door. The perfect spot for a food tour.
Atlanta Food: The Farm Egg
Found in West Midtown of Atlanta, GA is a spot called Miller Union. This Atlanta institution is popular thanks to its chef, Steven Satterfield, who you might know is quite talented with vegetables. But the meal that we really recommend trying is the Farm Egg.
This dish is not as simple as it sounds; the Farm Egg combines quality ingredients and perfect execution to bring you the best-tasting egg possible. It is baked in a delicious celery cream that gives it that lavish and earthy taste, and as a side, you will be served some incredible grilled bread.
Atlanta Food: BBQ Chicken Fried Ribs
You might have realized by now that Atlanta has some of the best fried chicken, but why not take it to the next level and try the unforgettable BBQ Chicken Fried Ribs from Fox Bros? The meal is a mix of signature Southern food with a Texas flare and there is no way that you can visit this city without trying some.
Twin brothers by the names of Justin and Jonathan Fox own the restaurant and their menu includes dishes that are the perfect combination of spice and heat, taking inspiration from both Texas and Southern cuisine. We suggest that you grab a side of Texas Fries as well, which are made covered in BBQ sauce with melted cheese, jalapeños and pulled pork. BBQ Chicken Fried Ribs are definitely a dish that Atlanta is known for.
Atlanta Food: Happy Hour
When it comes to Atlanta you have more to look forward to than just the food, since there are some pretty great drinks available as well! The Colonnade restaurant is 93 years old so it knows its customers well, and although they aren't very fancy they are a great place to grab a couple of drinks with friends. If you want to try several of their drinks try to make it there for happy hour.
The Colonnade is sort of like a dive bar but much better since the food that they serve is almost more exciting than the drinks. While you sip on something cool you can compliment your drink with everything from Fried Okra to Coconut Cream Pie.
Finding Your Soul Food in Atlanta, GA
Downtown Atlanta and beyond is filled with different things to eat, from Italian food like classic pasta dishes to seafood like smoked salmon and fresh sushi. They also do American food like hot dogs, burgers and onion rings if that is more your style. If you are visiting this city for the first time we really recommend branching out and trying something new, since Atlanta has so many dining options. To build up an appetite for delicious dishes, try out the best hikes in Atlanta.