Atlanta, Georgia is a city that prides itself on churning out (with a lot of TLC, of course) some of the finest southern-style cuisines in the entire country. ‘The A’ is home to a bunch of great restaurants serving dishes that reflect the region’s culinary traditions and that take advantage of the excellent fresh produce that is available in its neck of the woods – from same-day caught Atlantic seafood, to succulent fresh meat, to plump Georgia peaches!
When you visit Atlanta, try to not be on a diet, for what a waste that would be! The dishes offered in this atmospheric and proud southern metropolis are uniquely big on taste. Juicy BBQ, bombastic savory sides, and sweet, refreshing desserts are the name of the game here. So be ready to eat big!
Grilled ‘Catch of the Day’ at Atlanta Fish Market This excellent seafood restaurant is no shrinking violet. It has a giant statue of a fish outside its front door – so you truly can’t miss it! Fresh seafood is flown in from the nearby Atlantic coast every morning. The oysters and lobster legs are mouth-wateringly good, as is the wild salmon. Literally, everything on their extensive menu is an oceanic delicacy of the highest order so choosing can be painful. Your best bet is to just go for the grilled ‘Catch of the Day’, which changes daily and is always guaranteed to be scrumptious!
Pork Belly Taco and Grilled Corn on the Cob at Bartaco Grilled corn is an Atlanta favorite and you must try it when you are in town. Bartaco is one of the city’s most adored Mexican restaurants. It has a large selection of sumptuous tacos to choose from. We recommend the pork belly with spicy Arbol chili sauce taco and a grilled corn on the cob with lime, cotija cheese, and cayenne pepper as a side. This delicious combination (washed down with a cheeky margarita or two) is a perfect midday meal.
Addie Mae’s Chicken and Dumplings at Southern Art Chef Art Smith really loves his mommy. And this is not only good news for her, it’s also great news for us! He is serving (arguably) the best chicken and dumplings in Atlanta, which is based off of his mom’s old family recipe. It’s hot, hearty and yummy – the ultimate comfort food. Thanks, Art’s mom!
Chopped Pork Sandwich and Brunswick Stew at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack Fat Matt’s is a ‘dive’ bar in the best sense of the word! It has live blues music every night, serves cheap beer, attracts a lively clientele and doles out some of the best, no-frills BBQ you’ll find anywhere in the state of Georgia (and therefore, the world). Fat Matt’s is famous for its ribs and brisket, but we recommend you give the chopped pork sandwich a go and get a Brunswick stew on the side – it’s a perfect combination. Dip that juicy sandwich into the heavy, meaty stew and float on up to Heaven. Hallelujah!
Beef Brisket at Grand Champion BBQ Barbecue aficionados Robert Owens and Gregory Vivier opened their first Grand Champion in Roswell, just north of Atlanta. It proved so popular that they have since opened three other branches, one of which is in central Atlanta. Again, it’s hard to say what is best to eat here, as it’s all so good! But if we have to stake our reputation on one perfect recommendation, we’ll vote for the beef brisket – it is ‘melt in the mouth’ good. Soft, moist, luscious and flavorsome; it will make you want to email your family and friends and tell them that you love them dearly, but that you have decided to stay in Atlanta and eat beef brisket every day for the rest of your life!
St. Louis Ribs at D.B.A. Barbecue There are a lot of great places to eat ribs in Atlanta – you can almost close your eyes and stick a pin in a map, head for that point and be within walking distance from a world class rib shack! We recommend D.B.A. for its St. Louis-style ribs. D.B.A. is a family-run joint with a friendly atmosphere and a menu that makes you want to ask if you can become a full-time dishwasher out back and just work for food! The ribs are of course epic, and if you are extra hungry and in a group, you can try their famous ‘Whole House Platter’, which has a selection of spare ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, pastrami, ham, sliced chicken, and wings with your choice of three sides. This giant platter is recommended for six people, but remember – what happens in Atlanta stays in Atlanta! We won’t tell if you don’t.
Address: 1190 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GAKey Lime Pie with Homemade Almond Crust and/or Peach Cobbler at Mary Mac’s Tearoom Mary Mac’s is an iconic tearoom. They have a lovely menu replete with southern comfort food favorites. The desserts are particularly good. They have a bunch that offers different pies and cookies, but we recommend you try to key lime pie, which is cold, creamy and refreshing, and/or the peach cobbler, which is a bit of a Georgia staple.
Address: 224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA
So, that was our list of the seven dishes you simply must try when visiting Atlanta. It was a tough list to compile – a lot of great dishes didn’t quite make the cut! Whether you are munching a grilled corn on the cob in Bartaco, devouring a chopped pork sandwich dripping in Brunswick Stew to the sound of live blues in Fat Matt’s, or cleansing your palate with a hefty slice of cool key lime pie in Mary Mac’s Tearoom, don’t forget to share your Atlanta eatin’ experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM. Then, don’t forget to add these 6 Classic American Road Trips to your North American bucket list!