I’ve now lived in Atlanta almost 7 years…. just under 1/4 of my life. There are so many hidden gems — fun parks and festivals, eclectic neighborhoods, and even more amazing restaurants. So without further ado, here’s my unofficial guide to the things I love in Atlanta, starting with food. Check them out and let me know what you think!
Great, inexpensive Mexican that’s so fresh and tasty you’d stand in line for 1/2 an hour:: Taqueria del Sol
Multiple locations around town, but I usually visit the West Side spot on Howell Mill. Expect a line that last upwards of 20-30 minutes, but it’s totally worth it. The food comes out almost the instant you sit down, and it’s always piping hot and delicious. I LOVE the Fried Chicken Taco (all their tacos are soft) and the Cheese Enchilada with Beef Red Chili Sauce. No beans and rice needed, but theirs are pretty good if you get them. The Memphis Taco is also a crowd favorite — it’s smoked pork with a spicy jalapeño coleslaw and tequila BBQ sauce. I think Taqueria is the reason I started eating guacamole. Their margaritas are also top notch, in my opinion. Everything is very reasonably priced. It’s one of my very favorite lunch or dinner spots in the city.
Best breakfast all day:: The Flying Biscuit Cafe
My favorite place for breakfast any time of the day. Their famous biscuits and cranberry apple butter are almost good enough to have as a whole meal by themselves, but then you’d miss out on the Creamy Dreamy Grits, Moon-dusted Potatoes, and my personal favorite, the Southern Scramble (farm fresh eggs scrambled with turkey bacon, collard greens, onions, and cheddar cheese). The menu is comprised of unique, healthy options. I’ve not had anything other than the Southern Scramble, but this is a local favorite among most Atlantans. The original Flying Biscuit is down in Historic Candler Park, but they have locations all over the city and out into the burbs – just go early, because there’s almost always a wait.
Finger-lickin’ good BBQ:: Fox Bros. BBQ
Hands-down some of the best BBQ in Atlanta. Located on Dekalb Ave in Candler Park (just south of Little 5 Points), and again, there is almost always a wait because it’s just that good. They have a big outdoor patio space, so it’s great for outdoor dining in nice weather. If you go, you have to indulge and get the Tomminator — tots smothered in Brunswick stew and cheddar cheese. So bad, but so delicious — and don’t try to eat this by yourself. The pulled pork and baby back ribs are among my favorite meals there, and of course I love the mac n cheese and collards to round out the meal.
Best Mobile Pizza Joint:: S & J’s Woodfired Pizza
I may be a bit biased here because it’s owned by a couple friends of ours, but it truly is some of the best pizza around. Sarah and Jonathan (affectionately known as S &J) operate out of a wood fired oven on wheels and can be found all over town most of the year at various festivals and farmers markets. Fresh, local ingredients are used on all of their pies, and their menu changes with what’s in season. One of my favorites is the Sausage and Peppers (tomato sauce with mozzarella, italian sausage and mixed heirloom peppers). The pizza is always piping hot, crispy, and so delicious. Some weekends, we stalk S & J’s on facebook to see what festivals they’re at so we can get our pizza fix. They are also available for catering for your next big event, and I’d highly recommend them (hint, hint).
Hands-down best tapas, especially the B.W.D.:: The Iberian Pig
We are on the dead opposite side of the city from Decatur, but I’d drive there most any day for a dinner at The Iberian Pig. After my birthday dinner there in August, it jumped to one of my very, very favorite restaurants. It’s located in the Square, and there are so many fabulous restaurants and pubs to choose from (Leon’s Full Service and Brick Store Pub are some other popular options). You HAVE to get the B.W.D. (Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Manchego cheese and walnuts), Spanish Tortoloni, and Pork Cheek Tacos.
Take your doggy to dinner (or brunch or lunch):: Tree House
Located a bit off the beaten path in the Peachtree Hills neighborhood, it sort of looks like a treehouse for grown-ups. Dogs are welcome, so it’s a great spot for casual weekend dining with man’s best friend. My favorite times to visit are for a laid-back, weekend brunch or dinner in the summer. I love their English Club Burger (served on a toasted English muffin) and the Artichoke Dip appetizer (w/toasted pita bread) is a must-try.
Best steak in Atlanta with an old-school Buckhead feel:: Hal’s on Old Ivy
My dad loves a good steak, and he’s found the perfect one at Hal’s. We have frequented many a steakhouse in my lifetime, and my dad swears this is one of THE best steaks anywhere. Period. The atmosphere is very old-school Buckhead with a piano by the bar, and they still have a cigarette machine by the entrance. I love their crispy garlic bread and Caesar salad, as well as a new favorite, the fried lobster in butter sauce. The seared-to-perfection steaks are the obvious star of the show, but their Fettuccine Alfredo makes a fantastic, buttery, unhealthy accompaniment. And don’t leave without having the Bread Pudding floating in a rum sauce. To die for.
Creamy Heaven in a Cup:: Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Named 4th Best Ice Cream Shop in America by Bon Appetite Magazine in ’09. The original location is a small walk-up shop in East Atlanta… quite a drive for us, but totally worth it. I just learned that they also have a location in Dunwoody now, so folks north of the city won’t be deprived. All the ice cream is handmade and oh-so-creamy, and they’re known for some very quirky flavors thrown in among the classics. I’m not about to try the Avacado, but their Salted Caramel is like Heaven in a cup. The simple, classic Chocolate is also divine. If you’re looking for an after-dinner treat or mid-afternoon snack, this is the place.
Delightfully Delicious Doughnuts:: Sublime Doughnuts
Their slogan is “Eat one that’s worth it” — and I agree that this is it. Located in a non-descript shopping center on 10th St in Midtown, you would never believe what amazing sugary goodness lies inside. For my birthday a couple years ago, I received a box from my coworker Hilary… and inside were Sublime doughnuts spelling out HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and every one was a different flavor. Love it!! My favorites are the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Butter Toffee, Orange Dream Star, and the Frosted Croissant… OMG that frosted croissant. Just check out their website – you’ll be drooling in no time. Bring some to the office and you’ll be a hero.