So, earlier today, I posted a picture on Instagram of one of my favorite local neighborhood pubs, Cypress Street Pint and Plate, and a friend commented that April and I should write blogposts about all these great places we eat and drink. Well, I don’t know that I’d have time to write a single blogpost for each place, well, because there are just too many places, and I have too few time, but I thought I’d take a moment and jot down my current favorite ATL places. (And like my friend Jimmy from eatitatlanta.com, I’ll go ahead and say, I’m not saying these are the best, I’m not saying your favorite place isn’t better, I don’t care if you think so and so’s pizza is better, this is just my list. So, there.)
Favorite Southern Cooking.
1. Mary Mac’s Tea Room. This place on Ponce has been around forever, and serves up great traditional Southern cooking in a no-nonsense dining room. Love that they even have a nice lady who comes around and gives back rubs.
2. OK Cafe. This is a great spot for lots of traditional meat and three kinda cooking. Although a little pricey (because of it’s location), it’s not my go-to, but April swears by their chicken pot pie, which comes with the letters OK in puff pastry on the top.)
3. EATS on Ponce. Their BBQ chicken and fresh veggies is just like my Mom used to cook. Veggies are fresh, not canned and chicken is baked perfectly. You can also get pasta dishes there, although I never have.
4. Carver’s Country Kitchen. This is CLASSIC meat and three. Plain and simple. Love this place, but get there early, it’s small, and they have limited seating. Plus, they have great cake!
5. The Colonnade. I can guarantee you that you will probably be the youngest folks there. I can also guarantee you that the food will be just like your grandmother makes, and it will be consistently good. Not great, mind you, but good.
1. Antico Pizza. This gem, not far from IKEA and Georgia Tech, has set the standard for traditional pizza. I love that you sit in the kitchen where the pies are made with the best ingredients, and brick ovens imported from Naples. It’s also BYOB, so you can bring in your own wine or beer selections. What I don’t like, it’s always slam-packed, and you can wait a while to get a seat.
2. STG Trattoria. Located in Buckhead, near the intersection of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry, tucked away across from the Whole Foods, this pizza place is a little more upscale than Antico, has a great wine list (you view and order from on iPads), and a great craft beer and cocktail list. The crowd does tend to be a little more Buckhead-ish, but the pizza hasn’t disappointed me and waits are no way like Antico.
3. Ammazza. Located in Old Fourth Ward, and opened about a month now, we’ve been a few times, and never been disappointed. Pizzas have a great chewy crust, ingredients taste fresh, I love the interior including the long picnic table in the middle, and they have a full bar, including wine on tap, and my favorite root beer, Sprecher’s. Also, I haven’t found the wait to be an issue.
Favorite New Southern.
1. Miller Union. Chef Steven Satterfield knows the South because he’s from here. He was raised here, and his menu reflects that in everything he does. I haven’t had a bad meal from there, and although it’s a little on the pricier side, lunch is very affordable, and this past Summer he had Fried Chicken Saturdays. For about $11, you got some awesome fried chicken, braised cabbage, and another side. Really good.
2. The Chicken and The Egg. This restaurant, close to us in Marietta, does a great job with the classics, and rejuvenates others.
3. Empire State South. Although I’ve only been here for breakfast a couple of times, the breakfast is great, and the coffee selections are awesome. I had a chicken biscuit there that could win any award for Best Chicken Biscuits. It was so tall, I had problems putting it in my big mouth. Maybe soon I’ll be able to eat there for dinner.
4. The Optimist. I’m including this in this category, because as someone who grew up along the coast of the SE, both in FL and GA, this very much is Southern to me. I was finally able to eat here a week ago, and it did not disappoint in any way. I had the red snapper, which was cooked to perfection and served in a tasty lime broth I wanted to drink from the bowl. Service was impeccable, and it IS as good as they say. The awards say it was the Best Restaurant in Atlanta for 2012, and I firmly agree. I can’t wait to go back. Also, their house punches from the bar are very, very delicious.
5. Greenwoods on Green St. Way up in Roswell, and owned and across the street from Swallow At The Hollow, this restaurant does a great job with all Southern cuisine. My personal fave, the Honey Pepper Fried Chicken is HUGE, and the veggies fresh. Their pies are HUGE and tasty. I love their creamed corn, and their seating in the house reminds me of being at my Nana’s. (It should be noted that Swallow At The Hollow across the street is a cool spot, although the BBQ and service has always been hit or miss big for me.)
Favorite Barbecue, or BBQ.
Now, this is tough, I’m a BBQ connoisseur. I’ve eaten at all the local joints. I’ve journeyed from Marble Hill to Jonesboro, and honestly, I like most all of it. But I do have a few faves.
1. Heirloom BBQ. This spot, very near me here in Smyrna, is a hidden gem serving up some of the best BBQ in Atlanta out of a small spot next to a convenience store. But, don’t let that fool you, this place is LEGIT. Ribs and pork, amazing. And their use of Korean inspiration adds a unique twist to some of the dishes.
2. Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt. This spot, just off Memorial, near Grant Park, is a classic BBQ joint. Nothing to look it, but the barbecue is amazing, and I love the cue rolls, like spring rolls, but with BBQ pork inside instead.
3. Dean’s Barbecue. Located down in Jonesboro, where I lived for many years as a child, this place, like Daddy D’z, is nothing to look at, but is brimming with history and delicious barbecue. Barbecue sandwiches like I remember as a child, a couple of pickles on top, and great Brunswick stew. This place is a real gem. Worth the drive down from ATL.
4. Fox Brothers BBQ. Many around Atlanta say this is the best, and while I won’t say that, I will say it’s pretty dang good. Great barbecue, great beer list, amazing watermelon margaritas in the summer made with lots of fresh watermelon, and the smell itself coming up fills you up. The smoked wings are the best in Atlanta for sure, and have just the right amount of heat to them, to add with the great, smoky flavor. Plus, sitting outside here in the Fall is great. (Now, they did lose part of their building due to a tree that came down in a storm this past year, so it’s tented, but I’m sure they’ll be rebuilding it soon enough.)
5. Bone Lick BBQ. This new spot, owned by the folks of P’cheen, has great classic barbecue, free skee-ball, and really good ribs. This is a super fun place on the Westside.
1. Bocado. This is HANDS-DOWN the best burger in Atlanta. Their Burger Stack is the best a cheeseburger can possibly become. Perfectly cooked, the cheese perfectly melted, amazing. Dang, now I want one.
2. Holeman & Finch. Their 10 o’clock burger lives up to the hype. If you don’t know what the hype is, well, they only make 24 each night, and at 10pm they announce it’s time, and most nights, they’re sold out as soon as the announcement’s made. This burger is seasoned perfectly, and is matched well with their in-house baked buns. April and I both loved ours. (Plus, their bar, IMHO, has the best, most innovative drinks in ATL. Their bartender, Greg Best, is one of the best bartenders in the country. I’ll be honest, I have to google the ingredients in most of the drinks, but nothing I’ve had isn’t amazing. The drink I’ve gotten the past two times I’ve been, the “Veiled Insult” (Benédictine, lemon, orange, leopold bros. tart cherry, fernet branca, angostura bitters) is amazing. Multi-layered.
3. Cypress Street Pint & Plate. This is one of my favorite spots, and their Sublime Burger is a work of art. It’s not something I could eat all the time, I can’t eat the whole thing (and that’s a good thing), but what I do eat is amazing. If you don’t know what the Sublime Burger is, it’s a bacon cheeseburger between two grilled Sublime donuts. Yep. And it is GOOOOOD. They also have great bison burgers, and today, their special was a festive five-spice duck burger with cranberry relish.
4. Lucky’s Burger and Brew. April and I LOVE this family-owned spot up in Roswell. Great hand-pattied burgers, great service, great beer selection, and they’ve got a great outdoor patio. One of our favorite places to eat.
5. Moxie Burger. Up off Johnson Ferry Rd. Marietta, this little neighborhood spot has great outdoor seating, great tater tots, great craft beers, great burgers, and even King of Pops. We love this spot, and you can find us here throughout the Summer and Fall.
6. US Cafe Express. This spot, a mile from our home here in Smyrna, has one of the best burgers and some of the best wings around. They also have delicious turkey burgers, and their wings are big and meaty. This place in not known, but should be.
1. Aldo’s Italian. April and I went recently because it was on Scoutmob. The food was amazing, the service was great, and the wine he recommended was perfectly matched. This spot is at the corner of Johnson Ferry and Roswell Rd in Sandy Springs.
2. Pero’s Pizza and Pasta. This place has a great family-style atmosphere, where all know each other. The portions are huge (almost family-style) and the service is great. Haven’t tried their pizza, but their pasta dishes are really good.
3. No. 246. This is our VERY FAVORITE RESTAURANT in ATLANTA. They call it “Italian-inspired”, hence it’s inclusion in this category, but it’s SO much more. April’s had their pizza, which she said compared to Antico’s. My favorite dish there, the wood fire smoked chicken with a sherry bacon vinaigrette, has so much flavor it’s amazing. And the veggies they serve it with pair incredibly. Love their cocktails, too, and they’ve got a great coffee program featuring Batdorf & Bronson and a La Marzocco GB5. And one more thing I like about this place, it’s very affordable. Definitely the best value in Atlanta for us.
4. Lucia’s Italian. This is a great neighborhood Italian restaurant. Great value, great food, great service, great portions. Really loved this place.
5. Mirko Pasta. I had the most amazing four cheese ravioli with crab, tomato, olive oil and red pepper topping. So very good. They recommended a great Sangiovese, which hit the spot, and the tiramisu was the best I’ve had in a long time. They have locations all over Atlanta.
Other Fave Restaurants.
1. Ming’s BBQ. Up on Buford Highway, they have the best Peking Duck in the city. This place is legitimate, so you may have to order by picture, because it’s all in Chinese, but you will not be disappointed. The meat is so tender and flavorful, and the sides are really good, too.
2. Pho Dai Loi #2. This is my favorite Pho in the city. Also on Buford Highway, this has got delicious pho, with lots of great add-in options, and is very cheap! Ben Helfen and Dave LaMont introduced me to this gem, and I’ve been going back every since then. LOVE IT.
3. Crawfish Shack. Also on Buford Highway, when crawfish is in season, you can find us here all the time getting delicious, perfectly spicy boiled crawfish and potatoes. Oh man, this stuff is so good. They also make great beignets. A hidden gem.
4. Cardamom Hill. Kerala inspired Indian. The Kerala Chicken and Waffles with spiced maple syrup is AMAZING. Their chai is mind-blowing, addicting, and makes all other chais taste like frauds. I LOVE this place, just off Northside Dr and 75.
5. Pie Shop. OH MAN. The best pies in Atlanta. I dream of the crust Mims creates there. The Mocha Pie she makes using Cacao’s chocolate and Batdorf’s coffee is EPIC.
6. Woody’s Cheesesteaks. Love their cheesesteaks, love sitting outside in the screened area, love the location not far from Midtown and VirHi.
7. The Mad Italian. Yes, I know it’s Italian, but I’ve never eaten Italian there, because they have the best cheesesteaks in Atlanta. Three different sizes, they come with chips, and they are absolutely the best around. So stinking good. Just off the top end of 285.
8. Bone Garden Cantina. This place, owned by the same folks as Vortex, has great traditional Mexican, not Americanized Mexican. Great drinks, and I love the outside patio area. Over on the Westside, not far from the Roastery. Love it.
9. Hankook Taqueria. This place has amazing Korean/Mexican tacos and burritos. And I love their staff. The Tong Dak tacos are off the chain. Go there!
1. Holeman & Finch. I spoke of it above.
2. P’Cheen. I absolutely love this neighborhood joint and moonshine bar. Love the Ole Smoky Apple Pie moonshine, and love their other drinks. Plus, their asian wings are really good.
3. Leon’s Full Service. Located in Decatur, next to our favorite restaurant No. 246, this spot is great, especially the outside seating. Really good drinks and bocce outside.
4. Brickstore Pub. The most amazing beer menu, many pages long, and an awesome Belgian Bar upstairs. Plus, great snacks. Also, I LOVE the interior of this spot. LOVE IT. Last time I was there, they had the cask of Monday Night Brewing/Batdorf Coffee coffee:IPA. SOOOO good.
5. The Porter Beer Bar. I mean, this place has an a great beer menu, great service and great food to boot. I mostly come here to grab a beer with friends, but I always forget how much I love it.
6. Cypress Street Pint and Plate. I included this above, but I love their beer list, and I love the “Great Pumpkin” event they hosted recently featuring lots of pumpkin beers, and their Beer Geek Tuesdays event.
Yeah, right. Like I could do that. Ask me personally, I’ll tell you. It’s almost like asking who’s your favorite sibling.