Atlanta Food Guide featuring some of the best places to eat in Atlanta and the metro area. We also feature our favorite cocktail bars.
This list of the best places to eat in Atlanta is featuring Smyrna, Marietta, and Vinings because that’s where I live so it’s where we eat out the most. In future posts, I’ll add an Atlanta/Midtown/Buckhead Food Guide and a Decatur Food Guide.
Note – I’m not a food critic and I won’t write bad reviews, so if there’s a place we didn’t particularly enjoy then I just won’t include it on any of my lists. This way you can be assured that all the places on this food guide are places I’ve actually eaten and liked enough to recommend.
Porch Light Latin Kitchen – This is the new hot spot in Atlanta that everyone’s talking about. They were recently featured on Atlanta Eats—if you missed it, check out the review here. I’ve been to Porch Light Latin Kitchen a couple of times now and LOVE IT.
The menu changes somewhat but there are some regular items too, like the huge pork chop. I was with some girlfriends the night this menu photo was taken, and we split the Conch Fritters, Beer Can Chicken, and the Arugula and Peach Salad. It was all amazing! Then we drooled over the pork chop that the lady next to us had but we were too full to try one ourselves. And the whole fish is to die for!
This is a tiny restaurant though and it fills up quickly, so be sure you plan ahead and make a reservation. Porch Light Latin Kitchen is definitely one of the best places to eat in Atlanta!
Canoe Atlanta – Absolutely one of our favorites restaurants in all of Atlanta, not only because of the food and fabulous bar, but also because of its location. Canoe is right on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and during the warmer months they set up a makeshift bar right out by the water.
They also have chairs right by the water, so you can enjoy after-dinner cocktails outside.
And the food. All of the food here is amazing, which is why this place has been one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the area for years.
Atlanta’s 101 Steak – One of our new favorite places, the service and food here is impeccable. It’s a bit pricey, but then most exceptional steak houses are.
The Brussels Sprouts are fabulous, the steaks are perfect, and the desserts are superb. And the cocktails are pretty good too, as well as the wine list.
The Butcher The Baker – A go-to in Marietta, this restaurant is consistently excellent, both in service and food. The craft cocktails are divine and seasonal, they almost always have some form of pork belly on the menu, and one of the owners is a renowned pastry chef, so the desserts here are unique and delicious.
Plus, the Marietta Square recently underwent an overhaul and expanded the sidewalks so the outdoor seating is perfect for evening dining.
Wade’s Fine Eatery – this is actually a local place that we go to weekly when we’re in town. They have great salads, amazing burgers, sandwiches, wings, and other creative munchies. Much better than typical tavern food.
And the cocktails here, along with the beer and wine, are superb: creative, seasonal, fresh, and always delicious.
WR Social House – Right next door to The Butcher The Baker, WR Social House is the happening, laid-back, fun place to be. They offer some sort of special or entertainment daily, including Monday Trivia Night, Taco Tuesday, and Burgers and Brews on Thursday.
Just like Butcher Baker, the ingredients are all local and fresh as are the craft cocktails and beer.
Mezza Luna Pasta & Seafood – Here’s a little gem that’s tucked away in a small Smyrna strip shopping center. It’s pretty cozy, so get there early or make reservations and prepare to be amazed at the authentic Italian food that is set before you.
It’s like a real Italian cafe with homemade pastas and sauces, and Italian specials each night. It’s a secret little spot in Smyrna that is considered by many to be one of the best places to eat in Atlanta!
This restaurant also features live music on the weekends, either a Sinatra-style singer or Italian accordian music.
Two Birds Taphouse – I’ve only been here a few times, but it’s so fun! This place is lively and full of young people and lots of energy.
It’s a tapas-style restaurant and everything we tried when we were there with friends was terrific, including the Schnitzel, the Pimento Cheese, and the Scallops.
Zama Mexican Cuisine – When we moved to Smyrna a couple of years ago, we were excited to see this Mexican restaurant getting ready to open in our neighborhood.
We became regulars and have fallen in love with the margaritas here. They are fresh and perfectly balanced—no bottled mixes here!
The food is authentically Mexican and consistently well done, with my favorite made-to-order tableside guacamole.
Paces and Vine – This has become one of our frequent dining spots since we moved. The outdoor patio is so nice and large, and the food is amazing every single time—we certainly think this is one of the best places to eat in Atlanta!
While we enjoy dinner here regularly, my favorite dish is the Malted Waffle at brunch. I loved it so much I had to recreate it so we could have it more often!
Figo Pasta Italian Restaurant – With three locations in Atlanta, there’s probably a Figo Pasta near you. My favorite location is the one in Vinings because of the quaint outdoor patio with string lights hanging from the trees.
Do you see a pattern here? David and I gravitate to places where we can sit outside and dine leisurely, enjoying good food, conversation, and cocktails.
Figo fits the bill with all of those. The pasta and sauces are homemade, and what I love about this place is that you choose your pasta and choose your sauce so you can get exactly what you want.
There are also traditional Italian dishes like lasagna and several varieties of ravioli. And if you have a large family to feed, this is the place to go—I think Figo is probably the most reasonable priced Italian restaurant with amazingly good, fresh food.
Stockyard Burgers and Bones – Here’s a great little burger joint to try, with a location on the Marietta Square and another in Vinings.
They offer craft beer and cocktails, and a variety of beef, tuna, or veggie burgers, as well as ribs, steaks, pork chops, and sides for the table. It’s a fun, casual place to get a great burger.
The Marietta Local – We’ve only eaten here for breakfast but every single time it’s been exactly how you want breakfast to be. While they’re known for the Fried Chicken and French Toast, I usually just get scrambled eggs and cheese grits. The cheese grits here are the best around.
This is our go-to place on Saturday mornings when we’re headed to the Marietta Square Farmer’s Market.
Kiosco Restaurant – I’ve only eaten here once, and while I don’t remember what I had I do remember what my friend had—a half roasted chicken with raspberry sauce.
It was the crispiest, best roasted chicken I have ever tasted and I highly recommend giving this restaurant a try.
Trackside Grill – When we lived in Kennesaw, Trackside was a regular favorite. They have the best outdoor dining area, which is an upstairs, covered patio. It’s lovely to sit there and be shaded and look out over the city.
The food here is perfectly done, classic Southern with twists and there are always specials to enjoy.
JD’s Bar-B-Que – While there are some better-known BBQ joints in Atlanta, there aren’t any with better food in my opinion. I don’t typically get ribs or brisket or that sort of thing, although I have tried theirs and it’s good. I just like pulled pork.
But most BBQ places can make decent pork. It’s the Brunswick Stew that’s the test for me. If you bring me Brunswick Stew with little green peas, butterbeans, or potatoes, you might as well take it on back to the kitchen.
So, go to JD’s to try some proper Brunswick Stew.
West Cobb Diner – This is my recommendation for a meat-and-three in the Cobb County area. Just about any vegetable you want, along with any meat you want, and any dessert and they are all fresh and delicious.
I tend to order vegetable plates when I go to places like this because I can’t choose just one or two vegetables.
Muss & Turner’s – Any list of the best places to eat in Atlanta is likely to include Muss & Turner’s. They may just have the best burgers in the whole metro Atlanta area. But you don’t have to get a burger. They also have amazing chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, veggie sandwiches, and salads.
I’ve only been here for lunch but I would guess the dinner menu is equally good.
And there’s a secret speakeasy hidden here called Eleanor’s. I won’t tell you where but if you find it, be sure and check it out.
South City Kitchen – Long known as one of the best places to eat in Atlanta, this is Southern food fancy-style, with some classic dishes given a chef’s twist.
Must-try: She-Crab soup, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Shrimp and Grits.
Spring Restaurant – The food here is superb, and becoming renowned in critical dining circles in Marietta. I’ve been here once with girlfriends and enjoyed it very much.
What do you think are the best places to eat in Atlanta and surrounding area? Please let us know in the comments section so I can check out some new eating spots.
Coming soon, Metro Atlanta Food Guide Featuring Decatur Eats and Metro Atlanta Food Guide Featuring Buckhead/Midtown/Poncey-Highlands Area.
Be sure and check out my Chicago Food Guide too.
Update Notes: This post was originally published April 27, 2017, and on September 27, 2019, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.