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15 Restaurants That Define Atlanta Dining

In a city like Atlanta where borders and limits are amorphous, great restaurants are defined through a one-of-a-kind prism consisting of longevity, records of national honors, and local street cred. Much like the kaleidoscopic restaurant scene here, which features everything from America’s oldest Asian restaurant to an iconic luncheonette with the city’s best fried chicken, what constitutes a great in Atlanta changes depending on mood, budget, occasion, and palate. Here are a collection of spots that have stood the test of time and critique—and continue to hold that weighty title today.

A photo of Otlogo
Su-Jit Lin
15 Restaurants
Updated April 06, 2022
Restaurants:Canoe, Bones, Nakato 'Hibachi' Japanese Restaurant
Price Range:$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:American, Steak, Hibachi
Neighborhoods:Vinings, Buckhead
A photo of Canoe restaurant

1. Canoe

$$$$
American
Vinings
4.7
9768 reviews

A manicured lawn with walking paths and a gazebo is all that separates diners from the banks of the Chattahoochee River, a setting that’s perfect for special-occasion brunch and dinner. The vibe here is unpretentious luxury, as unhurried as the nearby water. Canoe’s executive chef Matthew Basford is from Australia and brings a gourmet influence to the game selection here, which includes peppercorn-crusted kangaroo, slow-braised rabbit, maple duck breast, and meticulously sourced finfish. No matter how full you are, don’t miss the flat white, an Australian spin on tiramisu made with chiffon cake and Dulcey crémeux, or the ever-photogenic popcorn ice cream sundae, crowned with Canoe’s signature candied popcorn and chantilly cream.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Bones restaurant

2. Bones

$$$$
Steak
Buckhead
4.9
8976 reviews

In this “pictures or it didn’t happen” era, a meal at this cell phone-free steakhouse, founded in 1979, might have you questioning if it was all just a dream. Perhaps it’s this level of privacy that has earned it the distinction of being named the nation’s best steakhouse by Zagat. On the menu, find items such as A4 Japanese wagyu, 35-day dry- and wet-aged steaks, veal rib chops, and loin lamb chops. There’s also exceptional seafood that includes live lobsters that are brought in daily. All pair excellently with a selection from one of the largest wine lists in Atlanta. The attentive staff—which includes 40-year veterans—can guide you through with expertise.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Nakato 'Hibachi' Japanese Restaurant restaurant

3. Nakato 'Hibachi' Japanese Restaurant

$$$$
Hibachi
Buckhead
4.5
1015 reviews

Half a century is a long time by any measure, but when a restaurant hits that milestone in especially tumultuous times, there’s no mistaking its place in the hearts of its city. Tetsuko Nakato’s legacy—the oldest Asian restaurant in Atlanta—continues to thrive under the stewardship of her granddaughter Sachi Nakato Takahara. Choose between a lively hibachi experience or a more tranquil omakase meal. The fresh seafood here, which is flown in from Japan several times a week then broken down onsite by expert chefs, is one of the many reasons this restaurant continues to stand out from the crowd.


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A photo of Nakato 'Sushi Bar and Regular Dining' Japanese Restaurant restaurant

4. Nakato 'Sushi Bar and Regular Dining' Japanese Restaurant

$$$$
Sushi
Midtown
4.7
471 reviews

Half a century is a long time by any measure, but when a restaurant hits that milestone in especially tumultuous times, there’s no mistaking its place in the hearts of its city. Tetsuko Nakato’s legacy—the oldest Asian restaurant in Atlanta—continues to thrive under the stewardship of her granddaughter Sachi Nakato Takahara. Choose between a lively hibachi experience or a more tranquil omakase meal. The fresh seafood here, which is flown in from Japan several times a week then broken down onsite by expert chefs, is one of the many reasons this restaurant continues to stand out from the crowd.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
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A photo of Nan Thai Fine Dining restaurant

Nan Thai Fine Dining

$$$$
Thai
Midtown
4.8
3655 reviews

This 15-time AAA Four Diamond award-winning legend, whose accolades are as bright as the sunlight that streams into its contemporary dining room, is an Atlanta icon. Despite the recent passing of her husband and co-founder Charlie, Bangkok-born Nan Niyomkul is still at it, dishing up standbys such as pad thai, massaman curry, and fried rice, all enhanced by premium ingredients like jumbo tiger prawns, crispy lobster tail, and pan-seared sea scallops.


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Takeout available
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A photo of La Grotta restaurant

La Grotta

$$$$
Italian
Buckhead
4.9
2514 reviews

Named an OpenTable Top 100 Restaurant for 2021, the best Italian restaurant in the city by Atlanta magazine for 18 consecutive years, and a AAA Four Diamond award recipient for 25 years, this Buckhead establishment became an institution under the careful stewardship of Christian Favalli and chef Antonio Abizanda, who hails from northern Italy. Don’t expect red-sauce staples here, though—instead, feast on risotto, delicate stuffed pastas such as sacchetti, and fresh pappardelle with lobster and shallots in a white wine cream sauce, all available as both appetizers and mains. As the weather warms, opt to enjoy it all in the courtyard garden, strung with charming patio lights that crisscross over white tablecloths and red umbrellas under a green canopy. The tasteful exposed brick-accented dining room is classic and romantic, but who can resist Italian al fresco?


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A photo of Nino's - Atlanta restaurant

Nino's - Atlanta

$$$$
Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
Midtown
4.7
2004 reviews

As the oldest family-owned Italian restaurant in Atlanta, Nino’s has served Italian favorites since 1968 in a setting that’s just as timeless: There’s an enclosed patio with warm string lights, chandeliers and wine bottle accents, and white tablecloths under wooden beams. The food is just as inviting—specialty dishes are named for family members, such as the fettuccine alla Michela, topped with sauteed shrimp, seared scallops, and saffron cream sauce, and the scampi all Nino’s—a riff on the owner’s mother’s recipe—with stewed tomato, white wine butter sauce, and lemons that evoke the Amalfi Coast.


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Takeout available
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A photo of no. 246 restaurant

no. 246

$$$$
Italian
Decatur
4.8
2725 reviews

This beloved Californian-Italian joint, which marked a decade in 2021, underwent a reinvention to embrace a more classic, ’70s-era identity. From the décor—dry herbs on distressed brick—to the white-on-white server uniforms, it’s clear the retro vibes are in full force. Chef Drew Belline and four-time James Beard Award-nominee chef Ford Fry have a penchant for comfort foods such as meatballs in San Marzano tomato sauce, cheesy garlic bread, house-made macaroni, and pizzas baked to true Neapolitan standards—leopard spots on a puffy crust and all. Wash it down with aperol spritzes or tiny negronis, or one of the many wines available by glass.


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Experiences available
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A photo of Anis Cafe and Bistro restaurant

Anis Cafe and Bistro

$$$$
French
Buckhead
4.8
4639 reviews

Anis Café is enchanting for its transportive powers, which was the intent of owner Arnaud Michel when he first opened doors in 1994. A recreation of casual French bistros from his hometown of Montpelier, France, this charming venue whisks you to the Mediterranean coast, courtesy of an outdoor patio strewn with plants and colorful umbrellas. The menu prioritizes quality ingredients and seasonality, rich with French wines, cheeses, and meats such as saucisson and pâté. Larger plates include a classic trout meuniere and a traditional croque monsieur. The mussels are a signature favorite that directly channel Michel’s seaside memories—another example of excellent execution by chef Jeff Gomez, who has been cooking in the kitchen since the early 2000s.


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A photo of Old Vinings Inn restaurant

Old Vinings Inn

$$$$
Southern
Vinings
4.7
2359 reviews

Formerly a post office, general store, and a filling station before it became a restaurant in 1990, this historic Vinings building has had more lives than a cat. However, it’s hard to imagine it as anything but its current incarnation: an elegant curtained dining room, exuding plenty of Southern charm. Executive chef Matt Olech serves comfort food with a refined twist, such as Dr. Pepper barbecued lamb ribs with a Brussels sprouts and butternut squash hash and a grilled Cheshire pork chop with mac and cheese, pot liquor collards, and ancho molasses glaze. Dinner here comes with a show: Catch live tunes from Thursday to Saturday at the popular Attic Bar upstairs.


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A photo of Paschal's Restaurant restaurant

Paschal's Restaurant

$$$$
Southern
Downtown
4.5
1408 reviews

This iconic and historic restaurant, which debuted in 1947, was the little luncheonette that could—brothers James and Robert Paschal started by taxiing in their hot food from Robert’s home and grew that into a mission to create the best fried chicken in the city. Now a grand venue around the corner from its original location, Paschal’s features industrial touches like stairs naturally lit by warehouse-style windows. What hasn’t changed, though, is the soul food that made it famous. The secret recipe for its famous fried chicken still draws crowds, and diners continue to flock here for the comfort of shrimp and grits, meatloaf, mac and cheese, and the lauded peach cobbler.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Ruby Chow's restaurant

Ruby Chow's

$$$$
Asian
Old Fourth Ward
4.8
635 reviews

Colorful and buzzy, this Asian fusion spot is designed to make the kind of splash its historical namesake—a Seattle-based politician and restaurateur—did. Helmed by chef and restaurateur Guy Wong, the brain behind other pan Asian Atlanta trendsetters such as Ton Ton, Ruby Chow oozes a distinct glamor. Interiors are retro Chinese, all deep reds and florals, decked with traditional lanterns. Choose from elegant small plates and fan favorites carried over from Miso Izakaya, chef Wong’s now-shuttered Japanese restaurant, such as the shoyu tamago, a soft-boiled soy sauce egg on a crispy rice cake. Newer creations include a cacio e pepe, which is given a Chinese spin through the addition of Sichuan peppercorns, and grits accompanied by braised pork belly, ensuring that the flavors here rival the vibrant decor.


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Takeout available
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A photo of Iberian Pig - Decatur restaurant

Iberian Pig - Decatur

$$$$
Spanish
Decatur
4.8
4738 reviews

Atlantans can “pig” out at their choice of location at this Spanish restaurant, Buckhead or the original Decatur. Both boast the same distinctly moody and romantic atmosphere, complete with dark woods, dim lights—and lots of meat and cheese. Inspired by the fine markets of the Iberian Peninsula, menu offerings are comprised of rare jamon Iberico, real Manchego cheese, and Idiazabal, an unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Navarre, among other rare delights. MVPs on the tapas lineup include lobster croquetas and pork cheek tacos, along with classics such as patatas bravas and pan con tomate. But if you want to go big, the suckling pig at the Buckhead location is a memorable way to party with 4 to 15 of your hungriest friends. So is a platter of paella, made with traditional bomba rice, chicken, shrimp, mussels, and pork tenderloin. Small or giant, these plates are primed to please.


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A photo of Murphy's Restaurant restaurant

Murphy's Restaurant

$$$$
English
Griffin
0 reviews

This oversized VaHi staple, which has been in business since 1980, is best known for its brunch, thanks to Southern-inspired dishes such as shrimp and cheddar grits with tomato pepper jam or andouille and malted waffles. But one doesn’t win OpenTable Diner’s Choice recognition for a single meal service alone. With a new pastry chef at the helm, Murphy’s is cranking out fresh spins on the sweets that put “bakery” in its name. Look for recent additions such as cinnamon bread pudding and Irish whiskey butter cake. The versatile neighborhood spot also churns out a hearty dinner, where highlights include spinach and sausage meatloaf and Carolina trout with garlic kale and brown butter vinaigrette. Come for the homey vibes and stay for the top-notch farm-to-table fare.


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A photo of Bold Monk Brewing Co restaurant

Bold Monk Brewing Co

$$$$
Gastro Pub
West Midtown
4.8
549 reviews

Part modern brewery, part coffee house and bookstore, but most notably, a beer garden, this four-in-one spot is a sought-after events venue. While the beer is Belgian, the menu sprinkles in Southern and Californian influences. Beer’s best friend pizza makes an appearance, as do other ale companions such as mussels and sandwiches. Order the Abbot, piled high with knackwurst, pastrami, Swiss cheese, mustard, and sauerkraut, and chill out at this convivial brewpub.


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Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
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