Best of Atlanta 2016: Food & Drink
Former fine-dining chef Adrian Villarreal entered the crowded casual-fare arena with this fresh taqueria that pays homage to his Mexican roots.
The crowds are constant at this grab-and-go Charleston import, which tops its enormous, fluffy, crumbly biscuits with fried chicken, pimento cheese, and thick-cut bacon.
Thank you, Atsushi “Art” Hayakawa, for reminding us that a sushi restaurant can be serene.
Located near Duluth’s sprawling Super H Mart, this restaurant has quickly become a favorite with the city’s Asian community, who come for the rich aged kimchi and stunning hot pots.
If you really want to impress someone (James Bond, say), then book a reservation at this “Japanese speakeasy,” hidden behind a secret door that swings open only after you supply a password or retinal scan.
Join the groups lounging on comfy couches and sipping fruit-forward cocktails, beer, wine, or (our fave) Nanbu Bijin sake.
From a quiet corner on Edgewood Avenue, Staplehouse has captured the attention and appetites of diners across the country, earning accolades from GQ, the James Beard Foundation, and Bon Appétit.
Atlas is one of a small handful of restaurants that still employ a full-time pastry chef, and it has struck gold with Castillo.
When Lusca closed early this year it was a blow to the Atlanta restaurant scene, but you’ll find plenty of its alums at 8Arm, the first installment in Angus Brown and Nhan Le’s planned mini empire on Ponce.
After a four-year stint at Restaurant Eugene, Bies left not just Atlanta but the country in order to train in kitchens across Asia.
Jocelyn Gragg’s chocolates are so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them. Almost.
Barcelona Wine Bar’s first retail store offers exactly what you’d expect from the restaurant: a casual-cool vibe, friendly staff, and lots of Spanish wine.
When Todd Ginsberg opened this bakery next door to his flagship restaurant, the General Muir, we knew it would serve as bread-making HQ for his operations, including West Egg, Fred’s Meat & Bread, and Yalla.
The cool Decatur newbie touts its sushi in the name, but trust us: You want the plump and juicy chicken skewers grilled over Japanese charcoal.
You could spend $4 on a doughnut that seems decorated just for Instagram. But if you’re judging on taste alone, this 12-year-old north metro chain takes the cake.
Local pasta master Michael Patrick offers up his full line of noodles, meatballs, and sauces—all made fresh in-house—plus a host of other products imported from the Old Country.
It’s a family affair for chef Hudson Rouse and his wife, Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse, who opened this cozy spot in the spring.
In addition to producing one of Atlanta’s only hard ciders (made with apples picked from its own orchard), Urban Tree pours local craft beers, hosts live bands, and brings in food trucks for the crowds that pack this breezy space.
You won’t find better, more authentic Thai street food than at this Duluth spin-off of an existing restaurant by the same name.
Chicken wings, avocado toast, pork belly buns, and more
This sweet sensation first popularized by Thai street vendors has finally made the journey to Buford Highway.
Just try keeping up with Q. The owner-operator of We Suki Suki has boundless energy and ideas, which range from a community-owned food truck to her own line of pâté.
Founded by (Yep) two cousins with Maine roots, this food truck franchise dishes out all kinds of fresh-caught treats: lobster rolls, lobster tacos, lobster quesadillas.
The chicken is moist and crisp in the best way, chef Todd Richards has been known to fleck the waffle with collard greens, and the signature hot sauce gives just the right amount of kick.
Few restaurants make us want to slow down the way Billy Allin’s new Inman Park cafe does.
Refined decor, gorgeous Asian-influenced dishes, and a team that understands that non-animal-eaters deserve more than bland slabs of fake meat make this upscale spot a hit with both hard-core vegans and the business lunch crowd.
Vinings wins big with this top-notch establishment, where the service is thoughtful and considered, the cocktails are rich, and the meat is a cut above (especially at the relatively affordable prices).
Easily the best restaurant within miles of Marietta Square, this newcomer is worth a visit no matter which direction you’re driving from.
Kimball House earns high marks for value (check out the happy hour for $1 to $2 oysters), unique drinks, and impeccable service, but what really fires up our Southern pride is the menu’s expanding selection of Gulf and lower Atlantic Coast oysters.
It may be an elderly stand-by in restaurant years, but this modest establishment boasts a seemingly endless menu of dumplings and savories that’s without equal in town.
Since opening last year, this restaurant has doubled in size to accommodate the crowds, who are drawn to Rui Liu's full-throttle Sichuan cooking.
Chef Andre Gomez, like most Puerto Ricans, has a thing for pig: pork-filled sandwiches, roast suckling pig, and an unusual island specialty known as “can can pork,” a gigantic cut that resembles a crown roast and is marinated, grilled, then deep-fried for max crispness and rich taste.
It’s one thing to have a bar menu full of stunning, layered extravagances. It’s another to serve them in such effortlessly stylish, moody surroundings.
The interior isn’t much to look at, but it’s the beautiful Tamil cuisine that attracts diners from across the metro area.
This sleek, stylish Los Angeles import delivers a blitz of tasty snacks like octopus balls, gyoza dumplings, caramelized cauliflower, and soft pork belly buns.
When the six-year-old Condesa opened a second location in the old Atlanta Daily World building last year, it brought more foot traffic and community to the Auburn Avenue area.
With a team of all-star bartenders (hello, Paul Calvert!), quirky 1970s decor that’s reminiscent of a high-gloss Regal Beagle, and a kitchen that bests everything else in Krog Street Market, Ticonderoga Club has become the de facto hangout for food industry insiders.
In the 10 years since he opened Cakes & Ale in Decatur, Allin has slowly but surely laid the groundwork for a restaurant group that has no weak links.
You’re more likely to find fried bologna sandwiches and funnel cakes than pristine fine-dining plates on this account from Gunshow and Revival chef Kevin Gillespie.
I would go for the lasagna alone. It’s the perfect comfort food.