Welcome to Atlanta! Y’all hungry?

Welcome to Atlanta, y’all!  With 55 streets containing the name Peachtree and plenty of them crossing Ponce de Leon Avenue, which we pronounce as if we’d made up the name ourselves (Ponts d’LEE-on), y’all might need a little guidance while y’all are here!

While you won’t find a Paula Deen-owned eatery in our sprawling city, you’ll find plenty of great places to eat and this site will tell you how to get to some of them without a car.

Here you’ll find Southern fare, American fare, Mexican, Asian, and British pub fare, and a few picks from Atlanta Magazine’s Top 50. And a word to the wise: Eating out in restaurants is a favorite Atlanta pastime, so wherever you plan to go, make reservations or plan for a long wait.

Each restaurant description includes a link to the restaurant’s site, through which you can make reservations, or you can go through Open Table or Urbanspoon. And a (*) means the restaurant is also a bar, so feel free to just go for drinks.

The entries on this site are named for MARTA stations, our highly criticized and highly under-utilized rapid-enough rapid transit system.  The Sheraton is located at the first stop on the north portion of the rail, N1: Peachtree Center.  Each entry on this site will tell you how many stops you’ll need to go from N1 to get to your destination.

And for more info, MARTA’s site.

And if you’d rather just take a cab, Taxi Magic lets you book a cab with Checker Cab online.

Bon appetit, y’all!

-Sonya

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N3: North Avenue

Take the red or gold line two stops north of Peachtree Center to get to North Avenue. The North Avenue Station is located at the corner of West Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue (say: “Ponts d’LEE-on”).  All of the restaurant recs below are on Peachtree Street, which is not connected to West Peachtree Street. They are two different streets that run parallel to each other.  And we natives of Atlanta don’t know why this is so darn hard for y’all!

Make your way up Ponce de Leon to Peachtree Street and find these restaurants clustered around the historic Fabulous Fox Theater.

Here’s a map of the area with all the restaurants below marked.

Publik Draft House*, at the corner of Peachtree and Ponce right next-door to the Fox, is a modern pub where you can eat dinner at high-top tables or at the bar.  In addition to burgers and entree salads, you’ll find typical pub fare like fish & chips and shepherd’s pie alongside Southern classics like shrimp ‘n’ grits and country fried chicken. Casual, friendly atmosphere.

The Livingston* at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, across from Publik and the Fox, is a gorgeous restaurant and lounge located inside the historic Georgian Terrace Hotel.  Eat in the lounge, the restaurant, or on the patio on bustling Peachtree St. It’s worth going in for just one drink so that you can spend a few minutes in this beautiful space.

Baraonda, highly regarded by locals, is an Italian restaurant and wine bar specializing in brick oven pizzas.

Escorpión* is a tequila bar with great Mexican food. It’s a fun, but crowded, bar scene. Has a nice small patio on Peachtree Street.

And if you want to just throw coronary caution to the wind, The Varsity, is truly an Atlanta institution. It’s greasy fast food at its best…which is when it’s worst, I think. Legend has it that the guy who started this place stormed out of class at Georgia Tech, his professor chiding him, “You’ll never amount to a dime,” and he started selling hotdogs and Cokes from a cart across the street, where you’ll now find what is supposedly “The World’s Largest Drive-In.” It’s worth going in just to hear the folks behind the counter calling out orders like auctioneers. Whadayahave?Whadayahave?Whadayahave? Maybe you could have just one teeny tiny French fry or just a teensy sip of  a frosted orange….

*Also a bar. No need to order food.

N4: Midtown

Take the red or gold line three stops north of Peachtree Center to Midtown Station. Stroll past the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum to find Empire State South. This is a place you’ll want to go to linger.  It’s high-end modern Southern fare in a beautiful space. The service, food and wine are impeccable. Take your time. You can even play a game of bocce ball in the courtyard.

The Vortex is a stone’s throw and a world away from Empire State South. This bar and grill is often called the home of the best burger in town, but I think it’s their attitude that makes them famous. Their site offers “Rules” and “Bar Etiquette” and includes the warning “The Vortex is not politically correct. If you are easily offended, there is a good possibility that you will be offended here.”  You be the judge of that…

The Lawrence, a block from The Vortex, is a brand new Atlanta hotspot — the result of the combined efforts of two of Atlanta’s biggest chefs.  I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, so take a look at this recent write-up.

Here’s a map of the Arts Center Station and Midtown Station area with all the restaurant recs noted.

N5: Arts Center Station

Take the red or gold line four stops north to Arts Center Station, named for its proximity to Woodruff Arts Center, home of the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony and the Alliance Theatre.  Here you can walk along Peachtree around the Midtown/South Buckhead (“SoBuck”) area and check out some of these restaurants.

Here’s a map of the area with the Arts Center and Midtown Stations marked as well as all the restaurants below.

Table 1280, practically on the lawn of the High Museum, is part of the Woodruff Arts Center complex. It is supposed to have a lovely courtyard and view of the museum, but this reporter has not been there, so let’s see what locals are saying on CitySearch.

TAP: A Gastropub*. I love to sit on the front patio at TAP at the corner of Peachtree and 14th.  Great food and atmosphere.  Modern fare including hearty entrées, soups and salads, burgers, tacos, and a mix of small plates.  35 beers and 2 wines on tap.  Inside is great too, but a little loud on weekend nights.

Shout, right across the street from TAP also has a great patio on the roof.  The patio is first-come first-served, and they say it’s harder to get a table on the roof after 6:30.  I’ve been here once and the salmon and Thai shrimp skewers were great and so were the service and the table on the roof.  Lots of fish dishes on the menu.

Tamarind Seed, right next door to Shout, gets great word of mouth for its Thai food.

Spice Market, a block from the cluster of restaurants above, is Pan Asian cuisine in a beautiful space — I hear. It gets great word of mouth.

South City Kitchen is two blocks from the cluster of restaurants above. If you’ve just got to get your fried green tomatoes or shrimp ‘n’ grits while you’re in town, you’ll find that and other Southern fare with a modern flare on the menu here. They also have a great patio, and there are a couple of bars and clubs on the same tiny block.

Tin Lizzy’s* is a cantina a couple of doors down from South City Kitchen.

*Also a bar. No need to order food.

E6: Decatur

A little further off the beaten path from the hotel, Decatur, whose unofficial slogan is “Mayberry meets Berkeley,” is worth the trip as you’ll find many restaurants and watering holes all on one convenient square right outside the MARTA station.  And on a warm night, you’ll no doubt hear live music on the square or on the patio across the street outside Java Monkey.

Take the red or gold line one stop south to Five Points and transfer to the eastbound blue line to go to six stops to Decatur. When you exit the MARTA station, you’ll be facing Church Street, with your back to the Square. Look to your right, you’ll see Cakes & Ale on Sycamore. All the other restaurants below under Sycamore are listed in the order in which you’ll pass them after Cakes & Ale.

This is just a selection of what’s available to eat in Decatur.

Here’s a map of the area with most of the restaurants marked. (Restaurants listed below but not marked on the map are located between the marked ones.)

Dining on Sycamore:

Cakes & Ale serves higher end modern American cuisine served in a casually elegant space.  Offerings consist of a mix of small plates, entrées, and a few special dishes from the wood-burning oven.  The menu is constantly changing to bring in whatever’s new and in-season at local farms. Definitely make a reservation or try your luck getting a seat at the bar of the “community table” that’s reserved for walk-ins.

Raging Burrito‘s slogan “We roll fatties” says it all. Ultra casual burrito joint with a college-hangout feel and a huge back patio. This is the only restaurant on this site for which I wouldn’t bother trying to make a reservation.

Sushi Avenue offers the expected sushi menu with good service in a nice atmosphere.

Siam Thai, ditto Sushi Avenue, offers the expected Thai menu with good service in a nice atmosphere.

Iberian Pig* serves modern Spanish cuisine including an extensive menu of tapas, cheeses, entrées and of course wine, lots and lots of wine.

Square Pub* is a pretty standard English-style pub serving good food and drink.  Friendly crowd.  Not as long a wait as Cakes & Ale, Iberian Pig and Brick Store if you can’t get into one of those.

Standing with your back to Square Pub, across the square and slightly to the right is Brick Store Pub.

Brick Store Pub*, described as a hub for Decatur locals, is a large pub with casual, neighborhood feel. The food – burgers, salads, sandwiches and a selection of English pub fare – is excellent; service is friendly; and the beer list is …. long.

Leon’s Full Service. To get to Leon’s from MARTA, instead of looking to your right to find Cakes & Ale, turn left and walk till you get to the corner of Ponce de Leon.  The owners of Brick Store opened a restaurant in this renovated former gas station. A great spot for people-watching, you can eat out front at the corner of this busy Decatur block. I’ve never eaten anything here that I didn’t like. I recommend ordering a selection of starters and sides to share with your table.

*Also a bar. No need to order food.