10 Incredible Restaurants to Try in Atlanta During Super Bowl Weekend
Heading to Atlanta for the Super Bowl next month? Before the nail-biting game on Sunday, get a taste of some of the best food the city has to offer. Below, Atlanta native Gabrielle Sorto gives us the scoop on where to make a reservation.
At farm-to-table spot Restaurant Eugene, James Beard Award-winning chef Linton Hopkins and his wife Gina add a little Southern flair to fine dining by spotlighting all things local. Their menu, which includes high-low combos like north Georgia trout with crispy oysters and sweet potato and shaved country ham with hush puppies and pickled pink shrimp, pays homage to farmers and artisans while celebrating the history and region of the food. And that food is good. Everything from the à la carte menu is great (especially the charcoal roasted pork loin with strawberry sweet potato), but you can’t go wrong with the tasting menu. Trust us, you’ll want to try as much as possible.
Critics and locals have nothing but praise for Staplehouse, a New American restaurant with a poignant backstory. The idea for the Edgewood neighborhood staple began in 2009, when Jen Hidinger-Kendrick and her late husband Ryan Hidinger began hosting an underground supper club of sorts, inviting 10 guests to their home for dinner every Sunday—emulating a restaurant they hoped to open one day. Their plans halted when Ryan was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and died two years after. At Staplehouse, opened in 2015, his legacy is kept alive through the family-like atmosphere, ever-changing tasting menus by chef Ryan Smith, and a partnership with non-profit The Giving Kitchen, where they donate all after-tax profits to provide grants to restaurant workers facing unanticipated hardships.
Bacchanalia, on Atlanta’s Westside, not only offers an entirely organic menu, but does it one better—it sources ingredients from husband-wife team Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s own north Georgia farm, Summerland. Because the dining option consists of just one four-course prix fixe menu, the culinary team can get creative, highlighting light and fresh plates that change throughout the seasons and change slightly each night. If you can’t nab a reservation (or don’t have the budget for the $95 experience), grab a spot at the bar to enjoy their à la carte offerings.
Located in Decatur, Kimball House shakes up some of the best cocktails the city has to offer. This is mostly thanks to Miles Macquarrie, the co-owner and bar manager who has earned the restaurant nods as a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Outstanding Bar Program. Try the namesake cocktail, made with gin, Cocchi Americano, and orange bitters. Once your drink order is in, get ready for the oyster bar—dubbed not only the best in Atlanta but the the best in the whole Southeast.
The Optimist, in Atlanta's Westside, brings the sea to this landlocked city. The lobster roll is said to be the best of the best, but Optimist's craft cocktails aren't far behind. Try A Nod and a Wink, which features gin, sweet vermouth, Hoodoo chicory liqueur, and black pepper. Heads up: if there’s a wait for your table, the mini-golf lawn outside will keep you busy while you build up your appetite.
Empire State South
We can describe Midtown’s Empire State South in one word: rustic. The menu by celeb chef Hugh Acheson (you might know him from Top Chef) reimagines Southern cuisine alongside curated cocktails from beverage director Kellie Thorn (try the Birdsong, with rye whiskey, calvados, kina, and pine) and décor that's just the right amount of Georgia charm, mason jars and all. Eat as the locals eat with the most popular dish on the menu: the farm egg with ess bologna, crisp carolina gold rice, chestnut puree, shiitake, and foraged greens.
Occupying a prominent spot in the Westside Provisions shopping district, JCT. Kitchen by chef Ford Fry puts an upscale spin on Southern comfort food. We recommend starting with the Gulf Blue Crab fingers before working your way down the menu to the yummy heritage pork schnitzel. Just don’t forget about the sides—you'll want to save room for their sublime creamy macaroni and cheese with patak bacon. Not up for digging into a full meal? The rooftop patio bar's craft cocktails and killer views are equally worth checking out.
The dining room at Atlas, with its original Picassos and Matisses lining the walls, is just as exquisite as Executive Chef Christopher Grossman’s menu, which changes daily and showcases seasonal ingredients from local farms. For a more casual affair, explore the small-plate menu in the newly-renovated adjoining lounge and library, Tavern at Atlas. Wet your whistle with one of the many seasonal hand-shaken cocktails between rounds of tallow french fries (with pickled ramp aioli and parmesan) and cheese twists (parmigiano-reggiano, thyme, puff pastry).
There’s a reason Aria tops “best of” lists year after year. Actually, there are three reasons: the stellar food, the award-winning wine list, and its beautiful atmosphere—all sleek black walls and tableware and white tablecloths. Imagined by Chef Gerry Klaskala, the modern American menus (both à la carte and tasting options) change nightly, so you’re always in for a delicious surprise. Fair warning: you’ll want to make a reservation well in advance for this busy Buckhead spot, which is a go-to for special occasions.
Bread & Butterfly
Head to Bread & Butterfly, a romantic café and bistro in Inman Park, for French cuisine you can enjoy all day long. In the morning, that means sitting on the sunlit porch with a cappuccino and quiche or omelette du jour. Come evening, we recommend enjoying the shrimp remoulade or tuna tartare in the cozy dining room. Between its quaint ambiance and highly Instagrammable bites, we’d call it the perfect date spot.
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