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Iconic restaurants in Atlanta

Discover the top restaurants that have shaped the culinary landscape of Atlanta.

October 26, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 12
A view of the Atlanta skyline at night.

Atlanta, a city pulsating with vibrant culture, rich history, and a food scene that is nothing short of iconic. It's a place where culinary dreams come alive, where every street corner offers a gastronomic adventure waiting to be discovered. In this article, we delve deep into the heart of Atlanta to bring you a curated list of the most iconic restaurants that have stood the test of time, offering not just meals, but experiences that are both heartwarming and soul-stirring.

Mary Mac's Tea Room

When you walk into Mary Mac's Tea Room, there's an undeniable aura of history and tradition. Established in 1945, this restaurant has been a cornerstone of Atlanta's dining scene, offering a genuine taste of the South. The ambiance is reminiscent of a bygone era, with vintage decor and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The menu is a tribute to southern comfort food, with dishes that have been passed down through generations. From their classic fried chicken, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, to their legendary collard greens, seasoned to perfection, every dish is a testament to the culinary craftsmanship that has made Mary Mac's an iconic institution in Atlanta.

The Varsity

The Varsity isn't just a restaurant; it's a cultural landmark. Since its inception in 1928, it has been a gathering spot for Atlantans and visitors alike. The retro vibe, complete with neon signs and checkerboard floors, transports diners back to a simpler time. Known for its classic American diner fare, The Varsity offers a menu that's both nostalgic and delicious. Their famous chili dogs, crispy onion rings, and frothy milkshakes are more than just food; they're memories in the making. The Varsity is more than just a dining spot; it's a place where stories are shared, laughter echoes, and the spirit of old-school Atlanta comes alive.

Busy Bee Cafe

Tucked away in a cozy corner of Atlanta, the Busy Bee Cafe is a treasure trove of soul food delights. Established over seven decades ago, this cafe has seen the city evolve while holding steadfast to its culinary roots. The ambiance is intimate, with wooden tables, vintage photos, and the comforting hum of conversation. The menu is a love letter to southern cuisine, with dishes that are both hearty and heartwarming. From their melt-in-your-mouth cornbread to their succulent fried catfish, every dish is crafted with love and passion. The Busy Bee Cafe is more than just a restaurant; it's a piece of Atlanta's soul, serving up memories one plate at a time.

Antico Pizza

In the midst of Atlanta's bustling food scene, Antico Pizza stands out as a beacon of authenticity. Inspired by the rustic pizzerias of Naples, this restaurant offers a slice of Italy in the heart of Georgia. The open kitchen allows diners to watch as pizzas are handcrafted and then expertly baked in wood-fired ovens. The result? Pizzas that are crispy, flavorful, and bursting with fresh ingredients. From the tangy San Marzano tomatoes to the creamy mozzarella, every ingredient is carefully selected to ensure an authentic Neapolitan experience. Antico Pizza is not just about food; it's about tradition, passion, and the joy of sharing a meal with loved ones.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

In the world of barbecue, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is a name that resonates with reverence. Established by two brothers with a passion for grilling, this restaurant has become a pilgrimage site for barbecue enthusiasts. The ambiance is casual and lively, with the smoky aroma of grilled meats wafting through the air. The menu is a celebration of southern barbecue, with dishes that are smoky, juicy, and packed with flavor. From their tender pulled pork to their mouthwatering ribs, every dish is a labor of love. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is more than just a restaurant; it's a testament to the art of barbecue, offering a dining experience that's both rustic and refined.

Miller Union

Miller Union stands as a beacon of culinary innovation in the heart of Atlanta, offering a farm-to-table dining experience that is both modern and deeply rooted in southern traditions. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, creating dishes that are a true celebration of Georgia's rich agricultural heritage. The ambiance is elegant yet warm, offering a dining space where rustic charm meets contemporary elegance. The menu is a dynamic canvas of flavors, textures, and colors, with dishes that are crafted with both skill and heart. From the succulent roasted chicken to the vibrant vegetable dishes, every offering at Miller Union is a gastronomic journey that celebrates the bounty of the land and the culinary craftsmanship that is at the heart of southern cuisine.


Staplehouse is not just a restaurant; it's a story of resilience, community, and rebirth. Born from tragedy, this establishment rose like a phoenix, turning a personal loss into a beacon of hope and culinary excellence in the Atlanta food scene. The space is intimate and inviting, with a modern design that encourages diners to relax and enjoy the culinary journey. The menu is a canvas of creativity, offering dishes that are both innovative and deeply personal. From the artfully presented appetizers to the meticulously crafted main courses, every dish is a testament to the culinary vision and passion that drives Staplehouse. It's a place where dining is more than just a meal; it's an experience that nourishes both the body and the soul.

Sotto Sotto

Sotto Sotto invites diners to embark on a culinary journey to Italy, right in the heart of Atlanta. For over two decades, this restaurant has been a haven for lovers of authentic Italian cuisine. The ambiance is warm and romantic, with soft lighting and rustic decor creating a cozy, intimate setting. The menu is a celebration of Italian culinary traditions, offering dishes that are both timeless and crafted with meticulous attention to detail. From the freshly made pasta to the extensive wine list that boasts some of Italy's finest vintages, every element at Sotto Sotto is designed to offer a dining experience that is both sophisticated and deeply satisfying. It's a place where culinary artistry meets heartfelt hospitality, offering a slice of Italy in Atlanta.


Gunshow offers a dining experience that is both theatrical and intimate, a place where the boundaries between the kitchen and the dining room blur, offering a vibrant and dynamic culinary experience. The concept is unique, with chefs presenting their creations directly to the diners, encouraging interaction and engagement. The menu is a dynamic tapestry of flavors, textures, and techniques, offering dishes that are both exciting and deeply satisfying. From the bold flavor combinations to the artistic presentation of each dish, dining at Gunshow is like attending a live performance, where food is the star of the show. It's clear that Atlanta is home to a rich and diverse food scene, offering a tapestry of flavors, traditions, and experiences that are both timeless and constantly evolving. These iconic restaurants stand as testaments to the city's culinary prowess, offering not just meals, but experiences that are rich, vibrant, and deeply rooted in the heart and soul of Atlanta. It's a city where every meal tells a story, where every dish is a celebration of the rich culinary heritage that makes Atlanta a food lover's paradise.

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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