So if you're planning a trip to Atlanta anytime soon, start here!
Not because of how incredible the food is, or how fun the atmosphere is (It is all of those things though!), but because it was the first place I ate at in Atlanta! We got a tiny little hotel room, and just started walking, and we saw Papis, thought it looked fun, and wandered in. We were escorted into the basement, and there was music and people dancing in the aisles. So fun! It was also the last food I ate in Atlanta.
Papis is authentic Cuban food (loooove me some plantains!)
The Varsity is an Atlanta staple, and must visit.
If you want greasy and delicious diner food, you've come to the right place!
And also, you can get some really cute pictures here. Just park on the top parking deck, then stand by the railing with the Varsity sign and all the buildings in the background.
Yes, the furniture store IKEA! But if you have only wandered in here to buy some knick knacks or put it together yourself furniture, and never eaten at the food court, you are missing out! I know Ikea's not exclusive to Atlanta, but as there's only 51 IKEAs in the United States, while you're close to one, definitely take the time to visit!
The food court is huge, very clean, comfortable, and quiet.
And the food is seriously delicious! And varied! Of course the Swedish meatballs (the vegetarian meatballs are a dream) are popular, but they have several different options, as well as many sides to choose from. Their pops are healthy and delicious (lingonberry and raspberry flavors anyone?!), and the food is so darn cheap! I'm talking cheap cheap! Like, you couldn't even get a meal at McDonalds for this cheap.
And definitely check out their breakfast, it is to die for (below)!
I would say that this is one of the most random places to eat in Atlanta, but definitely worth it, especially for a quick, cheap meal.
This is a really fun place to go for an afternoon. They have a gorgeous garden area, as well as some great little shops. But the real reason to come here is the food court. Holy moly I thought I'd died and gone to food heaven!
If you want some amazing traditional Chinese food, come here with several people, order at least four dishes, spread them out over the table and share them (this is the Chinese way).
Be sure to get ma po dofu (tofu), any kind of dumplings, any kind of noodles, and yu xiang qie zi (eggplants).
When you're in Atlanta (or any big city really), always hit up Chinatown!
This adorable, tiny little hole in the wall Caribbean restaurant is incredible! It was right beside my work, and I would see them out there grilling in the parking lot all hours of the night. The people who work here are super nice, and their selection of authentic Caribbean food is just too exciting! Plus look how cute it is!
I think this is one of Atlanta's best kept secret places to eat.
I may be a bit biased as I worked here for my three years living in Atlanta, but believe me when I tell you that this restaurant is one of a kind! With the funkiest decor you've ever seen (story goes, the owner moved all the tables and chairs out into the parking lot one day, and then just had a tent put over it, and now that's the dining room!), it is open 24 hours a day (story also goes that the first day they were open the owner went to lock the doors and couldn't find the keys, and now they're open 24 hours!)
[EDIT. I just checked, and because of Covid, they are no longer open 24/. Go to their page to see their new hours], and it has some of the best vegan food you could ever hope to find, some of the most amazing people ever working there, and you just might run into a celebrity! This restaurant is an Atlanta staple, and there is always celebrities hanging out here (I got to meet and wait on quite a bit of celebrities during my three years of working there).
The Dekalb Farmer's Market is one of the coolest, most incredible grocery stores that I have ever seen! There are signs everywhere saying you're not allowed to take pictures (no idea why!), or else I would have tons for you guys to look at, it is just that cool.
It is the biggest bulk selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, spices, and anything else you can think of, from all over the world. They bake fresh bread, pastries, and even make their own pasta!
This is an incredible place to come to buy your weekly veggies (they are crazy inexpensive!), but before you leave, be sure to check out their cafeteria, plastic trays and all! You just load up your tray or to go box with whatever you want (and they've got it all), they weigh it, and you pay. You can eat there, or to go.
This is a very cool, under the radar place to eat in Atlanta. Plus you will get the experience of shopping at and exploring the Dekalb Farmer's Market.
This one is a little fancier, and thus a bit pricier than some of the other places on this list, but it's great for a special occasion out, or just for the chance to eat and drink on their rooftop!
They are a pub and fish house, with great rooftop seating, and two Atlanta locations.
Jeju is a Korean traditional bathhouse. And one of the actual coolest places I visited during my time in Atlanta. I have been dreaming of returning there (I may have to dedicate an entire blog post to this place because it is so insanely amazing). Long story short, you pay $25 (at least that's what it was when I went there in 2020), and can stay at the spa for 24 hours. There are many traditional Korean sauna huts you can relax in, as well as a pool, steam room, and much more!
And a food court. I get the bibimbap every time!
This is definitely one of the coolest atmospheres you can eat at in Atlanta, especially solo!
This pizza place is hippie themed, and funky AF!
I mean, check out the side of their building!
And they have vegan cheese, so I always excited about eating there.
My friend hosted trivia nights there every week, so it was a great excuse for me and a bunch of friends to go eat and hang out at Mellow Mushroom.
A very fun and funky atmosphere to go hang out and smash some pizza in.
I'm a sucker for diners.
The Landmark Diner is open 24/7, and it has a comedy club, The Punchline inside it!
We went during the day in the middle of the week and it was very quiet and peaceful and a perfect diner experience.
But if you want some craziness, check it out at night (before or after checking out a show at the Punchline), I've heard that it gets pretty wild!
Ponce City Market was an old Sears building, that has been converted into a shopping mall, living space, insane rooftop area, and food hall!
There are a number of really cool restaurants in said food hall.
Visiting Ponce City Market is a must! You can spend a majority of the day here. Just be prepared to spend a decent amount of money.
Right down the road from Ponce City Market, still on Ponce De Leon Ave, is El Ponce.
Top notch Mexican food, and ambiance.
The name (and sign) says it all, really!
Burgers (with so many vegan options!), beers, and a great theme.
While technically in Decatur (an adorable little city located just Northeast of Atlanta), it is not a far drive from Atlanta at all. I would highly recommend stopping in Decatur during your time in Atlanta.
A very hipster-y, very cool little sandwich bar.
But you can't talk VSB without mentioning...
The S.O.S Tiki Bar is a hidden gem. Literally. Walk through Victory Sandwich Bar, to the back, head through an unassuming door, and you will be instantly transported to Polynesia in this small tiki paradise. You will be astounded at the amount of tiki character infused into this small space!
It is absolutely stunning, and a place you must visit, whether you're a tiki enthusiast or not. Sip on some amazing tiki cocktails (mai tais, punch bowls, rum everything), and order from their surprisingly large and delicious Asian inspired menu.
Make sure you stop at the S.O.S Tiki Bar the next time you're in Atlanta, you will thank me.
Pho King made my list of the 20 coolest places to eat in Atlanta because two reasons.
B. The name.
End of story.
You will not get this variety of donuts anywhere else.
Especially at 2:00 A.M.
Yep! Sublime Doughnuts is open 24/7!
And their varieties of donuts- fresh strawberry and cream, smores, butterfinger, raspberry filled heart with dark chocolate? To die for! And these are only a handful of their flavors!
Make sure while you're in Atlanta you head over to Sublime Doughnuts for all your 3:00 A.M (or anytime!) doughnut needs.
Sweet Hut is a small chain, unique to Georgia (ok there's one in Texas!).
The sweets in their bakery are authentically Chinese, and recall to my mind when I was living in China, my bedroom directly above a bakery, and it makes me so incredibly happy. Add that to their impressive drink selection featuring milk and bubble teas, and that equals up to one of the best places to go for sweets in Atlanta.
Yet, another place I worked at during my time in Atlanta.
I can't help it I worked at two of the coolest places to eat in Atlanta!
Honeybubble is particularly special to me because the day we arrived in Atlanta, I had an interview there, got the job, and was able to shortly after get an apartment with the help of a written note from my supervisor stating I was working there!
They also have some of the best bubble tea around, bakery selections, and a really relaxing cozy atmosphere.
Have you ever been to any of them, and what did you think?
Let me know if you make it to any of these places, I would love to hear about your experience!