Atlanta’s dining scene is becoming more captivating every single day it seems. It may have once been thought of as a place primarily serving Southern food, but now its culinary offerings are nearly as diverse as its inhabitants. Each area—from Midtown to Buckhead, and Roswell to Decatur—has its own distinct personality, and in each of them, you’ll find something that strikes your fancy, whether you want dim aggregate, newly prepared baked goods, extravagant mainland plates, privately relieved bacon, or as yet steaming scones.
From bistros serving informal breakfast day by day to cafés facilitating boozy Sunday undertakings, here is the place you’ll locate the best early lunch in Atlanta.
10. Downtown Decatur
Downtown Decatur is full of hidden gems, and one of the brightest is the Italian-inspired No. 246. Even though it’s part of chef and restaurateur Ford Fry’s ever-growing Atlanta restaurant empire, it couldn’t feel less corporate and more lived in.
Informal breakfast feels like a characteristic expansion of supper, since a large number of the most mainstream dishes, incorporating the dark spaghetti with Gulf shrimp and the exemplary Margherita pizza, are rehashed on Sunday mornings.
An Italian sausage–and-olive frittata, fried chicken and biscuits with sausage gravy, and a croissant stuffed with bacon, cheddar, and a farm egg round out the menu.
9. The General Muir
At General Muir in Emory Point, the owners’ original hope was to create a modern American restaurant anchored by delicatessen traditions—but also not limited by them. (The restaurant is called for the refugee transport ship that brings co-owner Jennifer Johnson’s mother and grandparents to this country after WWII.) Under chef-partner Todd Ginsberg’s leadership, it may seems they’ve met that goal.
The pastrami is cured and smoked in-house, bagels are kettle-boiled and hand-rolled, and all bread is house-made next door. Brunch standouts include a plate of smoked salmon over crispy latkes with sour cream, apples, arugula, and lemon, and an open-faced bagel with smoked trout salad, crème fraîche, pickled onions, and parsley.
8. Home Grown GA
Kevin Clark runs the kitchen at Home Grown in Reynoldstown; he first made his name in fine dining establishments before opening Home Grown. despite the menu’s vibe is down-home and most times ironic, it still maintains a subtle, refined quality. First-timers shouldn’t miss the “Comfy,” a mammoth black pepper–seasoned fried chicken biscuit covered in creamy sausage gravy.
Other brunch standouts include pan-seared trout with eggs and grits and a pimento grilled cheese on buttered Texas toast. It’s not the most upscale of Atlanta breakfast joints, but it’s easily one of the most popular.
7. The Alden
There’s been a ton of buzz about The Alden, which opened in April 2018 in Chamblee, thanks in no small part to the chef and owner Jared Hucks’ impressive pedigree. He’s cooked at Guillaume at Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House; Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain; Noma in Copenhagen; and Atlanta’s very own Bacchanalia. Unsurprisingly, then, the menu here reflects this globe-trotting culinary experience.
Shrimp and cornmeal get a North African turn with harissa and chermoula; the French toast comprises of Cuban bread, guava glue, and cocoa-nib whipped cream.
6. Royal China
Gwinnett County which becomes a major destination for all manner of Asian fare in Atlanta, and Royal China firmly planted in a nondescript shopping middle is a prime example. Once gone in, you’ll feel transported to a Taiwanese event hall, absolute with gaudy chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling floral silks. During dim sum hours, servers criss-cross the dining room pushing metal carts full of bite-sized delights, barking out scant descriptions as they go along.
There are a lot of houses claims to fame—containers of steaming pork and shrimp dumplings, seared fish cakes, shrimp-stuffed bean curd, Cheong fun (rice noodle rolls showered with soy sauce), sweet grill pork buns, and more—so be sure to bring a good group of friends who are willing to sample everything (and to share, of course).
5. Bread & Butterfly
At Bread & Butterfly in Inman Park, the tiny brunch menu might seem to limit at first glance, but each item is prepared with such textbook perfection that you probably won’t mind. Soft scrambled eggs and smoked trout, clafoutis, and an ever-changing omelet du jour are all simple, elegant, and delicious.
Close your eyes and you could be on a sun-dappled Parisian street, were it not for the dining room buzzing with Southern—instead of French—accents.
4. Tiny Lou’s
Walk through the lobby of Hotel Clermont—one of Atlanta’s buzziest boutique hotels—and follow your nose down the stairs where the hot pink neon “Tiny Lou’s” sign announces the restaurant’s location. either you’re out for a cocktail-fueled brunch with friends or a romantic post-sleepover meal, you won’t want to miss the French preparations here using local Southern ingredients.
Stand-outs include duck confit and waffles with cultured butter, ice wine maple syrup, and seasonal fruit and the rather extraordinary Croque Madame.
3. Bon Ton
This 80-seat restaurant on a Midtown side street isn’t serious about anything other than having a good time. It feels like a ’70s throwback with wood-paneled walls, shag carpeting, and light fixtures from yesteryear.
The seafood menu combines New Orleans Cajun influences with Vietnamese inflections, with everything from boiled peanuts and poutine to start to a Vietnamese banh mi omelet and crab cake toast. Just note: if you’re sensitive to spice, alert your server—the kitchen can be a little heavy-handed in that area.
2. Buttermilk Kitchen
Culinary specialist proprietor Suzanne Vizethann become famous on Food Network’s “Cleaved” before opening Buttermilk Kitchen in 2012, a go-to breakfast and early lunch spot in North Buckhead.
From its inception, the restaurant has done everything in house, right down to the butter and buttermilk. There are plenty of menu staples like a fried chicken buttermilk biscuit with red pepper jelly and the signature omelet stuffed with Benton’s bacon and pimento cheese.
Vizethann keeps up cozy associations with nearby ranchers, however, so on the off chance that she stumbles into an especially new conveyance of blackberries or tomatoes, hope to see them on the menu.
1. Mission + Market
In spite of the fact that Mission + Market, a vaporous, 5,300-square-foot eatery, is tucked into the ground floor of a glossy Buckhead office skyscraper, it feels anything besides corporate. Instead, everything is served with warm Southern hospitality. Britain conceived gourmet expert and accomplice Ian Winslade sharpened his culinary hacks under world-class French cooks like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Eric Ripert, and it appears.
Each plate is jaw-droppingly lovely and worked with occasional fixings that are taken care of with the most extreme consideration. Start with shareable plates—the ricotta fritters with seasonal jam and the grilled Spanish octopus with hazelnut romesco and shaved veggies are standouts, then choose whatever entree strikes your fancy (and there may be several).