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Food and drink in Atlanta

An undisputed food capital, Atlanta and its multicultural dining scene is steaming ahead of its neighbouring Southern states. The city’s restaurants offer both traditional Deep South classics and far-flung global cuisines, serving everything from authentic soul food to flavours of the Far East. Food plays such an important part in the culture of the Georgia capital that you’d be forgiven for planning your sightseeing around your stomach.

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Southern soul food

Hearty, soulful Southern cuisine is comfort food at its best. While replicated around the world, nobody does it quite like Atlanta. There’s a whole list of favourites to tick off your list, from fried chicken and mac and cheese to cornbread and pecan pie, to name but a few. There’s also a modern scene where seafood such as shrimp is playing a bigger part. When in Atlanta, chow down on Southern flavours, traditional and contemporary, at restaurants across the city. 

Chef Ford Fry: A local’s guide to Atlanta

Buford Highway

Buford Highway is the most international street in the city. Bringing together flavours from all corners of the globe, the six-mile stretch is packed full of restaurants and food stores serving everything from Cantonese dim sum and Vietnamese banh mi to Taiwanese flavours and authentic Mexican fare. It’s the ultimate foodie hotspot – the only problem is choosing where to begin.

A culinary tour of Atlanta’s Buford Highway

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All-American diners

When in Atlanta, breakfast at an American diner is a must. With giant value-for-money portions, bottomless cups of “Joe”, comfy red booths and friendly waitresses, diners are the place to go for a serious feed. As it’s the South, many eateries in Atlanta offer Southern versions of traditional dishes – think fried chicken on waffles. If that’s too much for the morning, a serving of eggs, bacon and biscuits (muffins) should do the trick.

Five of the best diners in Atlanta

Craft beer

Atlanta’s craft beer brewing game is strong. Recent years have seen a major influx in microbreweries opening up in The ATL, under names such as SweetWater, Orpheus, Wild Heaven, Three Taverns and Second Self. Visit a brewery for a tour and a tasting or check out some of the city’s dedicated brewpubs to discover multiple craft brews in one sitting.

Fine dining

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all fried chicken and craft beer in Atlanta; the city is actually home to a number of upscale restaurants serving fine cuisine fit for a special occasion or a glamorous date night. For Asian flavours, head to the city’s best sushi spot, Umi, helmed by Chef Fuyuhiko Ito. For fresh seafood (where Alaskan Red King Crab, Nova Scotia Lobster Tail and Norwegian salmon are flown in daily), try Chops Lobster Bar, or for modern American cuisine, make a booking for Chef Gerry Klaskala’s signature restaurant, Aria.

Eat around Atlanta with Chef Fuyuhiko Ito

Image credits: A sampling of Chef Ito's sushi art © Angie Mosier, All other imagery © iStock