Since moving to the Atlanta, GA area two years ago, I’ve been in food heaven.
The food here is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!
I’ve lived all over the western part of the US with most of my adult life being spent in Oklahoma. When I moved to Oklahoma at age 20 I was so happy to have a better variety than I had ever experienced growing up in Utah. (Hint: Food in Utah isn’t very adventurous)
Then I moved to Atlanta, GA and it was if the heavens opened and shined down rays of blissful plates of deliciousness.
Atlanta is known as being a place full of different cultures from all over the world. The food here is as diverse as the culture.
I’m up in the NW side so many of my choices are in that direction.
As a note: I am a vegetarian, so I do not have places like Williamson Bros. listed here even though it’s my Southern boy hubby’s favorite BBQ place ever. However, the places that are listed (including a burger joint) have a lot of wonderful (so I’ve heard) meat choices…if you’re into that kind of thing.
Let’s get started already!
This is my top 9 favorite local and diverse places to eat in the Atlanta area (in no particular order).
9. INDIAN – Cafe Bombay
To be honest Cafe Bombay was my first experience when it came to Indian food. I couldn’t believe I had gone my entire life without tasting it’s incredible, spicy, mouth-watering mixture of unique flavors.
The first time I went the spices were really intense to me, but I was quickly addicted and although it’s on the other side of town from me, I take every opportunity to go there as possible.
They even have a sword balancing belly dancer who performs on weekends. She will give you a little shimmy if you give her a tip.
Here is their website: Cafe Bombay
8. INDIAN – Vatica
After having experienced Cafe Bombay, I knew I needed more Indian food in my life, but needed something closer to my house. My husband and I discovered Vatica – a little joint that has a very friendly staff and is rarely busy. (Which is a shame because I think more people need to discover this place!)
Their menu is…well, they don’t have a menu!
It is Gujarati Vegetarian style Indian food. What they do is seat you and then bring you out a large dish that has an appetizer, rice, dal, lentils or beans, vegetables, potatoes, roti or puri, raita and a sweet item. The lentils/beans and vegetables are different almost every time. There is a nice change and variety every time, but it’s not too dramatic.
Every time I have gone there it has been delicious. EVERY TIME! They do not disappoint and I’m so happy I found this little gem.
Here is their website: Vatica
7. ETHIOPIAN – Desta
If you’ve ever had Ethiopian food, you can understand why I insist – sometimes beg – on going every chance I get. If you’ve never had it (I hadn’t even heard of it before moving to Atlanta) it’s food you eat with your hands…
Errr…I mean spongy sour bread called Injera is used as your food delivery mechanism that is addicting and not at all filling like normal bread. It so soft and moist that it literally dissolves in your mouth and allows the other flavors of the food to come through without overpower it. Mmmmmm….
Since I’m a veg-head, I like to get the Vegetarian Platter that has about 10 different samples on it. It’s enough for two meals, but not something I’m willing to split with someone else. It’s just too precious to share.
Here is their website: Desta
6. PIZZA – Blue Moon
Blue Moon Pizza has about 5 locations around the Atlanta Metro area. When I first moved to the area, I lived by the Marietta location and went there a lot. It is hands down my favorite pizza place. Ever.
They have a wide variety of fresh toppings to choose from, a gluten-free menu (with careful details to keep it all separate in it’s own food prep area) for glutards and even a vegan cheese option for lactards.
If you are a glutard, their gluten-free brownie is a must try! Or even if you’re not, it’s still a must try!
It’s where I take all my dietary restricted friends for the best pizza of their lives.
Here is their website: Blue Moon Pizza
5. PIZZA – Fire Stone Wood Fired Pizza & Grill
I like pizza. I can’t help myself. When we moved out of Marietta, I missed having Blue Moon right around the corner. Then I discovered Fire Stone and knew they’d take good care of my hungry belly.
They are located in the charming downtown of Woodstock, GA and their pizza smells will draw you in if you even dare get close to it. They have a lot more than pizza, including wonderful salads (that I sometimes decide to get instead).
Recently my husband and I had gone there and he usually get the lamb sliders (his favorite) but they took them off the menu (Lee was like….WHHHHHYYYYYYYYY!) so he decided to split a pizza with me. When it came out he looked at me and said “I now understand why you love their pizza so much.” Yep, it’s just that good.
Fresh and classy this place is. For sure.
Here is their website: Fire Stone Wood Fired Pizza & Grill
4. BURGERS – The Counter
Yeah, you heard me…a burger joint made it on this veg-head’s list. Here’s why:
They have amazing build-your-own veggie burgers!
Actually, the (vegan) veggie patty is an option. So is Hormone & Antibiotic Free Beef, Natural Ground Turkey, Natural Chicken Breast, Organic Bison, Ahi Tuna and Market Selection MP. Whatever that is.
They have a giant selection of buns (including gluten-free), toppings (like alfalfa sprouts and jicama), meat (see above), cheese (even non-cheese) and sauces (did someone say roasted garlic aioli?)
This place has so many nummy options that your burger could be different every single time you go. So, enjoy the variety!
Here is their website: The Counter
3. TURKISH – Cafe Istanbul
Ever been to a restaurant where you sit on pillow on the floor to eat? Me either…until I went to Cafe Istanbul in Kennesaw. They have such a fun, relaxed and entertaining atmosphere that is a joy to spend time at, especially on weekends when they have live entertainment.
Not to mention great food! Their hummus is lip smacking good! They even have a special vegetarian section. Did it make me feel special? Of course it did!
The thing I remembered most about this place is how much I loved spending time there. It’s an especially great place to take clients to for entertainment.
Here is their website: Cafe Istanbul
2. IRISH/MEXICAN – Papa P’s
Did you know that Irish food and Mexican food go good together? It’s TRUE! When you get a Mexican husband and an Irish wife together in the kitchen, they make some beautiful magic. This place is another hidden gem that the world needs to know about.
For crying out loud, they make boxty quesadillas. BOXY QUESADILLAS! Thin potato pancakes filled with cheese. Do you know what this has done to me? They have ruined my standards for how Mexican food should taste! That’s what!
All of their dishes are a combo of the classics. Shepherd’s Pie? Yep! With taco meat! (Hubby’s favorite)
Here is their website: Papa P’s
1. ASIAN FUSION – Tsunami Taqueria
Hubby and I like this place so much that it was our restaurant of choice to go to on the day we got married as our celebration dinner. Nevermind the fact that we were starving and it was close to the courthouse. There were a dozen other places we could have gone to. This one was a no-brainer.
It’s Asian fused with Mexican. Because together they are better. No question about it.
The food here is fresh, light and packed full of flavor. Their portions are the perfect size to not leave you in a food coma, yet still full. It’s a delight to the tastebuds AND the waistline.
Unless you get the nachos, then your waistline is toast.
Stick with the tacos. There are the best part and you have lots of options. Even a couple veggie ones.
Here is their website: Tsunami Taqueria
Want to know how I discovered all these places?
If you use Yelp, be sure to leave a review at the places you visit. The local businesses are really starting to depend on these reviews to help them stay in business. Plus it helps others discover these kinds of hidden gems.
It’s just like on Amazon or your website. If someone leaves a review or testimonial, it helps others know how awesome your stuff is.