Food for Thought: Exploring Atlanta’s Top Eats

Atlanta, Georgia may not offer a beach with a tropical paradise but for foodies who want to explore good old-fashioned Southern cuisine, it’s got a lot to offer. Home to a number of internationally recognized chefs, Atlanta has many top restaurants located within just a few minutes of your downtown hotel accommodations. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, beef, or need a vegetarian option, you’ll find an amazing selection at one of these excellent restaurants.

Restaurant Eugene

Farm to table has always played a part in the philosophy of Restaurant Eugene, and although it’s from scratch approach seems rustic, there’s nothing unsophisticated about the menu. They offer a five-course tasting menu or an a la carte approach. The menu is seasonal and features local vegetables and produce, so you will always have some great options like snapper with hoppin’ John and shrimp or wreckfish with fairy squash and lobster consommé.

Southern Art

Art Smith, the personal chef of none other than Oprah Winfrey, opened Southern Art on Peachtree Road just north of downtown Atlanta near Peachtree Park. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Monday through Saturday with a Sunday brunch, Southern Art features traditional Southern cuisine that celebrates comfort and health. Try Addie Mae’s Soup, the chicken and dumplings recipe from Art’s family. Get your fill of a traditional Georgia Shrimp and Grits entrée with homemade andouille, okra and field peas, some of the most common ingredients on any Georgia table.

The Sun Dial

Located within the Westin Peachtree Plaza is The Sun Dial, an award winning restaurant and bar with a great view. It’s on level 72 of the hotel, with an observation deck where you can take photos of the Atlanta landmarks. The Sun Dial offers a Sunday brunch, and lunch and dinner on the other six days of the week. One of their signature dishes is the Wood Roasted Salmon with confit cherry tomatoes, capers, pickled red onions and arugula with a pea emulsion.

Cakes & Ale, Decatur

Cakes & Ale makes the top ten list in the Atlanta magazine, even though the restaurant is just a few miles away from downtown Atlanta. They have a simple philosophy, “cook unassuming food” using high-quality ingredients. The cakes and ale reference is from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and it’s an allusion to the good life. The Cakes & Ale menu changes with the whim of the chef and what’s available in season, but it’s always good and has a wine menu that is a practically a dream.


Just minutes from downtown Atlanta accommodations is a restaurant named Bacchanilia. Although it’s only been in business since 1993, it consistently ranks very high on the top ten restaurant lists, including one from USA Today. Bacchanalia offers a five-course prix fixe dinner, with three savory courses, a cheese course, and a dessert for just $85. Each course has five to seven choices, from the conventional such as a Gulf Crab Fritter or Corn Panna Cotta to the exotic, like Veal Sweetbreads or Prime Beef Tartare. You can order a la carte if you’re not quite up to five full courses.

Empire State South

Practically every foodie who has ever watched Top Chef knows Hugh Acheson, one of the partners of Empire State South, near your hotel in downtown Atlanta. Empire State South services classic Southern dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner with some unique selections that you might not expect like grits with kale, sweet peppers and corn. The dinner menu has a four-course tasting menu for $60, and an a la carte menu with a Southern Cioppino or Pork Loin with sweet potato, apple, kale and smoked sorghum sausage.

Rumi’s Kitchen

Although traditional Southern food seems to reign supreme in Atlanta, there is a wide variety of international cuisine interspersed all over the city. Rumi’s Kitchen, home to Persian cuisine is one of those listed in the top 50 restaurants by Atlanta Magazine. You can’t help but notice the aroma of saffron, found in many of the dishes at Rumi’s Kitchen. Combined with the swanky atmosphere, it’s a unique dining experience where you can enjoy classic Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and labne with your Chicken Barg, a saffron marinated chicken breast or the Badenjoon, an eggplant and tomato beef stew. If you want something a bit more spicy, give the restaurants signature Rumi’s Wings a try.

Terrace Bistro

The Terrace Bistro is a Southern Bistro serving Continental fare. They source from 12 local food purveyors, like Holeman & Finch and Springer Mountain, who provide the freshest ingredients to support their Farm to Table offering. In addition to the finest meats and artisanal cheeses, they offer wonderful Vegetarian and Vegan options.  While it’s easy to fill-up on the deliciously crafted entrees, you must save room for their famous desserts including homemade Peach Cobbler and Pecan Pie.

If food is what you’re after when booking a hotel, look no further than the downtown Atlanta accommodations provided by the Ellis Hotel. Aside from the on-site Terrace Bistro, the Ellis’s convenient downtown location puts you merely minutes from the many of the city’s top eats. Whether you’re looking for the casual southern cuisine provided by the Juke Joint or the alfresco cafes along Broad Street, Atlanta accommodations at the Ellis Hotel puts you a short walk or Streetcar ride away. If you’re looking to taste test all of Atlanta’s finest foods, book your stay at the Ellis Hotel today.

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