12 Atlanta restaurants perfect for special occasions

The seafood paella at Under The Cork Tree in Sandy Springs was made for sharing and uses Calasparra rice from southeastern Spain. | Credit: Under The Cork Tree
A red pan with lobster-topped seafood paella at Under The Cork Tree in Atlanta

The best special-occasion restaurants in Atlanta take Southern hospitality to the next level. But zeroing in on the right spot—whether that means a hushed omakase experience or a steakhouse where the staff breaks out actual confetti—can be overwhelming. 

These city faithfuls are sure things for unforgettable meals and experiences worthy of your blockbuster night. Read on for a guide to 12 Atlanta restaurants perfect for special occasions.

Bones (Buckhead)

This fine-dining legend has aced the special-occasion test since it opened in 1979. Yes, there are world-class steaks and chops (including the iconic 34-ounce bone-in ribeye)—but Bones offers more than just exemplary meat. Case in point: the staff celebrates with diners and sprinkles confetti on tables to mark your big night. Anniversaries mean on-the-house Champagne toasts and birthdays feature a complimentary slice of Mile-High Pie, Bones’s meringue-covered dessert made with slabs of vanilla, chocolate chip, and rum raisin ice cream. If you’re extra lucky, you’ll go home with a box of bone-shaped shortbread cookies.

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Tiny Lou’s – Hotel Clermont (Virginia Highland)

A basket of housemade brioche and a martini with a twist at Tiny Lou’s - Hotel Clermont in Atlanta
Find some of Atlanta’s best brasserie-inspired food at Tiny Lou’s in Hotel Clermont. | Credit: Tiny Lou’s – Hotel Clermont

Hotel Clermont, which used to be a motor lodge, wasn’t always the place to go for a celebration. Today, Atlantans flock here for fine French food in the revamped basement—the renovation was so dramatic that it’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Come for the crispy boar terrine or flawless grilled cheese sandwich—a shaved black truffle, tomato conserva, and Comte combo that’s as special as your occasion. Or go all-out with the more traditional prix fixe. Whatever you do, don’t end your celebration without slices of celebratory crêpe cake.

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Nan Thai Fine Dining (Midtown)

The fact that this Midtown gem got props from the Thai government is reason enough to celebrate. But you’re likely here for an anniversary, birthday, or midweek pick-me-up. Toast with one of Nan Thai’s popular cocktails like the Thai chile-forward Nan Spice, then gear up for one seriously photogenic meal by Bangkok-born chef Nan Niyomkul. The rose-shaped dumplings make the prettiest Instagram shot, but the menu is filled with other high-drama dishes like a whole-fried red snapper curled around Brussels sprouts. Niyomkul and her fam are known to run one of the few area restaurants open on Christmas Day—just one of the many reasons Nan Thai has stayed a celebratory Atlanta go-to for over two decades.

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Fia Restaurant (Buckhead)

A shallow black bowl with giant prawn coconut curry and saffron orange basmati rice at Fia in Atlanta
At Fia Restaurant, chef Burges Jokhi’s Indian heritage shows up in celebration-worthy dishes, like this giant prawn coconut curry with saffron orange basmati rice. | Credit: Erik Meadows

This sultry Mediterranean-inspired place lives in the artsy Burgess Hotel and is sought after for intimate celebrations. Dig into excellent wood-fired meats or get a taste of chef Burges Jokhi’s Indian heritage in dishes like giant prawn coconut curry with saffron orange basmati rice. Keep your special night going with a post-dinner martini at the lobbyside library—then make your celebration a staycation and book a room at the hotel. 

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The Optimist (West Midtown)

Seafood—especially this far inland—screams special occasion. You’ll find lots of it at this West Midtown giant, ranging from duck-fat poached swordfish to George Bank scallops. The Optimist’s semi-private areas were tailor-made for gatherings (the restaurant has even hosted weddings). Let the staff know you’re celebrating and they’ll woo you with complimentary Champagne, dessert, and a menu scrawled with warm wishes from the team. Add a seafood-friendly wine list and nautical-chic touches—the wood strips that separate its floor-to-ceiling windows are meant to look like lobster traps—and you’ve got a stunning backdrop for a sensational meal.

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Under The Cork Tree (Sandy Springs)

Basque cheesecake at Under the Cork Tree in Sandy Springs. | Credit: Under the Cork Tree
Celebration meals call for a slice of Basque cheesecake with berries at Under The Cork Tree. | Credit: Under The Cork Tree

Under The Cork Tree is just as great for an early-in-the-game date as it is for a cozy tapas party with your crew. If you’re coupled up—or trying to be—tufted leather loveseats and banquettes encourage snuggling. Chef Branden Holte’s chicken and housemade chorizo paella, which uses Calasparra rice from southeastern Spain, was made for sharing (and is worth the 30-minute wait), as is the larger-than-life barbecue platter. Toast with a glass from the global wine list, which is so huge that it’s presented on an iPad. A pretty patio with heat lamps means you can celebrate outdoors all year round at this eclectic Mediterranean charmer. 

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Le Colonial – Atlanta (Buckhead Village)

Time travel to 1920s Saigon at this romantic French Vietnamese restaurant. Your special night starts on a private elevator, which shuttles you to a breathtaking space that includes a breezy patio, a palm-lined dining room, and a mahogany bar. But it’s the food that does the heavy lifting here: Southeast Asian influences and French haute cuisine team up in winning dishes like caramelized filet mignon (aka “shaking beef”) and spicy yellowfin tuna tartare. Dial up the escapism by booking a celebration in the private chef’s dining room, which seats up to 14 and comes complete with a striking lotus flower mural and its own tasting menu.

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The Consulate (Midtown)

A map of the world adorns a wall at The Consulate in Atlanta
The Consulate’s menu changes every three months and focuses on a different part of the world. | Credit: The Consulate

When you can’t take an actual vacay to celebrate a marquee moment, head to this stylish restaurant instead. Every 90 days, the Consulate’s chef and co-owner Mei Lin lets a diner spin the restaurant’s globe and choose the country that influences its menu for the next three months. October is all about Japan, but rest assured that faves from past globe spins (Korean duck confit, Greenland-inspired lamb chops) claim full-time status on the menu. If the staff knows you’re here for an anniversary, expect to kick off your culinary flight like they do in first class: with a complimentary Champagne toast. 

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Canoe (Vinings)

Greenery, wooden benches, and a bird feeder make up the grounds surrounding Canoe in Atlanta
A manicured lawn is all that separates diners from the banks of the Chattahoochee River at Canoe. | Credit: Canoe

A big night at Canoe begins with an al fresco cocktail on the Chattahoochee’s scenic banks. It’ll feel like a fresh new celebration whenever you’re here, thanks to the restaurant’s near-weekly evolving modern American menu. Luxe ingredients like crab, kangaroo, and rabbit make regular appearances, but they’re prepped differently every time, keeping returning diners—and there are many—on their toes. Mention you’re celebrating an occasion, and the staff will make sure your dessert course includes a message in chocolate. In case you want to keep your occasion especially exclusive, Canoe has multiple private dining spaces. 

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Lazy Betty (Candler Park)

Lazy Betty is a major special-occasion flex, ideal for impressing friends, clients, or even a potential soulmate. Chef-owners Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips—who met while working at Le Bernardin in New York City—are culinary trendsetters and James Beard Award nominees. At Lazy Betty, they turned heads by subbing the traditional tipping structure with a service charge, and bring that same innovative fire to their modern American dishes. Choose from two artful tasting menus (a vegetarian version is available), plus opulent add-ons like Miyazaki A5 ribeye or caviar service, which comes with steamed milk buns and scallion pancakes. Don’t let its industrial interiors fool you—this is a fine-dining restaurant through and through. 

Delbar Alpharetta (Alpharetta)

Delbar’s floral walkway is a great preview for the magical meal that waits inside. The Middle Eastern restaurant’s name is Farsi for “heart,” and there’s plenty of it here. Its sprawling, sun-drenched dining room is made for birthday parties or bridal showers. Get together over a very shareable spread inspired by owner Fares Kargar’s family recipes, including taftoon (leavened bread), kebabs, and dips for days. Consider toasting to your occasion with a craft cocktail or—pro-tip—drink your dessert by getting the Sharbat e Limoo, a frozen treat made with vodka, black lemon, and mint. Bonus points for free birthday baklava—Delbar’s version is topped with rose petals for extra glamor. 

Brush Sushi (Buckhead Village)

There are celebration meals, and then there are once-in-a-lifetime feasts. Brush might just belong to the second category thanks to a beautiful Edo-style omakase lineup from James Beard Award nominee Jason Liang. Level up your night in the private dining room for peak special occasion vibes—Liang leads the unforgettable experience. But the main dining room is just as spectacular, all carved Japanese cypress panels and soft lights. Brush’s previous Decatur location was known for casual izakaya-style dishes, but the Buckhead edition is a definite upgrade, specializing in all things sushi plus binchotan charcoal-grilled delicacies. 

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Su-Jit Lin is an Atlanta-based writer specializing in travel, food—including groceries, cooking, and reference guides—and their impact on bringing people together in shared joy and experience.

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