7 must-try neighborhood restaurants in Atlanta

The “OG Burger” at Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Inman Park. | Credit: Wrecking Bar Brewpub
The OG Burger at Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Atlanta

In an innovative food city like Atlanta, locals are in constant pursuit of restaurants that are new and trendy. But certain occasions, like a just-because weeknight dinner or a weekend brunch to recalibrate, call for a tried-and-tested spot.

A locally loved brewpub in Inman Park attracts crowds for a kimchi-topped pastrami sandwich.  At an adored modern Italian restaurant in Sandy Springs, a pitch-perfect vegan pie entices regulars to return. Atlanta’s most discerning bourbon and whiskey drinkers flock to a Decatur mainstay with over 550 bottles to choose from.

Atlantans are drawn to these seven established restaurants time and time again. Read on to book a table at one of these faithful spots now.

Tre Vele (Sandy Springs)

Though it just opened in 2020, chef Ian Winslade’s modern Italian spot has already earned a place in Atlantan hearts. In the summer months, its rooftop is an airy perch to enjoy signature dishes such as honey-whipped ricotta and housemade pappardelle with lamb ragu and grana padano. For more casual bites, there’s the salame piccante pizza, Tre Vele’s take on pepperoni pizza; the vegano pie, featuring mushrooms, hazelnuts, and black truffle cashew cream, is a stunner, too, especially with a glass of wine. Locals know not to leave without stopping at the onsite market and café for fresh baked goods, specialty coffee drinks, ready-made meals, fresh pasta and sauces, and wine to go.

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Seed Kitchen & Bar (Marietta)

Even diehard Atlantas will come out to the suburbs for this contemporary, chef-driven concept in East Cobb. When it opened in 2011, Seed Kitchen was the entrepreneurial debut for chef Doug Turbush, who once served as the executive chef for the now-shuttered Buckhead fine-dining spot, Bluepointe. Turbush is all about approachable neighborhood retreats (his other restaurants in the area include Stem Wine Bar) and local bounty. That ethos is evident in his creative plates, such as white corn grit fritters with pepper jelly and chicken schnitzel with miso mustard.

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Wrecking Bar Brewpub (Inman Park)

Wrecking Bar Brewpub, a historic Willis Denny-designed Victorian mansion with a basement gastropub in Atlanta
One of the top-rated beers in Georgia can be traced to Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Inman Park. | Credit: Wrecking Bar Brewpub

Fun fact: One of the top-rated beers in Georgia, Mexican Siberius Maximus, can be traced to Wrecking Bar Brewpub, a historic Willis Denny-designed Victorian mansion with a basement gastropub. But that doesn’t mean locals stick to that tried-and-true order here. Wrecking Bar’s rotating beer list changes with the seasons, making it impossible not to get adventurous. To accompany the brew, go for the white cheddar fondue, which comes with crudité and a big soft pretzel from local German bakery Bernhard’s. If you’re here for a meal, grab a pastrami sandwich—the meat is seasoned, smoked, and prepped in-house alongside the kimchi, a testament to chef Mikey Staniewicz’s impressive range.

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Sweet Auburn BBQ (Poncey-Highlands)

Sweet Auburn BBQ is yet another adored food truck turned brick-and-mortar. Steered by brother and sister duo Howard and Anita Hsu (whose other sibling, Ron, is the force behind James Beard Award-winning Lazy Betty), the Asian-inspired spot settled into permanence in 2014. Locals love the jalapeño and cheddar cornbread, served with sorghum butter. But Sweet Auburn is renowned for its cutting-edge, fusion fare. Must-orders include the pimento cheese wontons, Wu Tang smoked wings, and a Thai-inspired riff on shrimp and grits, which comes with chile butter.

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Terra Terroir (Brookhaven)

Terra Terroir’s patio, one of Atlanta’s prettiest. | Credit: Terra Terroir

With terroir in its name, it’s no surprise that this easygoing haunt is a local oenophile’s dream. Chef Charles Zeran is a seven-time Wine Spectator Award winner, while a couple of on-staff sommeliers ensure that every pairing is perfect. Locals know to ask for the “Somm vs. Somm” wine list, a weekly competition between the resident experts. A frequently edited menu makes this neighborhood spot worth returning to, as does one of Atlanta’s prettiest patios. Recent menu hits have included New Bedford sea scallops with truffled creamed sweet corn and lardons and avocado lobster toast with gazpacho sauce.

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Sprig Restaurant (Decatur)

If you want to know where Atlanta’s most discerning bourbon and whisky drinkers are, it’s Sprig. This restaurant may turn out delicious seasonal plates, but it’s the 550-bottle spirits list that draws a steady stream of loyal visitors. Pair your drams with dishes from the rich, Southern-inspired menu, such as salmon with corn pudding, pork chops with blueberry compote, and catfish and grits.

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Le Fat (West Midtown)

This Guy Wong-founded Vietnamese spot remains stylish and well-regarded, even since the enterprising chef and restaurateur passed the torch to new owners in 2019. The menu now features more Sichuan, Chinese, and Cantonese dishes, but locals still can’t get enough of its signature baos, filled with crispy soft-shell crab, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and sambal mayo. Though the title for most-ordered dish here is a toss-up between the beefy pho, featuring brisket and meatball, and the chicken clay pot, with a power-packed crispy rice layer.

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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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