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Atlanta’s 5 most exciting restaurant debuts of 2023

A photo of Red logo
by Su-Jit Lin
Updated July 06, 2023

Atlanta’s restaurant scene is constantly replenished, bursting with ambitious new restaurants and hotly anticipated comeback champs. The latest hotspots include stylish seaside tributes that let landlocked Atlantans taste the ocean, no passports required.

Cold water lobster comes six dazzling ways at a lavish Thai spot in Buckhead. Nearby, global coastal cuisine dominates the menu at a place by popular Atlanta restaurateur Tal Baum and the Oliva Restaurant Group—the sixth in the hit-making group’s collection. A modern gastropub that opened at a brand-new Midtown location after a two-year hiatus attracts Atlantans for its oversized fried Gulf oysters and housemade pickles.

Read on for a guide to the five hottest new restaurants and revamps enticing Atlantans right now.

A photo of Zakia restaurant
4.7
4.7 (991)
$31 to $50
Lebanese
Buckhead
About the restaurant

Zakia opened in December 2022 but hit its true stride in the new year. The museum-like Middle Eastern spot is the latest from brothers Ryan and Jonathan Akly and executive chef Ian Winslade (of Mission and Market and Tre Vele fame) and pays tribute to the Aklys’ eponymous grandmother. The restaurant’s sumptuous 6,000-square-foot space drips with gold, crystal, and marble accents, all enhanced by sunlight that streams through oversized black windows. It's a glamorous backdrop to dig into modern flame-kissed Lebanese dishes, such as silky chargrilled lamb chops with a pomegranate reduction, and a riot of off-the-beaten-path mezzes including spice-roasted cauliflower with lemon tahini and grilled quail with sesame goat cheese. Consider pairing your Levantine feast with arak, the clear anise spirit arrives on a golden cart tableside and turns cloudy when hit with cold water and ice. The result is a magical flourish to one of Atlanta’s most enchanting meals right now.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
I hosted a dinner at Zakia for 11 of my colleagues traveling from California. We had an amazing experience and the service was superb. Our server was, Toni, she was exceptional and very accommodating to our dietary needs. The tasting menu was divine.
A photo of Carmel restaurant
4.6
4.6 (344)
$31 to $50
Seafood
Buckhead
About the restaurant

Carmel is a stylish tribute to every coast that celebrated restaurateur Tal Baum has ever loved. When she opened the eagerly anticipated seafood spot in May (making it the sixth in her growing empire), Baum interlaced influences from California, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Mediterranean shores, where she was raised. The mix translates into an eclectic menu steered by executive chef Luis Guevara Salgada who previously led the kitchen at Carmel’s sibling spot, Aziza. Kick off your ocean odyssey with pork belly tostadas with chile crisp and shrimp in coconut-peanut broth before digging into mains such as whole snappers with guajillo marinade. Despite the globetrotting menu, the interiors are anchored in the A, featuring custom fiber installation and millwork by local artisans. Grab a green velvet banquette, order a pisco cocktail, and buckle in for one of the city’s finest seafood feasts.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined today
Food was fantastic, Server Ulises (I think is how you spell it) was fantastic, there was a baby crying but wasn’t an issue.
A photo of Snap Thai Fish House restaurant
4.5
4.5 (455)
$31 to $50
Thai
Buckhead
About the restaurant

This sustainable seafood spot made a splash in the bustling courtyard at the Prominence Apartments when it opened in February. Thanks to a fish art installation, knotted ropes, and plenty of natural light, Snap Thai Fish House delivers a sophisticated nautical theme. It's an ambitious act from chef Pattie Lawlertratana, Jason Adjanasuknart, and Yai Siripetamorn, the trio behind one of the city’s oldest Thai restaurants, Bangkok Thai. Snap is all about a coastal Thai-inspired market-style experience and serves over 10 kinds of seafood flown in daily. Choose from cold water lobster is available six ways (as a lobster roll and in tom yum bisque, among others), prawns and scallops with green curry fettuccine, and more. Wash it all down with a finger of Japanese whisky, cognac, or Scotch from one of the city’s most formidable collections. A Thai-accented brunch—crispy lobster and waffles, anyone?—kicked off in June, just in time for the restaurant’s patio opening. The result is a one-of-a-kind seafood restaurant from Atlanta’s most seasoned Thai food veterans.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 4 days ago
A must try… Food & drinks were great! Ambiance was amazing!
A photo of Holeman and Finch Public House restaurant
4.4
4.4 (235)
$31 to $50
Gastro Pub
Midtown
About the restaurant

One of Atlanta’s most popular burgers—Holeman & Finch once served just 24 cheesy double stacks per night—is back. The beloved gastropub returned after a two-year pause in February, complete with a brand-new Colony Square location, a freshly added raw bar, and an ambitious Sunday lineup that includes a hearty English roast. James Beard Award winner Linton Hopkins’s superb across-the-pond fare includes Welsh rarebit and turnip gratin, plus rustic Southern treats such as corn-breaded and fried oversized Gulf oysters with fried housemade pickles. Toast the return of this faithful city favorite with a house cocktail—the Rha Illusion is made with vodka, bubbles, blueberry, rhubarb shrub, and grapefruit, and goes with practically every dish—or a pick from pastry chef Ayanna Reid’s star-studded dessert menu, including sticky toffee pudding and housemade whole milk ice cream.

Top review
KarenM
Dined 4 days ago
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at H&F. The homemade yeast rolls were delicious as well as our chef’s selection charcuterie. We ate the burger and the fried snapper and an order of roasted mushrooms. Service was excellent. Location perfect (we were able to walk to the alliance theater from the restaurant). Highly recommend and will certainly return next time we’re in the area.
A photo of Polaris restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1641)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Downtown
About the restaurant

Atlantans sorely missed this scenic 22nd-floor Hyatt Regency landmark after it closed in March 2020. But the saucer-like rotating restaurant that first opened in 1967 sprung back to life in December 2022, poised to wow diners with scenic city views and top-notch American dishes. The skyline stunner recently partnered with 70 local farms—plus the famous bees that reside in the hotel’s rooftop apiary—for its meats, cheeses, and produce. Rooftop honey sweetens cocktails such as the Mind Your Bee’s Knees with gin and fresh lemon juice, and honeycomb appears on cheese plates. More substantial mains, such as rabbit three ways with Carolina dirty rice, are also fueled by area ingredients. That locavore sensibility stretches into its drinks selection: Small sustainable producers are prioritized when it comes to the wine list, and the liquor selection highlights minority-owned companies. The result is an updated city icon, ready to woo a new generation of Atlanta diners.

Top review
CharlesS
Dined 3 days ago
Service was impeccable. Absolutely wonderful people there to make your evening magical.
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