So You’re Coming to Atlanta For a Con and Want to Eat?

221b Con is just around the corner, and since I get frequent asks for local Atlanta eateries anyway, this post is well overdue. Beneath the readmore you’ll find a ridiculous list of the places I like to eat in/around Atlanta, some cheap options, some fancy as heck, and what to do if you’re stuck at a hotel without a car. Other Atlanta locals, please feel free to reblog this with your own suggestions!

First, let’s start with what’s around the hotel 221b Con is being held in. There’s a LOT of fast food in the area, if my memory and yelp serves me correctly, but there’s a couple of other good options within a mile:

  • Farm Burger: A couple years back, Atlanta saw a ‘burger revolution’ sweep the city, and more than a dozen ‘gourmet’ or ‘deluxe’ burger spots popped up. Farm Burger is one such place, and has turned out to be one of the most popular, for good reason. Really good burgers with beef alternative options, plus a huge variety of fresh, often local toppings. We’re a city big on eating local food. Not the cheapest burger around, but you have lots of other options if you want a cheap burger. Come here and expect to pay at least $10 for a burger and drink and side and everything. Splurge and get an adult milkshake. Trust me.
  • Alon’s Bakery: I haven’t been to this particular location, but I could write sonnets about the Alon’s in my neighborhood. Now my favorite bakery in Atlanta (since H&F Bakery closed its doors a few years ago, sigh), they offer all sorts of amazing things. Precious, French style pastries and desserts baked fresh each day, an incredible selection of cheeses (I am a sucker for cheeses), gourmet foods, and an AWESOME sandwich counter. Seriously. Cost depends on what you go in for, I’ve had breakfast there for around $5 with a scone and juice (OH MY GOD, GET THE GINGER SCONE AND THANK ME LATER), but I’ve also walked out $50 broke after indulging a bit in the cakes and cheeses. AND THE MACARONS. NNG.
  • Waffle House: This is the one ‘fast food’ place near the hotel I’ll put a recommendation for, mostly because it’s just such a southern staple. If you’re from a different part of the country/world and don’t often visit our neck of the woods, pop in at least once, to experience it, if nothing else. The waffles are actually pretty darn delicious, and there are few things more satisfying after a night of drinking than a plate of WH hash browns with a bright orange slice of cheese melted on top, and a bowl of grits with a splash of hot sauce. Dirt cheap food.

Let’s say you have a car at your disposal, so you can venture a little further away from the convention for dinner. Maybe you want to enjoy Atlanta a little. Have I got a list for you. 

(This is really in no particular order. I’m literally just going through neighborhoods in my head and trying to remember all the places I go to a lot)

  • Holeman & Finch Public House: Easily one of my favorite places in the city, though it’s a rare treat sort of place. It’s a gastro pub, and the owner (and my former boss) Linton Hopkins, has been featured in a ridiculous amount of food magazines and even Iron Chef. For good reason. The food here is incredible. Everything is fresh and local, and dude, right when you walk in the door you see the kitchen at work right in front of you. You can be adventurous here, and try things like lamb bread pudding (???) or veal brains (which I’ve had and don’t actually recommend FYI eeeugh), but what really makes this place worth it is the BURGER. It’s infamous. Named the best burger in the country, and for good reason. It’s only served starting at 9 p.m. on weeknights, and only 24 are made each night, so you have to go early to get your order in and oh my god it is WORTH IT. Insider tip though: Go Sunday for brunch. They serve unlimited burgers on Sunday, so you have a better chance of getting one, but a harder time getting a table. This burger though. You guys. I dream about this burger. It’s just perfection. I don’t know how to describe it and do it justice. Go there. Moderately pricey. The burger is like, $10 I think? With fries?
  • Fellini’s Pizza: There’s actually Fellini’s all over town, and it’s definitely one of my favorite pizza options. Cheap, and you can either get a whole pie to share with friends or else buy it by the slice (hey, it’s REALLY hard to find decent pizza by the slice). Cheap, delicious, and not frilly.
  • The Vortex: This place has two locations, though the one in Little Five Points is a bit more infamous, thanks to the giant, crazy-eyed skull entrance (plus I mean, you should check out Little Five Points if you have the time to spare anyway). Sorry, but I’m going to have a few burger places on this list, because man I love a good burger. And The Vortex has one of my favorites: The Elvis. Topped with banana, bacon, and peanut butter. IT IS SO GOOD, YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. Ahem. Anyway, The Vortex is deliberately dive-y and feels like a motorcycle bar occasionally overrun by hipsters, so it’s not expensive, but it’s not fast food either.
  • R Thomas: One of the best vegetarian/vegan options in the city, with a large menu with some really good food. I’m a sucker for their penne, and the french toast here is AMAZEBALLS. Bonus: They are open 24 hours! Woo! Also there are birds EVERYWHERE. The owner has a collection of well loved birds in huge cages along the outside of the restaurant, and if it’s slow, you’ll see him walking around with one or two on his shoulders (dining is all outside on a covered/heated patio) and it’s pretty precious. Everyone that works here is a huge hippy/art nerd and all totally lovely.
  • The Porter Beer Bar: I LOVE THIS PLACE. Tucked in amongst the thrift shops and tattoo parlors in L5P, this place serves some AMAZING food at pretty great prices for what you get, and their beer list is INCREDIBLE. I seriously don’t really drink beer much, so they have one of the best cider selections in town, but if you tell the bartender or your waiter what your tastes lean towards, they will get you the PERFECT drink.
  • Radial Cafe: If you’re looking for a good spot for brunch, this is the spot, if you ask me. Again with the focus on Local food, they have a menu with new stuff on it every day. Stuff like Almond Ciabatta French Toast and Lemon Poppy Pancakes. You definitely want to go to here.
  • The Original Pancake House: I think this is a chain, and it’s basically always PACKED weekends, but for good reason. The pancakes are stupid delicious, so this is another good breakfast spot if you’re in town.
  • Community Q: While Atlanta isn’t on the map for BBQ the way places like Memphis are, we still have some GREAT places. Community Q is my choice for consistent quality and a crazy selection of wicked good sides. Get the mac and cheese, it will change your life.
  • J Christopher: Another chain, and there’s a handful in Atlanta, but another good breakfast option. I had a creme brulee french toast there once that I’ll never forget. Also still one of my favorite Biscuits and Gravy places.
  • Southern Sweets Bakery: This is a tiny place tucked into the middle of an industrial park, so getting here is sort of an adventure, but well worth it. Their sandwiches are HUGE and AMAZING, but their pies make me cries. And cake. And cookies. Best little southern bakery ever.
  • Dekalb International Farmer’s Market: If you’re at Southern Sweets, you may as well pop across the street and experience our giant indoor farmers market. It’s madness 96% of the time, but a huge and AMAZING variety of fresh produce, meats, and bakery stuff, at dirt cheap prices. Go here and stock up on snacks for your room.
  • Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand: Vaguely in the neighborhood of the Zoo, you should definitely make this a stop if you’re in the area doing some sight seeing. They serve exactly as the name says: chicken sausage, in a variety of ways. Delicious ways. They have a sandwich that is just a chicken sausage patty with cream cheese and cherry jam between two KrispyKreme ‘buns’. It’s amazing. They also have cake shakes. It’s a shake with an entire GIANT cupcake blended into it. Go here whether you’re going to the zoo or not. In fact, it’s on the way from the airport. Just make a quick detour.
  • Revolution Donuts: My good friend and comic artist extraordinaire Shivana works the counter here, and you will see her precious doodles all over the place. Talk to her about Sherlock, The Hobbit, or basically anything ever on the BBC, and you will make her day. I have come here after closing to pick up donuts from her and have watched her clean while playing QI over the shop’s speakers. That’s how cool Shivana is. Also the donuts here are incredible. My personal favorite is the berry one, which just tastes like fresh berries and juice but they also have Bacon and Brown Sugar donuts, and trust me, that’s a thing you want.
  • Sublime Donuts: While I love Shivana and her donuts at Revolution, I can never stray from Sublime for too long. Not while they have the strawberries and creme donut, which is literally just a fresh donut split in half and stuffed with fresh strawberries and whipped creme. They also have Thin Mint donuts, and Orange Dreamsicle, and the Juice/Tea Blends (which they call ‘Potions’ and sell in kawaii plastic bottles with corks) are the BEST.
  • Chef Liu’s: DUMPLING PARTY TIME AAAAH. There are SO MANY awesome Chinese places on Buford highway that it’s super difficult to pick favorites. But I will, because I freaking love Chef Liu’s. It’s sort of an all-day dim sum place, but don’t expect carts rolling between tables. It’s all ordered off the menu and brought to you, which is kind of nice. Not a huge selection, but what they have is good. My picks: Xiao Long Bao (steamed juicy/soup dumplings, which are super hard to find in the south and they are SO GOOD here), Lamb Dumplings, Beef Noodle Soup (I think I cried the first time I tried this soup, it was so good), Minced Pork Cake, Sweetened Soy milk with Youtiao (aka fried cruller, and the best way to start any meal, even though this is supposed to be a breakfast thing). I also always get a sweetened rice ball to go. It’s basically a piece of Youtiao covered in sugar and then wrapped with sweet sticky rice AND IT’S SO GOOD. Go with a group, order a ton of food to share, and still pay less than $10 a person. It’s the best.
  • Suno: If you find yourself in Decatur or up on Pleasant Hill (no really, that’s what the street is called), stop into Suno to get some bubble tea, a giant cup of sweetened shaved ice, or a crepe. I’m bitter about Su-no right now, because they used to also serve Panna Cotta, but they’ve taken them off the menu and that makes me grumpy.
  • Crawfish Shack: If you’ve never had crawfish and you don’t mind spice, go here and get a pound of their broiled crawfish for a surprisingly good price, share with your friends, and feast. You will make a mess, and I’m not kidding when I say they’re spicy, but MAN is it good.
  • Miso Izakaya: My favorite Japanese place in Atlanta has closed, so I’m still trying to find a cheap replacement, so until then I have this sort of pricey place. It’s not cheap, especially considering it’s supposed to be an Izakaya, but the food is really phenomenal. They have buns similar to what you’ll find in Momofuku in NYC, quality-wise, and they are infamous in the south for their ramen. I am a sucker for the salt and pepper quail that they serve though *_*
  • Honey Pig: KOREAN BBQ TO THE MAX. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been here, but if you want to feast on ALL OF THE MEAT with your friends, this is the place to go.
  • Sweet Hut: The most hip, trendy little Korean Bakery/Tea Shop you will find in Atlanta. Walking in sort of feels like stepping into a Kdrama or something. So many hip, attractive teens. And super cheap pastries and yummy drinks. Be kawaii like me and get a strawberry milk tea, half ice, with rainbow jellies.
  • H-Mart: The Asian Grocery store chain we have down here. I think there are two or three locations around? I totes recommend going here to stock up on snacks for your room for super cheap, and also hit up the food court for some amazingly awesome and cheap meals.
  • Lee’s Bakery: Oh man, I am a sucker for Banh Mi and Pho and this place delivers on both. For $5 you can get 3 12” Banh Mi sandwiches which is CRAZY cheap, but SO GOOD. If you’ve never tried Banh Mi, go with the roast pork. For $6 you can get a sandwich and a whopping bowl of Pho, which is an amazing deal. Oh man this place is so good.
  • Book house Pub: Twin Peaks fans, go to here. It’s a nerdy bar/restaurant with a Twin Peaks theme, but they also have some Doctor Who stuff tucked around here and there. It’s pretty precious. And the food is crazy good. And the Dark and Stormy’s are strong.
  • Zesto: Eh, another local fast food option, if you want to stick with things that are local. Not bad. Cheap food. I mostly stick with the milk shakes and chili dogs.
  • Ru-Sans: I am not at all the person to go to for Sushi recommendations. I keep trying to like sushi, but I just can’t. But Ru-sans, which has multiple Atlanta locations, works for me, because their non-sushi options are really good, and they also have the types of sushi I can get behind: Seared Beef, Tamago, and basically all of that terrible American-ized stuff that comes covered with cheese or mayo or both. But fear not, traditionalists, they’ll do right by you as well. Also they have dirt cheap sake bombs, which is pretty much the main reason I ever went there during college. But trust me, I am sure there are much better places to get sushi in Atlanta.
  • Antico’s: My FAVORITE pizza in Atlanta, hands down. Very traditional, Naples-style pizza, with amazing charred crust and fresh, tomato-y sauce. I don’t eat much at one sitting usually, but last week I wolf down an entire half of one of these pizzas in about 15 minutes. They also usually have a small selection of Italian cookies and fresh pasta to buy. The cookies are amazing.
  • Black Bear: This is one of those neighborhood bars that you probably wont see on any other “Great Places to eat in Atlanta!” lists, but it’s one of my favorite little family-owned bars in the city. I might be biased because my ex used to be the cook here, but man, I still really like the food.
  • Star Provisions: This IS one of those places you’ll see on all of the “Great Places to eat in Atlanta!” lists. The chefs/owners are famous, locally, for their amazing restaurants and food. It’s a cute little shop, comprised of a bakery, deli, cheese monger, meat counter, and little farm stand. Very classy and gourmet, but really good.
  • Flip Burger: If you’re into the ‘celebrity chef’ thing and don’t want to spend stupid amounts of money eating somewhere like Woodfire Grill, definitely check out Richard Blaise’s Flip Burger. You might recognize Richard from Top Chef and other such shows, and if so, you know he’s about molecular gastronomy stuff, but it’s actually really affordable here. The nitrogen milkshakes and cocktails are visually impressive and SUPER yummy, and the burgers are as delicious as they are creative. My favorite is the Butcher’s cut, with blue cheese, carmelized onions, truffle vinigarette, and red wine jam. Not bad at $8. IF THEY HAVE THE SWEET POTATO TOTS, YOU NEED TO GET THEM.
  • Pho Dai Loi: There are about 50 Pho places on Buford Highway alone (I’m guessing), so it’s hard to say which one is ‘the best’. In my experience though, Pho Dai Loi is consistently good, and is usually the best at dealing with large groups of people. The pho is also cheap as heck, with different sizing options, but lots of other Vietnamese food choices if you’re not feeling Pho (my room mate swears by the beef stew they serve with the crusty little baguettes that always seem to taste like magic at Vietnamese places). The Avocado Smoothie is also surprisingly delicious.
  • Perla: For some reason I don’t eat a lot of Mexican food in Atlanta? Maybe I was spoiled living in San Antonio for so long, I’m too wary of trying a lot of the no doubt delicious Mexican places here. But I DO love places that serve good Tacos. La Perla is at the top of my Mexican Places list because it’s so close to me, but also the tacos are DELICIOUS. My faves are the buttermilk fried chicken, Asado, and Lingua tacos. Do not be scared of the lingua (tongue). It is delicious.
  • Taqueria el Vecino: THAT JUST REMINDED ME OF THIS PLACE. I’ve only eaten here once, but they serve a vegan black bean and sweet potato enchilada that knocked my freakin’ socks off. I need to go back.
  • Hankook Taqueria: Korean tacos! The Asian/Mexican fusion craze seems to be dying down, but this place is still crazy good. The Bulgogi tacos are my favorite, along with the sesame fries and man-doo and ko-kuma (fried sweet potatoes). They also do an amazingly good bi bim bap.
  • Cho Dang: Speaking of Korean food though, if you find yourself near the northern half of the Perimeter, check out Cho Dang on Buford Highway. The BEST Soondubu (spicey tofu soup), with a huge variety of options and heat levels. They’re also really generous with the ban chan (the little dishes of kimchi and other nibbles they present before the meal), and there’s a soft serve ice cream machine you can help yourself to, and I swear to god they put crack in that soft serve because no matter how full I am after a giant bowl of soondubu, I always want to eat like five ice cream cones after dinner. Pro Tip: make sure you ask for the rice to be served in a stone bowl, so that it keeps cooking at your table while you eat and you get the delicious, crispy rice crust at the end to eat up with the rest of your soup.
  • King of Pops: Not actually a place you can go, but King of Pops is served in places all over the city, and basically they are the best hand made popsicles you’ll ever have, so if you see them on a menu, you need to hit that up. Especially the chocolate sea salt. Or Lavender Lemonade. Or Mojito. Man, they’re all good.
  • Empire State South: Go here if you’re rich and looking to burn money on an amazing meal. One of the best restaurants in the city and garnering lots of national attention lately. I swore I’d never eat steak tartare because rare beef freaks me out, as does raw egg, but then I was talked into trying it here, and I wanted to devour the entire dish. I don’t know how they did it. Then later I had a blood orange panna cotta that brought tears to my eyes.
  • Mary Mac’s Tea Room: THE place to go for southern food (and not tea, actually). I’ve only eaten here a handful of times, but it’s always good, reliable comfort food. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, biscuits, and collard greens. You’ll really get the southern experience here, but it is a little pricey, considering what you get.
  • Doctor Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party: There’s a surprising lack of tea shops in Atlanta. Or maybe not surprising. We’re definitely a coffee-driven city, and you’ll find good coffee shops all over the place. If you’re looking for a place to sit and drink tea though, definitely come here, order a pot, and settle into one of the cozy chairs or couches. The walls are lined with bookshelves for you to peruse while drinking, and the books are actually like 25 cents each or something if you want to buy any. It’s pretty great.
  • Highland Bakery: REALLY good pastries here, but the thing that everyone raves about is their peanut butter french toast. It’s delicious, but it’s HUGE. You can probably easily split it with a friend or two. Good place to go for breakfast or lunch *_*
  • The Varsity: I would be remiss in not suggesting the Varsity, since it’s such an Atlanta landmark. You’ll see it from the Highway as you drive through downtown. It’s huge and neon and… definitely noticable. The food is…fast food. I don’t know why it’s such a landmark, but trust me, if you’re from out of town, locals will almost always ask you “have you been to The Varsity yet??”
  • Gladys Knight and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles: I have never actually been here! But I love chicken and waffles, and I hear all sorts of good stuff about this place, so again, come here if you really want a southern experience! Tell me how it is!



BUT WHAT IF YOU CAN’T LEAVE THE HOTEL FOR VARIOUS REASONS??? OH MAN. Well I mean, there’s room service, but you may as well cut off a hand and gnaw on that for a while. Or you could order Papa Johns (respect). But one of the nice things about Atlanta right now is it’s incredibly easy to have all sorts of food delivered right to you. You’ve seen me post about getting milk shakes delivered to me late at night. And pancakes delivered to me in the morning. This is the world we live in, thanks to these sites:

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