Looking to update your must-eat-at list of metro Atlanta restaurants? Check out these spots, most new to the local dining scene that AJC food and dining editor Ligaya Figueras and AJC food writers Wendell Brock and Wyatt Williams enjoyed dining at this year. And check out our list of best-reviewed metro Atlanta restaurants of 2016 and 2017.
Mission and Market, Three Alliance Center, 3550 Lenox Road, Atlanta. 404-948-2927, missionandmarketatl.com.
“Despite looking a lot like its peers, Mission and Market is an uncommon place, indeed.” – Wyatt Williams
Noona, 3550 W. Lawrenceville St., Duluth. 678-404-5001, noonaduluth.com/
“Sure, you can tuck in for a steak and a twice-baked potato. Or you can chill out at the bar as you sip an Asian Medicine and scarf down some kimchi fried rice. There are no hard and fast rules here.” -- Ligaya Figueras
The Alden, 5070 Peachtree Blvd., Chamblee. 678-395-6982, thealdenrestaurant.com
“...Keep an eye on Jared Hucks. Even if he doesn’t always reach them, he is a chef capable of great heights.” --Wyatt Williams
Ari’s Korean Steakhouse, 9700 Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 770-802-8800, aristeakhouse.com
“This isn’t a steakhouse or a Korean barbecue restaurant, at least as I know them. That’s exactly why I’ve grown fond of Ari.” -- Wyatt Williams
Bulla Gastrobar, 60 11th St. NE, Atlanta, 404-900-6926 bullagastrobar.com.
"You’ll have no shortage of reminders of Bulla’s proper pronunciation. It’s a good word to remember, mostly because it is key to ordering the best plate of food you can find at Bulla Gastrobar." -- Wyatt Williams
Chai Yo, 3050 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta. 404-464-7980 chaiyoatl.com
“It’s about exploring possibilities. The outlook is as fresh as the food.” -- Ligaya Figueras
Coalition Food and Beverage, 50 Canton St., Alpharetta. 470-839-6725, coalitionalpharetta.com
“There are plenty of spots on Canton and Main in downtown Alpharetta, but the wings at Coalition are calling my name.” -- Ligaya Figueras
El Super Pan, The Battery, 455 Legends Place, Atlanta. 404-521-6500 elsuperpan.com
“Maybe it is greedy of me to say I want more, a longer menu, but the truth is that I’d take anything I could get from this place. I’m just glad it isn’t a secret to me anymore.” -- Wyatt Williams
Golden Eagle, 904 Memorial Drive, Atlanta. 404-963-1703 goldeneagleatl.com
“At the end of the evening, do yourself a favor and take his dessert advice: order the platter of cookies. It’s a spread of little things, chewy gingerbread and powdery wedding cookies and so forth that you’ll pick at with your fingers with your friends. This isn’t a bad time to order one more Rob Roy, either. After all, you’ll want to spend just a few more minutes in this room.” -- Wyatt Williams
Madras Mantra, 2179 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur. 404-636-4400, madrasmantra.com
“I’d say stick with the flavors as the kitchen suggests them. Order the chole bhatura and you’ll be delivered a large platter bearing two deep-fried bhaturas as fluffy and inflated with air as a pair of balloons. “ – Wyatt Williams
Mary Hoopa’s House of Fried Chicken & Oysters, 2371 Hosea L. Williams Drive, Atlanta. 404-254-5236, maryhoopas.com
“On a busy night, stay on the ship at Mary Hoopa’s and you’ll arrive, eventually, at a plate of fried chicken worth the journey.” -- Wyatt Williams
Molly B’s, 1414 Andrew Young International Blvd., Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta 470-341-5050 mollybsatlanta.com
“I’ve had some fried chicken better than what is served at Molly B’s and plenty worse. On the other hand, I’ve never dined in a room quite like this.” -- Wyatt Williams
Public Kitchen & Bar, 3500 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-900-7799, thepublickitchen.com
“As I’ve noticed over the course of my recent meals, Public Kitchen’s sophisticated, stylish environs somewhat belie the fact that this is a middlebrow restaurant, cut from the same fabric that defines “something for everyone” mall restaurants in any major city in America.”-- Wyatt Williams
Read the full review here
Rose + Rye, 87 15th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-500-5980, roserye.com
“It is disconcerting that the service here can be so unreliable, because the food coming out of the kitchen is much better than that.” -- Wyatt Williams
Tiny Lou’s, Hotel Clermont, 789 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 470-485-0085, tinylous.com
“Still, I’ll be coming back to Tiny Lou’s. I’ll just be hoping that off nights like that go the way of the Clermont’s bad old days.” -- Wyatt Williams
The White Bull, 123 E. Court Square, Decatur. 404-600-5649, whitebullatl.com
“Aspects like house-made everything, guaranteed freshness and vegetables that take center stage are areas where the kitchen, too, demonstrates capability and aspiration. This is all a reason to visit the White Bull. Yet too many compositions are more like drafts instead of final versions.” -- Ligaya Figueras
More restaurants we liked this year:
Anh’s Kitchen, Viewpoint condo, 855 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 2. Atlanta. 404-989-6886, anhkitchenatl.com.
“Sure, you can get better Vietnamese at other spots around the city. (I’m thinking of Buford Highway’s Pho Dai Loi on the low-budget end; Guy Wong’s elegant Le Fat on Marietta Street on the higher side.) But Anh’s straightforward, efficient vibe feels just right in the hustle-and-bustle of this urban corridor.” -- Wendell Brock
Annie Mae’s Pantry, 1700 Northside Drive, Suite A7, Atlanta. 678-515-7561, anniemaespantry.com.
“Andra Hall has lovingly crafted a Southern gem that’s eye-catching and unexpected: a slice of the sweet life on Northside Drive. You can bet her grandmother would be mighty proud.” -- Wendell Brock
Café Raik, 1160 Old Peachtree Road, Duluth. 770-476-7595, caferaik.com.
“Only losers split an $8.95 shawafel. Tell your buddies to order their own and leave you be so you can scarf it down all by your lonesome.” -- Wendell Brock
Euro Gourmet Grill, 488 Gwinnett Drive, Lawrenceville. 770-513-7788.
“I plan to keep going back on the hopes of getting stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls and sirnicah. What a happy day that will be.” -- Wendell Brock
Ghion Cultural Hall, 2080 Cheshire Bridge Road NE, Atlanta. 404-320-6747, atlantaghionculturalhall.com.
“Both times that I left Ghion Cultural Hall after dining there, I experienced the same feeling of satisfaction and for the exact same reasons.” -- Ligaya Figueras
Irie Mon Café, 1800 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. 404-464-7188, iriemoncafe.com.
“I’m not sure, though, how anyone could walk past the smoky aroma of that jerk chicken without wanting to go home with a plate of it. That’s what I’ll be coming back for. I think you will, too, as soon as you can find this place.” -- Wyatt Williams
Jok Ga a Dong Chim, 3751 Satellite Blvd., Number 600, Duluth.
“But the dish that blew my ever-loving Southern white-boy mind was the spicy sea snails with cold noodles. You can get it paired with trotter, a setup that I liked even better than the bossam-and-jokbal combo.” --Wendell Brock
La Imperial, 6316 Buford Highway, Norcross. 770-449-0727, Facebook: La Imperial Tortilleria y Rostiseria.
“La Imperial Tortilleria y Rostiseria (you will also find it online as Tortilleria Avorrate Imperial) is a one-stop shop in Norcross for all things Mexican. It is a tortilla and tamale factory, bakery, hot food buffet, maker of agua fresca and mini grocery.” -- Ligaya Figueras
La Mixteca Tamale House, 1185 Old Peachtree Road NW, Unit D, Suwanee. 678-878 3483, facebook.com/lamixtecatamalehouse/.
“As far as I’m concerned, the tamale bowl started at La Mixteca. Don’t dare pass this place by.” -- Wendell Brock
Read the full review here
“The shrimp cocktail is, like almost everything on the menu, served in very generous portion. The goblet is loaded with a thick red sauce and thick chunks of ripe avocado that add a richness to the mixture of shrimp, octopus, clams, white fish and crab.” -- Wyatt Williams
Momonoki, 95 Eighth St. NW, Atlanta. 404-390-3025, momonokiatl.com.
“Actually, (the husband-and-wife team of Jason Liang and ChingYao Wang) have created a pair of conjoined spaces that go together like his and hers towels: a restaurant and cafe with a patio that feels almost draped over the Downtown Connector at Eighth Street. You’ll want to get here to sip coffee or eat warm, loving spoonfuls of miso grits.” -- Wendell Brock
Mushi Ni, Global Grub Collective, 477 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-405-6005, mushini.net.
“As it turns out, a couple of the most impressive offerings are vegetarian. The cauliflower bang bang, a bao stuffed with glazed, fried sweet and spicy cauliflower florets, lived up to that punchy name.” -- Wyatt Williams
Next Door, 2131 Pleasant Hill Road, Number B3, Duluth. 770-680-4371, nextdoorkoreanrestaurant.com.
“As Atlanta’s Korean-American community grows, it’s delightful to explore a cuisine that is so much more than just table-top barbecue.” -- Wendell Brock
Snackboxe Bistro, 6035 Peachtree Road, Doraville. 770-417-8082, snackboxebistro.com.
“I look forward to watching this restaurant’s menu grow, though I think I’ll always be having a plate of nam khao.” -- Wyatt Williams
Won Won Seafood House, 1600 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 770-921-2228, wonwonseafoodhouse.com.
“If I lived nearby, I would be a lunch and dinner regular. For now, dim sum is what makes Won Won worth the trip.” -- Wendell Brock