Check out these 37 standouts from metro area restaurants, pop-ups and other food businesses

The food choices in Atlanta never have been more varied — or more accessible.

Traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants now share the dining landscape with food hall stalls, food trucks, farmers market vendors, pop-up innovators and delivery-only entrepreneurs.

Combined, they offer a smorgasbord of creative, global flavors in everything from handhelds and messy finger food to sophisticated knife-and-fork fare.

For this Fall Dining Guide, our group of contributors is singing the praises of current favorite metro Atlanta dishes. We love them for the flavors, the ingredients and the care that goes into making — and, sometimes — plating them.

ExploreMore from the AJC Fall Dining Guide

You’ll find picks for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner — anytime the craving strikes. Some are menu mainstays, while others require a bit of planning to seek out. All but a few are highly affordable — and a couple are even free!

Here, in no particular order, are the dishes we crave right now.

All Intown Atlanta Cobb DeKalb Gwinnett North Fulton
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24-Carrot Magic from Southern Belle

This dish is emblematic of what Southern Belle does: use technique and textures to celebrate an ingredient fully.

There’s the crunch of multicolored carrot coins that are scattered on the plate. A mound of frozen granita sits alongside cones made of thin sheets of pickled carrots, delivering acidity to the dish. Inside are roasted carrots, mixed with umami-rich scallops, the heat of charred jalapeno and creamy madras lime aioli. Dots of carrot gel provide sweetness, while herbs lend brightness. Thinly shaved fried carrots create a crispy crunch, and carrot tops become a frozen powder — verdant green and super cold “magic.” Gold leaf tops it all for punny fun. When there is a theme, chef Joey Ward goes all out.

While the carrots might not be on the ever-changing menu when you visit, you can expect seasonal vegetables with similar treatment. - Angela Hansberger, Photo by Angela Hansberger for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution

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