What Now Atlanta - Elite 100
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WNA's Picks of ATL's Best.

Restaurants and retailers that earned a spot on our Elite 100 are "everyday elite" businesses located in Metro Atlanta that meet this criteria: affordable, consistent, and excellent.

Subjective? Sure. That's the idea.

And look, we get it, Bacchanalia is the nectar of the Gods. But we're looking for places you can go to without taking out a second mortgage.

Did your favorites make the list or did we miss something? Do you disagree with our picks or think we're right on the money? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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R. Thomas Deluxe Grill

Owned by Richard Thomas, the founder of Bojangles', this brightly-colored South Buckhead eatery is by far Atlanta's quirkiest restaurant: open 24 hours, has a dozen exotic birds, and has been serving health food since the mid-80s.

Sit Down Restaurant

Arepa Mia

This authentic Venezuelan arepa bar inside Sweet Auburn Curb market serves the best arepas this side of the Americas.

Quick Service Restaurant

Chai Pani

The menu’s selection of authentic Indian street snacks is as colorful as the interior of this Decatur outpost that was a gas station in a past life. Try the Kale Pakoras, the Maharaja Lamb Burger, or the Parsi Chicken Burgers. Better yet, try everything!

Sit Down Restaurant

Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand

This snack shack from Delia Champion, the creator of Flying Biscuit, serves all-natural chicken sausage food stuffs into the wee hours of the night (open 24 hours Friday - Sunday). "The Hot Mess" has saved many a would-be hangovers on the WKND in EAV, and the Westside outpost offers stunning views.

Quick Service Restaurant

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Bookshelves line the walls of this Candler Park cafe that serves beverages, pastries and sandwiches, and features a sizable amount of books available for purchase at 99 cents each. When we want to feel classy, we reserve a spot at one of Dr. Bombay's high tea events.

Food Retail

Kabob Land

Kabob Land's Chicken Barg is easily the best in Atlanta (possibly in the Southeast) and the house-made pistachio baklava will keep you coming back.

Quick Service Restaurant

Little’s Food Store

This Cabbagetown neighborhood store opened for the first time in 1929. The outpost sells snacks, beer, deli, produce as well as freshly-cooked burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings.

Food Retail

Lottafrutta

This quirky restaurant (it seats like, seven) has fruit so fresh and so big James Cameron wanted to use it in Avatar but didn't think anyone would believe it. Our favorite combo: The Cremolatta fruit cup and the Pavo del Ocho panini polished off with a Mexican Coca-cola.

Quick Service Restaurant

MetroFresh

The daily-changing house-made soups and salads from long-time Hollywood actor Mitchell Anderson are drama-free: fresh, simple, delicious.

Quick Service Restaurant

Spice To Table

This Old Fourth Ward Indian "patisserie" from Chef Asha Gomez serves up French-style breakfast and lunch fare with South Asian influence. The space blurs the line between restaurant and cafe with its homey decor and bright industrial space.

Quick Service Restaurant

Star Provisions

This bakery and retail concept from Anne Quatrano is a West Midtown favorite serving up sandwiches like the Shrimp Po-boy and bakery items like the famous Chocolate Chess Pie.

Quick Service Restaurant

We Suki Suki

You don’t need to make a trip to Buford highway to enjoy some rockin’ Banh Mi. This East Atlanta Village restaurant serves up some of the best sandwiches and pho in town.

Sit Down Restaurant

Yeah! Burger

Natural and organic burgers with an array of fixing, also featuring shakes, cocktails, and beer. Gotta try Yeah! Burger's flash-fried organic cauliflower with house seasoning.

Quick Service Restaurant

4th & Swift

4th & Swift made O4W cool before it was cool. The restaurant serves up contemporary American fare dishes with regionally-sourced ingredients, and Chef Jay Swift even grows his own urban garden nearby.

Sit Down Restaurant

Ah-Ma's Taiwanese Kitchen

Small but bold in its approach to its menu items, the Midtown restaurant is inspired by both the comfort of traditional Taiwanese cooking as well as the country’s street food. DON'T go Wednesday. Ah-Ma's is closed. You'll be left at the door, craving the beef noodle soup.

American

Barcelona Wine Bar

A chic, industrial space in Inman Park near the Beltline features an inviting wrap-around patio, outdoor fireplace, and tapas menu. The patio is so well heated, you'd forget it was winter in the middle of Atlanta Snowmageddon.

Sit Down Restaurant

Bartaco

When Bartaco first opened its West Midtown outpost in 2014, the beach-like taco joint with soothing blue and white surroundings, became an instant hit with its simple eats and craft cocktails.

Sit Down Restaurant

Better Half

This Home Park establishment has garnered a cult-like following on Instagram for its photogenic, visually inspiring menu items. Better Half features a five course tasting menu, an homage to the restaurant’s roots as a supper club, Push Start Kitchen.

Sit Down Restaurant

Blossom Tree

Don't let its unsuspecting Downtown storefront fool you. Inside Blossom Tree you'll find the best Korean tacos, entrees, and service around...without any fuss.

Quick Service Restaurant

BoccaLupo

Italian-American fare in a relaxing, low-key neighborhood-like environment. If you're up for something spicy, you've gotta try the charcoal-colored spaghetti (dyed from squid ink) tossed with shrimp, breadcrumbs, and spicy Calabrese sausage. Molto Bene!

Sit Down Restaurant

Bone Garden Cantina

The Vortex’s sister concept (yup!) serves Mexican cuisine that is authentic in its roots, yet inventive. Enjoy Bone Garden's tamales in its Día de Muertos themed dining room where larger-than-life skeletons stare down at you from the murals lining the walls.

Sit Down Restaurant

Buttermilk Kitchen

Locals love the chicken biscuit which is perfected by the Buttermilk's signature roasted red pepper jelly. Be sure to check out the restaurant's monthly "BYOB Fancy Fried Chicken Dinner."

Sit Down Restaurant

Carroll Street Cafe

This quaint Cabbagetown neighborhood favorite offers half-price tapas Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m, should you want or need your middle-of-the week to go by a little faster.

Sit Down Restaurant

Cypress Street Pint and plate

This Midtown establishment has given Georgia Tech sports enthusiasts a great place to go on game day. The space features a cozy patio with a fireplace, 14 beers on tap and 40 bottle selections, and a burger with sublime doughnuts as the bun. It's serious, ya'll!

Sit Down Restaurant

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

If you’re ever feeling adventurous enough to try raw meat for the first time, this is the place to do it. There is something for everyone in the restaurant’s authentic Ethiopian menu, including plenty of vegetarian options, and enough injera to wrap the perimeter around twice over.

Sit Down Restaurant

Dish Dive

This low-key eatery inside a small, converted home, is one of Kirkwood’s best-kept secrets, serving impactful dishes like the Shakashuka (crushed tomato, bell peppers, okra, jalapeño, corn, sweet purple potato puree, feta, fried egg, flat bread) which is a no-brainer at $13.

Sit Down Restaurant

Ecco

The food isn’t the only thing that’s artful here. The Midtown building that houses this contemporary European restaurant won an award from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. Grab a glass from the award-winning wine list, and try the fried goat cheese balls coated in honey and black pepper.

Sit Down Restaurant

Egg Harbor Café Buckhead

There's something for everyone to love in this South Buckhead breakfast and brunch restaurant's extensive menu. The harbor potatoes are dangerously delicious!

Sit Down Restaurant

H & F Bread Co.

H&F Bread Co, the most low-key member of the H&F empire, sells fresh bread, pastries, and more. It’s not a coincidence that some of your favorite burgers, from Little's Food Store to Muss and Turner’s, are all on a bun that was baked at H&F.

Food Retail

Homegrown

200 of this breakfast spot’s famous "Comfy Chicken Biscuits" flew out of the kitchen the FIRST day Chef Kevin Clark added the item to the menu in 2011. The comfy reminds us of home, but we always go for the used-to-be-a-secret "Grant Stacks" named after Grant Henry of Sister Louisa's CHURCH.

Sit Down Restaurant

Iberian Pig

Best tapas in the metro area. Try the double-fried Patatas Bravas. You'll be ordering seconds (and thirds.)

Sit Down Restaurant

JCT Kitchen

A West Midtown staple, this refined Southern eatery from Ford Fry features a beautiful upstairs bar with skyline views. The "Sunday Supper" can easily become a weekly tradition.

Sit Down Restaurant

Le Fat

This West Midtown eatery blends Vietnamese, French and Cantonese influences in an artful space.

Sit Down Restaurant

Murphy's

This tried and true go-to for thirty plus years in the middle of the Virginia-Highland has a cafe, bakery and wine shop in an expansive space. We can always count on Murphy's!

Sit Down Restaurant

Noni's Bar and Deli

We can’t think of any other place that serves delicious, quality Italian food while seamlessly transitioning into one of the city’s favorite places to dance at night.

Sit Down Restaurant

O-Ku

Inventive sushi with a Southern twist. Try the Uni Spoons while you enjoy the beautiful skyline views on the roof deck.

Sit Down Restaurant

Ok Cafe

This old-fashioned Southern diner is an Atlanta institution where deals are made, and brunch is had. Try Ok Cafe's tried-and-true staples and specials, like the Roast Turkey and Rotisserie Chicken.

Sit Down Restaurant

Ray’s On The River

Featuring pristine views of the Chattahoochee River, Ray’s serves up elevated sea food dishes from restauranteur veteran Ray Schoenbaum.

Sit Down Restaurant

Revival

Chef Kevin Gillespie boasts a “proper” version of the traditional Sunday dinner, family-style. Bring your eating pants!

Sit Down Restaurant

Rise-n-Dine

“Cute” is one word many Atlantans have used to describe this quasi-retro breakfast spot in Emory Village. Yes, we're willing to wait several hours on the weekend for an A.M. Tacos and Nutella Pancakes brunch.

Sit Down Restaurant

Rumi's Kitchen

True-to-its-roots Persian cuisine that is inventive yet approachable at this Roswell Road spot. You won't find a better marinated and tender chicken kabob.

Sit Down Restaurant

Serpas True Food

The Cajun-inspired American cuisine is a nod to Chef Scott Serpas’ roots, and served in a lofty environment at Studioplex.

Sit Down Restaurant

Seven Lamps

This hidden gem among the Shops at Lenox serves up innovative handmade pasta dishes, house-made pickles, mortadella macaroons and a secret burger (no, really. It's not on the menu. You can thank us later.) that may one day not be overlooked as one of the best in Atlanta.

Sit Down Restaurant

South City Kitchen

Two points set this Fifth Group Restaurants establishment apart: its bungalow environment among Midtown skyscrapers, and the contemporary twist on the Southern cuisine served inside.

Sit Down Restaurant

Sun In My Belly

Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, in a casual yet charming atmosphere in Kirkwood.

Sit Down Restaurant

Superica

Tex-Mex establishment from Chef Ford Fry features an eclectic interior and the best tres leches cake you’ll ever taste.

Sit Down Restaurant

Tabla

A great place to dine whether you’re searching for reliable Indian food or more inventive spins on the cuisine.

Sit Down Restaurant

Venkman's

Wander off the Eastside Trail Beltline path to enjoy modern takes on Southern food at this restaurant, located in a building that was a soda bottling facility in a past life. Venkman’s regularly features live music acts, and we would expect nothing less from co-owners Peter Olson and Nicholas Nies

Sit Down Restaurant

Wrecking Bar Brewpub

This public house and brewpub in Little Five Points is located in the basement of a victorian mansion. The establishment serves its own beer and an extensive menu.

Sit Down Restaurant

Victory Sandwich Bar

The sandwiches at this hipster haven are some of the best cheap eats you’ll enjoy in town all at a price tag of $5 or less. As an added bonus, they also have fun names, like the Banh Apetit For Destruction. We go to Victory for the Jack and Coke Slushies alone.

Sit Down Restaurant

The Little Tart Bakeshop

The French-inspired bakeshop is the maker of the strawberry galette Atlantans wait for all year long.

Food Retail

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit

Virginia-Highland eatery serving homemade biscuits, whoopie pies and other southern snacks during daylight hours and midnight snacks on the weekends. Leave your diet at the door.

Food Retail

Dancing Goats

This coffee shop brewing Batdorf and Bronson was Ponce City Market's first tenant, and boasts one of Atlanta's greatest (if not THE greatest) patios.

Food Retail

Honey Bubble

Premium bubble tea and other beverages, french macarons, and ice cream in a cool Poncey-Highland space.

Food Retail

Honeysuckle Gelato

This food truck turned Ponce City Market brick-and-mortar serves ice cream sandwiches that are to. Die. FOR. Our personal faves are the brownie and pie crust cookies. YUM!

Food Retail

Hop City Beer & Wine

With an expansive selection of beer and wine featuring a growler station with over 40 options, we never leave thirsty.

Food Retail

Just Add Honey

This shop sells thoughtfully blended small batch teas, both freshly brewed and loose leaf, in Sweet Auburn Market.

Food Retail

Kale Me Crazy

The superfood cafe is everyone’s go-to for cold press juices, smoothies and acai bowls, and is arguably the fastest-growing food chain in Atlanta right now.

Food Retail

King of Pops

ATL’s most-loved popsicle comes in flavors you won’t find in a cardboard box at the grocery store like Banana Pudding, Thai Tea, and Arnold Palmer. Look for the rainbow umbrella at a corner near you, Whole Foods, its newly opened Ponce City Market brick-and-mortar, or the O4W Beltine walk-up.

Food Retail

Leon's Full Service

This new American modern eatery in Downtown Decatur features a patio, bocce court, and bar. Try the brisket sandwich and choose from several different sauces to go with your fries.

Sit Down Restaurant

Octane Coffee

Every Atlantan hipster has hung out at Octane at least once. The cafe serves kick-ass coffee (which Octane roasts itself), cocktails and hosts community events. P.S., this roaster makes its OWN caramel sauce, and it's the bomb, ya'll.

Food Retail

Sublime Doughnuts

No-frills space serving over-the-top doughnuts like Maple Bacon Cheddar, Red Velvet, and Reese’s Cup. Check out Sublime letter-shaped doughnuts for that special occasion.

Food Retail

Alexis Suitcase

Your next favorite clothing item is waiting for you at this South Buckhead consignment shop, offering a sizable amount of designer pieces at bargain prices.

Retail

Archer Goods

Thoughtfully-sourced paper goodness like notebooks, clever greeting cards, and exquisite wrapping papers, are at you fingertips at this Ponce City Market fine gifts and stationery outpost.

Retail

Candler Park Flowers

Don't settle for grocery store flowers when you can get fresh and seasonal offerings like dahlias, ranunculus, and ilex berries, depending on the season, at this quaint neighborhood florist.

Retail

Candler Park Market

This mom-and-pop neighborhood grocer has your basics on-hand like fresh fruit and veggies, to dog food and wine, and serves awesome local sandwiches and burgers in its deli.

Food Retail

Paces Papers

This stationer in Buckhead Village is the only place in town with such a substantial collection of handmade and European papers. Let's make hand-written notes cool again, people!

Retail

Citizen Supply

This marketplace inside Ponce City Market is Atlanta's version of Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market, Ponce’s sister property. On rotation are 40+ vendors retailing everything from clothing and jewelry to art and bikes (which is very convenient with the adjoining Beltline access.)

Retail

Cover Books Atlanta

Looking for beautiful, engaging, and "culturally important" books about art, design, food and wine? Find them in this chic industrial West Midtown space.

Retail

Crafted Westside

This collective of local artisans and designers boasts a variety of unique gifts for any occasion. You might even be able to find something for difficult dad there.

Retail

Criminal Records

An Atlanta without this mecca for music and comic book lovers would be a crime.

Retail

Karoo

This new full-service eyewear company in Ponce City Market manufactures its own frames, all named for animals that could be found in Karoo, a semi-desert natural region of South Africa. Most importantly, Karoo is run by optometrists who truly care about your eye health.

Retail

Sam Flax Art Supply

An expansive selection of art supplies, stationery and gifts await you at this South Buckhead establishment, which offers a great rewards program and student discount for all those starving artists out there.

Retail

Simply Put

While shopping in West Midtown, don't forget to pop into this bright little shop for whatever snarky, sweet or sentimental gift you are looking for for your friends and family. Simply Put also specializes in custom stationery and wedding invitations.

Retail

The Merchant & Co

Whether you’re looking for a new phone case, a cookbook, or upscale stationery, this gift store has everything you can think of for the special people in your life, with locations to get lost inside of in Krog Street Market and West Midtown.

Retail

The Seed Factory

Whether or not you have kids of your own, you’ll delight in this thoughtfully curated children and family boutique.

Retail

The Sentimentalist

Designer and vintage bridal shop with a unique collection from smaller, independent designers.

Retail

Young Blood Boutique

The closest thing to an Etsy brick-and-mortar store in Atlanta. Find plenty of hand-crafted accessories, art work, candles and gifts for your favorite hip loved ones at this Virginia Highland store.

Retail

Joystick Game Bar

Vintage arcade games like Pac-Man and Battlestar Galactica paired with cocktails like the frosty Ginger Snap Slushi (house ginger beer and Jelinek). What more do you need out of life?

Bar With Food Service

Ormsby's

The bocce court, pool tables, pinball machine and shuffleboard keep you entertained, and the craft beers and hand-dipped corn dogs keep you satisfied.

Bar With Food Service

Aviva By Kameel

Enjoy the locally-sourced fresh Mediterranean meals at this quick-service Downtown joint. Aviva is routinely recognized as being one of the best eateries not only in Atlanta, but on a national level.

Quick Service Restaurant

Urban pl8

At bargain basement prices for sophisticated palettes, Urban pl8 specializes in a paleo-centric menu under the direction of Betsy Pitts, former Bacchanalia and Floataway Cafe sous chef.

Quick Service Restaurant

Chrome Yellow

This pop-up shop turned brick-and-mortar, run by husband and wife team Kyle and Kelly Taylor, features a coffee bar with Stumptown (brewed at places like The ACE Hotel in NYC) and 1000-square-feet of retail space of men and women’s clothing. It's the American dream!

Retail

Endive Publik House

Don’t blink or you’ll miss this neighborhood gem tucked away in Loring Heights. Enjoy modern American comfort food while sitting in repurposed church pews in a small, eclectic space.

Sit Down Restaurant

Fat Matt's Rib Shack

World-famous no-frills barbecue. No, really. In “Up In The Air,” George Clooney’s character recommended the restaurant. His advice? Bring a bib.

Quick Service Restaurant

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Whether you’re in the mood for a solid simple burger or something more inventive, Grindhouse is a reliable go-to spot for many Atlantans. End your meal with a signature booze-infused milkshake.

Quick Service Restaurant

Gu's Dumplings

Formerly Gu’s Bistro on Buford Highway, Gu's Dumplings is all grown up and now lives in Krog Street Market, serving Zhong-style dumplings & other fiery Sichuan food.

Quick Service Restaurant

gusto!

Nate Hybl, former NFL quarterback, has scored big with his globally-inspired quick service restaurant in South Buckhead, which cooks its menu items over real wood. We predict gusto! outposts on every other corner in the coming years.

American

Highland Bakery

Atlanta's go-to brunch spot. Splurge for the Fried Chicken Benedict and the Sweet Potato Pancakes, followed by a walk around the pedestrian-friendly area.

American

Muss & Turner's

Southern fare at lunch and dinner. The burger is an absolute must and so is a visit to the not-so-secret bar, Eleanor’s.

Quick Service Restaurant

Panbury's Double Crust Pies

This spot serves the best savory handheld British, South African, and Australian pies and coffee in Sweet Auburn Market and the Mall at Peachtree Center!

Quick Service Restaurant

Perinne's Wine Shop

Expansive wine selection in a cozy West Midtown neighborhood shop which also holds wine tastings and offers a monthly- based wine club subscription.

Food Retail

The Porter Beer Bar

After checking out the expansive beer selection, try the goat cheese fritters and the half pound cheeseburger. Two of our favorites from the satisfying menu at the Little Five Points staple.

Sit Down Restaurant

Proof Bakeshop

As the central kitchen for the baked goods at Cakes & Ale, you can count on these breads and pastries. The bakeshop serves muffins, hand pies and croissants in a bright, roomy cafe space.

Food Retail

Radial

This breakfast all day, lunch, and brunch spot has been described as a “health nut’s paradise.” The eatery focuses on locally-sourced ingredients. Best superfood salad. Ever.

Sit Down Restaurant

Rawesome Juicery

This juicer and smoothie bar in Sweet Auburn Market is one of the healthiest options on the Atlanta Streetcar line.

Food Retail

Xocolatl

(CHOCK-oh-lattle) is the original Mexican word for chocolate, which just happens to conveniently end with "ATL." This small-batch chocolate maker’s travels to central America inspired the operation in Krog Street Market, which does around 17 different bars, and keeps about three on rotation.

Food Retail

Souper Jenny

This tried and true soup, salad and sandwich joint serves up some of Atlanta’s very best lunch options. The cozy atmosphere at each location makes Souper Jenny the perfect spot to eat on a cold, rainy day.

Quick Service Restaurant

The Colonnade

Unpretentious, straightforward Southern food favorites with no shortage of Southern hospitality. This Atlanta staple since 1962 in 2015 started accepting credit cards. We still pay with cash for nostalgia's sake.

Sit Down Restaurant

Fox Bros BBQ

One of Atlanta’s very best "burgers" lives here, and it’s not even really a burger: chopped Brisket topped with bacon, tomato, red onion, pickles, melted pimento cheese and jalapeño mayo on a buttered, toasted brioche bun. Mmm.

American

Little Bangkok

Arguably the best Thai in Atlanta, but take an Uber. There's usually never any available parking.

American

Caja Popcorn

This gourmet popcorn shop pops all the usual suspects like Classic Butter, Sea Salt Caramel, and Kettle Corn, but our guilty pleasure is mixing and matching flavors like Pimento Cheese and Spicy BBQ.

Food Retail

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6 responses to “Introducing What Now Atlanta's Elite 100: The City's Best Restaurants and Retailers”

  1. So glad that MANY of my favorites made the list! Happy to see some places that I have never been to !!!! Glad there are consistent and reasonably priced restaurants on your list! How bout Zyka next year?

  2. This gonna be my Atlanta"#foodhunt2016map"! Excited to check all the places on this checklist, I've been to about 20 of them, all my love!

  3. My thoughts on this list..... Delete all the Ford Fry places on this list and add their best two St. Cecelia and Marcel. Add Shoya Izakaya (amazing Japanese restaurant), Busy Bee Cafe (Classic and real meat and three), El Rey Del Taco (Easily the best tacos in town) , Gaja (Awesome ITP Korean restaurant), Octopus Bar (hands down best late night food), Empire State South (top 10 restaurant in the city and amazing cocktails), Greenwood's on Green Street (best fried chicken in town) and Kimball House. (<3 <3 <3)

  4. Why do you list the Egg Harbor Cafe in Bulkhead only, and not the other locations? If it's because this location is better, you should explain that.

    • Thanks for your comment! Egg Harbor's Buckhead location made the list because it is currently the only location in Atlanta.

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