When I moved to Atlanta, I began to characterize the districts in and around the city by trying different foods in new places. One of the best ways to understand the culture of Atlanta is certainly by eating the food - all of it. Below are a few of my favorite restaurants, bars, and dishes that will always taste like home.

 
 

Ria’s Bluebird

From Southern staples like Shrimp ‘n Grits to the NY Times acclaimed pancakes, Ria’s will make your weekend brunch sing. My ideal brunch at Ria's includes a 15-min wait (i.e. Monday-Friday) while I sip on a coffee. Then we'll start with the banana pancakes and go halvesies on the Shrimp 'n Grits and the Deep-dish Frittata. Don't hate on that "egg-free" dish until you've tried it. I won't be leaving Atlanta until I see that red-pepper romesco turned into a Bloody Mary recipe.

Eat Me Speak Me

Most locals don’t even know about this pop up dinner...but we’ll let you in on a little secret. Chef Jarrett Stieber (a James Beard Award Nominee) creates small bites with big flavor from 7-11pm every Friday-Sunday at Gato. The menu changes often so it’s perfect for the curious foodies who like to eat local. Don’t forget that it’s first come, first serve but it's worth the wait. Swing by Candler Park Market next door for wine and beer, which is oh-so-convenient for the BYOB rule!

  Jarrett Stieber and beers from Asheville, August 2016

Jarrett Stieber and beers from Asheville, August 2016

  Eat Me Speak Me, April 2016

Eat Me Speak Me, April 2016

The Little Tart Bakeshop

Owner and Head Baker, Sarah O’Brien (a James Beard Award Nominee) is well-versed in the science of French baking. She takes it a step further with an Almond Croissant, featuring a brilliant almond-bourbon paste sandwiched between an artfully flaky and buttery layers. If you're not drooling yet, try the Ham & Cheese Croissant or a slice of their seasonal quiche. Find LTB in Grant Park or Krog Street Market as well as at your nearest farmer's market.

Sapori di Napoli

This cozy authentic spot in Downtown Decatur has perfected the art of Naples cuisine. Their pizza is incredible but their housemade pastas, starters, and cannolis are dope too. My ideal dinner experience starts with a bottle of red wine and the eggplant parmiasana. Then we'll share two sauceless pizzas - the Popeye's Pie (off the menu, but always available) and the classic Rucola. Don't forget to ask about olive oil on the side to dip that lovely chewy crust.

emsp with aaron.jpg

The Korean Way

Grab a group of friends, fast for 12 hours and then share unlimited meat (for a flat fee), kimchi, and soju at Iron Age. Plus, you’ll be a K-POP expert by the end of your meal. Eat like a Korean-Japanese bear at Gom Shabu Shabu in Suwanee. Korean cuisine has been going mainstream for it’s great BBQ but at Jang Su Jang, you’ll receive the best of the best in service and food. Fuse authentic Chinese with Korean staples at Man Chun Hong (photo below) in Doraville.

Outlanta

Get your fill of authentic Indian cuisine and feel like a Bollywood Star at Masti in Toco Hills. Trade in your utensils for Ethiopian injera rollups at Desta in N. Druid Hills. Want to bring cuisine to your kitchen? Head to Buford Hwy in Doraville or to Pleasant Hill Rd. in Duluth for plenty of international dining and shopping spots. My go-to is the Super H-Mart in Duluth, where I can find every Korean ingredient that I could possibly need or want - at extremely affordable prices!

Caffeinated, Locally

Taproom Coffee offers the best environment paired with Counter Culture beans, which are rotated on the reg. Specialty coffee and craft beer are plentiful in this quaint spot located in the historic Kirkwood neighborhood nestled between Edgewood and EAV. You'll always be able to find a seat at their space, which is great news for the student to the self-employed looking for a non-pretentious spot to actually get some shit done. "What on earth is a Japanese-style iced coffee or a Beerspresso?" Guess you'll just have to tap it out yourself. Check out their events page to learn how to participate in cool events like beer brewing classes.

Crafted, Locally

Atlanta’s beer industry is finally catching the craft-train. Let Ale Sharpton guide you to the best bars to find craft beers. My favorite brewery in the city is Orpheus (Midtown), launching on the scene a few years ago with their Atalanta and Lyric Ale, but have since delivered impressive IPAs and hoppy sours. I don't know what the fuck a Bone Tablet IPA is but I'll gladly keep sipping on the Rites. Plus their cans feature local artwork, which you can't not love. Head over to Kimball House (Decatur) for the happiest of hours. Kimball House works closely with some of the city’s most renown mixologists like Paul Calvert and Miles Macquarrie. This cozy spot in Decatur will serve you the best, by the best.

I'M STILL HUNGRY

Check out these websites and yummy Instagram accounts:

SourceD, Locally

Did you know that Georgia’s agriculture is a leading industry in the state as well as in the nation? Farmers markets are pretty much in every part of town, meaning you can find one almost every day of the week. With Georgia’s extended harvest season, you can find great fruits and vegetables at every season! Here’s a seasonal guide to help you make smarter and more sustainable choices. By purchasing fresh food from local growers, you reduce waste by reducing your food miles and by paying into the local economy. Building trust between the farmer and yourself gives you and your family the opportunity to learn about how your food is grown and what it was fed, which is not something you can always expect from big-chain supermarkets or even Whole Foods

  The abandoned grocery store on Memorial Drive, soon to become Atlanta Dairies.

The abandoned grocery store on Memorial Drive, soon to become Atlanta Dairies.

  Finding peach trees in the most unlikely places.

Finding peach trees in the most unlikely places.