Where to eat in ATL during NAIS

Tom Wolfe famously wrote in A Man in Full, “Restaurants are the theatre of Atlanta.” And that was a solid 30 years ago. If anything, our culinary theatre has evolved into one of the top dining destinations in the Southeast (you can also make compelling cases for New Orleans and Charleston). So if you’re looking for good food at the end of a long day of conferencing, we’d recommend you grab a few friends, stray out of your hotel room, and enjoy the fruits of our city.

Note: We narrowed our choices based on their proximity to the GWCC and surrounding hotels. They’re not walkable, but you won’t get snarled in Atlanta traffic traveling to and fro either. And nobody who lives here eats downtown. 🙂


Antico Pizza Napoletana
Part of chef Giovanni Di Palma’s Little Italia “square” (along with Gio’s Chicken, a gelateria, and Bar Amalfi) Antico brought the Napoletana pizza revolution to Atlanta a decade ago. The pizzas are cooked in absurdly hot stone ovens (imported from Italy of course) to achieve the perfect amount of char, chewiness, and flavor. You know it’s good when the daily hours are “11:30 – out of dough.” If you’re a purist, you can’t go wrong with the Margherita, though the San Gennaro and Sophia are also local favorites.   centrostorico.it

Photo credit: gafollowers.com


Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand
Chef Delia Champion is something of a local legend as the founder of the Flying Biscuit Chain. The Westside outpost of her eponymous Chicken Sausage Stand features all manner of house-made sausages, from links to patties to ground chicken for tacos and lasagna, along with delicious thick-cut fries (wedgies), and cake-shakes. Late-night celeb sightings have included Ludacris and Andre 3000, who’ve posed cheekily in front of the “So Cluckin’ Good” sign.  www.thesausagestand.com

Photo credit: thegavoice.com


Star Provisions
If you can only escape for breakfast or lunch, Star Provisions serves a premium selection of made-to-order sandwiches, salads, composed plates, and pizzas, along with espresso and hard-to-pass-up baked goods. As the casual, counter-service sibling to four-star Bacchanalia (which, if you have three hours and an expense account, yolo!), you get the expertise and careful sourcing of one of the best chef-owners in town in a relaxed, affordable setting.  starprovisions.com

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If you’re on lookout for healthy fast casual, Upbeet marks the spot for either lunch or dinner. Structured around grain bowls and salads—with an adjacent smoothie and juice bar—Upbeet serves (mostly) organic, non-GMO vegetables, grains, and proteins that have the added bonus of being filling and delicious. You can create your own, but we trust their own creations that come with the requisitely cute names (Pesto Manifesto, Curry Up, Cobb Your Enthusiasm).  upbeet.com

Photo credit: curlsandacamera.com



Bocado has gained city-wide fame for its burger—the Bocado burger stack—which is worth a trip in itself. The rest of the new American menu covers all the non-burger-bases as well, from a bevy of small plates to mains, all displaying fresh and eclectic local flavors. It’s a great spot for lunch or to share a bunch of tastes over dinner.   bocadoatlanta.com

Photo credit: bocadoatlanta.com


JCT Kitchen
Serving reimagined Southern fare in a bright, open space, JCT has been a Westside mainstay for a decade. You can check off a variety of Southern classics like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, or chicken and dumplings here, all artfully updated for the modern diner.  jctkitchen.com

Photo credit: jctkitchen.com


Le Fat
Because we’re in the South, even this bright and modern Vietnamese brasserie has its own version of fried chicken (and it’s quite delicious, studded with crispy shallots and Thai chilies). Of course you could be more of a Vietnamese purist here—the shaking beef, pho, clay pot chicken, and whole grilled fish are all winners.  lefatatl.com

Photo credit: lefatatl.com



Cooks & Soldiers
This Basque-inspired tapas place serves traditional Spanish pintxos alongside newer interpretations featuring grilled octopus, lamb tartare, Georgia quail, and butter roasted scallops. The menu is extensive and great for sharing. Oh, and the bikini is the best grilled cheese you’ll ever eat.  cooksandsoldiers.com

Photo credit: atlantamagazine.com


Miller Union
Chef Steven Satterfield won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2017, though most Atlantans knew that honor was only a matter of time. Miller Union showcases his deft touch with vegetables and his simple yet pitch-perfect preparation that honors locally procured ingredients. The farm egg baked in celery cream is probably the city’s most famous appetizer.  millerunion.com

Photo credit: thewestside100.com


Atlanta may not be coastal, but since O-Ku flies its fish in from Tokyo’s Fish Market, that’s not a problem here. With a long list of creative small plates, melt-in-your mouth nigiri, and inspired “signature nigiri” (like the crème de la crème: otoro, truffle, and caviar), O-Ku will satisfy your sushi craving.  Added bonus: sweeping city views from the upstairs open-air bar.  o-kusushiatl.com

Photo credit: o-kusushiatl.com


Now is the perfect time to invoke Virginia Woolf: One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. From everyone at CRANE, we hope you get the chance to dine well during your time in Atlanta, and have a wonderful time in our city at the conference. Cheers!