Located in the heart of the Southern United States, Atlanta is known for many things. You might think about Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the birthplace of MLK, and Delta Airlines, all based in the city. However, Atlanta food is also among the best you can find for real Southern classics!
While you can’t beat the chicken and waffles or the famous peach pie, foods in Atlanta also pull from the growing diversity of the city. With everything from soul food and barbecue to international flavors, you can find all types of cuisine in this city.
What’s Special About Atlanta Food?
What food is Atlanta known for, if not the comforting Southern classics? From chicken, biscuits, collard greens, and grits, the city offers it all regardless if you are looking for traditional cooking or a modern take on Southern comfort – there are not many better places to tuck into a Southern meal.
In addition, Atlanta has a burgeoning craft beer and cocktail scene. The city is home to a multitude of breweries, brewpubs, and cocktail bars, offering a wide selection of locally brewed beers and creatively crafted cocktails.
If you want to get a taste of Southern goodness, check out a Midtown Atlanta Food & Cocktail Tour! These tours can show you the best places, while making sure you don’t miss out on any good drink pairings!
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to food in Atlanta, as you find a thriving community of international cuisine and innovative chefs operating throughout the city. And, of course, don’t miss out on the bunch of sweet treats you can enjoy in Atlanta cuisine, from delicious pastries, cobbler, cakes, pie, and more.
Most Famous Food In Atlanta
Georgia is renowned for its delicious peaches, so it’s no surprise this is one of the favorite foods in Atlanta. Georgia-grown peaches stand out for their superior flavor, texture, and appearance. With this high-quality ingredient laying around, Atlanta has certainly mastered the art of making them into a delicious pie.
Peach pie is made with a flaky, buttery crust that encases a luscious filling of sliced peaches, sugar, and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It really showcases the sweet and juicy flavors of these famous peaches!
The best slice often comes warm, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. That distinct contrast between the warm pie and the cool, creamy accompaniment really enhances the dish.
The best time to get this classic is during the summer months when the peaches are at their peak freshness. No matter when you go to Atlanta, peach pie is without a doubt one of the stars among foods in Atlanta! Don’t miss out on a slice of Georgian peach pie!
Popular Meat-Based Foods In Atlanta
Fried chicken holds a special place among Atlanta food, with the city being renowned for its crispy and flavorful renditions of this Southern classic.
Atlanta’s fried chicken is often made with a well-seasoned coating, featuring a blend of spices that infuse the meat with delicious flavors and a satisfying crunch. You can get this classic dish in a variety of styles, from traditional Southern buttermilk-battered and deep-fried version to the Nashville-style hot chicken, with a spicy exterior.
Many local restaurants take great pride in locally-sourced and farm-fresh chicken, which ensures the highest quality and taste in their fried chicken as well!
Whether enjoyed as a standalone dish, in a sandwich or as a part of a Southern-style chicken and waffles combination (see below!) Atlanta’s fried chicken is a beloved culinary icon that represents the city’s heritage.
Another Southern classic is the hearty and flavorful Brunswick stew, which has deep roots in Georgia in general. Atlanta’s Brunswick stew typically consists of a savory combination of meats, such as chicken, pork, or beef, slow-cooked with vegetables like corn, lima beans, tomatoes, and okra. The stew is often simmered for hours to allow the flavors to meld together, resulting in a thick and comforting concoction.
The Atlanta version of Brunswick stew is famous for incorporating a tangy barbecue sauce or hint of smokiness, which gives the dish yet another layer of complexity. If you happen to be in the area in the winter, order a bowl of this famous Atlanta food! It’s a great way to warm up on a chilly day.
If you’re looking for a new take on chili, Atlanta has you covered! This unique take on the classic comfort food features a blend of ground beef, onions, peppers, and spices – without beans! The chili is known for its rich, meaty texture and robust flavor profile, often incorporating ingredients like tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and paprika to create a savory and mildly spicy taste.
It’s right there in the name! This chili is definitely a food Atlanta is known for, and it is served in unique ways, often over hot dogs or atop spaghetti. You may even find it as the base for other recipes, like Frito pie or chili cheese fries.
If you’re lucky, you may even run into a chili cook-off or festival, where many variations of this classic come together!
If you want something to really get your mouth watering, barbecue ribs are a good candidate! This dish shows off the city’s love for slow-cooked, smoky meat, as well as tender ribs.
Atlanta-style barbecue ribs are typically prepared with a dry rub or a tangy barbecue sauce, creating a flavorful crust on the outside while keeping the meat juicy on the inside.
The ribs are most commonly slow-smoked over wood or charcoal, allowing the flavors to develop and impacting a distinctive smoky essence that makes these ribs a famous Atlanta food. These ribs deliver fall-off-the-bone goodness that keeps locals and tourists alike coming back for more.
Typically, these ribs are served with all the great southern fixins too, like baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. What more could you want?
Famous Foods In Atlanta: Seafood
Shrimp And Grits
Shrimp and grits is a quintessential Atlanta food that brings together the flavors of the South with a delicious combination of creamy grits and succulent shrimp. Atlanta’s version of shrimp and grits often features stone-ground grits cooked to a creamy consistency, flavored with butter, cheese, or other savory additions for a rich and comforting base. The shrimp are generally sautéed until tender and served atop the grits, which makes a harmonious blend of textures and flavors.
You can enjoy this classic for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. Shrimp and grits really exemplifies Atlanta’s love for Southern cuisine. If this dish sounds good to you, consider taking a Grant Park Food and Cemetery Tour! Shrimp and grits is often the highlight of this historical-food crawl, which features history as well as delicious food.
Hot Boiled Crawfish
This dish is a bit of a seasonal delicacy in Atlanta, known for its spicy and flavorful nature, offering a taste of Louisiana-style cuisine. Atlanta cuisine embraces the tradition of hosting crawfish boils, where fresh crawfish are boiled with a blend of spices, such as cayenne pepper, garlic, and paprika, which gives a zesty and aromatic flavor profile. This seasoning goes straight into the pot, often with the sides like corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage, creating a festive and communal dining experience.
While this dish isn’t technically a food from Atlanta, the city’s culinary scene has embraced hot boiled crawfish as a beloved treat. It reflects the people’s appreciation for Southern and Cajun-inspired flavors as well as culinary diversity. If you want to enjoy a community-style food experience, be on the lookout for a crawfish boil!
Fried catfish is a famous Atlanta food and treasured staple in the city, known for its crispy golden exterior and tender, flaky fish inside. This is a popular choice for seafood enthusiasts.
Atlanta’s fried catfish showcases the city’s commitment to Southern flavors, with a cornmeal or flour-based coating seasoned with a blend of spices, such as paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder, lending a savory and slightly spicy layer to the dish.
The catfish fillets are typically deep-fried, resulting in a satisfying crunch that contrasts the tender fish. This classic dish is normally served with traditional Southern sides like hush puppies, coleslaw, and tartar sauce, enhancing the overall dining experience. You can grab this at casual fish shacks, upscale restaurants, or a fish fry!
Southern Breakfast Foods In Atlanta
Grits hold a special place in Atlanta’s culinary landscape as a comforting staple dish. They are often made from stone-ground cornmeal, resulting in a hearty and creamy texture that serves as a versatile canvas for different accompaniments. Atlanta’s grits are known for their ability to absorb flavors, making them an excellent complement to a main dish or just a great breakfast staple.
Many Atlanta restaurants take pride in using locally sourced and organic corn to create their grits, emphasizing a farm-to-table approach and celebrating the city’s commitment to quality ingredients. Since grits are deeply intertwined with Atlanta’s Southern identity, they are a key part of Atlanta cuisine and culture.
Biscuits And Gravy
Atlanta’s biscuits and gravy is a beloved Southern breakfast classic, known for its comforting and indulgent combination of flaky biscuits and savory gravy.
The biscuits are often made from scratch, boasting a buttery and tender texture that serves as the perfect vessel for the rich and flavorful gravy. The gravy is typically made with a base of breakfast sausage, cooked until browned and crumbled, then combined with flour, milk, and a medley of spices, resulting in a creamy and seasoned sauce.
This is definitely a famous Atlanta food that you should enjoy while visiting! As mentioned, you can get this dish as a hearty breakfast or brunch option. Make sure you don’t miss out on this darling of Southern cuisine.
Chicken And Waffles
When you imagine the best Southern foods in Atlanta, chicken and waffles should be at the top of the list! It typically features crispy fried chicken, often seasoned with a blend of spices, served alongside fluffy waffles made with a hint of sweetness. The contrasting textures and flavors of the crispy chicken and the soft, pillowy waffles create a delightful harmony on the plate.
Bantam & Biddy, located in the Atlanta Beltline, has some of the best chicken and waffles on offer! The Atlanta Beltline is a redevelopment of a 22-mile historic railroad corridor, which now boasts shopping, restaurants, and some of the best street art in the city! For a deep dive into the district, check out the Atlanta Beltline Food, Street Art, and History Tour.
You can also take a guided tour of the bustling Ponce City Market, where you get to sample a range of local delights.
Side Dishes And Snack Foods In Atlanta
Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are a beloved Southern delicacy that has found a special place among Atlanta foods.
Atlanta-style fried green tomatoes are made by coating slices of unripe, firm green tomatoes in a cornmeal or flour-based batter, seasoned with spices such as salt, pepper, and paprika. The tomatoes are then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside, while maintaining a tangy and slightly tart flavor on the inside.
Fried green tomatoes are often served as an appetizer or a side dish, paired with creamy remoulade or a tangy dipping sauce to enhance their taste. This famous dish offers a delightful contrast of textures and flavors, which is sure to please any palette!
Collard greens are a staple in Atlanta’s Southern cuisine, celebrated for their robust flavor and hearty texture, which makes for a classic comfort food. Atlanta-style collard greens are typically cooked low and slow, simmered with ingredients like smoked ham hocks, onions, garlic, and spices to infuse them with rich, savory flavors.
This famous Atlanta food is known for the greens, with deep green color and sturdy leaves that hold up well during the cooking process, resulting in a tender yet slightly chewy greens. They often incorporate a touch of acidity, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to balance the dish’s earthy flavors and a refreshing note.
If you’re not from the South, you may not know about okra, but this Atlanta food is definitely worth a try! Fried okra features fresh okra pods that are sliced, coated in a seasoned cornmeal or flour mixture, and deep-fried to a delicious, crispy result. This gives a crunch, golden-brown exterior, and a tender, slightly slimy center, creating a unique texture and taste that appeals to both okra enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
The spice blend often includes paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, adding a hint of spice and enhancing the overall flavor profile. Whether enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or side dish, Atlanta’s fried okra embodies southern comfort food and highlights the versatility and deliciousness of this humble vegetable.
Boiled peanuts are made by cooking raw, unshelled peanuts in their shells in a seasoned water bath until they become tender and infused with flavor. The boiled peanuts are often seasoned with salt, cajun spices, or other flavorings to enhance their taste, resulting in a salty, savory, and slightly briny profile.
Atlanta’s boiled peanuts are a popular snack during sporting events, festivals, and casual gatherings, with vendors commonly selling them in paper bags or styrofoam cups. This makes for a messy but satisfying snack experience! Make sure you give this famous Atlanta food a try while you’re out and about in the city!
Pimento cheese is undoubtedly a Southern classic and famous Atlanta food. It combines a grated sharp cheddar cheese, diced pimentos, mayonnaise, and a touch of spices, resulting in a creamy and tangy spread with a hint of sweetness. You can enjoy this tasty spread on sandwiches, burgers, crackers, or as a dip.
Atlanta’s pimento cheese often incorporates additional ingredients, like onions, garlic, or hot sauce, to add depth and complexity to the already delicious dish. Pimento cheese can be found all around the South regions, known for representing Southern comfort and hospitality.
Desserts And Sweet Foods In Atlanta
Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet cake is a beloved dessert that holds a special place in southern hearts, with its vibrant red color, tender texture, and rich flavor. It typically features layers of moist and velvety cocoa-flavored cake, often with a subtle tanginess from the buttermilk, which is then frosted with a decadent cream cheese frosting. The cake’s striking red hue is traditionally achieved through the addition of a small amount of red food coloring, although some variations rely on natural alternatives like beet juice.
If an indulgent wine sounds like a good pairing for your famous Georgia food, the state has many wonderful wineries nearby! The best are located in North Georgia. While you could drive, the easiest way to see everything is to hop on a North Georgia Wine Country Tour from Atlanta. That way, you can enjoy the drinks and avoid the drive!
If you want classic southern food in Atlanta, order yourself a banana pudding! It consists of layers of sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, and vanilla wafers, creating a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The pudding is often made from scratch, using ingredients like milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract, resulting in a luscious and velvety custard-like base.
The pudding normally comes topped with a fluffy layer of whipped cream or meringue, adding a light and airy element to the dessert. This beloved, sweet treat is a staple at potlucks, family gatherings, and celebrations, which is definitely worth a taste while you’re in town.
Iconic Drinks In Atlanta Food Scene
One of the things Atlanta is known for is Coca-Cola! The city is the birthplace of this iconic soft drink and the home to the Coca-Cola headquarters. Atlanta has a rich history with Coca-Cola since the beverage was invented by pharmacist John S. Pemberton in the city in 1886 and, from there, spread around the world.
Coca-Cola’s unique formula, known for its secrecy, combines a refreshing blend of carbonated water, sweeteners, caffeine, and natural flavors to create the famous taste. Although you can grab a bottle of Coke basically anywhere in the world, you should enjoy the soda and explore its history in the World of Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta.
The wine scene in Atlanta and Georgia, like the food, is unique and full of character. Georgia’s vineyards aren’t just found anywhere – some of the best are located in the mountains of North Georgia, offering a beautiful backdrop for wine lovers.
The wine produced here is as diverse as the state itself, with different grape varieties. Each vineyard offers its own distinct flavor profiles and winemaking styles.
For a convenient and immersive experience, consider taking a North Georgia Wine Country Tour. It’s an excellent way of sampling the varied and exquisite wines this region has to offer without the worry of having to drive. The tours include visits to local wineries, where you have the opportunity to tour the vineyards and, of course, taste the wines.
As you sip your way through the vineyards, you’ll gain an appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle. So, if you’re a wine enthusiast visiting Atlanta, be sure not to miss the opportunity to explore Georgia’s thriving wine country.
Sweet tea is a beloved beverage all throughout the South, but especially as a pairing for Atlanta food. It is made by brewing black tea and then sweetening it with sugar while it’s still hot, allowing the flavors to meld together. You enjoy the tea over ice, creating a cool and thirst-quenching drink that is perfect for a hot Atlanta summer.
Sweet tea is, as you can guess from its name, known for its distinct sweetness. It often strikes the perfect balance between the robust flavor of the tea and a sweet touch. Whether enjoyed at home, in a restaurant, or outside, sweet tea is one of the most popular local beverages in the area, cherished by locals and visitors alike.
FAMOUS FOODS IN THE US
Sampling Famous Foods In Atlanta
Atlanta exemplifies the best offerings of foods in Georgia, from the famous peaches to the true Southern classics like fried catfish and chicken and waffles. Though you can get these Southern classics around the states, there’s no better place to enjoy them than right in Atlanta.
Whether you want the famous Atlanta foods like chicken and waffles or fried catfish or more under-the-radar snacks like boiled peanuts, make sure you sample some of these delicious foods in Atlanta!