Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta that lies just outside the eastern limits of the city, is a lush, manicured community of culinary delights, boasting some of the best restaurants in the Greater Atlanta Area. Here’s a crash course in the food and drink you’ll find in Downtown Decatur (but don’t miss out on what nearby neighborhoods like Oakhurst and Avondale have to offer, either!):
High End Fare
Home of cheese grit tots, $5 burger happy hour on weekdays 3:00-5:00pm, and higher-end classics: duck confit, rainbow trout, and a prime New York strip. You’ll see the Pinewood listed in the cocktail section, too–theirs are excellent, and the whiskey ones are half off on Wednesdays. Also worth checking out: their sister restaurant, The Mercury, located in Ponce City Market.
Chef Billy Allin was nominated for a 2016 James Bearden award–Best Chef: Southeast–so you know you’re in good hands. Cakes & Ale has elegant, ambitious, yet approachable dishes: cardamom whipped mashed potatoes, crispy quail, a turkey and brie lunch sandwich embellished by a raisin chutney. Next door you’ll find the Cafe at Cakes & Ale, which transforms into a warm, candlelit wine bar for evening service and dessert.
This is the place for that special-occasion Italian dinner you’ve been wanting. You might want to leave most of the room in your stomach for pasta, sure, but the pizza is well worth sharing, too. If you’re new to upscale Italian dining and want to go for a little novelty, the squid ink spaghetti makes for a good story, and dinner. No. 246 has a beautiful back patio, so be sure to pay a visit on a warm day.
Kevin Gillespie’s latest restaurant, situated in a house on Church Street, harkens back to his grandmother’s Sunday supper. Revival is committed to Southern fare done right, and you’ll likely leave stuffed to the gills. Regular favorites include the fried chicken, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, mac and cheese, and lemon icebox pie for dessert, if you can handle it.
The Iberian Pig puts a modern American twist on the long-standing tapas tradition found in Spain. Alongside the food, you’ll also find a well-curated menu of European and South American wines, as well as traditional and creative cocktails. A popular date night spot, Iberian Pig’s buzzing, golden-lit atmosphere encourages close conversation and small plates that you linger over.
A tried and true and tiny French restaurant on East Ponce, Cafe Alsace’s menu is sophisticated, but its atmosphere is cozy and casual. Because the Alsace region of France borders Germany and Switzerland, dishes at this restaurant feature heavy Germanic influences, but you’ll also find the classics: Cassoulet, Bouillabaise, Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin.
This joint’s tagline is “mind blasting Indian street food,” and that pretty much says it all. Adopting the Indian street food tradition of focusing on and perfecting a single dish, Chai Pani’s menu is equally straightforward: street snacks, street sandwiches, and uttapam, a savory crepe. The casual atmosphere here welcomes Indian food lovers and those looking to expand their palate.
Part microbrewery, part pool hall, and wholly laid back and lively, Twain’s is the perfect place to enjoy local beer and bar snacks over a game of darts, pool, or shuffle board. The space itself is pretty enormous for Decatur standards, so between the front and back bars, their easy-going staff will make sure you’re covered, even when the crowds swell.
For a traditional Irish experience, look no further: The Marlay was voted one of the top 10 Irish pubs in the U.S. in 2014 and 2015. With the same rich, wooded interior of pubs that cover the Emerald Isle, their menu is also true to the Irish experience. Enjoy fish ‘n chips, bangers and mash, or shepherd’s pie with your Guinness. And yes, their St. Patrick’s Day party is worth checking out.
Brick Store is a beer lover’s heaven. Head to the Belgian Bar “upstairs and to the left,” as they say, to try to decide between the regularly rotating draughts and the extensive bottled Belgian beers–they have over 100 on the menu. Favorite beer pairings include the pork belly sandwich, the bratwurst, and the pierogi primavera. Relax and savor.
Leon’s does so many things well–cocktails, the pub frites, the bacon in a glass–that it makes it a difficult restaurant to categorize. But many may not know about their “secret” vegetarian menu, one that offers a hearty selection of small plates, salads, and entrees that would tantalize even the most devout of meat-lovers. Read more in our previous post about vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Atlanta.
Mediterranean cuisine is a great match for vegetarian diners, and you’ll find plenty of veggie-friendly options on the lunch and dinner menus at Andryannis’, a casual eatery tucked just behind the businesses along East Ponce. The baklava sundae sounds like a tempting follow-up to a fresh, pita-packed entree.
Quick ‘n Casual Bites
The sister location to the Inman Park original, Victory is one of those delightful anomalies: you pay little for high-quality eats. Their toasted sandwiches are economical in both price and portion, but pairing them with other bar snacks, like the popcorn of the day or the house ramen, can easily turn into a more filling meal. Of course, the $5 Jack and Coke slushie is a must-try, as is a game of ping pong in the back.
Doggy Dog’s walk-up window and patio are postage stamp-sized, but their flavor game is huge. They put an international twist on the all-American hotdog. The Sharpie is topped with kimchi, the Gotze is a bavarian brat, and the El Perro chorizo dogg comes with jalapeno pesto. A perfect stop for a quick bite during a walk around town.
This is where you want to go on a sunny day to enjoy a margarita and an enormous burrito on Raging’s garden patio. An added bonus is that this is also a great place to bring your gluten-free friends and family–the chips are corn, all tacos can come on corn tortillas, and the burritos can always be made bowl-style or served on greens. Check out their lively Team Trivia Thursdays, too.
We’ve already mentioned Leon’s and the Pinewood as “musts” for cocktail lovers, and here are two more:
The restaurant by the railroad tracks the serves some mean oysters also makes exquisite drinks, and local and national press have praised Kimball House’s absinthe service in particular. As one local publication put it, “There is no place else in Atlanta where you can find such an extensive and traditionally prepared absinthe menu and bartenders so well versed in everything drink. ”
On the backside of Victory, the dimly-lit SOS feels like a Speakeasy gone to Polynesia. Hula girl lamps abound, and expert bartenders will chat with you while wearing Hawaiian shirts and whipping up a boozy tropical cocktail, complete with paper umbrella. The $5 pina colada is great for flying solo, and SOS also offers house punch for larger groups to split.
No matter where you eat in Decatur, Georgia, you’re guaranteed a great meal but, we’d love to hear about your favorites, too. Chime in and let us know what’s on your ultimate Decatur, Georgia dining guide!