10 Best Southern Restaurants in Atlanta: Upscale, Casual and Down Home

At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Atlanta's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. If you are in the downtown area and looking for a spot that will provide you with some entertainment, look no further than Sweet Georgia Juke Joint

Want to visit a place that you don't have to get gussied up to dine, has been around for decades and is steeped in history? Check out Mary Mac's Tea Room or The Colonnade or Busy Bee Cafe. None take reservations, so expect waits if you visit at peak times. 

Think the terms "southern" and "upscale" don't go together? You'd be mistaken. We've also included on this 10 Best list of Southern restaurants, those establishments that not only provide a beautiful and classy decor, but these restaurants have received much praise from national press. A visit to Empire State South seems mandatory for most of the celebrities than come through Atlanta. JCT Kitchen, located on the Westside of the city, had their "Angry Mussels" appetizer featured on the  Travel Channel. Other upscale spots in the A are Wisteria and South City Kitchen. 



Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint represents a deep history of music, food, drink and socializing in the South. With the downtown location, Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint attracts a lot of folks from out of town. But locals craving southern food with a...  Read More



The Busy Bee Cafe is a casual diner serving southern style soul food. But it has reigned supreme as one of the favorite spots for soul food in Atlanta for years. This diner is a favorite of students at the nearby University who pack them full...  Read More

Horseradish Grill


Just like Atlanta itself, Horseradish Grill's New Southern cuisine manages to reconcile tradition and modernity. Their fried chicken is a staple the locals and those visiting love. Other solid choices are Grouper, Trout and even steaks. While...  Read More



Open since 1927, The Colonnade has been an attraction for nearly 100 years. Not much has been updated as far as the decor, but that doesn't keep the crowds away. It was the type of place your grandparents would have had dates back in the dat....  Read More



This restaurant is known as the place for classic Southern cuisine. Recently cited by Gourmet magazine as the best place for family dining in Atlanta, Mary Mac's has been providing great food in a comfortable atmosphere for more than 50 years....  Read More

JCT. Kitchen & Bar


With its light colored walls and light wood interior there is something very cheery about JCT Kitchen. It is headed by chef Ford Fry, who has opened up a notable seafood restaurant nearby as well. Start off your southern food experience with the...  Read More



This attractive, remodeled 1920s bungalow has a pleasant dining room dominated by an open kitchen. You can watch chefs whip up fantastic new Southern dishes like Coca-cola braised Salmon and grits, pan-fried catfish with mustard greens and warm...  Read More

Empire State South
Photo courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee


Empire State South didn't take long to make it to the top of many critics "must visit" list. The restaurant is quite good at taking a new twist to old southern favorites. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The large restaurant features...  Read More



Wisteria, located in a freestanding building with exposed brick and dark lighting it is extremely romantic, but also a fantastic choice to take an out of town guest. Wisteria can be described as upscale Southern. Don't miss The Patrice, a...  Read More


Meet Malika Harricharan

Malika is the Author of Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta. With a background in marketing, Maika's passion is Writing and Social Media Marketing and she works for various clients in...  More About Malika