Atlanta has gotten its first Michelin stars, and ... well.
It's not like we didn't know what we were getting. The Michelin Guide is a French institution, steeped in tradition, and not necessarily in step with Atlanta's fresh dining scene.
So is it any surprise that they awarded a lone star to some of Atlanta's OG dining establishments? Not really. They are excellent restaurants to be sure, and there are two fine Sushi restaurants included, but it's a little disappointing that even though Michelin acknowledged the diversity of ATL restaurants, they didn't really reward it.
ICYMI, here are the 5 Atlanta restaurants that received 1 Michelin star.
Michelin 1 Star Atlanta Restaurants:
Hayakawa, Japanese, Sushi
Mujō, Japanese, Sushi
Lazy Betty, Contemporary
Not to miss the forest through the trees, though - we are glad Michelin is finally seeing that Atlanta's food scene is worth paying attention to at all.
Here's what we do like about the Michelin ratings.
Talat Market, Recommended
A hundred times yes! This restaurant takes suggestions from Thai cusine using farm-fresh local ingredients. Tucked into an unassuming spot in the Summerhill neighborhood, it's perfect for a weeknight dinner. With a menu that is built around the ingredients that day, you can generally find staples like crab salad and curries. But let them surprise and delight you with new dishes like short ribs in red curry or grilled spiny lobster (as featured on the cover of Atlanta Magazine in their 2021 Best Restaurants issue). And don't miss the drink list: As good as the food is, the cocktails will steal the show.
Fred’s Meat & Bread, Bib Gourmand
Time and again, Fred's gets it right. Their burger is already a national star, and their Philly Cheesesteak continually upstages Philadelphia. Pair either of these with their truffle fries, and you'll have the most indulgent lunch you can find. Located in the often-bustling Krog Street Market, grab a counter seat at their stall or share a community table in the open area.
Food Terminal, Recommended
If you haven't been following Atlanta's food scene as closely as we do, you might not know that Food Terminal is changing everything you know about Asian food. Their menu is influenced by Malaysian cuisine, which probably tells you nothing. What you'll get is a mashup of Asian street food, from Pork Belly Crispy Bao to Chinese broccoli to Szechuan Bone Marrow Soup. You can never go wrong with a Grandma recipe at any restaurant, and their Grandma BBQ Pork Tossed Noodle is a winner. And while Michelin didn't give them any stars, the AJC gave them 3 out of 4 stars, and that's good enough for us. And with locations now in West Midtown, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta and on Buford Highway, you're sure to find one within easy driving distance.
The first time I ate here, my mind was blown. We had just come back from a food-saturated vacation, and the best meal of the week turned out to be takeout right here at home from this Inman Park eatery. Rice at restaurants is usually an afterthought, a filler. Here, it is an art form. Infused with saffron and other herbs, it is presented like an entree. It's too easy to go vegetarian and make a meal of the saffron rice, labneh with crackling flatbread and refreshing kale salad. But you might regret it if you don't splurge on a lamb dish. Don't just jump off the BeltLine in your workout clothes to eat here, though - this is upscale Persian at its best.
Arepa Mia, Bib Gourmand
I first tried this Venezuelan restaurant when it was a modest stall in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, and had never experienced a sandwich like this. An arepa is made of tender corn flour griddle cakes. Between the cakes, you can get shredded chicken or beef, 12-hour roasted pork, fish, fried chicken and more. I remember eating one with shrimp and the owner telling us she had driven it from the coast of Georgia that morning. It's that kind of care that goes into these sandwiches, and makes Arepa Mia worth seeking out, now in their own brick and mortar in Avondale Estates.
This breakfast restaurant is raking in the accolades, and with good reason. Owner Erika Council's fluffy, sweet biscuits stand out even in this town with many contenders. The New York Times noticed, naming Bomb one of the 50 Best Restaurants in America. These biscuits are best enjoyed a la carte, to get the full flavor. But if you're hungrier, they have all kinds of sandwich variations - from the Glori-fried Chicken to bacon, egg and cheese on a black pepper bacon biscuit, and everything in between.
Michelin Recommended Atlanta Restaurants:
The Alden, BoccaLupo, Chai Pani, The Chastain, The Deer and the Dove, Delbar, Food Terminal, The General Muir, Georgia Boy, Gunshow, Han Il Kwan, Home Grown, Kamayan ATL, Kimball House, LanZhou Ramen, Lyla Lila, Marcel, Miller Union, Nam Phuong, Poor Hendrix, Snackboxe Bistro, Southern Belle, Storico Fresco Alimentari, Talat Market, Ticonderoga Club, Tiny Lou’s, Tomo, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, The White Bull and Xi’an Gourmet House.
Michelin Bib Gourmand Atlanta Restaurants
Antico Pizza Napoletana, Arepa Mia, Banshee, Bomb Biscuit Co., The Busy Bee, Estrellita, Fishmonger, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Heirloom Market BBQ and Little Bear.
Congratulations to all of these amazing Atlanta restaurants!
Looking for a memorable culinary experience? Join a Food Tour on the Atlanta BeltLine. You will get a sampling of the diverse cuisines that make Atlanta a foodie town – from Southern fried green tomatoes to Detroit-style pizza to fruit-infused margaritas and more. Along the way, uncover secrets behind the vibrant street art, including ties to Hollywood. Come see for yourself how the BeltLine is completely transforming Atlanta, and find hidden gems you might not discover by walking the BeltLine on your own.
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder and CEO of BiteLines Atlanta Food Tours, which offers walking food tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. To sample some of Atlanta's best restaurants and street art, join us on our unforgettable Food Tour on the Atlanta BeltLine. Or bring your fur baby on Barks & Bites: Doggie Crawl on the BeltLine. Follow on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram @bitelinesatl.