medium rare

When talking about food, ‘medium rare’ refers to cooking meat so the outside is browned with just a hint of red in the middle, striving to provide the perfect combination of tenderness and flavor. This column, much like its namesake, strives to provide the perfect combination of epicurean insight and Atlanta-area atmosphere.

Top Neighborhoods for Food in Atlanta

When it comes to Atlanta’s food scene, words cannot describe the level of diversity, quality and accessibility that is prevalent all the way from the impressive international mecca of Buford Highway to the cozy comfort foods in Candler Park. Today, Medium Rare will take you through some of the high spots of heavenly dining throughout the 404.

Little Five Points

Most notably home to the infamous Vortex Bar and Grill, where there is an inverse relationship between deliciousness of food and heart health, Little Five Points has a smattering of quirky, tasty restaurants to satisfy anyone’s craving. Just down the road from the Vortex, I recommend the connected strip of Front Page News, Tijuana Garage and Cameli’s Pizza for Cajun, Mexican and Italian cuisine, respectively.

Candler Park 

Just a few streets over from Little Five Points, Candler Park is typically associated with the Flying Biscuit Café and a distinct lack of parking. Also home to a Fellini’s Pizza, Tex-Mex café Gato and La Fonda Latina, the close-knit neighborhood is perfect for a casual brunch as well as an intimate date night. Oh, and Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party is a must-visit for anyone who loves tea, books or happiness.

Downtown Decatur

Just a short drive from Emory’s campus, Downtown Decatur provides an atmosphere of belonging mixed with a lazy, southern small town. Victory Sandwich Bar, as I have said before, is a priority visit, while Iberian Pig, Leon’s Full Service and Brick Store Pub are quality substitutes for a nicer dinner in the city. No trip to Decatur would be complete without a visit to Jeni’s for some ice cream, and the close proximity of most restaurants to the Decatur Square means a pleasant place to walk around pre- or post-meal. For a hidden gem, just outside the square over the train tracks is The Imperial, a hole-in-the-wall bar/restaurant with a great vibe and better burgers.

Westside Provisions District/West Atlanta

A straight shot across Atlanta via 14th Street, the west side of Atlanta has entered into the food scene with an explosive amount of quality additions across all spectrums of gastric goodness. The main focal point, Westside Provisions District, has everything from award-winning JCT. Kitchen & Bar to West Egg Café. Other favorites include Taqueria del Sol, Osteria del Figo, another Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream location and Star Provisions, billed as the “culinary dream shop for the gourmet expert and novice alike.” For those with deep pockets (and stomachs), Zagat-rated Best in Atlanta Bacchanalia offers a five-course menu for $85.


Located in the trendy northern point of Atlanta, Buckhead is loaded with trendy food galore. Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao, Maggiano’s and The Cheesecake Factory mark staple higher-end offerings, while locally owned restaurants in and around Phipps offer more variety. Additionally, visit Buckhead Diner for an experience that is anything but an ordinary diner experience.

Grant Park

Travel south a little ways towards Oakland Cemetery and you run into a truly unique mix of homegrown favorites with award-winning gastropubs. Ria’s Bluebird and Six Feet Under are two Memorial Drive standouts, while Home Grown Restaurant lives up to its name to provide locally sourced breakfast in a setting straight out of Mayberry. For those who like adventure and getting your money’s worth (with a fair amount of money involved), Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Gunshow combines the roving offerings of a Fogo de Chao with Chinese dim sum.

Atlanta Food Truck Park

While not technically a neighborhood, this permanent collection of mobile munchies is the perfect place for those looking to try foods for the experience as much as the taste. Reclaiming an abandoned hotel’s site, the food truck park sits just north of Atlanta on I-75 and features everything from Sweet Auburn Barbecue (which has since expanded into its own restaurant due to popularity), Nana G’s Chicken and Waffles and even a Highland Bakery on Wheels.

– By Stephen Fowler, Student Life Editor