Five New Atlanta Restaurants You Must Try

Dining out in Atlanta is always a great adventure with so many accomplished chefs cooking up an ever-expanding universe of cuisines. This year two new Atlanta food halls offer a mouth-watering array of choices, while more traditional but no less intriguing spots are opening on the West Side and the Old Fourth Ward. It was difficult to select just five of the hottest new spots, but this tasty and quirky handful should get you started on your Intown culinary journey.

Ticonderoga Club - Krog Street Market, Inman Park
The hip new Krog Street Market is home to so many fun dining spots, it's hard to pick a favorite, but we'd put the The Ticonderoga Club near the top of anybody's list. The dark and wood paneled with fairy lights decorating the rafters and the stairs gives the festive feel of a New England ski lodge. Chef David Bies has a flair for infusing local ingredients with Indonesian flair (the Butternut Squash salad with pomegranate and an inspired Asian dressing tastes like a wonderfully deconstructed Thai spring roll.) Also on the menu are light and flavorful seafood dishes including an Ipswich (whole belly) clam roll on buttered H&F buns that are as good as anything you'd get at a New England clam shack. The seafood selections are a nod to beverage directors Greg Best and Paul Calvert who both come from up North but are happy Southerners by choice. The pair also whip up the cocktails you'll remember long after the glass is empty like the Bitter Southerner #2 named after the popular online Atlanta literary magazine with apple brandy, herbsaint and bitters or the Antique Sour with cognac, cane sugar, sorghum and a sprinkle of nutmeg. (The completely fearless will want to drop by for lunch when the Club offers Moxie, a brand of soda unique to New England with a remarkably bitter taste.) There are only two choices for dessert, but with a delicious rum chocolate mousse with sea salt and orange sable cookies from the popular Little Tart Bakeshop next door, there's really no need for anything else. But be warned: the Club is closed on Wednesdays.

Gaja Restaurant & Bar - East Atlanta Village
What's behind the mint green door in an East Atlanta alleyway? That's the entrance to Gaja, the city's newest Korean-American restaurant. Gaja offers an adventurous and Americanized spin on traditional Korean favorites including scallion cake with onion sugar and Korean dipping sauce, hamburger mixed rice (a twist on a tasty and filling dish a friend's Asian grandmother used to make) and classic Korean fried chicken. The drinks menu includes a fun selection of cocktails and unusual non-alcoholic beverages.

Bread and Butterfly - Inman Quarter
Nestled among a slew of new restaurants and a mere block or two from the Beltline, Bread and Butterfly is the newest restaurant from the team that brought us Atlanta favorite Cakes & Ale and the Proof Bakeshop. It's a sunny little place with old fashioned bar, and bistro seating on a large enclosed porch. For a moment as you sip your latte or cocktail, you can imagine you're dining al fresco on the Left Bank of Paris. The menu is small but creative with tasty basics like burgers and omelettes and more interesting choices such as open faced tuna salad sandwiches with egg and anchovies; potato and rac lette gratin and tomato soup with puff pastry. As you would expect there is a tasty selection of pastries and a small but interesting wine and cocktail selection.

El Super Pan Ponce City Market, Old Fourth Ward
It's easy to find El Super Pan in the newly opened Ponce City Market. It's the food stall with the biggest crowd and the longest line. Fans of chef Hector Santiago are queuing up for his famous steamed pork belly buns, tofu buns and Cubano pressed sandwiches among other delights. For a few dollars more, you can add chips and a chipotle chocolate chip or bacon fat shortbread cookie for an original take on a fast food meal. The drinks menu is also fun with wine, local IPAs, and creative mixed drinks like the calimocho that includes Mexican fanta soda, spices and orange zest. There's no dining room at El Super Pan, order your meal at the counter and stake out a place at one of the tables scattered around the food hall or get it to go for an inspired night of take-out at home.

Panbury's Pie Cafe - Peachtree Center, Downtown
With so many new sit down dining options, why bother with a tiny stall in the large, anonymous Peachtree Center food court in downtown Atlanta? Well, because many of us find ourselves working or staying in the area -several large hotels and many office towers are located nearby-- and sometimes we just can't face another sandwich or salad while visitors are looking for a quick, interesting bite on the way to a meeting or a museum. For times like this, there is Panbury's Pie Cafe. Panbury's calls itself Atlanta's first South African pie shop specializing in hot handheld meat and veggie pies as well as pastries. The take-away pies come in beef, chicken and veggie varieties -- we loved the spinach-feta and the green thai chicken curry flavors, but the Southern Breakfast pie with eggs, chicken sausage and cheese with maple syrup on the side was very, very popular even with lunchtime diners. Panbury's also offers sweet treats such as mini desert pies and tiny tartlettes. The prices are a bit higher than you'd pay for a quick burger, but for these delicious and unique pies, it's worth it.

Frances Katz is a journalist originally from Boston now soaking up some Southern hospitality in Atlanta. Previously she was a staff writer for The Boston Herald, The Atlanta Constitution and an editor at Media Daily. Her work as appeared in The New York Times, Wired News and The Huffington Post. She is a recent convert to cheese grits, but still prefers her ice tea unsweet. Check out her other writing on Catapult and Medium or fix yourself a drink and hang out with her on Twitter.