Atlantans are at once impressed by and dismissive of Midtown. They’ll tell you that no part of the city has evolved more dramatically over the past two decades, and then they’ll wax nostalgic about how it used to be (funky, seedy, a little scary) and complain about what it is now (chain restaurants and a disappearing gay epicenter). But there is much to love amid the sea of national and local knockoffs. The city’s art institutions such as the High Museum, SCAD-Atlanta, and the relocated MODA anchor the neighborhood. It’s only blocks away from arguably the city’s finest greenspace, Piedmont Park. Where once there was a wasteland, now there are great restaurants, groceries, specialty shops, townhouses, lofts, high-rises, and even people. Judging by the cranes dotting the landscape, many more folks will soon call it home.
In general, Malaysian cuisine cherry-picks its features from Chinese, Indian, and Malay cooking styles. Mamak's sprawling menu includes stewed curries, noodle dishes, and soups.
Favorites include Nasi Lemak, a platter filled with hunks of sparerib, potatoes, coconut rice, anchovies, and a hard-boiled egg; and Rendang beef in a heavily spiced sauce the texture of chimichurri, but the color of dark chocolate. Curry laksa, coconut milk curry with either chicken or beef, is full of supple spaghetti-like noodles you'd find in Chinese lo mein.
Also known as Stone Bowl House, this joint looks like your typical modern Korean restaurant -- floor-to-ceiling blonde wood and private cubbyhole dining areas. Woo Nam Jeong is different from most Korean spots, however. It offers a unique 12-course tasting menu, as well as the best dolsots (cast-iron pot dishes) in Atlanta. Fresh ingredients, such as mushrooms, eel, squid, and pork, are all seen in the variety of dolsots. Other popular bites include cylindrical rice cakes and dumplings in smooth broth and tender seafood pancakes. This restaurant needs to be your top priority the next time you have a hankering for Korean food.
Canton House is the favorite for dim sum in Atlanta's Chinese community. We're not surprised. Few dim sums are operated with such efficiency and such a broad menu. Anything made with shrimp or barbecued pork is bound to please even the most unadventurous diner. Get the rice cooked with pork, wrapped in lotus leaves. The fragrance when it is unwrapped is worth the price.
Chef Liu’s new location is relatively larger than the old shack that made it so famous. There still isn’t much in the way of decor, but the ambiance is inviting. The menu has grown to a full four pages of specialties built on a foundation of core dishes that made the former location a hot spot.
Japanese public house serving sushi, sashimi, noodles and more. Shoya's encyclopedic menu, spread over seven crowded pages, will either send you into a rapture of excitement or cripple you with indecision. Dishes tend to be surprising. Order away and see what shows up.
Originally a cotton-gin manufacturer, the Goat Farm is a Westside haven for working artists and performance companies, a frequent location for movie shoots (cough cough, Hunger Games, cough cough), and a great live music venue.
The tiny, shacklike entrance reveals an eclectic and loyal late-night crowd. Music at this underground clubber’s club ranges from hip-hop and Brit-pop to downtempo and rare grooves. The dim basement space feels like the most happenin’ speakeasy in town.
The home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus tales, has recently undergone a revival shepherded by a descendant of the post-Civil War Atlanta writer. Sessions by master storytellers are the central attraction at the beautiful Victorian house.
The 1840 home of President Theodore Roosevelt's mother, Mittie Bulloch, serves as cultural center with photographs and documents from the Bulloch and Roosevelt families, a Civil War room, history room, and gardens.
This (literally) underground club, located below the Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta, hosts local and touring indie-rock and hip-hop shows (T.I. and Iggy Azalea once shared the stage here). The aptly named space is also home to old-school dance parties.