It’s hard to imagine a time when an Atlanta neighborhood four miles from downtown was considered a suburb. It’s even harder to picture the city with bustling transit, but Virginia-Highland was founded as a streetcar suburb nearly a century ago. Now incorporated as an intown ’hood, residents can walk to restaurants, boutiques, bars, grocery stores, and even a weekly food truck event. There are few places in Virginia-Highland you can’t reach by way of a pleasant stroll along tree-shaded sidewalks or a quick bike ride. To the north, Morningside remains a dreamy — albeit pricey — destination for families.
Owner Giovanni DiPalma seemingly appeared out of nowhere a few years ago and turned a nondescript building into a Neapolitan pizza mecca. Antico Pizza’s Naples-style pie is made with imported Italian ingredients in three Acunto ovens, also from Italy. If you like meat, order the San Gennaro. The Margherita here is just as impressive as its sausage-, pepper-, and onion-laden brethren. The pizzeria is just one part of DiPalma’s growing “Little Italy” empire that includes a rotisserie chicken place, sandwich and gelato nook, Italian market, and limoncello bar all on the same corner.
Named best burger in the country by the Wall Street Journal, it's hard to get a seat at Ann's. The favorite here remains a double cheeseburger with mayo only. The Ghetto Burger is a masochistic order: a plate-filling sandwich topped with chili, cheese, onions and bacon. Whatever you order, don't plan to move around much the rest of the day.
At One Eared Stag, boldness of flavor wins out above all else. The entire menu is an exercise in boldness, in defying cliché. Chef Robert Phalen comes across as more of a creative force than a perfectionist. But any inconsistency is made up for by the sheer pleasure and originality the food inspires.
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 cinematic chaos and glamour of Two Urban Licks draws a decibel-shattering crowd eager for rambunctious dining and willing to sit out the long wait just for the youthful exuberance that fills the restaurant. For the best dining experience, stick to the appetizers and small plates. Outdoor bocce courts along the Beltline's Eastside Trails
A local blues, jazz, and roots institution that's been around for more than 25 years. The North Highland Avenue storefront, with its signature guitar-wielding neon alligator, has persevered through an unpredictable economy and the commercial ebb and flow of roots-based music that regularly fills the dimly lit room.
Wild Bill’s is a sanctuary for suburban cowpokes in search of line-dancing, fight nights, and concerts from such country and western stars as Pat Green and Miranda Lambert. They even take down the mechanical bull for rap nights, and have hosted concerts by Foreigner and Skid Row. Basically, it’s a hay hootin’ time. If you’re nostalgic for the era of stone-washed jeans and ladies with bangs teased to the ceiling, welcome home.