Best overall restaurant: Holeman & Finch Public House
There can be no argument as to whether Holeman & Finch Public House has changed Atlanta's dining scene since opening in 2008. Greg Best's cocktail program set off a citywide race to blend obscure spirits into crowd-pleasing tipples. The 10 p.m. off-menu cheeseburger established a widely imitated gold standard. The house charcuterie program, once a unique feature, has inspired a whole league of competitors. Past success, though, doesn't make a restaurant the city's best. What's impressive about Holeman & Finch is the fact that it's stuck to a formula while continuing to improve it. The highbrow/lowbrow genius of the cheeseburger now also describes the Nashville-style hot chicken and a jalapeño-laden hot dog, both of which deliver guilty pleasure in spades without the gimmicky wait that accompanies the burger. The attention to detail in sourcing, which applies to everything from vividly ripe eggplants to fat-laden Ossabaw hams to delicate veal brains, continues to surprise and impress. Best and fellow Holeman & Finch parter Regan Smith left the pub in early September to focus on opening a brick-and-mortar of their own, but not before grooming other bartenders such as Tyson Bittrich to take the reins. The cocktails at Holeman & Finch continue to be enough reason alone to make a visit.