Lyla Lila space
Photo courtesy of Lyla Lila


Where To Stay and Eat Right in Atlanta


When it comes to planning a trip, people already know what they want to do or see. They’ll set their sights on a destination like Atlanta for the attractions, but then will ask the wrong question first: “Where should I stay?” But really, they should be asking, “Where should I eat?”

There’s no better way to get the lay of a land or a sense of a city than to see where the hottest restaurants are clustered, and what kind of restaurants they are. It’ll tell you a lot about the neighborhood’s character – just check out the décor and you’ll know if it’s lively or laid-back, formal or bohemian. And you’ll want to consider if that area has lots of trending spots among the local crowd, appearing as repeat highlights on our Hit List.

Or, you could let us do the work for you. Right this way for the most interesting places to stay around the most interesting places to eat, drink, and party in the A.

Ticonderoga Club space
Photo courtesy of Ticonderoga Club
Ticonderoga Club space
Photo courtesy of Ticonderoga Club

Main Character Energy

Hotel Clermont

Food-loving travelers and Atlantans alike love going to this former (delightfully) seedy motor hotel in Poncey-Highland that’s been lovingly restored from a near-teardown. It’s got Atlanta spirit in spades, from the iconic Hotel Clermont lettering on the radio tower that shines like a beacon from the buzzing rooftop bar to locally made dog treats from Big Daddy Biscuits at check-in. Then every September, those who live to eat post up here in easy walking distance to the Historic Fourth Ward Park, where the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is held each year.

It’s a whole retro-chic vibe, with surprising nooks and popping interiors and public spaces. And you can continue them off-premises, too. Walk on over to Bomb Biscuit Co., Erika Council’s much fussed-over brunch spot; grab a spot appropriately for the 30-minute walk. Then get off your biscuit and take the BeltLine by foot to reach your next stop, Ticonderoga Club at Krog Street Market, whose lauded cocktail program offers welcome refreshment after a dose of midday Atlanta sun.

Stay there for dinner or head south to La Semilla via the BeltLine, where a vegan and plant-based Cuban and Mexican menu has been turning heads big-time. But if you’d rather make your way closer to the hotel after exploring Krog Street Market, lock in a spot at Buena Vida Tapas Bar instead. This Latin American and Spanish restaurant puts you 12 minutes walking back to your cozy room.


Wylie Hotel Atlanta

Wylie Hotel in the Old Fourth Ward has had a lot of colorful lives — fitting for this neighborhood. It was the first spot to host the notorious “dive underground dance club” MJQ, the host of Atlanta’s first drag show, and now, a boutique-y, pet-friendly hotel with vintage but minimalist craftsman charm (and an unexpected bonus, for those inclined — you can earn Hilton points with your stay).

However, “stay” should be used loosely here, with Ponce City Market’s blazing sign in view, beckoning you to explore one of the country’s buzziest food halls. It’s where celebrity chef Hector Santiago’s El Super Pan and soon-to-open El Metro tapas bar are located, and where you can make a reservation to try Pinky Cole’s — of Slutty Vegan fame — inventive takes at Bar Vegan.

While there’s a lot of great food to be had in O4W, this central location also puts you within walking distance of Inman Park’s hits. Delbar Middle Eastern never fails, with a buzzy patio and a bustling dining room where plates and aromas overflow. Just a few steps away, Bread & Butterfly can take you to another part of the world, representing French Afro-Caribbean dishes in a perfect example of how beautifully multicultural Atlanta truly is.

Another option: grab a rideshare and head to Decatur. Ponce de Leon Avenue is a straight shoot to an otherwise less accessible neighborhood, and it’s home to superstars like The Deer and the Dove and Kimball House.

Miller Union interior
Photo courtesy of Miller Union
Miller Union steak
Photo courtesy of Miller Union

Refined Elegance

Epicurean Atlanta

The name of this AAA Four Diamond Autograph Collection Hotel in Midtown should say it all, but ICYMI, food is the headliner here. Gourmets will find no better place than this to live out their chef-adjacent fantasies, from room design details like butcher block-style wood accents and decorative pillows printed with a tidily napkin-tucked fork and knife graphic to a kitchen backsplash and “artisanal pantry” snacks (for sale) at the wet bar. Add to that a culinary theater that regularly hosts tastings and demos and some of the best biscuits and finest wine you can get downstairs at Reverence, and it’s an urban food lover’s dream.

Even better, it’s incredibly close to some of the city’s most prestigious restaurants. For instance, the new Lazy Betty, by chefs Aaron Phillips and Ron Hsu, puts one of the city’s crown jewel tasting menus within a 10-minute walk. Fresh pasta with a Southern European accent at Lyla Lila is only a few minutes more. And Omakase Table — a perfect five-starred experience — is even closer by car.


Kimpton The Shane

As befitting a hotel in the fine arts center of Atlanta, near the High Museum, Woodruff Arts Center, Center for Puppetry Arts, and more, there’s nothing about this Midtown spot that isn’t stylish. Contemporary, uncluttered, yet grand, details like modern woodsy colors in the rooms, darkly sleek bathrooms with perfect soaking tubs, and floor-to-ceiling windows belie that it’s also one of the most welcoming to pets in the city. And by that, we mean city-city, with a sleek urbanity that sets a just-right tone for meals in the revitalized industrial West Midtown.

In less than ten minutes by car, you can be at Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s celebrated and personal-farm-to-table Bacchanalia for dinner, or their attached Star Provisions for a glorious breakfast or lunch. In just as much time, you can visit Steven Satterfield’s Miller Union, drinking wine by the glass from a list selected by co-owner Neal McCarthy with dessert by Claudia Martinez, or having modern Mexican cooked by Santiago Gomez over sacred wood at Palo Santo before retiring to the rooftop for just one more drink. Then maybe another to chase down the sushi bar bites you can’t resist.

Lucian spread
Photo courtesy of Lucian
Lucian spread
Photo courtesy of Lucian

Glamour & Glitz

The Burgess Hotel

If you like things flashy but classy and distinctively unique, stay here. It’s a Tribute Portfolio hotel, but make no mistake about its boutique feel. It’s owned and operated by a wife-and-husband duo, the latter a classically trained fine dining chef who you’ll see in Fia’s kitchen — the on-site Mediterranean restaurant — on any given day. Every detail of this Buckhead hotel is personal, with art from the pair’s personal collection on public display and guiding the global-themed suites to homey, thoughtful spaces shaded by Buckhead’s greenery.

Keep that feeling of comfortably established luxury going with dinner selections. For example, have lunch at The Chastain’s Old Oak Terrace overlooking the park, or while away a day at Lucian Books and Wine, a refined bookshop, wine bar, and European-American restaurant. Try one of only two steak omakase restaurants in the United States with an eight-course tasting menu by chef Sean Park at Prefecture Japanese Steakhouse and never look at beef the same way again. Or go traditional now that uber-exclusive M by Tasuku Murakami has released a new slew of booking dates. Close with a nightcap at the signature cobalt library bar at the hotel, a photogenic favorite.


Hotel Colee (Buckhead)

The Burgess is for the glam, but this one’s for the glitz, with vibrant pops of bright, fearless color and visual delight that would make Cyndi Lauper want to move into this Autograph Collection hotel. The color palette at this Buckhead hotel are bold and gem-toned, making for great pics. (Make sure to get up to the rooftop bar to take a picture in its IG-ready hall and to the pool overlooking Buckhead’s busiest Peachtree street of Atlanta’s 71.) However, they become more lo-fi in rooms that are dimly lit and richly dressed in heavy soft fabrics.

For more see-and-be-seen photo opps, try Little Alley Steak for a fun flex, or Umi, the restaurant that houses the aforementioned M by Tasuku Murakami and yet is its polar opposite. And in Buckhead Village, two chances to trigger other people’s FOMO: Aria, a beloved staple with daily changing menus, and O by Brush, Jason Liang’s private experience. A meal at Caribbean-French Apt 4B is another fine option for unexpected and intimate, as is a chef’s counter tasting at The Alden by chef Jared Hucks. Pro tip: Book the latter for the first Thursday of each month, when he offers a special truncated (and less pricey) menu exclusively.

Su-Jit Lin is a rehabilitated New Yorker, former New Orleanian, and current Atlantan, in addition to being a travel, food, and lifestyle writer. She has contributed to EatingWell, HuffPost, Epicurious, The Takeout, Eater, The Kitchn, VinePair, Thrillist, Food & Wine, Serious Eats, Southern Living, and more. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.