Best Casual Restaurants in Athens GA: Top Picks for a Relaxed Dining Experience

Ever headed to Athens, Georgia, and thought, “Where should I grab a bite?” This college town is buzzing not only with tunes from its thriving music scene but also with a mouth-watering casual dining scene. And yes, we’re talking about more than just the famous University of Georgia – this place is a hidden gem for foodies!

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What’s the best casual restaurant in Athens?

The best casual restaurant in Athens is a tough call, but Trappeze Pub stands out for its unique blend of hearty dishes, craft beers, and the famous Belgian fries, all served in a welcoming gastropub atmosphere that captures the town’s vibrant spirit.

Athens’ eateries are a reflection of its colorful spirit. You’ve got spots that’ll make both vegetarians and meat-lovers grin from ear to ear. Into spicy food or got a soft spot for wine? You’re covered. Whether it’s your first visit to Athens or you’re practically a local, the casual dining here is about great food, a friendly vibe, and times worth remembering.

Breakfast and Coffee Spots:

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  • Mama’s Boy: It’s the talk of the town for breakfast. Try the Georgia Peach French Toast and thank us later. Their biscuits and gravy? Like a warm Southern hug.
  • Donderos’: Cozy? Check. Killer quiches and coffee? Double-check. This café is where mornings start right.
  • Big City Bread Café: Not just big on bread, they’ve got sandwiches, soups, and salads to keep you going till dinner.

Lunch Spots:

  • The Place: It’s exactly “the place” for a laid-back lunch in a comfy setting.
  • South Kitchen + Bar: Imagine lunch in a historic building with tacos that’ll have you planning your next visit.
  • Home.made: Veggie lovers, get ready for some of the freshest salads and sandwiches in town.

And for those with a sweet tooth who also love a good adventure, Café Racer is your donut destination just outside Athens. Worth every mile for a bite of their unique treats.

Bars and Gastropubs:

  • Trappeze Pub: This isn’t just a gastropub; it’s a craft beer heaven with 30 rotating taps and dishes like pork belly sliders that’ll make you want to stay all night.
  • The World Famous: Quirky and eclectic, with creative cocktails and tasty bites that’ll make your night out in Athens legendary.
  • Flicker Theatre & Bar: Arts, drinks, and a whole lot of fun. With live performances and a cocktail in hand, it’s where Athens comes to play.
  • Creature Comforts: This brewery’s innovative sips and cozy vibes have made it a staple for beer buffs on the prowl for seasonal selections.

Related Post! Best College Bars In Athens!

Casual Dinner Restaurants:

  • Last Resort Grill: An award-winner for a reason, they’re serving up an eclectic menu in a chic setting that’ll woo both locals and visitors.

Seafood and Barbecue Restaurants:

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  • Square One Fish Co: Seafood connoisseurs, get ready for Oysters Rockefeller that are as decadent as they sound.
  • Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar: Dive into a spicy seafood affair with all the Cajun-style flair you can handle.
  • The Juicy Crab: Fresh and flavorful crab dishes that live up to the name – it’s juicy and it’s unforgettable.
  • Scott & Bj’s BBQ: Pull up for some pulled pork and ribs that’ll have you swooning over Southern BBQ.

Related Post! Best Seafood In Athens!

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants:

  • Mannaweenta: A vegan haven where dishes like Yemisser Wot and Gomen Wot showcase the zest of plant-based eating.
  • VeGreen Vegetarian Fusion Restaurant: For a vegetarian variety that’s all about flavor fusion, VeGreen’s got your back.
  • White Tiger Gourmet: BBQ and sandwiches with a side of vegetarian and vegan choices? Yes, please.
  • Pulaski Heights BBQ: Smoked tempeh and tofu that give a veggie nod to the BBQ tradition.

Related Post! Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Athens

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Mediterranean Restaurants:

  • Mediterranean Grill: A treasure trove of Middle Eastern and Greek dishes that promise a hearty meal without a hefty price tag.
  • Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe: Greek-inspired delights that are as healthy as they are flavorful, all in a laid-back café setting.

Mexican Restaurants:

  • Cali N Tito’s: Dive into Mexican favorites in this casual, vibrant spot that feels like a quick trip to Mexico City.
  • Agua Linda Taqueria: Authentic Mexican fare that’s bursting with flavors, from tacos to burritos, this place is a fiesta on a plate.

Related Post! Best Mexican Restaurants In Athens!

Wine and Cocktail Spots:

  • The Lark Winespace: A serene haven for wine lovers, with an extensive list and cocktails that are as creative as they are delicious.
  • Graduate Athens: Sip on your favorite drink while soaking in the views from a rooftop terrace or mingling in the stylish lobby bar.

Pizza Places:

  • Ted’s Most Best: Known for its artisanal pizzas and a charming outdoor area, it’s the go-to for pizza aficionados.
  • Automatic Pizza: A local staple where the pizza is as genuine as the laid-back atmosphere.
  • Mama Sid’s Pizza: High-quality pies with a slew of toppings that range from classic to quirky.
  • DePalma’s Italian Café: Cozy up in this Italian haven for pizza that’s got the whole town talking.

Related Post! Best Italian Food In Athens!

Fine Dining:

  • The National: Under the guidance of top chef Hugh Acheson, experience Mediterranean elegance with dishes that are a symphony of fresh ingredients and exquisite flavors.
  • Five and Ten: Another culinary masterpiece by Hugh Acheson, blending Southern tradition with a twist of modernity in a setting that’s rich in history.

Local Favorites:

  • The Farmcart: For a taste of the South, this place is a hymn to local produce, offering Sunday brunch and breakfast that’s as Southern as sweet tea.

Related Post! Best Local Restaurants In Athens!

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In our exploration of Athens’ casual dining scene, we’ve discovered a diverse range of restaurants offering delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere.

We hope this guide helps you find the perfect spot to indulge in the best of Athens, Georgia’s casual dining options. With this variety of flavors, unique menus, and inviting atmospheres, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy in this charming college town.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some affordable dining options in Athens?

Athens offers a variety of affordable dining options to suit every palate. We recommend checking out The Place for Southern cuisine and The Table Bistro for American and pasta dishes. Both these establishments have a casual ambience and won’t break the bank.

Which are the top lunch spots in Athens?

Some popular lunch spots in Athens include Last Resort Grill for a mix of American and Southern cuisine, and Mama’s Boy for Southern comfort food with a modern twist. Both restaurants offer a variety of lunch options to satisfy your midday cravings.

Which downtown Athens restaurants are most popular?

Downtown Athens has no shortage of popular restaurants. The National, known for its Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, is a local favorite. Another popular dining spot is Seabear Oyster Bar, which serves a variety of seafood dishes, including an extensive raw bar.

Which restaurants in Athens are open now?

To find the restaurants that are currently open in Athens, we recommend using platforms like Yelp or Tripadvisor to filter for open establishments and see their operating hours.

What casual eateries are recommended for LGBTQ+ visitors?

Athens is an inclusive city with many casual eateries welcoming to all visitors. While we are not aware of any restaurants specifically targeting LGBTQ+ clientele, the vast majority of establishments in Athens maintain a friendly and inclusive atmosphere, making them suitable for everyone to enjoy.