Best Local Places to Eat in Athens GA: Top Picks for Food Lovers

Ready to dive into the vibrant tastes of Athens, Georgia? While it’s best known for its lively music and the iconic University of Georgia, there’s another side to explore: its culinary landscape. From classic breakfast joints to fancy dinner spots, Athens is a paradise for food lovers.

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You may find my guide to the best liquor stores in Athens helpful, too.

What are the best local restaurants in Athens?

Athens is known for its local eateries. Mama’s Boy offers classic Southern dishes, The National brings unique flavors, and Expat showcases local favorites. Trappeze Pub is another local gem. These spots highlight Athens’ rich local dining scene.

Athens bursts with dining wonders. Whether you’re in the mood for hearty Southern dishes, intriguing Mediterranean or Asian flavors, or even a night out at some local bars, this college town has got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Athens, GA boasts a wide food spectrum: from Southern classics to Mediterranean bites, and Asian dishes.
  • The vibrant college vibe adds a unique flavor to the culinary scene, blending chill cafes with posh restaurants.
  • You’ll never run out of dining choices, from ritzy places to spirited nightlife hubs.

Breakfast Spots in Athens

Hankering for breakfast in Athens, Georgia? We’re spotlighting two gems: Mama’s Boy and Home.Made.

Mama’s Boy

A go-to for breakfast and brunch, Mama’s Boy serves up both traditional and modern dishes, sure to please any palate. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Famous Biscuits: Fluffy delights that locals rave about.
  • Omelets: Customize to your liking, filled with ingredients from spinach to avocado.
  • Pancakes: Fluffy stacks adorned with fruits and honey granola.
  • Specials: Daily dishes, offering inventive spins on favorites.
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Step into Home.Made, where the flavors of the South come alive with a modern twist. Here are some must-tries:

  • Signature Grits: Creamy and indulgent.
  • Biscuits & Gravy: A delightful combo of flaky biscuits and rich mushroom gravy.
  • Farm Fresh Scrambles: Packed with local ingredients and love.
  • Sweets & Pastries: Homemade goodness like beignets and cinnamon rolls.

I always get breakfast here when I’m visiting the University of Georgia. It’s one of the best restaurants near UGA.

Lunch Destinations In Athens

The National

Have you ever craved a hint of Mediterranean while in the heart of Georgia? The National in Athens, GA is your go-to spot. With a menu bursting with Mediterranean-inspired flavors, it promises a gastronomic delight.

Their commitment to fresh, local ingredients ensures that every dish is both delectable and wholesome. Whether you’re in the mood for soups, salads, sandwiches, or eager to explore their daily specials, there’s a plate for every palate. What’s more? They shine in catering to various dietary restrictions—making your dining experience tailored just for you.

They have one of the best outdoor dining areas in Athens, too.

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The Place

Ever wondered where to find the heartbeat of classic Southern cuisine in Athens? The Place is your answer. Step into an ambiance that exudes warmth, with a menu that serves up drool-worthy comfort food. From fried chicken to pulled pork, accompanied by iconic sides like mac & cheese and collard greens, it’s a journey through the best of the South on a plate. And the cherry on top? The friendly staff and genuine Southern hospitality that make every visit memorable.

Best Dinner Experiences In Athens

Five and Ten

In the mood for an upscale dinner with a touch of Southern charm? Five and Ten stands out as a beacon of fine dining in Athens. It’s not just a meal; it’s an experience. Dine in an environment that’s both cozy and elegant, with a menu that sings praises of innovative Southern cuisine. Relish in favorites like pork and grits or the sumptuous pan-seared duck breast. Every dish, inspired by seasonal and local ingredients, promises a taste sensation.

Last Resort Grill

Step into the vibrant heart of downtown Athens and discover the gem that is Last Resort Grill. With its lively atmosphere and walls adorned with captivating art, it’s more than just a restaurant—it’s a cultural experience. Dive into a menu crafted with love, boasting dishes from the classic shrimp and grits to the more adventurous salmon with lentil quinoa and lemon dill aioli.

They also make some of the best ribs in Athens, maybe in all of Georgia.

And if you’re brunching, don’t miss out on their huevos rancheros or peach-stuffed French toast. As a final treat, indulge in their famed desserts like the jack and coke cake or Georgia peach bread pudding. And remember, a glass of wine or a specialty cocktail is the perfect companion to your meal.

Best Pizza In Athens

When you’re roaming the streets of Athens, GA, the harmonious blend of laughter, clinking glasses, and the irresistible scent of authentic Italian pizza is hard to resist. Following this captivating aroma, you’ll stumble upon a slice of Italy in the heart of Georgia: DePalma’s Italian Cafe.

DePalma’s Italian Cafe

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Nestled in Athens, DePalma’s Italian Cafe is not just another pizza place. Here’s the scoop:

  • A Rich History: Born from the vision of three young college students in 1988, they pondered the age-old question – where to find truly great pizza? With an engineer’s precision, a biologist’s attention to ingredients, and an artist’s flair, DePalma’s Athens came to life.
  • Scratch Kitchen: Every dish is a testament to their commitment to freshness and authenticity. Each location boasts a unique menu tailored to the local palate, ensuring a distinct experience every time.
  • Wine & Libations: Elevate your dining experience with their curated selection of wines. As they put it, drinks poured out as an offering to a deity… Nuff said!
  • Multiple Locations: Whether you’re downtown at Broad Street, on the East Side at Barnett Shoals, or on the West Side at Timothy Road, DePalma’s has got you covered.

Craving a slice of perfection? Make your way to DePalma’s Italian Cafe. Dive into a world of rich flavors, traditional recipes, and let your taste buds embark on an Italian journey.

Top Vegan and Vegetarian Choices In Athens

Cali N Tito’s

Thinking of exploring vegan and vegetarian delights in Athens? Look no further than Cali N Tito’s. Renowned for its Latin American cuisine, it’s a beacon for those craving plant-based alternatives.

Here’s a peek at some of their star dishes:

  • Tofu Asada: Immerse yourself in tofu, seasoned with a medley of spices and tangy salsas.
  • Veggie Burritos: An embrace of beans, rice, and fresh veggies all rolled into one delicious package.
  • Vegan Tamales: Who said vegan can’t be flavorful? This is a must-try twist on a classic.
  • Avocado Salad: Drizzled with an enticing lime-cilantro vinaigrette, it’s freshness on a plate.

The beauty of Cali N Tito’s is in its flexibility. With customization at your fingertips, curate your own plant-based masterpiece. And if you’re ever in doubt, their accommodating staff is ready to guide you to the perfect meal.

But it’s not just about the food. Step into Cali N Tito’s and be enveloped in a lively atmosphere amidst a truly unique setting. So, if you’re in Athens and seeking an unforgettable dining escapade, you know where to go!

Athens’ Seafood Scene

Ah, Athens, GA. Known for its charming streets, vibrant nightlife, and oh, the seafood! When the ocean’s bounty calls, there’s one name that resonates louder than most: Seabear.

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Nestled in Athens’ bustling center, Seabear Oyster Bar is more than just a restaurant—it’s an experience. With a palpable coastal aura, it promises to take your tastebuds on a maritime journey. So, what’s on the menu?

  • Oysters: Handpicked from prime locations, each oyster—whether raw or cooked—promises a splash of the ocean in every bite.
  • Diverse Seafood: Beyond oysters, expect a plethora of dishes, from tantalizing ceviche to heartwarming clam chowder.
  • Seasonal Specials: The culinary delights don’t stop at the regular menu. Dive into their daily specials for a taste of something unexpected.
  • Cocktail Bar: Seafood and cocktails—a match made in gastronomic heaven. Choose from classic drinks or Seabear’s special concoctions to elevate your dining experience.

Whether you’re eyeing a romantic rendezvous or a laid-back meal with pals, Seabear is the place to be. After all, there’s a reason it consistently anchors the top spot among Athens’ seafood havens.

Best Mediterranean in Athens

Yearning for flavors that whisk you to the shores of the Mediterranean? Look no further than Expat, an emblem of Athens’ Mediterranean culinary scene.


Infusing traditional Mediterranean fare with a touch of Athenian flair, Expat promises a feast for the senses. But what makes it truly special?

  • Diverse Menu: Whether you’re dreaming of silky hummus or a sizzling shawarma platter, Expat caters to every Mediterranean whim.
  • Pristine Ingredients: At the heart of Expat’s delectable dishes lie fresh, locally-sourced ingredients—a testament to their commitment to quality.
  • Cozy Ambiance: With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Expat effortlessly sets the stage for memorable moments, be it with friends or a special someone.

So, the next time the Mediterranean calls while you’re in Athens, GA, head straight to Expat. A culinary adventure brimming with flavor and warmth awaits you!

Best Barbecue in Athens

When you’re wandering the streets of Athens, GA, the symphony of sizzling grills and the mouthwatering aroma of barbecue beckons you. Following this delightful scent, you’ll discover a true barbecue haven: Dawg Gone Good BBQ.

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Dawg Gone Good BBQ

Tucked away in Athens, Dawg Gone Good BBQ is more than just a BBQ joint. Here’s the lowdown:

BBQ Galore: Dive into a world of barbecue with offerings like chicken, pulled pork, sliders, and ribs. Every bite promises a burst of smoky flavor.

Convenient Location: Situated just north of the University of Georgia, it’s a stone’s throw away from the Lyndon House Arts Center.

Diverse BBQ Menu: Whether you’re craving chicken, ribs, or a simple slider, they’ve got it all.



  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday & Saturday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Craving some authentic BBQ? Head over to Dawg Gone Good BBQ. Let your senses be enthralled by the rich flavors and smoky goodness.

Best Asian Food In Athens

Athens, GA offers more than Southern charm. Dive deep and you’ll discover its rich tapestry of Asian flavors. And, in this vibrant culinary scene, one place offers a unique spin: Trappeze Pub.

Trappeze Pub

More than a pub, it’s a culinary journey. Here’s what’s on offer:

  • Asian-Fusion Dishes: Think Thai curries with a twist, or Korean-inspired tacos. A gastronomic delight awaits. If Thaid food is your thing, though, check out my guide to the best Thai Food In Athens.
  • Fresh and Local: Every dish at Trappeze boasts the freshest ingredients, sourced right from local farms.
  • Ambiance: Whether you’re in for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, the warm, inviting atmosphere sets the perfect mood.

Ready to dive deep into Asian flavors with a unique twist? Trappeze Pub beckons. Answer the call and embark on a culinary journey like no other.

The Best Southern Food in Athens, GA

Southern Cuisine is a deep-rooted tradition in Athens, GA. Dive into the heart of Southern flavors at these iconic establishments:

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  • Weaver D’s: Dive deep into Southern soul. Enjoy traditional favorites like meatloaf, collard greens, and the legendary fried chicken. Experience the essence of Southern warmth.
  • Rachel’s Southern Style Restaurant: Homestyle Southern cooking at its best. Delight in dishes like fried catfish, smothered pork chops, and sweet potato soufflé. A dining experience reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen.

Visiting Athens? Embark on a culinary journey by exploring these Southern staples, each offering a unique blend of flavors and authentic Southern hospitality.

The Best Bars In Athens

Creature Comforts

A favorite among locals and tourists, this bar embodies the spirit of Athens:

  • Locally brewed craft beers
  • Unique seasonal flavors
  • Spacious tasting room
  • Friendly, well-informed staff

Also, consider exploring:

  • The World Famous: Renowned for its live music. A place where memories and melodies intertwine.
  • Wonderbar: An experience like no other. Enjoy arcade games with geek-inspired drinks, blending fun and flavors.

Hotel Restaurants In Athens

Graduate Athens

A fusion of southern charm and modern design, Graduate Athens is a hotspot for travelers, particularly with its closeness to the University of Georgia. Not just known for its visual appeal, the hotel proudly houses the on-site eatery:

  • Iron Works Coffee: A blend of tradition and trend, offering an extensive menu of breakfast delights, sandwiches, and quick bites. Perfect to kick start your Athenian adventure!

Beyond the confines of the hotel, Athens’ culinary realm beckons. Notably, the Trappeze Pub stands out, renowned for its artisanal craft beers and mouth-watering pub dishes. Truly, Graduate Athens encapsulates the local food spirit.

Hyatt Place Athens Downtown

Strategically nestled in Athens’ heartbeat, Hyatt Place Athens Downtown promises more than just a comfortable stay. Guests are treated to:

  • Complimentary Breakfast: A wide array of hot and cold breakfast items to energize your day!

Venture outside, and the culinary wonders of Athens unfold. Within mere steps, guests can indulge in:

  • The southern magic at The National.
  • Italian culinary artistry at The Last Resort Grill.
  • Authentic Mexican delights at Cali n Tito’s.

Both Graduate Athens and Hyatt Place Athens Downtown stand as more than just hotels. They’re gateways to the rich and varied gastronomic landscape of Athens, guaranteeing memories as rich as the flavors they introduce.

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From the heartwarming Southern cuisine of Mama’s Boy to the exquisite culinary techniques used by renowned chef Hugh Acheson, Athens truly serves as a culinary hub. Just a short drive from Atlanta, this vibrant town near the UGA campus offers an extensive palette of flavors, whether you’re craving a rich bacon marmalade, indulgent ice cream, or a spicy crab dish.

Furthermore, Athens boasts a lively brewery scene, perfect for those looking to enjoy a cold drink on Sundays or any other day.

If you’re keen on exploring the best restaurants, don’t miss out on the Sunday brunch offerings or the delightful vegetarian options available in numerous eateries. So, whether it’s a hearty burger, delicate pasta, or crunchy green beans you desire, Athens promises a gastronomic adventure that’ll leave you craving more.


Where can I find the best Sunday brunch in Athens?

Many places offer delicious Sunday brunch options, but Mama’s Boy stands out as a local favorite.

Are there any renowned chefs in Athens?

Yes, chef Hugh Acheson is a notable figure in the Athens culinary scene. He’s a chef at the National restaurant.

I’m visiting the UGA campus. Are there any recommended restaurants nearby?

Absolutely! Both Mama’s Boy and White Tiger Gourmet are popular spots near the UGA campus.

I have a craving for seafood. Where can I find crab dishes in Athens?

Seabear Oyster Bar is the best local seafood restaurant in Athens. They specialize in fresh oysters but they have a wide selection of delicious seafood.

Do restaurants in Athens offer vegetarian options?

Yes, many restaurants in Athens provide a variety of vegetarian options to cater to different dietary needs. Cali N Tito’s stands out as a particularly tasty option.

I’ve heard a lot about the breweries in Athens. Can you recommend one?

Athens boasts a thriving brewery scene. Creature Comforts is one such place that comes highly recommended.