Jennifer's Top 10
As Georgia’s official culinary explorer, Jennifer Hill Booker travels the state as a food writer, Georgia Grown executive chef, cookbook author, and culinary educator. To start our list, she shares 10 of her must-try dishes.
Poutine, The General Muir, Atlanta. Chicken gravy poured over hand-cut French fries, topped with house-made pastrami, cheese curds, and fresh parsley is especially good for Sunday brunch.
Red Snapper, The Grey, Savannah. Woodfire-grilled red snapper is drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and served with grilled orange wedges.
Buttermilk Pie, The Yesterday Cafe, Greensboro. A light, flaky crust surrounds a rich custard filling that reminds me of my grandmother's best holiday pies.
Chili Dogs, Nu-Way Weiners, Macon. Steamed buns, flat-top grilled hot dogs covered in beef chili, chopped onions, and mustard. Or cheese sauce. Or coleslaw.
The Whole Nine, Thompson Brothers BBQ, Smyrna. Order the sampler featuring hickory wood–smoked chopped brisket, spare ribs, beef sausage, and bologna (yes, bologna).
Chorizo and Lengua Tacos, Sr. Sol Mexican Restaurant, Athens. Fresh and authentic, these tacos are served garnished simply with onion, minced cilantro, and wedges of fresh lime.
The Dirty South, One Flew South, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Try this open-face meatloaf sandwich served on Texas toast with pimento cheese, Benton's bacon, balsamic barbecue sauce, and an over-easy egg.
20 oz. Cowboy Ribeye, Rathbun's, Atlanta. Cooked any way you want it (I recommend medium-rare) and served with blue cheese butter and onion rings. In a word: Outstanding.
Fried Shrimp & Fries Basket, Tubby's Tank House, Thunderbolt. This is not fancy or overpriced. It is a paper-lined basket full of Georgia shrimp, dredged in seasoned flour, and cooked to golden brown perfection.
Bratwurst Gravy & Biscuits, Hofer's Bakery & Café, Helen. Nuremberg-style bratwursts are cooked into a creamy gravy and poured over hot buttermilk biscuits. Add a cup of strong German coffee, and your day will be off to an incredible start.
Short Rib Torchetti, Bite Bistro & Bar, Alpharetta. The short rib melts in your mouth, and when you pair it with wild mushrooms, balsamic glazed tomatoes, arugula, and a Marsala demi glace, the flavors combine to create the perfect dish. —Abbey H.
Chicken and Dumplings, Watershed on Peachtree, Atlanta. The dumplings are light and fluffy while the chicken has all of the freshness from the herbs and wholesome vegetables. Definitely a favorite go-to, with good reason. —Kate B.
Margherita, Antico Pizza, Atlanta. Amazing flavor in the crust, super high-quality toppings—everything pizza is supposed to be. Italian colleagues tell me it is difficult to get pizza this good in Italy. —Stephen B.
Ya Ya's Sesame Salmon, Gumbeaux's Cajun Café, Douglasville. This is my favorite salmon dish! It is great for those that do not like spice (although I do!). —Breezy S.
Asian-Style Sticky Chicken, Epicurean Cafe, Duluth. Even though I have tried other dishes on the menu, I keep coming back to this dish. —Faith W.
Sweet Potato Waffles, The Peachtree Cafe, Lawrenceville. The sweet potato waffles are the perfect breakfast. —Ashleigh W.
Fried Chicken + Biscuits, Chicken & the Egg, Marietta. Amazing. Anything I have ever eaten [here] is incredible! —Nicole M.
“Old Blue Eyes” Black & Blue Burger, KirbyG's Diner & Pub, McDonough. Best burger I have ever had! —Rebecca H.
Crawfish Risotto, Roux on Canton, Roswell. Outstanding. —Florence B.
Salt and Pepper Squid, Canton Cooks, Sandy Springs. This is probably the best Cantonese food in Atlanta, and this is one of their signature dishes. It is, in one word, addictive. —Stephen B.
Schnitzel, Villa Europa, Augusta. This favorite never fails to please! The Villa is a local gem, family-owned and operated. Friendly atmosphere. A taste of Germany in Augusta. —Julie H.
Stone Ground Grits, New Moon Café, Augusta. Always perfect, cheap, and satisfying, the grits bowl has avocado, bacon, roasted peppers, and a touch of hot sauce. All gluten-free and piping hot. —Pax B.
Loaded BBQ Baked Potato, Ware’s Bar B Q, Swainsboro. No one makes a barbecue baked potato like Ware’s. —Grace W.
Cannoli, Da Corrado Ristorante, Greensboro. These amazing desserts are so delicious, you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven (or at least been transported to Italy). —Kerry O.
Fried Chicken, Glory House Cafe, Lincolnton. Always excellent food. Southern specialties are served up daily, and the fried chicken is one of many favorites. —Kenny D.
Dixie Burger, Eli’s American, Evans. A Southern charmer, this burger is topped with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese, and buffalo cream sauce. —Mandy B.
Shrimp Crepes, The Jockey Club, Washington. The shrimp crepes are the best I have ever eaten. Excellent service with an excellent menu—a definite must-try. —quiltinginga (TripAdvisor)
Pulled Pork Plate, Paul’s Bar-B-Q, Lexington. Nothing fancy here—just truly great Southern pit barbecue. Open only on Saturday, plan to come early. Once the meat is gone, you have to wait until the next weekend. —Tracy N. (Yelp)
Chicken Pesto Panini, Home Fresh Bistro, Louisville. Chicken, peppers, onion, cheese, tomatoes, and pesto on Italian bread—this panini is delish! Be sure to save room for their killer deserts. —Merry W.
The Full Monty, Legal Grounds Cafe & Catering, Swainsboro. I love the daily specials, locally ground coffee, and variety of homemade pastries, but my favorite is the Full Monty, with grilled ham, Swiss cheese, honey mustard, and strawberry jam on a toasted croissant. Heavenly! —Jeff F.
Snapper Dijon, Georgia Sea Grill, St. Simons Island. This is absolutely my favorite dish on the island! —Christy C.
Chicken Salad, All Things Chocolate And More, Richmond Hill. I'm somewhat of a chicken salad expert. I try it everywhere I go. This restaurant has a chicken salad on a croissant that I crave and judge all others against. —Brian B.
Crispy Flounder, Skippers' Fish Camp, Darien. This is by far the freshest, most delicious flounder I have ever eaten! —Vicki J.
Crazy Italian, Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, Kingsland. Spaghetti noodles and ground beef covered with a special sauce that includes black olives (my favorite), then covered with shredded cheese—absolutely divine pretty much sums it up! —Jimmy S.
Pecan Encrusted Seared Grouper, Love’s Seafood & Steaks, Savannah. Absolutely amazing. —Skye B.
Teriyaki Tacos, Melody’s Coastal Cafe, Richmond Hill. The teriyaki shrimp tacos with wasabi slaw are awesome, to say the least. They are not your average tacos, and the chef is amazing and creative. —April S.
The “Suzanne,” Bubba’s Bistro, Richmond Hill. Delightfully decadent, this shrimp and grits with crab cake entree is creamy with the right amount of seasoning and wonderful Georgia seafood. Love this place. —Tamela S.
Georgia White Shrimp Risotto, Cha Bella, Savannah. Cha Bella takes shrimp and grits in a different direction by adding a golden Carolina risotto with its Georgia white shrimp. It’s definitely a “seato- garden-to-table” specialty! —Joseph M.
Saint Marys Combo Platters, St. Marys Seafood & More, St. Marys. Pick two or three of their seafood options for your platter. Delicious. —Lisa E.
Crab & Shrimp Nachos, Tybee Island Social Club, Tybee Island. My kind of food! —Collin A.
Lamb Meatloaf, Heirloom Cafe, Athens. A great dish: lamb meatloaf with harissa-stewed chickpeas and collard greens, preserved lemon yogurt, and collard green gremolata. —Patrick S.
Mayberry, home.made, Athens. Fried chicken. Pimento cheese. Bacon. Pepper jelly. On a from-scratch Southern biscuit. Putting all of these Southern delicacies together is crazy. Crazy good, that is! —Hannah S.
Peach Ice Cream, Dickey’s Peach Farm, Musella. The best thing about Dickey’s is the large covered porch where you can watch the peaches being packed and eat the world’s best peach ice cream. Definitely worth the drive. —Sara W.
Barbecue Plate, Fincher’s Bar-B-Q, Macon. It’s a must-have when my daughter comes to town. I have taken barbecue and stew to Pennsylvania, and my mother brought it to me in Alaska. Love, love, love Fincher's. —Lynn F.
Sloppy Bread Sticks, Ingleside Village Pizza, Macon. Your brain will explode as you bite into this delectable combo of Italian soft pizza crust breadstick slathered with melted butter and roasted garlic and dipped into a zesty pizza marinara sauce. Always order them extra sloppy. —James D.
Walden Greenback Burger, Rookery, Macon. Get it cooked medium, and you’re in heaven! Fried green tomato, green onions, Applewood smoked bacon, fresh chevre, sundried tomato remoulade: yum. —Kaylee P.
Escargot, Town 220 Restaurant, Madison. The best escargot I have ever had and especially scrumptious with their homemade bread. —Cheryl C.
Creamy Tomato Soup, The Brick, Milledgeville. This tomato soup is so creamy the color is almost pink. Thick, with chunks of tomatoes and onions that melt in your mouth, it is to die for. —Bonnie S.
Pecan Pie Bread Pudding, The Perfect Pear, Perry. Simply not to be missed! — Terre W.
Brisket, Martin’s BBQ, Warner Robins. I have lived in Texas, and I have never had brisket as good as it is at Martin’s. [They] buy certified Angus beef brisket and slow-cook it the right way. —Drew F.
Papardella, Masseria Kitchen & Bar, Blue Ridge. The Papardella specials are always varied and taste wonderful. They use the best ingredients, many of which are locally sourced. Pizzas are awesome, too. —Jan R.C.
Garlic Salad, Pink Pig, Cherry Log. The garlic salad is legendary, bringing local flavors, heavy in garlic, together in a bowl of pure awesomeness! I’ve heard of people driving hundreds of miles just to have one! —Mark T.
Donna’s Special, R & M Sandwich Shop, Canton. Unique and delicious sandwich, great atmosphere, and hometown folks. —Tracy R.
Pulled Pork, Jones Bar-B-Que, Carrollton. I have been dining at Jones for thirteen years, and the quality of their slow-smoked, pulled pork has never fallen below outstanding. Two thumbs up. —Andy B.
Beef Brisket Quesadilla, Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, Cartersville. A unique blend combining tender smoked brisket and golden brown quesadillas and served with three homemade salsas and sour cream. Yum! —Ray R.
Shrimp & Scallop Grits, Maine Street Coastal Cuisine, Cartersville. Shrimp and scallop grits with andouille sausage and Tasso ham in a white wine tomato sauce. Yummy! —BK F.
All American Burger, River Street Tavern, Ellijay. River Street Tavern in Gilmer County has the best food, no matter what you order. Highly recommend! —Lucky M.
Charlie Dog, Schroeder’s New Deli, Rome. The hot dog wrapped in pizza dough is a much better alternative than the standard bun. None of the fixings fall off. And when I say the potato skins are loaded, I mean loaded. —Nicolas D.
Primero Pesto Pizza, Bob’s Brick Oven, Rock Spring. Experience flavors and combinations like no other. Bob grows the basil hydroponically. Homegrown tomatoes, homemade pesto, and homemade ice cream round out the local touch. — Karly H.
Sweet Chili Glazed Swordfish Steak, Reel Seafood, Woodstock. Sweet chili glazed swordfish over ginger risotto, with edamame, shiitakes, and aged Parmesan. —Larry P.
Delta Chicken, Company Supply, Dublin. Best chicken dish ever! —Brandon L.
Stuffed Shrimp, Deano’s Italian, Dublin. The food is awesome, but the atmosphere completes the experience. —Lenora K.
Pulled Pork Nachos, Holy Smokes BBQ, Dublin. I have never had anything here that I did not like. Good people, good service. —Cheryl B.
Stuffed Seafood Pizza, Peter’s Place, Dublin. There are no words to describe how amazingly delicious this dish is. You have to try it for yourself. —Zac Y.
Chicken Marsala, Rialto Italian Eatery, Vidalia. Everything here is homemade authentic Italian prepared fresh every day. Chicken cutlets in Marsala wine sauce served with a side of pasta. Great atmosphere, music, and friendly wait staff. —Brenda C.
Shrimp & Grits, Elements Bistro & Grill, Lyons. Succulent, sautéed, wildcaught shrimp and stoneground white grits with jalapeño sausage make a delicious dish, but the sides of collard greens, roasted corn, and lobster etouffee are just as satisfying. —Blake T.
The Original Scooby Snacks, Papa Buck’s BBQ, Metter. A bed of fries topped with sour cream or ranch. Then add pulled pork with cheddar melted on top with sauce and bacon, if you like. —Scottie D.
Manna, Hoody’s Hoagies, Claxton. A local favorite made with ground beef, melted Swiss, and Hoody’s Special Sauce, featured in Garden & Gun. It’s like it fell from heaven. —Lori H.
French Fries, Cedar Lane Supper Club, McRae-Helena. Hand-cut, lightly battered, and fried! These are the best French fries you’ll ever eat. —Robert D.
Tomato Pie, J&D Cafe, Douglas. Fresh baked, flaky crust with sweet and savory tomatoes, tart onions, and layers of hand-grated cheese elevates traditional Southern ingredients to the next level. —Ann P.
Northeast Georgia Mountains
Wild Chanterelle Filled Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce, Beechwood Inn, Clayton. Foraged foods from the Northeast Georgia Mountains should be on every foodie’s list of things to taste. —David D.
Gorgonzola Shrimp Linguine, Back Porch Oyster Bar, Dahlonega. Stunningly excellent, flavorful dish that does justice to both gorgonzola and fabulous shrimp in equal measure. It’s hard to believe a mountain restaurant does seafood so well! —David Z.
Fried Shrimp Po Boy, Atlanta Highway Seafood Market, Gainesville. An authentic taste of NOLA at Lake Lanier—a hoagie roll piled high with fresh fried Gulf shrimp, served with hand-cut coleslaw and fries. —Stacey D.
Crispy Portobello Mushrooms, The Chophouse, Hiawassee. Tasty appetizer features crispy Portobello mushrooms with a delicious gorgonzola rosemary sauce. —Kelly I.
Two Lump Crab Cakes, Fleur-de-Lis, Braselton. Served in the relaxing Spa at Chateau Elan, these two lump crab cakes with spicy mustard remoulade and mixed arugula salad with apple cider vinaigrette compliment the serene surroundings. —Peggy H.
Cuban Sandwich, Coco’s Cuban Restaurant, Cumming. Traditional, authentic Cuban sandwich on freshly baked Cuban bread, served with the best rice and beans. Yummy! —Nicole R.
Roast Beef Sandwich, Market 50, Hartwell. A traditional roast beef sandwich piled high with thinly sliced, well-seasoned meat on homemade bread. Great after a day on the lake or before heading out on the water. —Cheryl S.
Rack of New Zealand Lamb, Glen Ella Springs Inn, Clarkesville. The New Zealand rack of lamb is fantastic! Combined with the scenic ambiance of this historic inn, it’s the ultimate in romance and elegant dining. —Jeanne B.
New York Strip Sandwich on Homemade Bread, Commerce Sports Bar and Grill, Commerce. This grain-fed New York Strip is covered in sautéed mushrooms, onions, and Swiss cheese and is served on freshly baked bread. —Vickie S.
Pecan Caramel Pie, 211 Main Street Restaurant, Lavonia. Don’t miss their famous six-layer cakes, cinnamon buns, cheesecakes, rich pound cakes, and yummy pies (the pecan caramel cream cheese is a local favorite). —Shawnta B.
Scenic Southwest Georgia
The Jonathan, La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, Ashburn. “The Jonathan” is named after a local who requested it all the time. Comprised of chicken, rice, and white cheese, it can be customized with any meat. I love chicken and bacon; my husband likes steak and shrimp. —Sarah C.
Shrimp Basket, Blue Anchor Seafood and Grill, Bainbridge. Best seafood I have eaten in a long time! Get fresh and delicious food with wonderful service, without having to drive to the beach. —Brittany L.
Fried Chicken, Odom’s Country Cafe, Blakely. Moist, juicy, and very tasty! —Cindy R.
Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cafe LeLe, Colquitt. This grilled PB&J uses a local and regional favorite, mayhaw jelly, and it really is a treat! —KaCee H.
Fried and Baked Chicken, The Tarrer Inn, Colquitt. This Southern buffet will make you crave the next day’s lunch! The fried and baked chicken entrees are equally as good and keep visitors and locals coming back for seconds! —KaCee H.
Shrimp & Grits, Jonah’s Fish and Grits, Thomasville. Fabulous! This transplant loves it, as do all my Southern-born and -bred friends. —Barbara B.
Manchester Farms Quail, Liam’s Restaurant, Thomasville. Amazing. Delicious! Spectacular and delightful in every way. —Renee M.
Peach Town Porkchop with Town Branch Bourbon and Peach Glaze, the LOCAL Kitchen:Bar, Tifton. Delicious dishes and handcrafted cocktails made with all things local make this a hotspot for dinner out with friends. This dish comes served over a local ratatouille and Brussels sprouts. —Abbey B.
Pulled Pork & Pimento Cheese Wontons, Steel Magnolias, Valdosta. Excellent combination! Everything in the restaurant is amazing! —Gena L.
Memphis Nachos, The Bleu Cafe, Valdosta. Hand-cut and fried white corn chips, black beans, slow-smoked and tender pulled pork, jalapeño coleslaw, tequila barbecue sauce, and traditional toppings make this a local favorite. —Deidra W.
Oyster Po’ Boy, Bee’z Eat’s, Newnan. The chef is Cordon Bleu– trained, and everything on the menu is fresh and delicious. —Holly W.
Filet Mignon, Daphne’s Lodge, Cordele. The eight-ounce steak is cooked to perfection and goes perfectly with Southern specialties. —Graham S.
Pimento Cheese Burger, Blackbird Cafe, Woodbury. Order a thick, juicy burger and add popular toppings such as bacon, slaw, or the local favorite, pimento cheese. —Chris C.
Fatboy, The Oink Joint BBQ, Zebulon. For the entree, get the fatboy sandwich—oh em gee, y’all, it is flippin’ fantastic. —Kristin B. (Yelp)
Fried Lobster Tail, Hunter’s Pub and Steakhouse, Hamilton. Delightful surprise! Order the fried lobster tails, steak entree, and don’t miss the peanut butter pie. Loved the service and the food. —Coolinary C. (Yelp)
Braised Beef Ribs, 153 Main Bistro, Pine Mountain. My wife had the beef tips and raved about the flavor. —Blair C. (Yelp)
Chicken Salad Plate, Sweet Georgia Baking Co., Americus. Great focaccia bread and simple, delicious chicken salad on a bed of greens. —Evan D.
Scrambled Dog, Dinglewood Pharmacy, Columbus. There’s nothing like a scrambled dog, all the way, double wiener, cherry Coke, and a bag of chips! —Peter B.
Smoked Meatloaf, Monkey’s Uncle Grill, Griffin. Absolutely the most amazing meatloaf I have ever tasted. Super moist and flavor-packed. —Marla M.
Fish and Chips, Maguire’s Family & Friends Restaurant and Irish Pub, Senoia. The fish and chips features cod that is lightly battered and fried to perfection. —Frank Z. (Yelp)