100 Plates Locals Love (2017)
We covered every region of Georgia to find the best local dishes from tasters all over the state. Study up, hit the road, and share your favorites using #GeorgiaEats. (Menu items subject to change and seasonality. Call ahead for availability.)
Hugh's Top 10
Chef Hugh Acheson is the James Beard Award-winning chef of several Georgia restaurants: 5&10, The National, Empire State South and Spiller Park Coffee. To start our lists, he stares 10 of his must-try dishes.
Southern Style Fried Chicken, H&H Soul Food, Macon. The fried chicken is heaven in this restaurant redolent with history.
Kakta Platter, The BeiRut, Peachtree City. Some of the best Lebanese food in the country, The BeiRut show the beautiful diversity of the state.
Smothered Chicken, Busy Bee Cafe, Atlanta. Enjoy the smothered chicken at a meat-and-three landmark of truly soulful food.
Lemon Curd Tart, The Butcher The Baker, Marietta. Really anything at this restaurant is perfect. They are gems as chefs go. Do not skip dessert!
Chop House Burger, Chop House on the Bricks, Thomasville. You can’t go wrong with a Chop House Burger, a cold beer, some good tunes and the wonderful city of Thomasville.
Roasted Pacific Wild Cod Tacos, Kayak Kafé, Savannah. Be sure to try the fish tacos at this little Savannah restaurant with a ton of heart.
Oysters, Kimball House, Decatur. Order oysters from the raw bar. Any which way. And enjoy some of the best cocktails in the country.
Beef Brisket Plate-up, Southern Soul Barbeque, St. Simons Island. You can’t go wrong with the brisket, soul slaw, fried okra and a nice chat with the ebullient owner Griffin.
Spicy Miso Ramen, Umaido, Suwanee. Authentic Japanese. Spicy miso ramen. For here or to go.
Crispy Fish and Grits, The Wyld, Savannah. Try the crispy fish and grits while sipping an ice cold beer and watching the boats go by.
Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Umi, Atlanta. Umi's Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice comes with spicy tuna tartare on lightly fried crispy sushi rice with jalapeño slices. The perfect, fresh kick. –Morgan L.
1910 Public House Burger with French Fries, 1910 Public House, Lilburn. You can tell it's fresh and it is one of the best burgers I've ever eaten. The fries are fresh cut and delicious! –Joey S.
Ensalada de la Casa, The El Felix, Alpharetta. This salad isn't your normal salad - it is served with a hefty variety awesomeness including chopped greens, avocado, cucumber, radish, queso fresco, crispy tortillas and creamy oregano dressing. I crave this salad every day! –Caitlyn B.
Louisiana Ooh La La, Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Acworth. Shrimp, oysters, crawfish and tasso in a rich Cajun cream sauce, served over angel hair. So satisfying. So yummy! –Lauri M.
Lobster Roll, Kathleen’s Catch, Johns Creek. Always fresh lobster, it's never frozen – has the perfect amount of mayo and herbs on a fresh roll. Almost like eating in New England! –Mamie G.
Pimento Cheese, Local Republic, Lawrenceville. The pimento cheese is awesome, balanced with jalapeño and bacon on fresh toasted baguette. Doesn't get any better! –Erin B.
Chicken, Osteria Mattone, Roswell. Absolutely perfectly cooked, balanced meat. –Lea C.
White Corn Grit Fritters, Seed Kitchen & Bar, Marietta. Served with jalapeño pepper jelly and Thomasville Tomme. The jalapeño pepper jelly is essential to the flavor of the dish. Perfectly paired! –Emily C.
Berkshire Ham & Collard Green Eggrolls, Southern Bistro, Sandy Springs. You would not expect the combination, but it is so delicious. –Caleigh B.
Fried Green Tomatoes, Sweet Potato Café, Stone Mountain. Crispy fried green tomatoes with a roasted red pepper sauce and topped with black-eyed pea relish. –Mechel M.
Goat Cheese Beignets, The National Tavern at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Greensboro. The beignets are so light and fluffy on the outside with a warm, rich goat cheese filling. They top the beignets with an orange blossom honey, salt and pepper. All of the flavors blended together are amazing! –Hannah W.
Pad Thai, The Bee’s Knees, Augusta. Spicy deliciousness. –Sara E.
Crab Cakes with Dirty Cheese Grits, Berni’s on West Main, Swainsboro. Beyond flavorful. The crab cakes were delicate but laden with crab, and the grits are a must-try! –Cheryl S.
Grilled Mahi, Good Day Café, Waynesboro. As with all their dishes, this dish is well-seasoned, cooked to perfection, and visually appealing. It's also absolutely delicious! It was such a surprise to find food of this quality in a small agricultural town. –Penney G.
Barbecue Sandwich, Holcomb’s Barbeque, White Plains. It's the best BBQ I've ever had! Beats any I've tried in North Carolina to Kansas. Perhaps the sawdust floors make it taste even better! –Liza T.
Cheesecake, Honey Cafe, Millen. Not your average cheesecake! Decadent beyond description! –Kristen A.
Catfish Filets, Lewis Lake Restaurant, Bartow. Incredibly good in a rustic former millpond site where they ground their own cornmeal. –Brenda C.
Bear Claw, Pineland Bakery, Waynesboro. Large, soft yeast donut with caramel frosting and toasted pecans from a local bakery in the small town of Waynesboro. I've never had a donut better than these. –Meg K.
Tempura Asparagus, Takosushi, Evans. This asparagus will change your life! The sushi and rolls are also the best in town. –Hannah M.
The Whistle Stop, Talk of the Town, Washington. It doesn't get more Southern than this: fried green tomatoes on a grilled jalapeño cornbread loaf topped with crispy bacon and pimento cheese. Yum! –Kate L.
Fried Shrimp, B&J’s Steak and Seafood, Darien Fresh and mouth-watering. –Wally O.
Flounder, Coco’s Sunset Grille, Tybee Island. The breading was fantastic, and the fish was perfectly fried. –Laura B.
Stuffed Collard Greens, The Driftwood Bistro, Jekyll Island. Everything. The collards are soft, and what they are stuffed with is delicious. –Joanne M.
The Cubano, The Farmer & The Larder, Brunswick. It's a perfectly balanced blend of pork, spices, and bread with a side salad. –Mia N.
Low Country Boil, Fish Tales, Richmond Hill. The shrimp is very fresh and plump, but what really makes this dish better than anywhere else is the sausage. The sausage is smoky, delicious and suits this dish perfectly. Just enough potato and corn and seasoning. Just perfect! –Michele A.
Beet Scarpinocc, The Florence, Savannah. (Editor's note: The Florence closed June 25, 2017.) The flavor combinations are amazing! It's seriously the best pasta I have ever had! Handmade Parmesan-and-beet-stuffed pasta, ruby streaked frills, chèvre, walnuts, shaved lardo and aged balsamic! I could eat it every single day. –Haley W.
Almond Crusted Grouper, Pauly’s Cafe, St. Marys. The sweet almond-crusted coating on the grouper filet is truly satisfying. The vegetables are fresh and sautéed to perfection with roasted potatoes to compliment and complete the dish. –Joy H.
Loaded BBQ Fries, Rusty Pig BBQ, Hinesville. The dish is loaded with all the good things! Barbecue, cheese, jalapeños, bacon and sour cream – all on top of French fries! –Marc B.
Shrimp and Rice, Salt. Pepper. Thyme., Kingsland. This dish is superb! The wild Georgia shrimp featured in this dish will have your taste buds dancing! –Sarah B.
Braised Short Rib Goat Cheese Ravioli, Tramici Neighborhood Italian, St. Simons Island. One of many favorites! –Katherine M.
Boquerones, The National, Athens. This is a classic Spanish tapa done right here in Athens, Georgia. It rules and pairs perfectly with a glass of rosé. –Erin W.
Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, Aubri Lane’s, Milledgeville. Fresh seared tuna over a pickled cabbage mix – these are so good I could make a meal out of them. –Dawn B.
Fried Green Tomatoes, Blue Willow Inn, Social Circle. You know they're going to be perfect every time.... –Anne S.
Southern Cobb Salad, Farmview Market, Madison. This is no ordinary salad! It comes complete with greens, cherry tomatoes, cheese, Farmview bacon and deviled eggs, then topped with your choice of grilled salmon, shrimp or chicken - all from Georgia! –Ellen S.
Deluxe BBQ Pork Plate, Fresh Air Bar-B-Que, Jackson. It's the perfect combination of barbecue, Brunswick stew, slaw and a dill pickle. Best way to sample all Fresh Air has to offer. –Michael B.
New Orleans Hot Chicken, home.made, Athens. It's everything I love about wings (minus the bones) plus beignets! –Alex V.
Barbecue, Mama’s Kitchen, Barnesville. I love the freshness and taste. And the staff is great. –Cathy H.
Macon’s Bacon, Parish on Cherry St., Macon. Caramelized bacon in peach preserves is a sweet, savory and sticky treat for your mouth! –Jennifer T.
Shrimp & Grits, Smith’s Coastal Grill, Eatonton. Secret ingredients make this dish spicy and savory! –Henry S.
Little Biscuits, The Swanson, Perry. They melt in your mouth. –Anita M.
Historic High Country
The Dirty South Mouth, Jamwich, Rome. Pimento cheese with London broil and bacon is already delicious. But when there is also raspberry-jalapeño jam too, it is over-the-top amazing! –Nic D.
Fried Green B.L.T., 61 Main, Jasper. Freshness and abundance of flavor. –Tina W.
Brunswick Stew, Bigun’s Barbeque, Talking Rock. Best Brunswick stew ever! –Melinda B.
Tuna Nachos, Black Sheep, Blue Ridge. Seared ahi tuna with ginger soy dressing, topped with fried wonton strips! –Tim V.
Tomato Basil Soup, Cantaberry Restaurant, Ellijay. It is distinctly delicious every single time. It is the one dish everyone knows! –Paige G.
Classic Döner, Frankfurt Döner and Meats, Ball Ground. This flavor combo is great! Made to order and always too much to eat in one sitting. Taste of Germany right in Ball Ground. –Brittany J.
Redneck Reuben, Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, Cartersville. Creative and delicious! Smoky beef brisket, barbecue smokehouse sauce and provolone cheese replace the traditional ingredients to elevate this sandwich to stardom. –Jill M.
Wicked Chicken, Lisa’s Cafe & Catering, Dalton. The great combination of chicken and bacon, and just a little bit spicy. –Abbie W.
Chicken Picatta, Masseria Kitchen & Bar, Blue Ridge. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, it is as good or better than you would receive in a five-star restaurant. –William C.
Fettuccini con Salsiccia e Fungi, Vingenzo’s, Woodstock. The pasta and the sausage are both house-made with ingredients from Italy. –Brian S.
The Southerner, Hardware Pizza, Lyons. This is a Southern girl’s dream pizza. I’m not sure what words to use to describe this pizza besides: yummy, yummm and “oh I think I just found out what heaven will be like.” –April R.
Pimento Cheese Chargrilled Oysters, The 40 East Grill, Statesboro. I love how the pimento cheese pairs with the chargrilled oyster. –Stephen M.
Pork and Crawfish Grillades, Company Supply, Dublin. This dish is literally one of the best plates of food to have ever graced my lips. Together the pork and crawfish make an unstoppable flavor that is not to be missed. Sooooo good! –Jarred L.
Tuna Tartare, Gee Da’s Table, Statesboro. This dish’s presentation is amazing. The atmosphere is wonderful, and the tuna is always fresh. –Hunter M.
Fried Oysters and Fries, Harry’s BBQ & Seafood, Claxton. 912-739-4078. As if fresh fried oysters aren't enough, you'll want to keep eating the delicious fries! –Lori H.
Glazed Donuts, Holt’s Bakery, Douglas. A hot, fresh Holt's Bakery donut will literally melt in your mouth! –Brylee T.
BBQ Crunchy Tacos, Holy Smokes BBQ, Dublin. It's the perfect balance of flavor. Crispy and fresh. –Gary L.
Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Calzone, Luckie Street Bistro, Hazlehurst. A wonderful blend of flavors baked in a nice crisp crust. It is perfect paired with a side of sweet potato or eggplant fries. –Jim S.
Eggplant Parmesan, Rialto, Vidalia. Taste and presentation are perfect. –Julie C.
Blue Plate Special, Southern Star Grill, McRae-Helena. It's good every day, but on Thursday you'll get the best Southern fried cube steak you've ever had. It's meat-and-three with a homemade dessert! Yummy! –Ryan W.
Northeast Georgia Mountains
Market Salad with Chicken Fingers, Rick Tanner’s Grille & Bar, Cumming. Great locally brewed craft beer and chicken finger salads. The juicy, deep fried, golden brown, fresh chicken fingers are piled high on a bed of fresh greens and tasty toppings. –Anna B.
Zorba Chicken Salad, Downtown Cafe, Hartwell. This savory salad combines wonderful flavors of the Mediterranean with fresh ingredients for a delicious lunch or dinner. –Brian M.
Pork Tenderloin, Fortify Kitchen & Bar, Clayton. The most tender pork chop I have ever eaten. They use locally made bourbon from Clayton (Moonrise Distillery’s James Henry) in their barbecue sauce. –Hillary R.
Fried Scallops, Gainesville Seafood Market, Gainesville. The biggest and best fried scallops I've ever had! The scallops are huge, fresh and plentiful. So very good. –Tracy R.
Beef Tenderloin, Glen-Ella Springs Inn & Restaurant, Clarkesville. The beef was amazing! The risotto is to die for! We always visit the restaurant when we stay at Glen-Ella. We will be going again for our mini honeymoon! –Melanie L.
Whole Fresh Mountain Trout, Mary’s Southern Grill, Young Harris. This delicious trout is one of my favorite lunch choices at Mary's. A boneless filet is lightly lemon peppered (although you can ask for it grilled or blackened) and served with freshly cooked vegetables! –Joy B.
Combo (Turkey & Brisket) with Mac N’ Cheese, Moonie’s Texas Barbecue, Flowery Branch. They use post oak to smoke it. Turkey is out of this world. The jalapeño mac n’ cheese is a must try. –Jeremy H.
Chicken and Dumplings, The Old Corner Hardware Store, Royston. Creamy dumplings made from scratch daily, white-meat-only chicken oven-roasted every day, old fashioned, seasoned just right. –Susan S.
Meat Lovers Skillet, Papa’s Place, Dawsonville. Unlike any other breakfast food. It’s filling, flavorful and unique. –Chase A.
Asian Chicken Tacos, The Rebel Cafe, Toccoa. The Asian Chicken Tacos at the historic Rebel Cafe are a wonderful fusion of Mexican and Asian cuisine. Combining warm, fluffy taco shells with seasoned chicken, the Asian Chicken Tacos are a hit, and recently won the Toccoa People's Choice Award at the 2016 Taste of Toccoa. –Christian H.
Filet of Beef, Friends Grille + Bar, Valdosta. The steaks at Friends never disappoint. The filet topped with the perfect portion of bleu cheese and a delicious balsamic reduction is a local favorite. Get there early so you don't miss out! –Brooke K.
Ribeye & Seafood Combo, Big Jim’s Oyster Bar Restaurant, Donalsonville. The views, food and atmosphere at Big Jim’s on Lake Seminole can't be beat! –Karen K.
F.G.T Chicken Sandwich, Jonah’s Fish & Grits, Thomasville. This grilled chicken sandwich is topped with a fried green tomato, Jonah’s special sauce, bacon, cheese and served on a ciabatta bun and a side of their famous cheese grits! Talk about mouthwatering and delicious! –Alison W.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken, the LOCAL Kitchen:Bar, Tifton. Not only is this the most delicious fried chicken I have ever eaten, but I also love the fact that they use airline breasts locally sourced from White Oak Pastures. Amazing taste, healthy, local at its best! –Dennis M.
Tacos de Lengua, The Pavilion at White Oak Pastures, Bluffton. This is my favorite dish at the Pavilion at White Oak Pastures. Farm-raised grilled pickled beef tongue shredded and served on a warm soft corn tortilla with homemade chipotle ranch and shredded cheese. Delicious! –Jodi B.
Grilled Pork Chop, Pond House Restaurant, Bainbridge. The Pond House is a unique restaurant in a rural setting. The pork chops are always cooked to perfection, and the log cabin-style restaurant is so Southern and charming. –Amanda P.
Southern Style Catfish, Ray’s Millpond, Ray City. This family-style fish house in Ray City is a real treat. Get there early to beat the crowd! The catfish and fixins are the best around. –Crissy S.
Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Steel Magnolias, Valdosta. The scallops are always perfectly cooked served over creamed corn risotto, kalette and tarragon pesto. Amazing! –Ellen H.
The Burger with Pimento Cheese and Bourbon-Bacon Jam, Sweet Grass Cheese Shop, Thomasville. This dish is so unique because the pimento cheese is made in-house using Sweet Grass Dairy's Thomasville Tomme cheese. In addition, the burger has two grass-fed beef patties covered in bourbon-bacon jam. Trust me, this dish is one of the best in the South. –Mallory S.
Baked Spaghetti, Villa Gargano Italian Restaurant, Albany. This dish is unequaled. Gargano's is a family-owned Italian restaurant that is loved by everyone who’s eaten there. Order the spaghetti with sautéed fresh mushrooms. –Anne O.
Vegetable Plate, Taste of Lemon, LaGrange. It contains a taste of all the South's favorite veggies starting with fried okra and ending with rutabagas! They are so tasty you will think your grandmother is in the kitchen heaping your plate! –Barbie W.
Bacon Pimento Cheeseburger, The Black Cow, Columbus. Smoky bacon and rich pimento cheese on a succulent burger. –Paul P.
Fried Green Tomatoes, The Cellar, Newnan. Great spin on a classic Southern dish. Can't go wrong with anything on the menu. –Holly W.
Breakfast Bowl, Concord Cafe, Concord. Good breakfast, especially the country ham! Cooked just right. –Lynne M.
Grilled Salmon Salad, Cordelia’s at Lake Blackshear Resort, Cordele. We were surprised at the variety offered by this menu. The salmon was grilled just right. Key lime pie? Terrific. Fabulous view of the lake. –Turquoise C.
USDA Ribeye with Baked Potato, Corner Café, Griffin. The food is awesome, and the service is even better. The potato soup is great, too. –William M.
Turkey Reuben Sandwich, Court Square Cafe, Greenville. Fresh cooked turkey, marbled rye bread. Wonderful flavor combination of sauerkraut and turkey. –Sally E.
Fried Catfish Taco, Pokey’s 8th St. Grill, West Point. The fish tacos are so delicious! Great people, great food! –Stephanie H.
Chicken Pie, Mom’s Kitchen, Preston. It's made by with love. People from surrounding towns come in on Saturdays just to enjoy the Southern cooking and wonderful hospitality. –Donna M.
Strawberry Ice Cream, Taylor Orchards, Reynolds. The strawberries are fresh picked from the farm, and the ice cream is so refreshing. You can also try peach. –Brittany B.
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