The Best Soul Food in Atlanta: 5 Perfect Southern Dishes

plastic tub full of fried chicken, the best soul food in Atlanta

If you’re looking for some of the best soul food in Atlanta, look no further! We’ve put together a list of five restaurants that serve up some amazing Southern bites. From fried chicken to mac and cheese, these restaurants will leave your soul and your belly feeling full and satisfied.

What is Soul Food?

Fried catfish, collard greens, cornbread – these are the staples of soul food cuisine. Originating in the southern United States during slavery, soul food was a way for African Americans to make use of inexpensive and often discarded ingredients, creating delicious and hearty dishes.

Traditional recipes were passed down through generations or shared among neighbors and friends, resulting in a diverse and eclectic mix of flavors. The slow-cooked nature of many soul food dishes allows for more time for seasoning and flavor infusion.

The styles of soul food vary based on specific location, influenced by cultural traditions and what ingredients can be sourced locally. In the South, you’ll find soul food on just about every menu, whether it’s a casual spot for a quick bite or an upscale restaurant with their creative version of a traditional dish.

Popular Southern Cuisine in Atlanta

Here are a few examples of popular soul foods found in Atlanta and all over the South:

  • Fried chicken
  • Country fried steak
  • Fried catfish
  • Corn bread
  • Peach cobbler
  • Collard greens
  • Chitlins
  • Chicken Gizzards
  • Candied yams
  • Banana pudding
  • Mac & cheese
  • Fried Okra
  • Sweet Potato Pie

Best Soul Food Restaurants in Atlanta, GA

These restaurants are serving exemplary soul food dishes, and should be on your list if you plan to visit Atlanta. For each restaurant a specific dish is mentioned. That way, you can tour Atlanta bite by bite. Start planning your foodie adventure today with these comfort food heroes!

Busy Bee Cafe for Fried Chicken

Busy Bee Cafe has been serving up soul food since 1947, so you are guaranteed a taste of tradition. A 2022 James Beard award winner, Busy Bee is packed day in and day out for its famous fried chicken and collard greens.

Everything on the menu here is exemplary soul food, so go ahead and finish off your meal with that slice of pie. Nobody’s watching – except for all the famous faces of past visitors hanging on the wall. When touring the city’s best cuisine, don’t miss the place that’s been blessing Atlanta for generations with its soul food.

ROC South Cuisine for Fried Catfish

If you’re in the mood for some delicious soul food in Atlanta on a night out, look no further than ROC South Cuisine. This restaurant is serving up some of the best fried catfish in town on a plate with all the best Southern fixins. Or show up for Sunday brunch to try their Apple Cobbler French Toast. There are lots of delicious menu options, so good luck choosing!

K&K Soul Food for Biscuits + Turkey Wings

You might be able to find chicken wings all over Atlanta, but turkey wings? That’s unique. The braised turkey wings at K&K are a crowd favorite. This is a small family business that started up in 1968 and they’ve been serving some of the most authentic soul food in Atlanta.

Aside from the extensive biscuit menu, this is your spot for the most southern soul food items like turkey neck, pigs feet, and chicken gizzards. Service is cafeteria style, and the food is always fresh.

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours for Fried Green Tomatoes

If you’re in the mood for some inventive soul food in Atlanta, look no further than Twisted Soul Cookhouse. This restaurant is serving up some of the best fried green tomatoes in town plus a load of other modern takes on the classics.

Part of understanding food traditions is also understanding its evolution. Chef Deborah VanTrece’s and Executive Chef Robert Butts make a great team for elevated southern cuisine. After trying the classic soul food in Atlanta, take a trip to Twisted Soul and taste something new.

Home Grown for Biscuits and Gravy

Even though the chef has experience in fine dining, Home Grown is casual spot, and serves some of the best southern food in Atlanta. If you’re looking for a great breakfast or brunch, Home Grown is your soul food restaurant. One of the most popular dishes is their “Comfort Chicken,” a fried chicken on biscuits and gravy.

For the lunch crowd, you can enjoy a pimento cheese sandwich or fried pork chops. Home Grown is located in East Atlanta and only open until 2pm, so get there early to grab your seat at this country diner spot.

Taste the Best Southern Food in Atlanta at a Festival

Festivals, fairs and cooking competitions can be great destinations for visitors to sample traditional cuisine in one place and in a short amount of time. If you’re strapped for time, or don’t have a car to drive all over the city, taste the best soul food in Atlanta at a festival. Here are a couple to check out when planning a trip to Atlanta.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is a 4-day September event that celebrates food, wine, and spirits from the South. Some of the best chefs in the area are there, so it’s a great opportunity to try some new dishes.

Taste of Soul Atlanta

This music and food festival is held annually in October and celebrates the best of Soul and Southern food, live music and art, and features black-owned spirit and wine makers. If you’re looking for some good Southern eats, this is the event for you.

Gather ‘Round

Gather Round is a food and beverage festival with a few different events happening in various locations around Atlanta. There’s music, food from Atlanta’s best pop-ups, cocktails from the city’s best mixologists, and more curated experiences happening at Gather ‘Round in early October.

Tips for Planning a Trip to Atlanta

If you’re planning a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, there’s so much to see and do! First, be sure to check out the city’s numerous historical sites, including Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and the Atlanta History Center.

For a dose of culture, don’t miss out on the High Museum of Art or Atlanta Opera. And of course, no visit to Atlanta would be complete without cheering on the Braves at SunTrust Park or catching an exciting game with the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Happy planning and enjoy your trip!

Whether you’re looking for a fried chicken fix or want to try something new, Atlanta has no shortage of great soul food restaurants. So gather your friends and family and head down South for a taste of the best comfort food around. And don’t forget to bring your appetite!