Like a Local: 12 of the Best Affordable Restaurants in Atlanta

by Holly Riddle  |  Published April 17, 2018

Welcome to the South! Atlanta offers amazing Southern fare, from barbecue to fried chicken, black eyed peas to gravy n’ biscuits. The speech is slow, the service is friendly, and the food is in a class all of its own. But the best part? You don’t have to break the bank to have a memorable culinary experience in Atlanta.

A frosty Coca-Cola is the perfect treat to beat the Atlanta heat (Photo: Ribastank via Pixabay)

You could easily spend big bucks on your trip to “The Hollywood of the South,” but you can just as easily enjoy yourself without doing so. Delicious, yet cheap restaurants in Atlanta free you to spend the bulk of your budget on the town’s best attractions—the Coca-Cola museum, multiple major-league sports teams, Piedmont Park, to name a few. Whether you like classic Southern eats or prefer farm-to-table, nutritious platefuls, or even international cuisine, you can find it here, in every neighborhood. Below are our go-to cheap eats in Atlanta.

The General Muir

Searching for a New York-style deli in the heart of Atlanta? You’ve come to the right place (Photo: Scott Rocher)

If you thought you’d never find your favorite matzo ball soup while in the Deep South, then do we have a surprise for you. The General Muir is serving up all your favorite Jewish deli items, from mouthwatering Reubens to bagels with lox. Open since 2013, The General has become an area favorite, both for the food and the great prices. Start your day the right way and order a generous, yet pocket-friendly breakfast plate.

1540 Avenue Place, Suite B-230

Tin Lizzy’s Cantina

From Atlanta’s take on New York, we head to Texas, or at least to the Druid Hills neighborhood for authentic Tex-Mex at Tin Lizzy’s Cantina. The friendly-priced menu is as expansive as it is delicious, with salads, skillets, quesadillas, tacos and more. The often packed house is a testament to the place’s popularity. Plus, there’s always a special, like Taco and Tequila Tuesdays.

1540 Avenue Place


Not just a restaurant, Murphy’s is also a highly praised bakery and wine shop (Photo: Vic Acid via Flickr)

Not just a restaurant, Murphy’s is also a highly praised bakery and wine shop. Having served locals for over three decades, Murphy’s is a neighborhood favorite for its seasonal menus, great wine list and events revolving around said wine list. (Check ahead for deals, like 50 percent off all wine bottles with your dinner on Mondays!) Though some dinner entrée prices are steeper than the rest on the list, you can still enjoy filling meals–like the classic house burger, large salads or locally-sourced chicken–for under $20. Or be strategic: combine meals and enjoy their hearty brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

997 Virginia Avenue NE

The Iberian Pig

Not only have Atlantans conquered the cuisine of New York and Texas, but they also take on Spain quite successfully. The Iberian Pig serves tapas in a homey atmosphere. Relax as you dine on imported cheeses and meats. Don’t miss the beverage program, particularly the wine list, with a focus on selections from Spain, Chile and Argentina.

121 Sycamore Street, Decatur

Two Urban Licks

The quirkiness only starts with the restaurant’s name (Photo: TimothyJ via Flickr)

Along with its wood-fired cuisine, Two Urban Licks offers the very first wine-on-tap barrel wall in the country, live blues on the regular and views of Atlanta’s skyline. Go for the wine wall alone, but stick around and savor the dinner options, all a great value. Seafood and salads are recommended picks, but save room for dessert, namely the carrot cake, topped with a cream cheese icing, pecans and caramelized pineapple sherbet.

820 Ralph McGill Boulevard

True Food Kitchen Atlanta

For seasonal, healthy options, try True Food Kitchen Atlanta. With an heavy emphasis on feel-good, good-for-you ingredients, the light and airy menu options won’t weigh you down, so you can explore the city without needing an after-lunch nap. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items are abundant. Try a teriyaki quinoa bowl or the Moroccan chicken, with figs, heirloom carrots, chickpeas, olives, spinach and Greek yogurt. Wash it all down with your choice of refreshing herbal teas.

3393 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 3058B

Double Zero Atlanta

Sourcing inspiration from summers in Italy, Double Zero serves primo modern Italian fare–  some of the best Italian and pizza in Atlanta. Plus, the bar boasts one of the largest liquor selections in the city, as well as an extensive Italian wine list. Whether you choose the salmon or steak, the entrees are a fantastic value, as are the pastas — lamb cannelloni, lobster ravioli, tagliatelle Bolognese…need we say more? The pizzas aren’t your average pepperoni pies, either. Try the squash pizza, with garlic oil, asiago, butternut squash, hazelnut, honey and chicory, or the meatball and fungi variety, with garlic oil, pecorino Romano, mushrooms, meatballs and truffle crème fraîche.

1577 North Decatur Road

Buckhead Diner

Just because it’s a diner, don’t make the incorrect assumption that this restaurant is mundane (Photo: Mark Goebel)

Frequently topping “best of” lists for Atlanta, Buckhead Diner provides classic American dining in a retro style. Forget what you thought you knew about diners, though. This one serves top-notch, high-quality eats that are far from average. A menu specialty is the pan-fried, half Springer Mountain chicken served alongside creamy mac n’ cheese or citrus vegetable quinoa. Try a spiked milkshake, like the Bananas Foster, with rum, bananas, caramel, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream.

3073 Piedmont Road


The sophisticated Wisteria Restaurant is located within a nearly century-old venue in one of Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods. The elevated Southern menu includes options such as Southern-fried quail, black eyed pea hummus, shrimp and grits, Southern-fried pork chop piccata, and cornmeal calamari and pumpkin hushpuppies. Plus, the gluten-free menu is extensive.

471 North Highland Avenue 

New Realm Brewing

Enjoy outdoor dining on the patio or the terrace at this Atlanta brewpub (Photo: Thomas Cizauskas)

Try locally-brewed beers while grabbing a budget-friendly bite. This new brewery boasts plenty of outdoor dining space for warm days. The menu is locally-sourced, with inspiration from whatever’s on tap. Enjoy beer can chicken, rice flour-crusted trout (with a pecan hop brown butter), cheddar-crusted mac n’ cheese (with a Belgian amber glaze) and more. The stout beer chocolate cake is a must-try.

550 Somerset Terrace NE, Unit 101

Atlanta Fish Market

Hardly your average fish market, the Atlanta version provides the freshest seafood in the city and an unprecedented dining experience. Head over for lunch specialties, which include jumbo lump crab cake, fish tacos, stuffed flounder, shrimp and scallop alfredo, and more. Have any non-seafood eaters among your travel companions? They may enjoy options like the petite filet mignon, served with thin-cut French fries.

265 Pharr Road NE

Poor Calvin’s

There’s nothing poor about this eatery. Poor Calvin’s combines Thai fusion with Southern flair, for a remarkably tasty result. The fried green tomatoes are topped with curry mustard and Japanese aioli. Chicken n’ dumplings? Think more along the lines of steamed chicken and pork dumplings. The signature cocktails rotate with the seasons, but include exotic twists on classics, like the lychee martini, with vodka, lychee and grapefruit liqueur.

510 Piedmont Avenue NE