Atlanta’s myriad restaurants serve up everything from hearty comfort food in casual settings to elaborate tasting menus at white-tablecloth restaurants. And, with warm year-round temperatures, Atlanta is a perfect place to snag an alfresco table during the pandemic. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up the best outdoor dining spots in Atlanta.
Empire State South (999 Peachtree St. NE; 404-541-1105) Midtown
Feeling a little fancy? At this elegant venue, James Beard award-winning chef Hugh Acheson plates Southern staples like shrimp and grits and pork loins. Although more buttoned-up than some of the other patios in Atlanta, the massive bocce court beckons. “It’s rare to find a restaurant that excels at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but Empire State South manages to do so,” Thrillist raves. One OpenTable user loves the “fantastic” deviled eggs and rice middlins, as well as the “spectacular” wine list. This place fills up fast, so be sure to make a reservation.
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall (684 John W. Dobbs Ave. NE.; 404-458-6838) Old Fourth Ward
It’s worth a short excursion to Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall in the Old Fourth Ward, a historic neighborhood less than a 10-minute drive from the downtown hotels and home to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Atlanta Magazine says it’s one of the 50 best bars in the city. This casual haunt full of picnic tables shaded by big umbrellas serves up brunch and BBQ in a relaxing setting. Cozy up to the retro camper bar and take in the views of the Atlanta BeltLine, a reclaimed railroad-turned-trail popular with joggers, bikers and four-legged friends. “With actual tents, simulated campfires, and real hyperlocal beer, this theme restaurant does not disappoint,” says one TripAdvisor reviewer.
Publico Atlanta (1104 Crescent Ave. NE; 678-745-5230) Midtown
No list of outdoor dining spots in Atlanta is complete without Publico Atlanta. With cozy touches like hanging chairs, lawn-size Connect Four and a “puppy menu” that caters to four-legged friends, this grassy patio feels like a friend’s backyard until you notice Midtown’s skyscrapers peeking past the string lights. The inventive menu is just as refreshing as the outdoor space, fusing Latin fare like street corn and fish tacos with Asian-inspired dishes like Vietnamese meatballs, bulgogi and bao buns. “This place has one of the very best Cuban sandwiches that I have ever had–really fantastic,” one local Google guide raved. During colder months, be sure to reserve an “igloo” for an enclosed, heated dining experience. “Extensive beer list, kind and warm service, really cool decor with the little bubbles for dining outside when it’s cold,” says one Yelp reviewer. “All of these things make this a go-to spot in ATL.”
Anis Café & Bistro (2974 Grandview Ave. NE.; 404-233-9889) Buckhead
Anis Café & Bistro serves up Southern food with an influence from the South of France. Flanked by potted plants and umbrellas, the sprawling patio under a wooden pergola illuminated by hanging lights will quickly transport you from the ritzy shopping district of Buckhead to a quaint garden in Provence. “The ambiance is amazing — you really don’t feel like you’re right in the middle of Buckhead,” says one Yelp reviewer. Others rave about the restaurant’s French classics, including the “tender, juicy” veal steak, mussels “cooked perfectly” and “perfectly seared” tuna on the Nicoise salad. Fans also praise the restaurant’s sanitation and social distancing practices. As TripAdvisor user puts it: “Don’t even board the plane for Air France. Your meal here at Café Anis is the best.”
Der Biergarten, 300 Marietta St. NW; (404-521-2728) Downtown
Visitors to Atlanta can’t find any better-located patio than Der Biergarten, a German-style rooftop beer garden just a few minutes’ walk from the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park. However, there’s much more than drinks at the watering hole that Culture Trip says is one of the best rooftop bars in town. Der Biergarten serves up undeniably “authentic” food that TripAdvisor reviewers say brings back memories of Germany, like “amazing and massive” pretzels. “Best German food and beer selection in town!” one Google local guide says.