While the inaugural MICHELIN Guide Atlanta selection is full of delicious boîtes from the classic to the extraordinary, we wanted to give center focus to the Bib Gourmand distinction. Highlighting the establishments offering incredibly delectable food coupled with affordable pricing, the 10 Bib Gourmands in the Big Peach are equal parts delicious and adventurous (in their flavor profiles).
From mouthwatering Venezuelan dishes at Arepa Mia to a pop-up turned local staple (Bomb Biscuit Co.), our Inspectors combed through the city to find the best bites at all price points. So whether you're craving traditional Filipino, fusion cuisine (think Southern and Korean influenced barbecue), or New American dishes, these Atlanta Bib Gourmand spots will keep you and your wallet satisfied. Bon appétit!
Founder/owner Lis Hernandez dials up the charm at Arepa Mia in Avondale Estates. Warm hospitality is a hallmark here, where bright walls and colorful metal chairs and tables instantly boost your mood. The Venezuelan menu is all about the namesake arepas, grilled and filled with everything from yucca and plantain flour-encrusted chicken to pernil with caramelized onions. Other items include patacones and cachapas. The cooking and ingredients are quality driven, and the portions are generous. Feast on selections like the hearts of palm and avocado salad to start, then tuck in to a fried chicken arepa with mango salsa, followed by a guava and cheese empanada. Fresh juices slake your thirst, though the full bar has some fantastic rum choices.
This East Atlanta restaurant is equal parts hip and lively with a quirky New American menu to boot. Inside, wood floors and whitewashed brick walls set an upbeat tone while the kitchen delivers on its promise of creative contemporary cooking. The menu is tightly focused, offering a handful of small plates and main dishes along with seasonal vegetables in a supporting role. Start with the fry bread, served piping hot with a pepperoni butter that's so good they sell it by the pint. Chilled beets sided by sweet blackberries with an aquavit vinaigrette, rye “soil“ and shaved beet chips is a riot of flavors in an eye-catching dish, but you'll never go wrong with an order of pasta, especially the corzetti topped with a mound of tender crab.
Bomb Biscuit Co.
First a pop-up, then a food stall, this homey spot is now a full-fledged breakfast and brunch restaurant. From the butter yellow walls (a nod to Owner Erika Council's grandmother) to the framed family photos, this place feels like you're hanging out in her home, and that's entirely the point.
The menu shows off simple but successful plates ranging from breakfast sandwiches to brunch plates with fried chicken and other staples. Baked goods, like cinnamon rolls with a thick, tangy cream cheese glaze, are exceptional, but given the name, biscuits, ranging from traditional to jalapeno and cheddar, are an absolute must. Go for broke with a hearty biscuit sandwich stacked high with egg and cheese or hot honey chicken with pickles.
It's a tiny space, but Owners Hope Webb and Walter Cortado have fashioned a likable space with a modern bent at Estrellita. Equally small but mighty is the kitchen, which turns out Filipino classics and meat-forward dishes. There are always specials to keep an eye out for, and patience is key, as the kitchen team is often handling to-go and catering orders simultaneously. It's walk-in only, so pull up a chair to enjoy roasted pork belly lechon cooked Cebu-style, with crispy skin and rolled with lemongrass, green onion and garlic. Vegetable and beef versions of lumpia are available; the beef delivers three crispy lumpia filled with Angus beef sautéed with green beans, bean sprouts, celery and onions for dish that is both unexpected and tender.
It's part fish market, part casual restaurant here, where a single communal table and stools lined up at the windows await guests. Order at the back counter from a compact, seafood-focused menu listing oysters, crudos, sandwiches and soups. This is not your typical fried fish shack, though, and many of the dishes have a Southern slant to them. Peel and eat shrimp is a good standby, while tuna melts level up. Specials are always a good bet, but the house staple—the blackened grouper sandwich—is a winner. A thick piece of generously spiced, blackened grouper is draped over a buttered, toasted seeded bun with Florida sauce, pickled peppers, ripe tomato and lettuce for something far from fussy but totally spot on. Gumbo is flavorful and hearty.
Fred's Meat & Bread
Located in the Krog Street Market, what this contemporary space lacks in size it makes up for in charm. The concept is straightforward: sandwiches of all varieties from burgers and oyster po'boys to bahn mi and cheesesteaks. Each one is messy-delicious and over the top in the best possible way, as in the pimento cheese club with house-made pimento cheese, roasted poblanos, fried green tomatoes and bacon sandwiched between bread and seared. Meanwhile, the Italian grinder with all the meats, melty provolone cheese, garlic aioli and cherry pepper relish knocks it out of the park. Of course, there must be fries, and the barbecue version, with barbecue seasoning and a white barbecue sauce for dipping, won't disappoint.
Heirloom Market BBQ
Co-Chefs Cody Taylor and Chef Jiyeon Lee have cooked up something entirely new at Heirloom Market. Blending their Southern and Korean heritage and flavors, they've created a mash-up that's nothing short of fantastic inside a small spot that happens to share space with a liquor store. What it lacks in size it delivers in flavor, though, and it's easy to see why the Korean pork, smoked and braised in a sweet-spicy sauce, is a signature dish. BBQ traditionalists will want to dig in to the brisket that's unfussed with but oh-so-tender and tasty. For a clever take on a Southern classic, try the green tomato kimchi mixed with sliced jalapeños and radish. Sauces, like the mustardy Hotlanta and pepper-vinegar Settler, are worth a shake.
Chef Jarrett Stieber pulls inspiration from around the globe at this restaurant, nestled within the Summerhill area. He presides over an open kitchen where an eclectic, contemporary menu is frequently changing and split into two categories—savory and sweet. You may dine on items such as house-cured rainbow trout with kraut yogurt, shaved cured egg yolk and everything bagel powder or Pork Döner Sausage with laban sauce and hoppin’ john fried rice. Leave your expectations at the door, as evidenced in the mushroom soup with a warm, bitter chocolate broth, pickled zucchini, pak choi and a wallop of flavor. La Zi Ji-style chicken thigh with strawberry sauce delivers a spring twist on a classic Chinese dish, while citrus custard with a sweet cucumber relish is a perfect finish.
The Busy Bee
In the hospitality business, restaurants often come and go, but not The Busy Bee. Open since 1947, it's an Atlanta institution. Everyone has come through these doors, including Martin Luther King Jr. It may be big on heart, but this spot, with tile floors, booths, a stool-lined counter and walls hung with framed photos, is tiny. Still, they're making a big impression with old-fashioned Southern/soul food. Plenty come time and again for their favorites, but daily specials are worth a try. Pick a protein, like the fried chicken that's oh-so-crispy and juicy, then order a slew of slides, including the tangy-sweet beans. Wash it all down with a sweet tea or lemonade. Of course, there must be dessert; peach or blackberry cobbler are exactly what you need.
Antico Pizza Napoletana
Located in Home Park, with owner Giovanni Di Palma's other concepts like Gio’s and Café Antico tucked into that same corner, Antico Pizza Napoletano promises exactly that. Walk through two sets of doors right up to a counter with the menu posted overhead—it's where you'll decide between rosso and bianche pizzas. After picking your preference, find a seat in the cavernous dining room which shares space with the prep kitchen. It's lively here, as the dough is shaped and baked in one of three ovens. The show will whet your appetite for delicious pizzas like the lasagna, topped with deconstructed "meatball," garlic, ricotta and basil and served on a sheet tray. Soft and chewy, it's a delicious treat.
Sweet tooth? Swing by next-door Café Antico for gelato and coffee.
Hero image: Sophia Van Dyk/Little Bear