The 35 Best Athens, Georgia Restaurants | A Travel Guide for Food Lovers
Welcome to our ultimate travel guide to the culinary delights of Athens, Georgia - a city that dances to the rhythm of the south while embracing a vibrant food and drink scene. Athens, steeped in a rich blend of traditional Southern hospitality and modern flair, will leave your taste buds tantalized and yearning for more. With a bevy of unique restaurants, this charming city promises a gastronomic adventure that's as diverse as it is delectable. So, sit back and let us guide you through the must-visit restaurants of Athens, where every plate tells a story, and every sip sings a song of the South. Oh, and as always, go dawgs!
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Athens, Georgia is renowned for its vibrant music scene, burgeoning arts culture, and a plethora of culinary spots that rival any city in the South. It is the birthplace of globally famous bands like R.E.M. and The B-52's, and continues to nurture countless emerging artists with its dynamic, eclectic atmosphere. The city also boasts the University of Georgia, the oldest public university in the U.S., which imbues the town with a youthful energy and intellectual vibrancy. Yet, it's the food that often captures the hearts of visitors - from traditional southern soul food to innovative farm-to-table fare, Athens has an eatery for every palette. And let's not forget their craft breweries and coffee roasters, which are fast becoming as much a part of the city's identity as its music and arts. So, whether you're a music lover, foodie, art enthusiast, or history buff, Athens, Georgia has something for you.
Athens + The University of Georgia
As an alumna of the University of Georgia (class of 2015, GO DAWGS!), I absolutely love this city. Athens and UGA are very much a part of one another, yet they both stand independently and offer so much to each whether or not visitors are visit for just one or the other. Like any good college town though, Athens is proud of their school and it seems like everyone has a flag and/or a mini bulldog statue on their porch. I saw all this to say that yes, you're 100% going to notice the university in town if you visit during the academic year. However, even if you're not a big UGA fan (I forgive you) there are still plenty of things to do and lots of food to enjoy without having to cheer up the dawgs.
Where is Athens, Georgia?
Athens, Georgia is nestled in the northeastern part of the state, approximately 70 miles northeast of Atlanta. It's a vibrant city that's part of the larger Athens-Clarke County. Known for its lush landscapes and rolling hills, Athens serves as a gateway to the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. Easily accessible via major highways and by air through the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Athens is a convenient and appealing destination for those looking for a good time in a small town.
Athens is approximately 70 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. This translates to about an hour and a half drive, depending on traffic. This proximity makes it a popular day or weekend trip for residents and visitors of Atlanta, offering a delightful contrast from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Here in Athens, time feels like it slows down, giving you the perfect opportunity to savor the city's rich cultural scene, thriving food and drink establishments, and the genuine warmth of Southern hospitality.
Atlanta, Georgia to Athens, Georgia: 71 mi | 1 hr 27 min | Google Maps
The coffee scene in Athens, Georgia is as diverse and vibrant as the town itself. Whether you're a die-hard espresso aficionado or simply seeking a cozy spot for a caffeine fix, Athens has a plethora of options. From the robust roasts of Jittery Joe's to the artisanal flair of 1000 Faces, each café adds its unique flavor to Athens' rich tapestry of coffee culture.
Jittery Joe's, a local institution, is a beloved spot for both students and locals alike. Known for their rich, full-bodied coffees and inviting ambience, it offers the perfect setting for an early morning wake-up or a leisurely afternoon break. With its commitment to quality and community, Jittery Joe's embodies the essence of the Athens coffee experience. Jittery Joe's is the most popular coffee shop in tow with multiple locations across the city.
Address: 297 E Broad St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Hours: Everyday 7:00 am-8:00 pm (hours vary by location though)
1000 Faces Coffee is a testament to the artistry of coffee in Athens. This coffee shop, renowned for its ethically sourced beans and meticulous brewing methods, delivers an exceptional coffee experience. Its modern and airy atmosphere is a delightful place to savor a cup of coffee brewed with precision and passion. With a strong focus on sustainability and community, 1000 Faces Coffee stands as an embodiment of Athens' progressive spirit.
Address: 510 N Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Hendershot's is a charming fusion of coffee, bar, culture, and community, located in the heart of Athens, Georgia. Known for its warm and eclectic vibe, this café serves up locally roasted coffee along with a calendar of live music and art events. Hendershot's Coffee brings a unique blend of creativity and caffeine, making it a must-visit spot in Athens' vibrant coffee scene. Their patio is the perfect place to enjoy a warm, sunny day in Athens, Georgia.
Address: 237 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Poindexter Coffee is a hidden gem nestled in the Graduate Athens Hotel. This compact, rustic coffee bar is renowned for its strong and flavorful brews, making it an essential stop for coffee enthusiasts exploring Athens, Georgia. With its cozy atmosphere and excellent service, Poindexter Coffee promises a satisfying and memorable coffee experience.
Address: 295 E Dougherty St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Hours: Everyday 7:00 am-2:00 pm
Breakfast in Athens, Georgia, is a celebration of Southern cuisine, where tradition meets innovation in a delicious blend that caters to every palate. The city boasts a variety of eateries offering hearty, homestyle breakfast staples such as fluffy buttermilk pancakes, creamy grits, and perfectly cooked eggs served with a side of crispy bacon. Yet, it also thrives on modern, health-conscious options like avocado toasts, acai bowls, and specialty smoothies. From decades-old diners and homey, family-run establishments to trendy juice bars and vegan-friendly spots, Athens' breakfast scene is as diverse and dynamic as the city itself. The morning hours in Athens are imbued with the rich aroma of coffee and a sense of community, as locals and visitors alike start their day with a satisfying breakfast in this charming Southern city.
Independent Baking Co. is a true gem of Athens, Georgia, known for its fresh, handcrafted bread and pastries. Baked fresh daily using locally sourced ingredients, their artisanal products offer a taste of authentic, homemade goodness that's hard to find elsewhere. The bakery also serves a selection of exquisite coffees, making it an ideal spot for a wholesome and flavorful breakfast. This is my favorite place for a breakfast on the go or when I want something truly homemade and comforting.
Address: 1625 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
Mama's Boy is a culinary staple in Athens, Georgia, boasting a reputation that stretches far beyond the city's borders. Renowned for its sumptuous Southern comfort food, the restaurant delivers traditional dishes with a unique, contemporary twist. Whether it's their famous biscuits and gravy, or the scrumptious Georgia Peach French Toast, a meal at Mama's Boy guarantees to start your day on a delicious note.
Address (downtown): 197 Oak St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Address (The Falls of Oconee): 8851 Macon Hwy Suite 403, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
Mayflower Restaurant is a heritage icon in Athens, Georgia, serving hearty breakfasts since 1948. Known for its nostalgic ambience reminiscent of a classic diner, this eatery delights patrons with its homemade biscuits, country-style gravy, and array of omelettes. A visit to Mayflower offers a taste of authentic Southern cuisine steeped in tradition.
Address: 171 E Broad St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Big City Bread Cafe is a charming eatery in Athens, Georgia, acclaimed for its artisanal breads and warm, family-friendly ambiance. With an extensive menu offering everything from fresh pastries to delightful brunch items, this cafe provides a comforting dining experience that harks back to simpler times. Its inviting outdoor seating space, adorned with fairy lights and lush greenery, makes for a peaceful spot to enjoy a hearty breakfast or a leisurely lunch.
Address: 393 N Finley St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Ideal Bagel Co. brings a taste of New York to Athens, Georgia with their hand-rolled, boiled, and baked bagels. The small, cozy shop offers an array of bagels, from the classics like plain and sesame to more unique flavors like cinnamon raisin and blueberry. Whether slathered with their homemade cream cheese or stacked high as a sandwich, Ideal Bagel Co.'s bagels are a beloved breakfast choice in Athens.
Address: 815 W Broad St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Home.made brings a refined touch to Southern comfort cuisine in Athens, Georgia. The creative culinary vision at Home.made translates into dishes that are both familiar and innovative. From fluffy biscuits and house-made preserves to grit bowls brimming with flavor, Home.made promises a distinct gastronomic experience that makes it a beloved breakfast spot in town.
Address: 1072 Baxter St, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
Donderos' Kitchen is another breakfast haven in Athens, Georgia that combines international cuisine with a homely feel. Known for their globally-inspired menu, they offer a diverse array of breakfast options ranging from classic American pancakes to Japanese-style bento boxes. The charming, intimate setting and friendly service at Donderos’ Kitchen further enhance the dining experience, making it a must-visit spot for food enthusiasts.
Address: 590 N Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
As the sun climbs and meal times transition from breakfast to lunch and dinner, Athens continues to offer an impressive culinary scene to savor. The city weaves a fascinating tapestry of Southern tradition and contemporary innovation, serving up mouthwatering meals that cater to a wide range of palates. Whether you're a fan of classic comfort fare or in search of the city's most innovative culinary creations, Athens, Georgia is a gastronomic paradise ready to be explored at lunch and dinner times.
The National is a highly recommended dining spot for lunch and dinner in Athens, Georgia. This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offers a menu that is a fusion of seasonal local ingredients and global flavors. With sophisticated yet comfortable interiors and a well-curated wine list, The National provides an exceptional dining experience that is both refined and welcoming.
Address: 232 W Hancock Ave, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Last Resort Grill is an integral part of Athens, Georgia's dining scene, serving an eclectic mix of Southern and Southwestern cuisine. The restaurant, housed in a former music club, exudes a warm, friendly ambience, making it a preferred spot for both locals and tourists. With a menu that changes daily, Last Resort Grill ensures that each visit is a unique culinary adventure. This place holds a special place in my memory since it was the first place I ever ate in Athens and was the day I fell in love with the Classic City.
Address: 174-184 W Clayton St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Five & Ten is a culinary treasure nestled in the heart of Athens, Georgia. This elegant Southern eatery offers a unique blend of classic and contemporary dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. It's a perfect spot to experience Southern hospitality at its finest while savoring an unforgettable meal.
Address: 1073 S Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30605 | Google Maps
Cali n Tito's offers a vibrant taste of Latin American cuisine in Athens, Georgia. Known for its lively atmosphere, colorful decor, and delicious food, it's the perfect spot for those seeking a fun, casual dining experience. The menu, featuring a variety of Latin dishes like tacos, empanadas, and ceviche, is sure to delight both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
Address: 1427 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30605 | Google Maps
Seabear Oyster Bar is a delight for seafood lovers in Athens, Georgia. The bar's nautical-themed interior and laid-back atmosphere make for a perfect oyster-slurping setting. Seabear offers a variety of fresh oysters, seafood dishes, and cocktails that cater to every palate, making it an essential stop for foodies exploring the vibrant Athens dining scene.
Address: 297 Prince Ave #10, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
A beacon for craft beer enthusiasts, Trappeze Pub is an iconic establishment in Athens, Georgia's vibrant dining landscape. Famous for their diverse selection of local and international brews, this pub also serves a menu of delicious fare that perfectly pairs with their beer offerings. From traditional pub food to gourmet specials, Trappeze Pub guarantees a gratifying dining experience imbued with genuine Southern hospitality.
Pulaski Heights BBQ is a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic barbecue experience in Athens, Georgia. This smokehouse serves up classic, pit-smoked meats, along with house-made sides that emphasize fresh, local ingredients. Whether you're craving tender pulled pork, smoky brisket, or their signature BBQ tofu, Pulaski Heights BBQ promises a flavorful journey through Southern barbecue traditions.
Address: 675 Pulaski St Ste 200, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 am-7:00 pm (or til the meat sells out), closed Monday & Tuesday
Clocked is a retro-inspired diner in the heart of Athens, Georgia, revered for its fantastic selection of burgers and fries. This quirky eatery, adorned with pop culture memorabilia, offers a variety of imaginative burger options, all made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Whether you're a classic cheeseburger enthusiast or an adventurous eater looking to try a peanut butter and bacon burger, Clocked ensures a memorable dining experience in a fun, nostalgic setting.
Address: 259 W Washington St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Located in the heart of downtown Athens, Georgia, The Place is reminiscent of a warm, inviting Southern kitchen. With a focus on traditional Southern cuisine, this restaurant dishes up comfort foods like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles that transport you straight to a Southern grandma's dining table. The Place's inviting atmosphere and earnest hospitality make it a must-visit for authentic Southern fare.
Address: 229 E Broad St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Tlaloc El Mexicano is a vibrant sanctuary for authentic Mexican cuisine in Athens, Georgia. This family-owned eatery prides itself on serving traditional Mexican dishes, made from scratch, that are both delicious and affordable. With its casual and welcoming atmosphere, Tlaloc El Mexicano promises a rich gastronomic journey through Mexico's diverse culinary traditions.
Address: 1225 N Chase St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
The Royal Peasant is an enchanting British-style pub located in Athens, Georgia. Known for its inviting ambiance and hearty pub fare, this establishment delivers an authentic British pub experience right in the heart of the American South. Whether you're craving a pint of ale, a traditional Shepherd's Pie, or a game of football on the big screen, The Royal Peasant offers a slice of England in Athens.
Address: 1675 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
Nestled in the lively town of Athens, Georgia, Marker 7 Coastal Grill is a haven for seafood enthusiasts. Offering a menu filled with fresh, coastal flavors reminiscent of a seaside getaway, this restaurant is renowned for dishes like shrimp and grits, seared scallops, and their signature crab cakes. With its relaxed, beachy vibe, Marker 7 Coastal Grill provides a dining experience that is both deliciously satisfying and wonderfully refreshing.
Address: 1195 S Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30605 | Google Maps
The Expat is a charming Italian bistro and cocktail lounge tucked away in the historic Five Points area of Athens, Georgia. Renowned for its cuisine and an exquisite selection of cocktails, this chic establishment provides an elegant retreat for food and drink enthusiasts. The Expat's charismatic blend of world-class gastronomy and Southern hospitality guarantees an unforgettable culinary journey.
Note: For those of you who attended USA several years ago you'll likely remember The Expat as being Two Story Coffee back in the day. Completely different businesses, but it's fun to see the inside of one of my favorite old college hangs!
Address: 1680 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
South Kitchen + Bar, located in downtown Athens, Georgia, offers a modern take on classic Southern cuisine. The restaurant promises an exquisite dining experience with a menu that plays up familiar southern favorites with a contemporary twist. From succulent fried chicken to creamy shrimp and grits, each dish is a testament to the rich culinary traditions of the South. Pair your meal with one of their signature cocktails for a truly satisfying dining experience.
Address: 247 E Washington St #101, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
The brewery and bar scene in Athens, Georgia is a vibrant mix of options that cater to more than just the college crowd. With several craft breweries and pubs offering unique and locally brewed beers, the city is a haven for beer enthusiasts of all ages. Establishments like Creature Comforts Brewing Co. and Southern Brewing Company, are renowned for their distinctive brews and welcoming atmospheres.
Creature Comforts Brewing Co. is a celebrated craft brewery situated in downtown Athens, Georgia, widely recognized for its innovative and award-winning beers. Housed within a refurbished 1940s warehouse, the brewery offers an immersive experience, allowing visitors to sample a diverse range of brews while getting a glimpse into the brewing process. Whether you're a craft beer aficionado or a casual drinker, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. is a must-visit for its exceptional beers, vibrant atmosphere, and commitment to community engagement. Creature Comforts has become one of our absolute favorite breweries in the USA so if you're a beer drinker, we think it's a must visit.
A fixture in the Athens, Georgia craft beer scene, Terrapin Beer Co. brings a blend of tradition and innovation to their brews. Famous for its creative and bold beers, Terrapin not only offers a variety of year-round staples but also intriguing seasonal and special editions. The brewery’s laid-back atmosphere, complete with a beer garden and live music, ensures a memorable visit for beer enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
Address: 265 Newton Bridge Rd, Athens, GA 30607 | Google Maps
While Trappeze Pub in Athens, Georgia, offers an impressive range of organic meals, it's the extensive craft beer selection that truly sets it apart. Renowned for its carefully curated taps and a constant rotation of craft beers, it guarantees an exciting journey for beer enthusiasts. From local brews to international ales, the pub offers a diverse palette of flavors that complement their meals and cater to every taste. The knowledgeable staff is always ready to guide you through their beer offerings, adding to the overall rich and immersive dining experience.
Normaltown Bar, located in the heart of Athens, Georgia, is a beloved local spot known for its laid-back atmosphere and welcoming crowd. It's an ideal place to unwind with a refreshing drink in hand, surrounded by friendly faces in an inviting neighborhood setting. The bar offers an array of beers, wines, and cocktails, catering to a diverse range of palates. Step into Normaltown Bar for a casual, relaxing evening in one of Athens' most cherished watering holes. This is one of my favorite spots in Athens for its cozy feel so I highly recommend it!
Address: 1365 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
The Globe, a staple in the heart of Athens, Georgia, captures the essence of a classic British pub while offering a diverse selection of beers and cocktails. The warm, welcoming atmosphere coupled with live music events and a variety of board games makes it a go-to spot for a relaxed evening out. Whether you are looking to enjoy a pint, engage in friendly conversation, or just savor the ambiance, The Globe promises a traditional pub experience that will not disappoint.
Address: 199 N Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Southern Brewing Company is a cornerstone of Athens, Georgia's thriving craft beer industry. The brewery prides itself on producing a wide array of handcrafted beers, using locally sourced ingredients to truly capture the flavors of the South. From aromatic IPAs to robust stouts, there's a brew for every beer lover at Southern Brewing Company. The cozy, friendly atmosphere and regular live music performances make it a must-visit destination for both locals and visitors alike.
Address: 231 Collins Industrial Blvd, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Athentic Brewing Company, located near but not in downtown Athens, is a community-oriented brewery that's quickly gaining recognition for its diverse selection of craft beers. The brewery's unique approach to brewing, combined with its commitment to fostering a sense of community, sets it apart. Whether it's their aromatic IPAs, smooth lagers, or seasonal offerings, there's a beer to suit every palate at Athentic Brewing Company.
Condor Chocolates, nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of Athens, Georgia, offers a tantalizing range of desserts, all revolving around their exquisite Ecuadorian chocolate. Their array of chocolates, crafted with dedication and passion, ensures a rich, indulgent experience for any chocolate enthusiast. From delectable truffles and bars to hot cocoa and gelato, each offering is a testament to the quality and sophistication of Condor's creations. A visit to Condor Chocolates is a sensory journey into the heart of Ecuador's rich cocoa heritage.
Note: Condor Chocolates now has two locations in Athens! The original shop is in the Five Points area and the newer (and much larger) location is right downtown.
Address: 160 E Washington St, Athens, GA 30601 | Google Maps
Sweetie Pie by Savie is a charming bakery tucked away in Athens, Georgia, known for its enticing selection of baked goods that epitomize southern charm. This cozy nook specializes in cakes and pies, each baked to perfection with a touch of love and a sense of nostalgia.
Address: 150 Whitehall Rd, Athens, GA 30605 | Google Maps
Jeni's, located in the heart of Athens, Georgia, is a must-visit for all ice cream lovers. With a reputation for creating unique, bold flavors using high-quality, natural ingredients, each scoop from Jeni's promises an extraordinary taste adventure. The mix of classic favorites and adventurous new creations ensures there's something to satisfy every craving at Jeni's.
Note: I try to recommend local places only, but Jeni's is a solid ice cream option and, truthfully, Athens can be a bit short on dessert options making Jeni's a great choice for those with a sweet tooth or with kiddos who are less likely to be interested in breweries.
Address: 1710 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606 | Google Maps
Athens, Georgia is a city that truly captivates with its rich culinary landscape, offering an array of experiences that cater to all tastes and preferences. From friendly watering holes and innovative breweries to indulgent dessert parlors, there's something for everyone here. So, whether you're a local, a visitor, or a food enthusiast planning your next culinary adventure, be sure to explore these amazing places in Athens. Each one promises a unique gastronomic journey that will leave you yearning for more!
Like this travel guide? Checkout some of our other Georgia travel guides.
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!