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Atlanta is known for its eclectic dining options. From a can't be beat burger at the Vortex, to a five star culinary experience at Seeger's, to can't miss Chinese/Vietnamese/Cantonese/Korean eateries along Buford Highway, Atlanta covers all bases. There are several high-end restaurant groups that have a lock on places to be seen and consistently good food. They are:
For a real Southern experience, places like The Varsity, Mary Mac's Tea Room, Waffle House, and Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles are ways to experience more traditional Atlanta fare. Don't expect much out of these places, except for good Southern food and charm. Here's a website with fairly comprehensive listings of restaurants with lots of history and southern food, including meat & 3s plus BBQ: www.dixiedining.com/ The places listed for Georgia and Alabama are the "real deal."
Check out Open Table if you want to make reservations ... there are tons of Atlanta restaurants listed, and the site has good info on the price and style of the restaurant, plus links to the restaurants' websites.
Check out Food and Drink on creativeloafing.com for interesting comments on Atlanta's dining scene. The Grazing column by Cliff Bostock is a long time favorite for locals; he does a particularly good job on out of the way, low cost, joints.
Atlantic Station is a good place to spend an evening or afternoon. There is a huge movie theatre, some nice stores, and lots of green space. For lunch or dinner, take your pick of cute patios - choose from national chains like California Pizza Kitchen, Atlanta-based chains like Moe's burritos and Bonehead's fish, a couple of wine bars, or some of the city's newest clubs (Lobby at Twelve, Strip).