Located just north of Atlanta, Alpharetta is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis but still boasts a dining scene worthy of a big city. From Southern-style locavore eats and barbecue to elevated comfort food and prime steaks, our dining guide shows why Alpharetta, Georgia is a must-try dining destination.
Originally opened in 2007 in neighboring Roswell by chef Michael Field, Wildflour’s later move to Alpharetta established it as one of the most popular places to eat in town. The small, family-run café serves lunch from Monday to Saturday and its popularity, no doubt fuelled in part by awards that include Best Dessert, Best Presentation and People’s Choice in the 2014 Taste of Alpharetta Culinary Competition, means the place fills up quickly during peak lunchtime hours. The main event on Wildflour’s menu are its sandwiches, made from homemade bread baked fresh daily and including options like turkey meatloaf and rosemary chicken, though salads, soups and sides are also available.
Known throughout town for its delicious Middle Eastern and Mediterranean baked goods and food, Jerusalem Bakery & Grill is a family-owned shop opened in 2009 with over 40 years’ experience in the business. In fact, the bakery is one of the biggest suppliers of Middle Eastern bread, pastries and desserts in the southeastern states. Guests can try hearty platters of beef shawarma and kufta kebab, classic Middle Eastern dishes like baba ghanoush and the fava bean-based foul mudammas, pies, calzone and desserts like pistachio baklava and those wanting to replicate the Jerusalem Bakery & Grill dining experience at home can pick up essential ingredients in its onsite store.
Located in the heart of Alpharetta’s historic downtown in a beautiful, inviting 180-year-old property, Smokejack first opened its doors in 2004 and serves upscale Southern-style comfort food and barbecued-to-perfection meat inspired by owner Dave Filipowicz’s travels around the USA’s barbecue hotspots. Smokejack’s dining room, a mix of restored brickwork, exposed beams and modern design, is a stylish but welcoming space in which to try executive chef Johnny Umberger’s delicious barbecue like pulled pork shoulder, burnt ends with Kansas City BBQ sauce and baby back ribs alongside classic Southern small plates like chicken and sausage gumbo or fried green tomatoes with Creole mayo.
One of the most recent additions to Alpharetta’s dining scene, South Main Kitchen opened its doors less than a year ago during the summer of 2014 but has already earned itself rave reviews and a firm following from guests who have fallen in love with chef Christy Stone’s contemporary American eats. Housed in a gorgeous 1902 building in historic downtown Alpharetta, a welcoming dining room with communal seating encourages what the restaurant calls the ‘social aspect of dining’ while a rooftop bar is perfect for a locally brewed beer while taking in the views. Standout dishes include the Brussels sprouts with feta and bacon and the duck breast with sweet potato purée and sausage.
Bringing the sophistication of big city dining to the suburbs, Kozmo Gastro Pub was established in 2009 by restaurateur Oswald Morgan and offers guests elevated American comfort food in a stylish, urban space designed by talented architect and professor Judy O’Buck Gordon. Take a seat at the bar where resident mixologists craft signature cocktails, aptly named things like Kozmopolitan and Kozmojito, before settling at one of Kozmo’s comfy banquette booths to chow down on tempting snack plates like house poutine with braised beef or four cheese fondue with toasted ciabatta and hearty mains including Kozmo’s signature sirloin and brisket cheeseburger topped with caramelized onions and white cheddar.
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Warm hospitality and a menu full of unique, globally-inspired modern American fare cooked-to-perfection over a hickory-oak woodfire grill has kept Sage Woodfire Tavern a favorite local dining destination for years. Hand-cut steaks and chops like Black Angus rib eye with steak fries and sautéed haricot vert or braised Colorado lamb shank with crimini mushroom risotto sit alongside market-fresh seafood dishes like woodfire grilled salmon topped with artichoke and lump crabmeat and broiled jumbo gulf shrimp while international flavors come into play with dishes like Thai chicken skewers and spicy ahi tuna tartare complemented by an impressive wine and signature martini list.
For steak that is a little out of the ordinary, Pampas Steakhouse is the place to go when eating out in Alpharetta. Taking its cue from the age-old Argentinian culinary technique asado, chef Luis Ramirez cooks the restaurant’s prime steaks and chops on a custom-made parilla grill over Georgia white oak wood embers resulting in a unique, mouth-watering flavor that keeps guests coming back for more. Meat lovers will delight in dishes like the huge 24 ounce bife de Costilla (bone-in rib eye) and the pork chop with mango habanera salsa, while other authentic eats like South American-style lobster bisque and mini beef tenderloin empanadas are also available.
Definitely a must-try dining destination for oenophiles and meat lovers, Cabernet Steakhouse is a classy, business-casual restaurant that teams its prime steaks and exquisite seafood dishes with quite possibly the most extensive wine list in all of Alpharetta with selections from Italy, USA and Argentina to name but a few. Modeled on the grand steakhouses of New York City, a classy and comfy dining room awaits guests while an exposed stainless steel kitchen shows Cabernet Steakhouse’s talented chefs hard at work crafting mouth-watering dishes like the 16 ounce prime New York strip steak and pan-seared Chilean sea bass with steamed bok choy, sticky rice and teriyaki juice.
Located in the neighboring city of Milton in the heart of its charming historic Crabapple District, Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails offers local diners a unique dining experience focused upon contemporary Southern cuisine crafted from locally grown ingredients, some of which come from the restaurant’s own onsite garden. A beautiful, rustic 150-year-old farmhouse forms the main part of Milton’s, where guests choose from Southern locavore eats like bourbon-apple braised pork belly or sesame-crusted mountain trout served alongside refreshing craft cocktails. During summer months guests are treated to the restaurant’s garden dinners where chef Derek Dollar dishes up a four-course menu in Milton’s beautiful gardens.
When executive chef and owner Nahm Thongyoung opened Nahm Thai in 2006, she brought to the city elegant, authentic Thai cuisine and years of experience learning the culinary art of Thailand’s unique food alongside her grandmother as a child, and almost a decade into business, the restaurant remains as popular as ever. A classy, chic dining room and charming patio welcome guests to try Nahm Thai’s delicately balanced, flavorsome dishes like the spicy stir-fried catfish with fresh basil, peppercorns, Thai eggplant and green peppers in a fresh chili sauce or the chef specialty of roasted duck curry with pineapple, bell peppers, grapes and cherry tomatoes in a rich red coconut curry sauce.