In addition to its status as the largest city in Georgia, Atlanta can be considered one of the cultural capitals of the South. Culinary influences include Southern classics and Gulf seafood with nearby Cajun and Creole spice. The city’s brunch hotspots offer the best of its cuisine at a slower, more indulgent pace that reflects Atlanta’s Southern hospitality. From trendy, locavore kitchens to lavish fine dining, ‘The A’ has it all.
For a truly lavish brunch experience, look no further than the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta’s posh Buckhead neighbourhood. Guests will enjoy a menu with more than 100 selections, live music and an unbeatable atmosphere for Sunday brunch. Reservations are highly recommended for this special treat, and guests play one price for unlimited sampling of the generous gourmet offerings. Chef carving stations with roasted meats and fish are accompanied by a host of egg dishes, waffles, and fresh breads and pastries. The Ritz-Carlton also offers a Bubble Bar for a Kir, Bellini or glass of Champagne, allowing guests to top off their meal with the perfect bubbly beverage.
Located in the historic Brookwood Hills neighbourhood, Watershed on Peachtree has been recognised with a James Beard award for pioneering the farm-to-table movement in Atlanta. One of the owners of the restaurant is Indigo Girls member Emily Saliers. The menu is crafted by acclaimed Chef Joe Truex. Truex, from Louisiana, fusing Creole influences with contemporary fine dining to offer the Sunday Creole Jazz Brunch. This includes Cajun style beignets, a myriad of shrimp concoctions and banana crepes with bourbon pecan ice cream for dessert. The restaurant also prides itself on serving selections from its extensive wine menu ‘in the right glass at the right temperature’. The dining room’s simple, elegant decor reflects Watershed’s understated, organic values and creates a warm, inviting ambiance.
Offering one of the earliest brunches in Atlanta, Buttermilk Kitchen opens its doors at 8am to serve up its made from scratch specialties. Menu highlights include blueberry cobbler pancakes and the chicken biscuit with roasted red pepper jelly. The restaurant does not serve any alcoholic beverages, but their French pressed Batdorf & Bronson coffee and organic juices are divine. Serving several gluten free and vegetarian items, Chef Suzanne Vizethann caters to all tastes. Buttermilk Kitchen does not take reservations; therefore it’s best to arrive early, especially with a large group. The open, airy dining room creates a bright, simple ambience, providing a cheery start to the day.
Ria’s Bluebird opened its doors after owners Chef Ria Pell and Alex Skalicky converted the restaurant from a drive-thru liquor store. Featured by magazines as different as Elle and Knife and Fork, the restaurant has grown to have a dedicated following among locals and a few celebrity patrons, including Jane Fonda. The brunch menu ranges from the Mexican-inspired huevos, blue corn tortillas topped with eggs, beans, white cheddar, salsa and sour cream, to Ria’s famous buttermilk pancakes. Eggs can also be substituted with tofu on several dishes for vegan friendly fare. Ria’s unique atmosphere and reliably delicious dishes make this trendy spot one that certainly lives up to its hype.
Foodies seeking a bucolic environment should venture just outside the city to the peaceful Canoe, situated along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. While the setting is rustic, the cuisine is anything but. Voted into Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame, the restaurant offers modern American dishes, such as the ‘Duck N’ Beef Burger’ served with a sunny side egg, wilted spinach, pickled cabbage, and truffle fries. Executive chef Matthew Basford exhibits his Southern influences with his cheddar grits, shrimp dishes and Southern collards. Guests should also take note of the unique artistic elements of the dining room decor, including Ivan Bailey’s hand-forged iron vines and Dwayne Thompson’s furniture art.
Assuring their patrons that ‘all our stuff comes from really cool places, and really cool people’, One Eared Stag offers country-inspired, locally sourced dishes in a casual, friendly environment. Brunch specialties include rabbit rillettes, Welsh rarebit, pickled okra and several different varieties of traditional country gravy. Pimms and ‘redneck mimosas’ are also on offer, illustrating the restaurant’s unique balance of gourmet sensibility with a Southern sense of humour. The ‘meatstick’ refers to One Eared Stag’s cheeseburger, a house speciality, offered during brunch, lunch and dinner. Enjoy dining on the outdoor patio during the summer months, or in the dining room among the eclectic animal head decor year-round.
Serving brunch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even Monday night, Rosebud is an ideal venue for brunch on a long weekend. The Morningside establishment is close to the Virginia-Highlands neighbourhood, and its intimate dining room provides a warm, cosy atmosphere. Chef Ron Eyester has concocted a stuffed pancake, among more traditional fare, that can be perfectly paired with one of the house cocktails featuring fun names like the ‘orange thing’ and the ‘AT&T’. Rosebud’s tongue in cheek humour adds to the casual atmosphere, but the food is serious cuisine. Stuffed pancakes aside, varieties of omelettes and eggs benedict as well as the brunch ‘surf and turf’ provide ample evidence that Rosebud is serious about flavor.
Local Three Kitchen & Bar serves its brunch buffet directly from the kitchen. For this unique experience, guests are treated to a new selection each week, based on the season and Chefs Todd Mussman and Chris Hall’s preferences. Summer specialties include the sweet summer corn soup and chicken liver mousse crostini as well as the more traditional quiche du jour and Southern shrimp and grits. The chefs describe their approach to food as ‘foie gras in flip-flops’, gourmet flavours in a casual, comfortable atmosphere. The rustic chic dining room décor complements this sensibility, making Local Three a brunch haven in the Piazza at Paces complex.
For a very unique location for brunch, foodies should explore the 57th Fighter Group Restaurant. Providing runway views of the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, the upscale casual restaurant is truly a destination. Each Sunday, the 57th serves their ‘Grand Sunday Champagne Brunch’ beginning at 10am, featuring classic egg and meat dishes as well as regional favourite cheddar grits and house specialty beer cheese soup. The fixed price menu also offers reduced-price champagne and mimosas. Don’t miss the dining room’s Wall of Heroes, autographed by World War II and Vietnam veterans, honouring the restaurant’s namesake fighter group as well as all American veterans.
Brisket Sandwich | Courtesy of Lauren Rubenstein & Murphy's
Murphy’s can be found in the Virginia-Highland neighbourhood, where it was founded more than 30 years ago. Offering comfort food in an upscale casual setting, the restaurant has certainly found its niche. Brunch favourites include corned beef hash and hazelnut crusted French toast; choose among the Bloody Mary, Bellini or mimosa for the complimentary cocktail. The dessert menu is more than generous at Murphy’s, ranging from the gluten free brownie to apple pie turnovers. After brunch, peruse the bakery and wine shop for some sustenance for the rest of your cultural travels.