5 Best Restaurants in Athens, Central and North Georgia

Five and Ten

$$$$ Fodor's choice

This cozy yet sophisticated restaurant put the Athens culinary scene on the map almost two decades ago with chef Hugh Acheson's inventive cuisine that blends European technique with down-home Southern cooking. Acheson, an Ottawa native, honed his culinary skills in classical French kitchens in Ontario and San Francisco before settling in Athens. His cooking has garnered numerous regional and national accolades, including a James Beard Award. Five and Ten’s seasonal menu draws from local sources and includes updated Southern classics such as pimento cheese with bacon marmalade; veal sweetbread with Red Mule grits custard and succotash; and Lowcountry Frogmore stew with shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, and corn in a tomato-leek broth.

1073 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA, 30605, USA
Known For
  • Chef-driven menu focused on local, seasonal ingredients
  • Romantic old-house setting
  • Inventive cocktails
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, No lunch, Reservations essential

Jittery Joe's

Athens wouldn't be a legit college town without a quality coffeehouse or two. Jittery Joe's fits the bill with fresh microroasted beans and several locations around town. Check out the downtown location directly across from the University of Georgia to sip coffee amongst the students. They also offer pastries and snacks for those on the go.

Last Resort Grill


A favorite of locals and tourists alike, the Last Resort is a popular spot for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. For brunch, entrées like shrimp and grits, stuffed French toast, and breakfast enchiladas please a variety of palates. Lunch and dinner are equally appealing, featuring Southern cooking with a Southwestern and Mediterranean bent. Exposed brick walls, lined with reminders of the building's history as a 1970s music club, create a cozy bistro feel. The restaurant does not accept reservations, but you can call ahead for priority seating.

174–184 W. Clayton St., Athens, GA, 30601, USA
Known For
  • Sunday brunch
  • Outstanding desserts
  • Inventive Southern cuisine
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations not accepted

Recommended Fodor's Video

The National


Owned by chefs Peter Dale and Hugh Acheson, this refined but casual eatery evokes the atmosphere of a European café with its Mediterranean-inspired dishes that make creative use of local ingredients. Prosciutto-wrapped grilled figs, hummus with lamb, and slow-roasted beef hanger steak are a few favorites. The ever-changing vegetable plate is pretty spectacular, too. Wine is a focus at the bar, with flights available for those craving variety. Local craft beers from Creature Comforts and Terrapin also figure prominently.

232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens, GA, 30601, USA
Known For
  • Mediterranean-inspired fare
  • Creative use of local and seasonal ingredients
  • Laid-back, wine-sipping environment
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

White Tiger Gourmet


Local foodies flock here for chef Ken Manring's delicious smoked meats and burgers at this hip but homey order-at-the-counter restaurant. Housed in an old storefront in the Boulevard Historic District just outside downtown, there aren't many indoor tables, but there's plenty of space to spread out in the picnic area outside. While meat is a specialty, the grilled tofu sandwiches and the Tiger Salad topped with tofu and fresh fruit have a fan following. Check out the daily specials, which can range from barbecue tacos to grilled fish.