393 N. Finley St. Athens, GA 30601. 706-353-0029 View Map
File Under: Bakeries, Something Different, Vegetarian-Friendly. Features: Beer and wine, catering, counter service (breakfast and lunch), outside seating, Wi-Fi. Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, six days. Sunday brunch. The Look: One of the best patios in Athens has sidewalk chalk for the kids and plenty of shade. Menu: Big City does good business all day, starting with early a.m. biscuits, not-too-sweet French toast, omelets and more. Mid-day brings sandwiches, burgers and salads, with a few bigger entrees, and in the evening there's a shift to table service and brasserie-style French standards. The bakery makes fresh breads, pastries, muffins and cakes daily, and bakes special items for order during holiday seasons. Drinks: Small but good selection of bottled, canned and draft beer; wine by the glass or bottle.
1040 Gaines School Road Athens, GA 30605. 706-850-4363
File Under: American. Features: Full Bar. Hours: Lunch and dinner, Mon–Sat. Weekend brunch. The Look: Gastropub in the Ansonborough development. Menu: Menu changes seasonally but tends to feature nice vegetables (e.g., a roasted beet salad with curry-spiced carrot purée and housemade ricotta). Great pork belly sandwich. Good options for vegetarians and meat-eaters; kids menu. Drinks: Local beers on draft, craft beers in bottle or can, some wines and cocktails.
2095 S. Milledge Ave. Athens, GA 30605. 706-548-3359 View Map
File Under: American. Features: Full bar, catering, live music, reservations, outside seating. Hours: Dinner, seven days. Weekend brunch. The Look: Quiet atmosphere, white tablecloths and attentive service. Old-school. Menu: Gulf and Carolina Coast cuisine: étouffée, shrimp and grits, sherry crab bisque, oysters (raw and cooked), peel-and-eat shrimp and more. Every table gets a basket of warm, housemade cheddar biscuits. Drinks: Wines from all over, a few beers and Southern-accented cocktails.
Price: $$☆ Expanded Listing!
199 Prince Ave. Athens, GA 30601. 706-543-6592 View Map
File Under: Something Different, Vegetarian-Friendly. Features: Beer and wine, outside seating, art, Wi-Fi. Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days. Weekend brunch. The Look: An Athens classic, with tons of character and local art on the walls. Menu: Vegetarian and vegan deliciousness that can convert meat eaters. The Golden Bowl is the signature item, a huge serving of brown rice tossed with double-fried tofu and soy sauce and topped with veggies and cheese. Make your own veggie plate from the chalkboard or eat around the world (tabbouleh, stir fries, dal, pasta, etc.). Breakfast and brunch bring burritos, pancakes, omelets and more. Don't skip dessert. Whole housemade cakes and pies are available with 48 hours notice.
815 N. Chase St. Athens, GA 30601. 706-354-7901 View Map
File Under: Something Different, Vegetarian-Friendly. Features: Full bar, catering, outside seating, art, Wi-Fi. Hours: Lunch, Mon–Fri. Dinner, Tue–Sat. Weekend brunch. The Look: Converted gas station includes a bocce court and a wonderful patio in a historic neighborhood. Menu: Lunch in the light-filled space is casual but refined, with soups, salads, sandwiches and quiche. The dinner menu changes more often, with interesting influences on Southern cuisine. Local providers are listed on a chalkboard. Brunch is busy for good reason. Very accommodating of diet restrictions. Drinks: Artisan cocktails, good wines, some non-frou-frou beers. Regular wine tastings.
1072 Baxter St. Athens, Georgia 30606. 706-206-9216 View Map
File Under: American, Vegetarian-Friendly. Features: Catering, delivery, take-out, full bar. Hours: Lunch and dinner, Tue–Sat. Weekend brunch. The Look: Kinfolk-esque combination of rustic and sophisticated. Menu: Mimi Maumus' food has a Southern accent and a New Orleans influence; it's also seasonal, fresh and well-informed. Lunch brings variations on classics like the BLT (pepper-jelly-glazed pork belly!), beautiful salads, grain bowls and veggie sides. Dinner is relaxed fine dining. Dessert is a highlight. You can also buy casseroles, sides, snacks and take-away meals.
Price: $☆ Expanded Listing!
1075 Baxter St. Athens, GA. 706-850-9797
File Under: Downhome and BBQ. Features: Catering, counter service, take-out. Hours: Breakfast and lunch, Tue–Fri. Weekend brunch. The Look: Big space with homey touches like a giant bookshelf filled with cookbooks. Menu: Breakfast is served all day, with biscuit plates and eggs. Lunch and dinner are Southern but not exclusively, from ladies-who-lunch fare to a very good corned beef and hot platters. Housemade cinnamon whipped cream is great. Take and bake casseroles and food to-go.
197 Oak St. Athens, GA 30601. 706-548-6249 View Map
File Under: Downhome, Vegetarian-Friendly. Features: Catering, outside seating, reservations, art, Wi-Fi. Hours: Breakfast and lunch, Mon-Thu. Brunch, Fri-Sun. The Look: Modern Southern with a pretty patio by the Greenway. Long line on weekends. Location #2 opening this summer on Macon Highway. Menu: Breakfast all day (biscuits, of course, but also scramblers, chocolate cake, omelets and more); lunch (fried chicken plate, pimento cheese-topped burger, fried green tomato sandwich, salads) in the second half of the day. Pancake Tuesdays. Strawberry lemonade. Very accommodating to those with special dietary needs.
1235 S. Milledge Ave. Athens, GA 30605 . 706-208-0059
File Under: Something Different. Features: Full bar, outdoor seating. Hours: Lunch, Tue-Sat. Dinner and late night, Tue-Sun. Weekend brunch. The Look: New South eats fueled by a visible wood-fired oven behind the long bar. Menu: Flatbreads with creative toppings make good use of the oven. Daily burger special, quinoa salad with veggies and some heartier stuff for dinner. Brunch highlights biscuits. Drinks: Five Points Bottle's owners are involved, which means a great list of beer and wine and some cocktails that might include two kinds of fancy gin, among other ingredients.
3557 Atlanta Hwy. Athens, GA 30606. 706-227-0001 View Map
File Under: Asian. Features: Full bar. Hours: Lunch and dinner, seven days. The Look: Don't let the shopping center location fool you, the inside of this Japanese restaurant is fancy. Second location in Five Points should open this fall. Menu: Everything is fresh and beautiful, from sushi to miso soup, not prepackaged. Lunch specials are a great deal, with bento boxes and maki combinations. Hot pots, yaki udon and hibachi dinners. Drinks: Japanese beer, sake, cocktails, wine.