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. Inside is just as pleasant. 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 many nice touches, 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.
2095 S. Milledge Ave. Athens, GA 30605. 706-548-3359 View Map
File Under: American. Features: Full bar, weekend brunch, 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: There's room for indulgence within a vegetarian (and even vegan) lifestyle, and it can be found here. 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. Vegetarians, vegans, the gluten-free and others with diet restrictions will be happy. Drinks: Artisan cocktails are seasonally driven, too, plus good wines and some non-frou-frou beers. Wine tastings on the second Tuesday each month.
Price: $☆ Expanded Listing!
1075 Baxter St. Athens, GA. 706-850-9797
File Under: Downhome. Features: Catering, counter service, take-out. Hours: Breakfast and lunch, Mon–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.
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. 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.
1021 Dowdy Road Athens, GA 30606. 706-543-8203 View Map
File Under: American. Features: Buffet. Hours: Lunch and dinner, seven days. Weekend brunch.
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. Menu: Everything is fresh and beautiful, from sushi to miso soup, not pre-packaged. 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.
269 W. Washington St. Athens, GA 30601 . 706-543-8997 View Map
File Under: Something Different, Vegetarian-Friendly, Bars. Features: Outside seating, Wi-Fi. Hours: Lunch, dinner and late night, seven days. Weekend brunch. The Look: High ceilings, plenty of character, not just a bar. Menu: Fun snacks but also plenty of real meals. Stuff for people who love bacon, and tasty choices for vegetarians and vegans, all executed with a great sense of fun and a tendency to big flavors. Lunch specials are a good deal. Drinks: Serious beer, with more than 200 well-described options in the bottle and 30 on tap, in every category you can imagine, plus wine and nice cocktails from Highwire Lounge (under the same ownership and accessible through a door).