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Courtesy of Holeman & Finch

The Most Offbeat Dishes to Try in Atlanta

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Atlanta is the land of restaurants with more than traditional Southern fare — think fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens with pot likker and cornbread —available for the pickings. Eat your way through Atlanta, and through a sampling of the world, with international fare beyond the ordinary. From the zany doughnut flavor combinations of Sublime Doughnuts to unlikely Caribbean and Southern food combinations of Negril Village and Holeman & Finch’s foie gras johnnycakes, there’s plenty of offbeat eats to go around.

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Holeman & Finch Public House

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A swanky gastropub known for their burger in particular, there is more than meets the eye and more to feast on than the expected. Look to the starters section of the menu for ingenious eats to widen your palate and color your eating experiences. Menu highlights include chicken liver pate served with toast, roasted bone marrow with benne seed bread and an herb salad, and johnnycakes — a Southern favorite also referred to as hoe cakes — get a makeover here, accompanied with bacon jam, a poached egg, and foie gras.

Courtesy of Holeman & Finch

R. Thomas' Deluxe Grill

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Funky is the best way to describe R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill and its colorful and delightfully weird decorations lining the outdoor dining room. The restaurant opened in 1985 and since then has been serving up burger joint vibes with a splash of California love. Mostly vegetarian eats can be found on R. Thomas’ menu, including raw walnut-sunflower pate with a side of flax seed chips. For a fruit-fueled twist on yerba mate, try the grasshopper or ladybug: yerba mate fused with a medley of lime, apple, pear, lemon, honey, and chai tea.

Octopus Bar

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Considered to be more of a watering hole, East Atlanta’s Octopus Bar features a moody, dark lit ambiance and what chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Lee describe as an “intersection between a local eatery and punk rock dining.” Wander near the bar area and find a blood red octopus painted amongst black waves on a wood-paneled wall. Small plates are the focus of Octopus Bar’s menu, with the oddball Spanish octopus alongside spiced vinegar, soy sauce, sweet onion, jalapeno, and avocado, paying homage to the restaurant’s name. Drink highlights include the Sazerac, a classic cocktail made here with Rittenhouse rye, absinthe, and bitters.

The Vortex

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There are two locations of this Atlanta burger institution, but it’s the first location in Little Five Points which makes it stand out from miles away — perhaps it’s the gargantuan white skull with mesmerizing red eyes planted right above the entrance to the restaurant. The burgers are the heart and soul of The Vortex, along with the irreverent selection of rock ‘n’ roll tunes dancing around the dining room. Whether you opt for the Hot Southern Mess, a fried chicken sandwich topped with a fried egg, bacon, and smothered in sausage gravy, or a Grilled Cheesy Mofo, an ultimate, Vortex-style grilled cheese, you’re in good company.

Courtesy of The Vortex

Mangos Caribbean Restaurant

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Dedicated to flavors and food of the Caribbean, Mangos cooks up the taste of the Caribbean diaspora in the historic Sweet Auburn Avenue area of Atlanta. For those familiar with typical dishes, Mangos’ menu has some Caribbean favorites: jerk, curry and brown stew chicken, ackee and saltfish, oxtail, rasta pasta, rice and peas, Jamaican patties, coco bread, and even roti. The offbeat selection on their menu is the curry goat, combining the bright and spicy flavors of Jamaican curry spices with the particular tang of stewed goat meat.

Negril Village Atlanta

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This Midtown Caribbean eatery’s offbeat twist lies not necessarily in menu offerings but in where the restaurant is housed: a restored historic firehouse on North Avenue from the 1900s. Especially known for their brunch on the weekends, Negril’s menu has a rotating list of Jamaican favorites with a Southern spin for diners to feast on — think jerk chicken and waffles, warm cornbread served with a side of guava butter, and creole-style shrimp over an island version of grits. Whet your appetite with any of the drinks, such as the Jamaican Moscow Mule, a fusion of vodka and Jamaican ginger beer, or the standard rum punch featuring Wray & Nephew.

Heirloom Market BBQ

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The mighty powers of Southern barbecue and Korean cuisine combine in a melodious form of food genius at Heirloom Market BBQ. Chef-owners Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee crafted the menu of their Smyrna-based restaurant to reflect both of their culinary interests and passions. Like any other barbecue joint, Heirloom Market has the meats — brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, smoked kielbasa, ribs, and spicy korean pork. It’s the odds and ends, such as the green tomato kimchi and sweet heat korean sauce for the barbecue, that seal this fusion deal.

Courtesy of Heirloom Market

Revival

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A new restaurant from Top Chef contestant and Atlantan Kevin Gillespie, Revival’s menu and overall aesthetic is a nod to the Southern hearth known as the emblematic Sunday dinner. Farm-fresh ingredients and a cozy, rustic restaurant space inspire menu choices such as the kitschy deviled ham tea sandwiches and butternut squash soup with marshmallow, bacon crumbles, and chili flakes as starters. Don’t skip the fried chicken or red velvet cake, both beloved Southern Sunday dinner favorites.

Sublime Doughnuts

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These ain’t your mama’s doughnuts. They’re too off-kilter and unique to be what anyone knows to be a doughnut. With their catchphrase of “eat one that’s worth it,” you’re sure to not regret any selection of doughnut at either of their two locations, one in Midtown and the other in North Druid Hills, which have been serving up these handheld sweet treats since 2008. Doughnut varieties range from strawberries and cream — freshly sliced strawberries with a fluffy, sweetened cream stuffed in a horizontally halved doughnut — to the less traditional maple and cheddar doughnut, which is only sold on Saturday (you might want to go early as it’s first come, first served).

TWO urban licks

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Sandwiched between Poncey Highland and the Old Fourth Ward, Two Urban Licks is uncharacteristically found in what was once an abandoned warehouse. Because of the restaurant’s setting, and the live music serenading diners as they nosh, the noise level can get high. But don’t let that distract from the menu offerings ranging from inventive to flat-out kooky and fun — for example, the Kandy Krush on the dessert menu, a hodgepodge of peanut butter, caramel, dark chocolate ganache, cocoa crispy, and marshmallow ice cream. In Southern essence, there’s also pimento cheese hush puppies served with a spicy green chili sauce.

Oasis of the Seas

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After you’ve explored your city from top to bottom, it’s time to seek out adventure elsewhere. Why not try at sea? Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas packs options for thrill-seekers (riding waves on Flowrider, anyone?), foodies, and globetrotters — and that’s just on the ship. So when you’ve maxed out all these local options, check out what awaits — head to Port Canaveral in Florida, where the Oasis of the Seas ships out, to find thrilling new experiences.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Holeman & Finch Public House

Courtesy of Holeman & Finch

A swanky gastropub known for their burger in particular, there is more than meets the eye and more to feast on than the expected. Look to the starters section of the menu for ingenious eats to widen your palate and color your eating experiences. Menu highlights include chicken liver pate served with toast, roasted bone marrow with benne seed bread and an herb salad, and johnnycakes — a Southern favorite also referred to as hoe cakes — get a makeover here, accompanied with bacon jam, a poached egg, and foie gras.

Courtesy of Holeman & Finch

R. Thomas' Deluxe Grill

Funky is the best way to describe R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill and its colorful and delightfully weird decorations lining the outdoor dining room. The restaurant opened in 1985 and since then has been serving up burger joint vibes with a splash of California love. Mostly vegetarian eats can be found on R. Thomas’ menu, including raw walnut-sunflower pate with a side of flax seed chips. For a fruit-fueled twist on yerba mate, try the grasshopper or ladybug: yerba mate fused with a medley of lime, apple, pear, lemon, honey, and chai tea.

Octopus Bar

Considered to be more of a watering hole, East Atlanta’s Octopus Bar features a moody, dark lit ambiance and what chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Lee describe as an “intersection between a local eatery and punk rock dining.” Wander near the bar area and find a blood red octopus painted amongst black waves on a wood-paneled wall. Small plates are the focus of Octopus Bar’s menu, with the oddball Spanish octopus alongside spiced vinegar, soy sauce, sweet onion, jalapeno, and avocado, paying homage to the restaurant’s name. Drink highlights include the Sazerac, a classic cocktail made here with Rittenhouse rye, absinthe, and bitters.

The Vortex

Courtesy of The Vortex

There are two locations of this Atlanta burger institution, but it’s the first location in Little Five Points which makes it stand out from miles away — perhaps it’s the gargantuan white skull with mesmerizing red eyes planted right above the entrance to the restaurant. The burgers are the heart and soul of The Vortex, along with the irreverent selection of rock ‘n’ roll tunes dancing around the dining room. Whether you opt for the Hot Southern Mess, a fried chicken sandwich topped with a fried egg, bacon, and smothered in sausage gravy, or a Grilled Cheesy Mofo, an ultimate, Vortex-style grilled cheese, you’re in good company.

Courtesy of The Vortex

Mangos Caribbean Restaurant

Dedicated to flavors and food of the Caribbean, Mangos cooks up the taste of the Caribbean diaspora in the historic Sweet Auburn Avenue area of Atlanta. For those familiar with typical dishes, Mangos’ menu has some Caribbean favorites: jerk, curry and brown stew chicken, ackee and saltfish, oxtail, rasta pasta, rice and peas, Jamaican patties, coco bread, and even roti. The offbeat selection on their menu is the curry goat, combining the bright and spicy flavors of Jamaican curry spices with the particular tang of stewed goat meat.

Negril Village Atlanta

This Midtown Caribbean eatery’s offbeat twist lies not necessarily in menu offerings but in where the restaurant is housed: a restored historic firehouse on North Avenue from the 1900s. Especially known for their brunch on the weekends, Negril’s menu has a rotating list of Jamaican favorites with a Southern spin for diners to feast on — think jerk chicken and waffles, warm cornbread served with a side of guava butter, and creole-style shrimp over an island version of grits. Whet your appetite with any of the drinks, such as the Jamaican Moscow Mule, a fusion of vodka and Jamaican ginger beer, or the standard rum punch featuring Wray & Nephew.

Heirloom Market BBQ

Courtesy of Heirloom Market

The mighty powers of Southern barbecue and Korean cuisine combine in a melodious form of food genius at Heirloom Market BBQ. Chef-owners Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee crafted the menu of their Smyrna-based restaurant to reflect both of their culinary interests and passions. Like any other barbecue joint, Heirloom Market has the meats — brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, smoked kielbasa, ribs, and spicy korean pork. It’s the odds and ends, such as the green tomato kimchi and sweet heat korean sauce for the barbecue, that seal this fusion deal.

Courtesy of Heirloom Market

Revival

A new restaurant from Top Chef contestant and Atlantan Kevin Gillespie, Revival’s menu and overall aesthetic is a nod to the Southern hearth known as the emblematic Sunday dinner. Farm-fresh ingredients and a cozy, rustic restaurant space inspire menu choices such as the kitschy deviled ham tea sandwiches and butternut squash soup with marshmallow, bacon crumbles, and chili flakes as starters. Don’t skip the fried chicken or red velvet cake, both beloved Southern Sunday dinner favorites.

Sublime Doughnuts

These ain’t your mama’s doughnuts. They’re too off-kilter and unique to be what anyone knows to be a doughnut. With their catchphrase of “eat one that’s worth it,” you’re sure to not regret any selection of doughnut at either of their two locations, one in Midtown and the other in North Druid Hills, which have been serving up these handheld sweet treats since 2008. Doughnut varieties range from strawberries and cream — freshly sliced strawberries with a fluffy, sweetened cream stuffed in a horizontally halved doughnut — to the less traditional maple and cheddar doughnut, which is only sold on Saturday (you might want to go early as it’s first come, first served).

TWO urban licks

Sandwiched between Poncey Highland and the Old Fourth Ward, Two Urban Licks is uncharacteristically found in what was once an abandoned warehouse. Because of the restaurant’s setting, and the live music serenading diners as they nosh, the noise level can get high. But don’t let that distract from the menu offerings ranging from inventive to flat-out kooky and fun — for example, the Kandy Krush on the dessert menu, a hodgepodge of peanut butter, caramel, dark chocolate ganache, cocoa crispy, and marshmallow ice cream. In Southern essence, there’s also pimento cheese hush puppies served with a spicy green chili sauce.

Oasis of the Seas

After you’ve explored your city from top to bottom, it’s time to seek out adventure elsewhere. Why not try at sea? Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas packs options for thrill-seekers (riding waves on Flowrider, anyone?), foodies, and globetrotters — and that’s just on the ship. So when you’ve maxed out all these local options, check out what awaits — head to Port Canaveral in Florida, where the Oasis of the Seas ships out, to find thrilling new experiences.

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