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30 Things You Need to Eat & Drink This Summer in Atlanta

By Christopher Hassiotis
May 19, 2014

Early summer is when Atlanta eats truly brighten up. We've still got the green tastes of spring available and the sweet, electric flavors of the summer heat start to show up on menus. When our restaurants source locally, the flavors are just what you're looking for. Imagine this: it's a hot, humid, sticky, sweaty Georgia day. Now imagine this: you take a big bite of…hot, thick beef stew and sweet potatoes. Nope, doesn't work. Try refreshing watermelon, crisp corn, sweet strawberries, fiery peppers. Peaches!

We're launching Zagat Atlanta's Best Summer Ever, a regularly updated collection of features to guide you through the season, with this checklist of 30 dishes sure to help you beat the heat. (And remember, everything's seasonal, so keep in mind that dishes may change depending on what's freshest and available.) Scroll down to take a look at a selection of these tantalizing dishes in our slide show too.

Something Small

1. Oysters & Pears at The Spence: fresh oysters, watermelon vinaigrette, frozen horseradish-mustard sauce "pearls"
2. Pimento Cheese Wontons at Sweet Auburn BBQ: wonton skins, cheese, local peppers, bacon marmalade and sweet Thai chile sauce
3. Strawberry Salad at No. 246: local strawberries, beets, chèvre, fennel, pistachio, lemon-basil vinaigrette
4. Tomato and Melon Gazpacho from 4th & Swift: heirloom and vine tomatoes, cantaloupe, honeydew, basil
5. Corn Bhel from Chai Pani: roasted corn, cucumber, cilantro, tomato, onions, flour crisps, cilantro-cumin-lime dressing

Something from the Sea

6. Citrus Seafood Cobb Salad from The Big Ketch: grilled shrimp, local lettuces, tomato, cucumber, bacon, eggs
7. Lobster Roll from Legal Sea Foods: Maine lobster, celery, toasted brioche bun
8. Skate Wing at Kyma: pan-seared skate wing, braised dandelion greens, caramelized salsify, walnut brown butter, tomato emulsion
9. Loup de Mer at Bistro Niko: sautéed European sea bass, melted baby spinach, citrus emulsion, capers and fingerling potatoes
10. Shrimp and Grits from JCT. Kitchen: Georgia shrimp, Red Mule grits, blistered summer tomatoes, andouille sausage, croutons

Something Substantial

11. Duck Sausage from Eat Me Speak Me: duck sausage, local lion's mane mushrooms and peaches, pecans, pea shoots
12. Dry-Rubbed Lamb Ribs at Old Vinings Inn: served with a white- and fava-bean salad
13. Vegetable Plate from Miller Union: a seasonal selection of veggies, potentially including fried okra
14. Crispy Gnocchi at Cook Hall: pan-fried, with spring peas, summer tomatoes and housemade ricotta
15. Whole Georgia Rainbow Trout from Lure: grilled and served whole with seasonal summer-vegetable salad

Something on the Side

16. Peppers at The Optimist: blistered shishito peppers, pepper jelly
17. Elote at Alma Cocina: charred corn on the cob, garlic aioli, ancho chile powder, cotija cheese, epazote
18. Fava Bean Salad at Vine & Tap: fava beans, lentils and manchego cheese
19. Grilled Zucchini from Table & Main: grilled zucchini, sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil
20. Watermelon Salad at The Shed at Glenwood: watermelon, candied peanuts, fromage blanc, pickled watermelon rind, olive oil

Something to Sip

21. Confederados at The Pinewood: Novo Fogo silver cachaça, Georgia watermelon, lime, balsamic vinegar, pickled watermelon rind
22. Pink Noise at Holeman & Finch: rosé, gin, Crème Yvette, lychee purée, cane syrup, Luxardo bitters, muddled citrus

23. Georgia Peach at The Artmore Hotel: fresh local peach purée, bitters, vodka

24. Gone With the Gin from Serpas: limoncello, sage liqueur, fresh lemon juice, orange bitters, basil
25. Georgia Bellini at Don Antonio by Starita: Georgia peaches, Prosecco and fresh raspberry purée

Something Sweet

26. Strawberry Shortcake Liquid Nitrogen Milkshake at Flip Burger Boutique: whipped cream, fresh strawberries and shortcake frozen with liquid nitrogen
27. Strawberry Bingsu from Sobban: shaved ice, strawberry-rhubarb ice cream, shaved ice, matcha white-chocolate sunflower seeds, puffed rice cereal, freeze-dried berries
28. Banana Puddin' Popsicle from King of Pops: milk, cream, organic cane juice, vanilla, fresh bananas and vanilla wafers
29. Baba Rhum from Osteria Mattone: rum-soaked brioche, crème anglaise and marsala raisins

30. Huckleberry Panna Cotta at BoccaLupo: panna cotta, fresh huckleberries, crumbled cookies

Want more drinking and dining summer ideas? Make sure to check out Zagat Atlanta's Best Summer Ever page, the spotlight we're regularly shining on what'll make this year's summer, well, you know. Dig in!

  • 1. Oysters & Pears at The Spence

  • 2. Pimento Cheese Wontons at Sweet Auburn BBQ

  • 3. Strawberry Salad at No. 246

  • 4. Tomato and Melon Gazpacho from 4th & Swift

  • 5. Corn Bhel from Chai Pani

  • 6. Citrus Seafood Cobb Salad from The Big Ketch

  • 7. Lobster Roll from Legal Sea Foods

  • Photo by: Sara Hanna Photography

    8. Skate Wing at Kyma

  • Photo by: Sara Hanna Photography

    9. Loup de Mer at Bistro Niko

  • 10. Shrimp and Grits from JCT. Kitchen

  • 11. Duck Sausage from Eat Me Speak Me

  • 12. Dry-Rubbed Lamb Ribs at Old Vinings Inn

  • Photo by: Craig Brimanson

    13. Vegetable Plate from Miller Union

  • 14. Crispy Gnocchi at Cook Hall

  • Photo by: Fifth Group Restaurants

    15. Whole Georgia Rainbow Trout from Lure

  • 16. Peppers at The Optimist

  • 17. Elote at Alma Cocina

  • 18. Fava Bean Salad at Vine & Tap

  • Photo by: Iain Bagwell

    19. Grilled Zucchini from Table & Main

  • 20. Watermelon Salad at The Shed at Glenwood

  • 21. Confederados at The Pinewood

  • 22. Pink Noise at Holeman & Finch

  • 23. Georgia Peach at The Artmore Hotel

  • 24. Gone With the Gin from Serpas

  • 25. Georgia Bellini at Don Antonio by Starita

  • 26. Strawberry Shortcake Liquid Nitrogen Milkshake at Flip Burger Boutique

  • 27. Strawberry Bingsu from Sobban

  • 28. Banana Puddin' Popsicle from King of Pops

  • 29. Baba Rhum from Osteria Mattone

  • Photo by: Facebook

    30. Huckleberry Panna Cotta at BoccaLupo

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