Inexpensive: High on the list of essential Atlanta experiences is diving into a box full of wings from iconic take-out joint J.R. Cricket's (which even makes a cameo in Donald Glover's Atlanta). Swing by any of the near-dozen metro spots, though the original is in Midtown. You can split your order's flavor, but the way to go is the unimpeachable lemon pepper — order the "swimming" for a full blast of flavor, best enjoyed standing in a parking lot before you even make it back to your car. They're not fancy, they're not reinvented or deconstructed...they're wings. But they're Atlanta wings, and worth arguing about.
Moderately priced: A visit to R. Thomas is a rite of passage when it comes to Atlanta morning, afternoon and nightlife. The kitschy, three-decades-strong restaurant is not much more than a patio enclosed in a semi-permanent plastic structure, decorated with neon lights and other random knickknacks. Caged, squawking tropical birds divide customers into love-'em-or-hate-'em camps, while the expansive menu scratches many itches — from pasta bowls to all-day breakfast fare. (Plus, plenty of health-conscious, vegetarian and vegan options, as R. Thomas was a spot that had quinoa on the menu well before anyone had heard of it.)
Worth a splurge: The Sun Dial holds an iconic position in the city. Popular for tourists, prom-goers and wedding proposals, it's still a must-visit at least once for a full experience of Atlanta. The multi-tiered, rotating restaurant on the 73rd floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza offers an unbeatable view of the city and its surroundings, while the food is elegantly New American with European influences, and there's live jazz on Wednesday and Thursday nights.