The Georgia-born chef Virginia Willis once told Bon Appetit magazine, “Southern food is a living, breathing, changing thing.” You could say the same about the food scene in Sandy Springs, where the mix of cafes and restaurants is constantly evolving and becoming more diverse. Sure, you can still sit down to a classic American breakfast or enjoy a steak-and-seafood dinner, but you can also begin the day with a French pastry and craft your own custom poke bowl for lunch.
Like much of the South, Sandy Springs has seen its food scene grow and change to reflect the influx of people from other regions of the country and other parts of the world. Let this insider’s guide to the food scene in Sandy Springs help you find the perfect eatery for any occasion, whether it’s family breakfast, a night out with friends, or a quick break to indulge your sweet tooth.
Breakfast and Caffeine
Begin your day with the French-inspired dishes of Café Vendôme. The eatery brings a taste of Paris to Sandy Springs with a breakfast and brunch menu that includes croissants, crepes, and other classics like quiche and croque monsieurs (grilled ham and cheese on soft French bread). This must-visit cafe just might be your best bet for real Parisian food without having to cross the River Seine.
Another good early morning stop is the Egg Harbor Cafe, which offers an assortment of Americana breakfast staples and several dishes with a twist to fuel your day. It’s hard to go wrong with the farmer’s market eggs Benedict or the lobster scrambler. Or, put together your own breakfast creation by building your own omelet.
Even as its food scene evolves, Sandy Springs is still a great place to find stick-to-your-ribs traditional Southern foods. Born in Atlanta more than 20 years ago, the Flying Biscuit Cafe is a super-popular breakfast spot (with about 18 locations) famous for its flaky, delicious biscuits. Be sure to spread some of their cranberry apple butter on a biscuit, and maybe even carry home a jar of the stuff. Other menu favorites are the “creamy dreamy” grits, and the Southern Style Biscuit Benedict.
It’s no surprise that the Breadwinner Cafe bakes up some amazing loaves of sweet breads, but it also makes wonderful soups and sandwiches. On the menu, you’ll find most of the classic sandwiches, like tuna salad and roast beef, plus Southern standards like pimento cheese. Pair your sandwich with a bowl of turkey chili, tomato basil bisque soup, chicken noodle soup, or gazpacho. It’s hard to make a bad choice when the entire menu is made from scratch, so just count on good service and well-made meals here.
In many big metro areas, travelers often deal with sticker shock when they open a menu. But Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill has become a local lunch favorite that's shocking people in a good way—many of its authentic Mediterranean dishes ring up for below $10. While the place is affordable, it’s also extremely pleasing to the taste buds. Start with beef shawarma or falafel. If you’d like to try a mix of the most popular items on the menu, order an Aladdin’s kabob sampler (This dish is slightly more expensive, but the portion is huge!)
The common thread running through the best eateries in Sandy Springs is the use of fresh ingredients, which are especially key to making a good poke bowl. The traditional Hawaiian dish mixes raw, diced fish with a base of rice, vegetables, and sauces to make an endless variety of flavors. At Poke Bar, you can pick and choose from fresh-cut veggies and proteins to meld your own refreshing and healthy lunch bowl.
Dinner with Friends
Perfect for an elegant night out, Ray’s on the River serves delicious meals in a romantic setting. Offering guests views of the Chattahoochee River, this longtime favorite in serves up a tempting menu of steak and seafood entrees, and the atmosphere is just as appealing. As you sip cocktails and sample the appetizers, like lobster tail and New Orleans BBQ shrimp, you can watch the sunset over the gentle ripples of the river.
Old-world flavors permeate the dishes at il Giallo Osteria & Bar, a renowned eatery focused on preparing traditional bites and dishes from the Italian coast. You can go with a mainstay dish like spaghetti e polpette, or mix it up with one of the regular specials. End the meal with the tiramisu or panna cotta, and discover more than you thought you knew about this tasty culinary region.
If you’re searching for a top-quality sushi meal, look no further than Bishoku, whose name means “beautiful meal” in Japanese. This local favorite has earned a strong following over the past decade for its consistent and exceptional service. Plus, you’ll find that it offers an atmosphere that accommodates a casual experience or a more formal get-together.
While Sandy Springs is a great destination for refined dining and international flavors, it’s also a great place to cut loose and have fun while getting a drink and a bite to eat. Battle and Brew blends craft beers and video games galore to keep you entertained. Fight your friends on Street Fighter while you swig IPAs and munch on a full bar menu of finger foods and dishes that’ll keep your energy bar recharging life after life.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect coda to a tasty dinner, or you’re just in the mood for something sweet, you’ll find a scrumptious mix of desserts and treats in Sandy Springs. Built on family recipes and knowledge passed down from grandparents, Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop has earned national press and awards for its down-home take on traditional recipes. With nine flavors of pie to taste daily, a good place to start is the shop's signature Southern Buttermilk pie.
For a growing number of Americans, a tricky aspect of travel is finding places that offer gluten-free items. If it can be done without gluten or grains, Sally’s Gluten Free Bakery probably knows how to do it. With its selection of cupcakes, cookies, pies and more, there’s nothing that can’t be whipped up or imagined in this kitchen. Even if you’re not gluten intolerant, there’s plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth here.
While you’re in town treating yourself to dessert, you can also pick up something special for your pup. Dog City Bakery II has lapped up praise for its unique take on gourmet pet foods, including birthday cakes, snacks, and everyday treats.
When a city has a bakery for dogs, you know it’s embracing the full spectrum of new and engaging food trends. Whether you’re seeking something for Fido or a gluten-free pie for yourself, you’ll find that Sandy Springs offers a rich blend of modern eateries to satisfy any craving. Plus, you can still enjoy culinary classics, like out-of-this-world biscuits and hand-cut steaks grilled to perfection. In Sandy Springs, the blend of restaurants and cafes will only continue to grow as chefs redefine and reimagine the food scene in the South.
Written by Clay Duda for Matcha in partnership with Visit Sandy Springs.