The Cobb Energy Centre hosts dozens of concerts, comedy shows and opera performances every year. At the intersection of I-75 and 285, it's a hot spot for people from all over town to converge for shows. If you are not from the area (or you don't frequent the venue), you may not know where to eat. Well, we have you covered. Whether you want a nice, leisurely meal on the shores of a river or a quick bite of BBQ before you enjoy your show, here are some of the best options around.
Close and Casual
Discovering a hidden gem can fill you with such conspiratorial excitement. It doesn’t get much more hidden than Minato. Tucked away behind a Papa Johns and next to a gold supply store, it doesn’t exactly scream "awesome sushi inside!" but that is exactly what you’ll find. The quality of the seafood is exceptional. Be sure to order the Cowgirl Hat. It’s an off-menu item consisting of crab salad and a spicy tuna and salmon mixture on top of a crispy rice wafer.
Buford Highway is not the only spot in town to get your fill of authentic street-style taqueria fare. Far from it, really. Tacos La Villa belongs on any roundup of Atlanta’s best tacos. Like many of the others on that list, this spot is very unassuming from the outside. Inside though, it’s tacos and tamales and tortas, oh my! The tortillas are thick, with just the right amount of pull. Tucked inside, you’ll find juicy meats like carnitas and steak. Head to the expansive salsa bar to load them up with goodies. The best part? You’ll get out of there with two tacos and sides for under $7.
Is there anything that has not been written about Heirloom BBQ? Lauded as one of Atlanta’s best BBQ joints, it’s definitely worth a visit. Husband and wife owners Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee marry the flavors of Korea and Texas with dishes like kimchi mac ‘n cheese. The pork sandwich is legendary. Made with chopped pork that has been brined and smoked for hours, it is tossed in a spicy vinegar sauce and topped with house made kimchi slaw. One note: there is very limited seating, so be prepared to take it to-go.
Taco Mac opened an outpost near Cumberland Mall late in 2014. Expect solid wings in a dozen different flavors and shareable appetizers for the table. The real star here though, is the immense beer list. Both tap and bottled beers get love. You’ll find the usual players like Sweetwater, but these guys score some hard to find brews like the offerings from Tampa’s Cigar City. If you are a beer lover, ask about their Brewniversity. It’s a loyalty club for beer that awards you prizes for the variety and amount of beers you buy.
A Little Further Away
A night listening to La Boheme at the Atlanta Opera deserves a beautiful meal to match. Canoe has been serving up classic dishes on the shore of the Chattahoochee River for more than 20 years. It’s rare that a restaurant stays so great for so long. While the menu rotates, favorites are seared duck breast, slow roasted rabbit and seared rainbow trout. If you are heading to a matinee performance, try to snag a brunch reservation outside. The view is one of a kind.
Here is another restaurant that is a bit further away, but absolutely worth the drive. Muss & Turners was started by the same team that brought up Local Three and Common Quarter. A real neighborhood spot, you’ll feel at ease as soon as you walk in. For a light snack, the deviled eggs and pimento cheese offer up a taste of Southern hospitality. If you're looking for something more substantial, they have a Big Green egg back there, so their meats are all juicy. The Gobbler is a favorite sandwich, made with roasted turkey, Bubby Muss's Ritz cracker stuffing, lingonberry coulis and thyme aioli. For an after dinner drink, open the cooler door (really) and step into the speakeasy Eleanor’s. Cocktails and an extensive beer and wine list awaits you.