Eat Your Way Around the World: And Never Leave Buford Highway

I love living by Buford Highway.  The Pink Pony and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market alone are two reasons I wouldn’t want to leave.  But more importantly, everything that is in between these two destinations.  I can pick almost any country and find a specialized restaurant that serves that food.  So with that, here is a list of top restaurants I strongly recommend ranging from the North Druid Hills Road intersection to the perimeter.

Bon Apetit!

Havana Sandwich Shop

2905 Buford Highway(404) 636-4094
Havana

Let’s start south of the Pony at Havana Restaurant.  For years I swore by Papi’s in midtown as my choice for Cuban dining.  This place might take the flan, though.  Especially if you don’t feel like driving to Midtown.  The character of its voyage has seeped into its food giving it that extra spice of life that we can’t wait to put in our mouths.  And with everything under $8 there is no excuse not to tingle your tastebuds with some homemade, authentic cuban sandwiches, plates, and sides.

Montie’s Public House

1860 Corporate Boulevard  (404) 343-1171Montie's Public House

Less than a mile up the road on the same side at the corner of Buford Highway and Corporate Boulevard is Montie’s Public House.  This might be my favorite dive bar.  You might drive by and feel a sense of familiarity that’s because it used to be Zuffy’s.  But the moniker changed to one of Atlanta’s most locquacious and congenial bartenders – Montie.  And it makes sense.  Montie’s keeps you on up to date on any sport you could wish to watch – plus there’s in-house darts, shuffleboard, and of course a Golden Tee.  There are a variety of activities to join in as well.  From poker nights, to karaoke, to weekend disc jockeying there is always a reason to swing by.  There are 37 beers (several of which rotate) with last call at 2:55 a.m. every night, and a bomb-dot-com menu that has something for everyone from delicious salads to fire hot wings, to whatever heart-attack-on-a-plate you would expect from a good, honest American bar.

PANAHAR

3375 Buford Highway (404) 633-6655

Delicious Bangladeshi food, Panahar is located in Northeast Plaza.  Its tinted windows protect the serene setting you find yourself entering once you open the door.  A smaller restaurant they make great use of their space to accommodate numerous party sizes and their food is on point and priced accordingly.  It’s a great place for a date either with someone new or if you are taking yourself out.

El Potro

3396 Buford Highway (404) 325-9312

If you are in the mood for a quesadilla and a coronarita (that’s a margherita with Corona beer turned up inside) then swing by El Potro.  It’s definitely more authentic than Los Bravos yet still American enough not to scare you away (don’t worry I’ll take you there as well as we head north).  This is a staple for a group of friend’s of mine.  The atmosphere is always cheerful, quesadilla’s are on point, the chicken soup is highly recommended and it always feels like Happy Hour – BTW they’ve got an excellent selection of Mexican sodas and they don’t hold back on their tequila.  I swear I have done some of my best people watching at this place.  The crowd El Potro draws in is more diverse than Hartsfield-Jackson International.

Lee’s Bakery

4005 Buford Highway (404) 728-1008

Lee's Bakery

One diamond in the rough that cannot be passed is Lee’s Bakery.  I repeat: LEE’S BAKERY!  Tucked behind the Chevron in the shopping strip that sits in between Dering Circle, Lee’s Bakery can easily be missed if you don’t slow down.  The Vietnamese bakery and restaurant is best known for its Bahn Mi and Pho by New York Times, Zagat, Creative Loafing, and others.  The delicious, in house bread (that you can buy out of a bin fresh OR day old!) is hard to find a match in this city.  With super fair prices, you could take your vegan date out, get a pho and a bahn mi (they offer meat and meatless dishes) for the both of you and stay under $20 and you are looking like a hip and cultured person that just secured a second date.

Bo Bo Garden

5181 Buford Highway (678) 547-1881

Bo Bo Garden

If you like Chinese and you like adventurous eating, check out Bo Bo Garden!  The menu is extensive and I’ve yet to try to something by which I’ve been disappointed.  If you are looking for Mongolian Beef with Crab Rangoon, go to the King Buffet and fill up on all the MSG your heart desires.  This is REAL Chinese food.   We’re talking crab and shark fin soup, a plethora of casseroles, congee dishes and specialty plates of frog legs and conch.  The restaurant is tucked in the side corner of  the Pinetree Shopping Center.  It’s easy to miss, but the shopping center is huge so there are multiple re-entry points.

El Ray del Taco

5228 Buford Highway (770) 986-0032

El Ray del Taco

Best tacos in the city.  El Ray del Taco is too legit to quit.  In fact, their website opens with “Best Authentican Mexican Taqueria & Restaurant in Atlanta,” and I must agree.  Their staff is friendly and social and they make their own corn tortillas in house.  I never even liked corn tortillas until I had theirs, now I’m addicted!  Also, they serve amazing tortas!  I know more and more restaurants are starting to serve these Mexican sandwiches, but Taco del Ray’s are out of this world.  AND they serve lengua – cow tongue.  This dish, albeit questionable sounding, is really quite good.  If you need convincing to try, it’s more like roast beef sandwich.  So don’t let a limited palete cost you a great sammie and taco!

Han Il Kwan

5458 Buford Highway (770) 457-3217

Han Il Kwan

Last but not least is Han Il Kwan.  A huge sign outside makes it hard to miss this Korean joint.  Rotating banchan (appetizer/side dishes) are always plentiful and it’s exciting as a repeat customer to see them change.  While the service is slower than desired, the food makes up for it.  Don’t go there for the BBQ – head to Duluth if that’s what your looking for.  The menu itself can range in pricing and if you allow it to be then you can spend a pretty penny.  However, if you go with a group and split a couple of meals, or order bibimbop or dolset (Korean rice dishes), versus a single order of bulgogi (marinated grilled beef) then between the complimentary starters you get a decent bang for your buck.

These are just a few of the many places along the rainbow cultured eateries along Buford Highway.  Get out there and give your taste buds a ride they’ll be sure to remember!

Please feel free to share other restaurants that you have experienced! 

 

 

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