Five Atlanta restaurants landed stars from the prestigious Michelin international dining guide this week, solidifying the Southern city’s spot on the global culinary map.
Another 10 eateries were given the guide’s Bib Gourmand award, signaling to travelers that the establishment provides exceptional food at an approachable price point. Thirty local restaurants were marked as “recommended” and two were given sustainability stars as Michelin published its first local guide in the South outside of Florida.
The restaurants were revealed during a Tuesday evening celebration at the Rialto Theater downtown followed by an afterparty held at the Candler Hotel.
The selections were the result of a more than two-year survey of the city’s food scene, which created a buzz as anonymous reviewers began scouring local restaurants for food worthy of their coveted seal of approval.
In the early 1900s, the French tire company began printing maps and recommending hotels and restaurants for travelers. During World War II, the allied forces famously used Michelin’s maps during the Normandy landing.
Olivier Brauen, a vice president of circularity for Michelin based in Atlanta, helped spur the review process.
“We started the journey in 2021 with an inspiring vision: Atlanta is a culinary powerhouse and should be on the worldwide gastronomy map with the Michelin Restaurant Guide. This will be a reality,” Mr. Brauen said on LinkedIn when it was announced a few months ago that the reviewers were out in force.
He told Global Atlanta Friday that in the eyes of international travelers, especially Europeans, Michelin stars can single-handedly elevate a city into a new category. The move could also have an impact on tourism, not only by drawing travelers’ attention, but also by coaxing other business travelers to extend their trips to get a better taste of the city.
In a news release, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau President William Pate said its chefs have been some of the city’s most “under-appreciated” assets.
With its busy airport, Atlanta is a major convention hub, but it lags other major U.S. cities in destination tourism and can sometimes be an afterthought for international leisure travelers.
The Atlanta airport, for instance, gets just 10 percent of its traffic from international passengers, with many of those going on to transfer to other cities. As evidence, Georgia hosted 167.7 million visitors in 2022, who spent $39.8 billion during their time in the state. The top 15 foreign markets sending tourists to Georgia accounted for a tiny proportion of that: just under 600,000 visitors.
That’s why expats and foreign-born Atlantans are abuzz with the new Michelin mark, which help prove what many of them have been explaining to friends and family in their origin countries.
Atlanta should appeal to local residents and travelers alike, said Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin Guides, in a news release.
Michelin’s inspectors “came away impressed with the diverse offerings, as the selection of restaurants not only reflects a taste of the South, but also has a good deal of international flavor. There is so much for foodies to savor here.”
On to the restaurants…
One Michelin Star
- Lazy Betty
Michelin Green Star for Sustainability
- The Chastain
- Antico Pizza Napoletana
- Arepa Mia
- Bomb Biscuit Co.
- The Busy Bee
- Fred’s Meat & Bread
- Heirloom Market BBQ
- Little Bear