Over the summer, I went to a music festival on Randall Island off of Manhattan where all of the food was curated by Eater. (Yes, it was as hipster as it sounds.) There were all sorts of stands, tacos, famed Roberta’s pizza out of Brooklyn, Pasquale Jones, PDT slinging craft cocktails, and even a poke stand. Wait, raw fish salad at a music festival? The Hawaiian dish is having a moment, popping up in restaurants all across the country, and Atlanta, too, is on board with the trend.
Poke (PO-kay) has humble origins in Hawaii as a traditional dish sold at restaurants, convenience stores, and food shacks on the side of the road. The word “poke” means “to cut” in Hawaiian, and that’s exactly what the dish is—a chopped and chilled salad of diced raw tuna, salmon, or other fish dressed in sesame oil, soy sauce, sliced sweet onions or green onion, and sesame seeds.
Recently, Poke-centric restaurants have sprung up over the country selling items like poke bowls, which include toppings such as sliced ginger, edamame, sesame seeds, and, of course, poke, served over rice. Think of these bowls as deconstructed sushi. Depending on which toppings you choose, poke bowls can be very filling.
Contrary to popular belief, Atlanta’s best Mexican food isn’t only found along Buford Highway. Recently, the concentration has shifted to other neighborhoods such as Tucker, Jonesboro, and Smyrna, where you can find top-notch tacos in all manner of styles. While this list is by no means exhaustive, my picks span the spectrum of authentic to Americanized indulgence. Did your favorite taco spot make the cut?
This Southside Atlanta taqueria makes excellent tacos with a variety of flavorful fillings like tripe (beef stomach) and asada (beef). An impeccable condiment bar lets you customize your taco with smokey salsas or pickled chilies. Oaxaca is considered the culinary capital of Mexico, and the kitchen makes an impressive regional specialty: a tlayuda, which looks like a pizza made with Mexican toppings like chorizo and avocado on an oversized tortilla. 605 Mount Zion Road, Jonesboro, 770-960-3010
The first thing that strikes you when you meet Bryan Furman, the owner of B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue, is his passion and confidence. The first-generation pitmaster carries himself with the kind of self-assuredness and restaurant smarts you’d expect to find in someone with many more years under their belt.
But the 35-year-old has every reason to be confident. His Savannah restaurant opened in 2014 and quickly earned praise from Garden & Gun and Southern Living. When faulty equipment sparked a fire that burned the restaurant to the ground, the entire Savannah community rallied behind Furman to help get the restaurant back up and running.
When Furman made the decision to open a second B’s location in Atlanta last year, his wife Nikki, then a property manager, found the perfect location in a cozy red house in Riverside. Furman and Nikki moved to Atlanta, along with several members of his Savannah team, and opened the restaurant in September.