That’s just, like, your opinion, man

For no particular reason other than to start a bunch of flame wars and stoke conversation, I thought I’d make a list of what I think are the more underrated and overrated spots in town.  Leave your comments or your own under/over rated list! 

Underrated spots

These are the places that may slide under your radar, or that you take for granted.  Give ‘em some love:

  • Orme Park – this is a nice little neighborhood park that is shielded from most of the city because it is smack in the middle of a bunch of single family homes.  There are no busy streets that run by it, which means it is nice and tranquil.  There is a little creek that runs through the middle of the park, and one of the best things about it is the large tunnel out of which the creek originates.  Growing up, it was a great place to hide out and avoid the adults.  I haven’t been there in a while, but there used to be some decent graffiti in the tunnel.
  • Grant Park – okay, this isn’t exactly an unknown place, but I think it is underrated.  Grant Park doesn’t really get the credit it deserves.  It is my favorite park to go running in because it is not ridiculously crowded and I don’t run more than the mile or two it takes to make a loop around the park.  I also love the historic houses surrounding it.  Grant Park also gets bonus points for all the awesome cook-outs on the weekend.  Finally, dog owners get together regularly for play time on the big field.  A wonderful park that shows why parks are more than jogging trails (ahem, Freedom Park). 
  • Sun in My Belly – not necessarily the best breakfast place in town, but perhaps the most underrated.  Hands down, the best bacon in town.  An unassuming location in Kirkwood in a renovated hardware store gives it extra charm.
  • Slice Downtown and The Mark – These two joint tucked into the Fairlie Poplar district deserve more attention.  I prefer the Downtown Slice to the other locations because the décor has a great relaxed yet sophisticated vibe that fits perfectly with the urban location.  I’m constantly surprised by the number of people whenever I eat there, because it is the sort of place you never hear about.    I don’t exactly go out very often, so my pick of The Mark isn’t based on an expert opinion on Atlanta’s nightlife or anything.  But it is definitely worth checking out, as the stack-stone walls and cozy space are great.  The owner, Pablo, has been running nightclubs in town for years, and really knows what he is doing. 

Overrated spots

By their nature, these will piss a few folks off.  “Overrated” by definition means that people think very highly of these places.  I’m not saying they are bad, I’m just saying they aren’t that good:

  • Piedmont Park – crowded, crowded, crowded.  The dog park gets pretty nuts on the weekends.  Not bad, and in fact pretty darn good, but overrated.
  • The Flying Biscuit – perhaps since this became a chain it isn’t quite as highly regarded, but I never got what was so special about the place.  There are plenty of places to get good scrambled eggs without waiting 40 minutes.
  • Two Urban Licks – I may get in trouble for this, but I have not been impressed with this spot.  The food isn’t bad, but I got the distinct impression that what I’m really paying all that money for is the décor.  I would rather spend the money on great food.  Again, not bad, but overrated.  And the chairs were uncomfortable.  Boo-yah, take that!

11 Comments so far

  1. Karsh (atl_karsh) on December 11th, 2008 @ 12:59 am

    Ditto on Slice and Sun in My Belly. Both of those spots are great! I like the Castleberry Hills Slice location also. As far as parts of town, I kind of want to throw in the West End in the underrated spots. There are great homes here, affordable nice apartment complexes, and it’s super close to both the highway and MARTA.

  2. james hervey (jeherv) on December 11th, 2008 @ 9:28 am

    i’m down with you on sun in my belly. it has the added benefit, unusual for a good breakfast place in this town, of never having a wait.

    i think you are off-base on two, i think it is every bit as good as advertised. i think that ria’s bluebird is the most overrated place in town.

  3. abby on December 11th, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

    Nice post. I’m with you on Slice in Fairlie Poplar, and might add Dad’s Garage.

    On the other hand, I think the Clairmont could be added to the overrated list – the place sort of lost its sleazy luster as it began filling up with booty-dancing young professionals paying a $10 cover. A little bit of its sleazy luster, anyway. And not that there’s anything wrong with booty-dancing young professionals.

  4. annie on December 11th, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

    Abby beat me to the Clermont. It’s still interesting, but it was better before it got so popular.

    I’m going to stand up for Flying Biscuit, but only because i never go on the weekends. During the week, it’s great. I also think it isn’t the eggs people are on about, but the lovecakes. That being said, I have never been to the new locations, nor do i have any desire to. . .

    I also adore Grant Park. I love the neighborhood, the park, the zoo, the crazy Cyclorama, and the old fountains. I love the trees.

    My top underrated spot: Ma Li. Love it.

  5. Will (atl_will) on December 11th, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    I’ve yet to eat anything from Flying Biscuit that was worthy of its reputation. Aside from that, I don’t really know what things are rated or by whom, so I don’t quite know what’s supposed to be good, anymore.

  6. annie on December 11th, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

    Will, i feel the same way. I just like what i like. Another thing about Flying Biscuit is that on weekdays, you get great service.

    Thought of another one: Rathbun’s is worth the hype.

  7. bking on December 11th, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

    Wouldn’t that just make Rathbun’s accurately rated, not over- or underrated? ;)

    I agree though, the one time I at at Kevin Rathbun Steak it was as advertised. I assume the mothership is of equal quality.

  8. annie on December 11th, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

    Ah, yes, Ben. I guess you are right.

  9. Jeff Donaldson (fejsez) on December 26th, 2008 @ 10:40 am

    I will agree on Sun in my Belly. It is right down the street from my mother-in-laws and I love the atmosphere and they have always been very warming whenever I visit.
    Anyone have any opinions on Vickery’s, The Depot, or the new Steamhouse? I have bias, and being an out of towner, I am interested why the locals think.

  10. Jeff Donaldson (fejsez) on December 26th, 2008 @ 11:04 am

    That "what" the locals think.

  11. jbaker232 on January 7th, 2009 @ 2:49 am

    Wow I live literally a few houses down from Orme Park and it is definitely a gem. Some unexpectedly cool graffiti under the tunnel and it’s very tranquil. Annie, I also agree on Ma Li being a great little place, along with the San Fransisco coffee a few stops down highland. Has to be my favorite low-key coffee shop in the city.

    In my short few years in Atlanta, I must say my favorite underrated spot is Decatur, specifically Brick Store pub, Sushi Avenue, Heliotrope, Twains, etc etc. The park area by Highland Middle school on Virginia ave is another nice greenspace, and the hill beside the school is an awesome place to let your dog run around and get in some good views of the city.

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