Classic 50s style drive-in architecture with a free-standing V sign.

Local landmark, The Varsity. Photo © Bryce Edwards, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Best Thai Cuisine

Although the city has plenty of delicious casual Thai joints, Nan Thai Fine Dining ($20 and up, 1350 Spring St., 404/870-9933, Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5:30–10 p.m., Fri. 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5:30–11 p.m., Sat. 5–11 p.m., Sun. 5–10 p.m.) ups the ante on sophistication and palate.

Most Buzzed-About Restaurant

With a list of awards and accolades to make any chef-owner blush, Bacchanalia ($20 and up, 1198 Howell Mill Rd., 404/365-0410, Mon.–Sat. 6–10 p.m.) remains one of the Southeast’s critical darlings.

Best Local Landmark

Atlanta’s been chowing down on the greasy chili dogs at The Varsity (Under $10, 61 North Ave., 404/881-1706, Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–12:30 a.m.) since 1928.

Best Classic Southern Dining

Mary Mac’s Tea Room ($10–20, 224 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404/876-1800, daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m.) is a portrait of local gentility, and a fine choice for comfort food.

Best Contemporary Southern Eatery

Crescent Avenue mainstay South City Kitchen ($20 and up, 1144 Crescent Ave., 404/873-7358, Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5–10:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m.) has been a go-to destination for Lowcountry brilliance since 1993.

Best Tacos

If you can endure the impossibly long lines, you’ll enjoy Taqueria del Sol’s (Under $10, 2165 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404/321-1118, Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5:30–9 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5:30–10 p.m., Sat. 5:30–10 p.m.) creative spin on Mexican street fare.

Best Special-Occasion Restaurant

Rathbun’s ($20 and up, 112 Krog St., 404/524-8280, Mon.–Thurs. 5–10:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–11:30 p.m.) pulls off the neat trick of creating civilized, sensual dining in an unexpected industrial setting.

Best Be-Seen Dining Room

The cavernous Two Urban Licks ($20 and up, 820 Ralph McGill Blvd., 404/522-4622, Mon.–Thurs. 5:30 p.m.–midnight, Fri.–Sat. 5:30 p.m.–1 a.m., Sun. 5:30–10:30 p.m.) is a feast for the eyes, and a great echo chamber for people-watching.

Best Breakfast

Thumbs Up Diner ($10–20, 573 Edgewood Dr., 404/223-0690, Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–3 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 7 a.m.–4 p.m.) does breakfast classics right, but also gets points for its healthy options.

Map of Downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Atlanta.