South City Kitchen - This place is by far our favorite restaurant in Atlanta. There are two locations but we prefer the less crowded Vinings location (bonus: no valet to pay). The fried green tomatoes are an appetizer must with a main course choice of the fried chicken, catfish or veggie plate. Their NYE menu is one of the best around, in my opinion.
Buckhead Diner - When my mom and I used to come to Atlanta to shop several years ago, we also fit Buckhead Diner into the agenda. The blue cheese chips are famous but the calamari is also amazing as well. I have always ordered their crab cakes because whatever they put in the mustard sauce makes them the best around. Bonus - you can take home your bottle of wine if you don't finish it (most Atlanta restaurants allow this)
Tin Lizzy's - There are tons of locations now but we love this trendy Mexican spot for the cheap, good food and atmosphere. Their margaritas will knock you on your feet so only allow for 1-2 :) Favorites are any taco, make-your-own quesadilla and the queso.
Yeah Burger - Could be the H&F bread or fresh meat patties, but Yeah Burger is our favorite burger joint (the Hubs also likes their PBR pitchers). Order their truffle fries in addition to a pimento cheese burger and you will be super pleased with yourself.
Horseradish Grill - This quaint spot is perfect for brunch or dinner and located in my favorite spot in the city, Chastain Park. The fried chicken, omelettes and fried green tomatoes are all great as is anything on the menu. Beware of crowded amphitheater concert nights but you can park for free if you are doing dinner and a show.
JCT Kitchen - Fried chicken is a reoccurring theme and theirs is great as well. I got hooked on truffle fries here as well as their great shrimp and grits. The location is on the hip Westside and led by my favorite restauranturer, Ford Fry.
The Optimist - Also a Ford Fry spot, this seafood place is superb. The warehouse feel and open kitchen are really cool as well as the mini putt-putt course outside. Each time we visited, my dinner has been great but I highly recommend the fish & chips. The hushpuppies and the accompanying sweet sauce are also a must order.
Canoe - Canoe has great food but their scenery is the best part. Located on the river, several events are hosted here each weekend because it is so dang pretty. I recommend brunch so you can take it all in as we did this past birthday weekend.