The 5 best brunches in Atlanta


How did these five Atlanta brunches rise above the rest?

These restaurants take note of everything to make your experience exceptional. That means creating an interesting and diverse menu that meets the needs of carnivores, carb lovers, the veg crowd and those eating on the light side.

These kitchens don’t get lazy; they tweak the menu just enough from week to week, so that frequent visits can still be varied and new.

They cook food properly — whether executing a fundamental French technique, as with an omelet, or taking creative liberties with shrimp and grits without putting Anson Mills to shame.

It means thoughtful drinks that don’t have the intention of getting you loopy on a Sunday afternoon, but rather are light and refreshing while featuring quality spirits and fresh juices. And coffee made with care.

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It’s also about how these restaurants make you feel. The service is pleasant and attentive. Pacing is steady but relaxed. Music isn’t so loud that it makes you want to run back to bed and cover your head with a blanket.

Atlanta, these five restaurants are worth getting out of bed for brunch on a lazy Sunday. You can always take a nap afterward.

Local Three Kitchen & Bar

Local Three has a brunch buffet to be reckoned with. The set-up takes you into the kitchen to find multiple chefs cooking at various stations, frequently replacing hot dishes with hotter ones.

Walk down the line and grab whatever you’re in the mood for from between 18 and 24 savory and sweet items. (Don’t miss the French toast or biscuits and gravy, though iterations change weekly.) With portion sizes spot-on, such as soup in petite cups or a two-bite crostini, you can try every dish.

Want more? Go back for seconds. Or thirds. It’s all you can eat, fairly priced at $24 per adult, just shy of $13 for kids ages 6 to 12 and free for those under 6.

Add to that a well-stocked bar specializing in bourbon; a beautiful, wood-accented, high-ceilinged dining room; an outdoor patio; and an attentive staff.

Local Three attracts such a crowd that it recently extended brunch hours. Get in line. It’s that good.

3290 Northside Parkway N.W., Atlanta. 404-968-2700, localthree.com. Brunch hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.

The General Muir

The General Muir makes ordering brunch hard, because most everything is so darned good.

This Emory Point anchor restaurant is recognized as a modern Jewish deli, so explore the genre of lox and bagels through TGM’s lox platters or a kettle-boiled bagel topped with salmon.

Chock full of flavor, the chicken liver plate, served with warm wedges of focaccia-like pletzel bread baked with caramelized onion, should be a requisite starter.

But, when it comes to brunch, there are numerous takes not found on the weekday breakfast or lunch menus, like the English Muffin with black mission figs and shaved fennel and more or the Trout with red flannel hash.

The General Muir is also paradise for pastry lovers. Give in and get the pastry basket: four huge sweet treats that typically include a cheese Danish, brioche, coffee cake and cinnamon bun or sticky bun.

Order your coffee (they make a heck of a Cubano at the espresso bar), then sit back, crack open the Sunday paper and relax in the airy, clean space accented with white subway tiles.

1540 Avenue Place, Atlanta. 678-927-9131, thegeneralmuir.com. Brunch hours: 8 a.m-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

One Eared Stag

The One Eared Stag brunch menu changes regularly, reflecting chef-owner Robert Phalen’s respect for seasonality and use-it-up philosophy.

Some days, it’s been scrambled eggs with lump crab, poblano peppers and dandelion greens. More recently, it’s been catfish sausage with porridge, fermented lemons, pickled okra and cured tomatoes.

Plus, with a talented pastry chef in Kristia Paz, you can bet that an order of doughnuts, or any dish that comes with a biscuit, is going to taste great.

Go off the menu with the chef’s breakfast, a “wow” platter of items selected by the whims of the kitchen crew. Possibilities for the plate change often but rest assured you won’t be disappointed.

The one item that you can be assured will always come on this silver tray: a can of some cheap domestic lager. At $25, this king of breakfasts is filling enough for two, but tasty enough that you probably won’t want to share.

1029 Edgewood Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-525-4479, oneearedstagatl.com. Brunch hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

Buttermilk Kitchen

There’s everything to love about Buttermilk Kitchen.

Atop a quaint sideboard near the entrance sits a help-yourself water dispenser, while fresh flowers from Robert Long Flora & Design adorn the table in the waiting area.

They take pains to welcome you properly at the homey breakfast-all-day spot on Roswell Road, and the attention to detail extends to what’s on your plate and in your glass.

On weekends, opt for one of the brunch specials not on the regular menu. That could mean whole wheat-apple pancakes, a short rib hash bowl or a fried chicken BLT.

» RELATED: Three under the radar metro Atlanta brewpubs to explore

Eggs from White Oak Pastures, by the way, are given full respect here — whether scrambled, sunny-side-up or as an omelet — and they go through 5,000 eggs in a week.

This restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license, but you won’t miss it when you can sip on some creative juice blends or fresh milk from Georgia dairy Southern Swiss.

4225 Roswell Road N.E., Atlanta. 678-732-3274, buttermilkkitchen.com. Brunch hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

Parish

The lower-level cafe at Parish is fine for a quick bite — a morning pastry and a cup of coffee, or perhaps a maple sausage and egg on ciabatta, or a heftier sandwich if you’ve pedaled the Beltline to get to this Inman Park eatery.

But, when you want to linger, go upstairs and experience Parish in all its grandness: tall windows, stamped tin ceiling tiles, brick archways separating one side of the dining room from the other.

Grand is a fried chicken Benedict that subs fried bird for bacon and sausage gravy for hollandaise. Grand is brioche French toast stuffed with a cheesecake-like filling, all the more decadent with whipped pecan butter caramel sauce. Grand is a croque monsieur oozing with béchamel that’ll have you recalling a trip to Paris or pining to get there. Grand is the Bellini, a creative mix of prosecco and white peach puree.

If brunch is your religion, join this parish.

240 N. Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-681-4434, parishatl.com. Brunch hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

AJC All Things Brunch

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Get on top of brunch with these maps, videos, quizzes and other interactives

MAP: Where to eat brunch in Atlanta

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