It’s no secret that Gwinnett Place’s nationally lauded Korean dining district is the place to go when you are jonesing for kimchi, Bulgogi or Korean BBQ. At Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett’s tourism office, we get numerous calls from our visitors – all looking to go to where the locals eat – places that are authentic, family-owned or unique. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations, the places that we think you visit the next time you are in the CID.
Mexican restaurants oftentimes get a bad rap – gloopy cheese, refried beans, and never-ending mounds of tortilla chips. Mariscos Mazatlan Seafood Bar puts that myth to rest. Think spicy and flavorful agua chiles, shrimp empanadas, oysters baked in a delicious Chipotle sauce, ceviche and even a seafood platter that arrives in pineapple! Spicy, delicious and oh-not-so-standard Mexican.
For lunch (or breakfast) one of my “don’t miss” spots is the gloriously good Georgia French Bakery Café. You simply can’t go wrong here – my favorites are the buttery, flaky and definitely not Weight Watchers recommended croissants. The café is French owned, with breads and pastries baked daily. My go-to sandwich is the Parisian Panini, a hot sandwich filled to the brim with roast beef, balsamic may, red onions and blue cheese. And while I am always full by this point, it’s a rare visit when I don’t close it out with a double chocolate chunk cookie that literally melts in your mouth. C’est délicieux.
Another local favorite for lunch is the cozy and inviting Rustic Couch. Their cool industrial chic décor – brick walls, high ceilings, exposed piping, mixed with comfortable seating and a welcoming staff, make you want to stay long after you’ve finished your meal. Featuring American cuisine with an East Asian flair, menu favorites include the Bulgogi cheesesteak, Banh Mi Burger and Rustic wings. Rustic Couch hosts a mix of Friday night entertainment, including live music, spoken word, and game nights.
Dinner choices are just as electic (sometime between lunch and dinner, let’s hope I have time for a walk at the nearby McDaniel Farm Park trails. Really.tight.skirt).
Our favorite dinner recommendations run the gamut – from Japanese to Cajun, Gastropub to Fondue. FUMI Hibachi Sumi opened in 2016, and the crowds haven’t stopped coming. It’s luxe and stylish (rumor has it that movie star Gerard Butler was there recently), and whether you are in the mood for a tall, cold beverage accompanied by Saki Blueberry or Hot Rock Scallops, or you want to be entertained by the skilled, knife-wielding Hibachi chefs – FUMI is a can’t miss.
Located in the modern, stylish lobby of the Sonesta Atlanta Gwinnett Place, ArtBar is a happening hot spot for tasty tapas, creative cocktails, a solid wine list and a great place for people watching. Every Wednesday (“Wednesday Wine Down”) diners can enjoy wines and light appetizers from 6-9pm, with live music to help you wine down a busy day.
One of our favorite delivery recommendations (because even kids get tired of pizza) is Blazin’ Cajun, a great little seafood spot for dine-in or delivery. Best of all, it’s free delivery. (take that, Uber Eats). Think po’boys stuffed with crawfish, shrimp or chicken, snow crabs, or one of the house favorites – the Seafood Platter - a pound each of crawfish, mussels or baby clams, shrimp, snow crab, sausage, corn and onions, mixed in a signature blazing garlic butter sauce. The prices are unbeatable.
Travelers know that a memorable meal is often what makes a trip. There’s no culinary mecca more diverse than Gwinnett Place. Whether you are a local or visit, our website, exploregwinnett.org is a great place to start.
Lisa is the Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett’s tourism office. One of the best parts of her job is going out to eat (A LOT) and experiencing the culture and flavors of Gwinnett’s diverse culinary scene.
Images Courtesy of Explore Gwinnett