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Atlanta’s Best Bread Baskets

“You eat different at a restaurant than you eat at home. At home, you would never cook up a pork chop on the skillet but while you’re waiting, say “I’m going to eat a big loaf of bread. That will get my appetite sharpened up.”

-Norm MacDonald

There’s something special about noshing before your meal. Whether it’s an assortment of house rolls or an order of chips and salsa, our stomachs crave a warm-up before launching into the full workout of a meal.

In honor of Ford Fry’s King and Duke closing on June 18 and tragically depriving us of their legendary popovers, here are some of the best bread baskets Atlanta has to offer. Some of these are complimentary, and some are simply complementary to your meal.

Editor’s Note: this article was first published on July 3, 2023 and last updated on September 6, 2023.

Basket of biscuits and corn muffins with honey butter and a fruit spread
Bread Basket | South City Kitchen | Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

South City Kitchen 

Bread is one of the key southern cuisine food groups, so South City Kitchen ain’t messing around with their complimentary bread basket, loaded with biscuits and cornbread and plenty of butter (another one of said food groups).

Rows of fresh yeast rolls in a tray
Yeast rolls | Mary Mac’s Tea Room | Photo Credit: Joey Weiss

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Mary Mac’s has a beloved bread basket, with fluffy yeast rolls and tasty cornbread. But (and this is essential) you need to make sure to come after 4:00 PM when a sweet and warm cinnamon roll is added to the mix. You never need to worry about leaving this restaurant with an empty stomach, but remember: there’s always room for one more roll.


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Atlas is one of the swankiest restaurants in Buckhead, already a hotspot of swanky restaurants. But before you begin your luxury tasting menu, you’ll be graced with a visit by the baker, who presents the unparalleled bread service as well as the challenging question of which breads you will get this time (don’t worry, you can get all of them).

A circular piece of pressed focaccia on a plate with ricotta, speck, and olives/peppers in the background
Focaccia | Marcel | Photo Credit: Joey Weiss


Ford Fry may not offer the popovers from King and Duke anymore, but he knows it’s what the people want so he has a fantastic bread offering at Marcel (and, as you’ll soon discover, several of his other restaurants). This particular bread is a griddled focaccia, which is crispy and flavorful enough on its own, but it’s also served with whipped ricotta, speck (cured and lightly smoked ham), and marinated olives and peppers to kick off your French-inspired meal with a bang.

Il Giallo

When you’re at Il Giallo, you’re often faced with some challenging decisions – pizza or pasta, chicken parm or veal parm– but you can begin with two of the easiest choices. Yes, you will get the fresh focaccia with olive oil and balsamic, and YES, you will make it garlic for an extra $2. Good luck with the rest.

Several slices of multigrain bread on a white surface
Multigrain Bread | Pricci | Photo Credit: Becca Mamane


Italian food is often about the richness of the dishes, so Pricci does you a solid by offering an artfully simple multigrain bread, fit for drowning in marinara or loading with soppressata and mozzarella.


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The only thing that could possibly improve Canoe’s iconic view of the Chattahoochee River is doing so with a mouthful of either Georgia Pecan Sticky Buns or Sweet and Savory Scones (served with preserves and honey butter).

Dirty Rascal

Italian is all about carbs, carbs, carbs so you know Dirty Rascal brings the heat with their bread basket, containing garlic bread, focaccia rossa, and semolina sesame bread. Molto bene!



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Staying on the Italian train is Brookhaven favorite Valenza. Their pane (“bread” in Italian) is artisan rosemary focaccia and rustic sourdough with whipped ricotta for your dipping, dunking, and scraping pleasure.

Two dome-shaped house rolls with flaky salt on top on a white plate
Parker House Rolls | The Optimist | Photo Credit: Phil Roberts

The Optimist 

Ford Fry’s now-legendary Westside restaurant is perhaps best known for its lobster roll, but you can kick off your oceanic feast with the pillowy and buttery Parker House Rolls.

A flaky piece of heavily seasoned bread on a white plate
Fry Bread | Beetlecat | Photo Credit: Joey Weiss


Alright, Ford Fry, we get it! This Inman Park oyster bar boasts an impeccable dish called Fry Bread (maybe or maybe not named for the restaurateur), crispy and savory with sweet honey butter and nori seasoning.

Loaf of bread on a white napkin next to a white cup of green pesto and a smaller ramekin of butter with green herbs in it
Amore e Amore | Photo Credit: Joey Weiss

Amore e Amore

Italian meals are made or broken by the bread, and the homemade ciabatta at Amore e Amore sets the bar exceptionally high (which the rest of the menu easily meets). It’s a warm and unsliced loaf, so you can tear it as you go but the real fun starts when the accompaniments enter the mix. You have three wingmen for this operation: pesto, a softened garlicky compound butter, and parmigiano reggiano. There’s no wrong way to approach this: smear it with butter then dunk it in pesto, break off a chunk of cheese and top it with pesto, or just eat it plain. No matter the combo you decide on, you’ll be happy. Just try to save some for the rest of your meal.

Buttermilk Kitchen

Buttermilk is often a key ingredient in biscuits, so are you even surprised that this Southern goldmine has a Biscuit Basket? It contains three fresh biscuits along with house-made blueberry-basil jam, red pepper jelly, and Banner Butter. You can alternate bites of each or combine them for a wild sensation of flavors. They also have mini Cornbread Muffins with honey and butter.

A silver bucket with chunks of artisan bread and a dish of olive oil next to it
Barcelona Wine Bar | Photo Credit: Joey Weiss

Barcelona Wine Bar

Chunks of fresh, crusty bread are tasty enough, but what makes this bread extra valuable is its sopping ability. It can soak up the bright olive oil they bring out as well as whatever else you’re feasting on. It can hold up your charcuterie selections, absorb the broth of an order of mussels, or simply stand alone as a solo artist.

A serving of buttermilk cornbread piled into a platter
George’s Buttermilk Muffins | By George | Photo Credit: Joey Weiss

By George

Located in the historic Candler Hotel, By George is a slick and classy restaurant with an impressive food and drink menu. There are many impressive food options – Tempura Fried Lobster Tail, Rigatoni Bolognese, Lemon Sole – but the most comforting dish available are George’s Buttermilk Muffins. They combine the buttery flakiness of a biscuit with the sweet and complex flavor profile of cornbread. What’s not to like?


BBQ may be all about the meats and sides but don’t sleep on DBA’s warm white cheese-corn muffins with an essential side of sweet and silky honey butter. Get one or two while you debate between wings and brisket.


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La Calavera Pizza

Atlanta loves wings, but we also love bread! La Calava gave us the best of both worlds with their Bread Wingz, chunks of their sourdough tossed with pizza spices and your choice of buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, or basil pesto oil as well as a side of ranch or marinara.

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