Ah, the holidays. The time of year where we all spend more on gifts than some countries spend on their military, and stress ourselves out over whether the gifts we’ve bought are going to make that special someone so happy they could just burst.
In the middle of all the shopping insanity, it’s easy to get angry with your fellow shoppers, but that’s usually just because our blood-sugar levels are lower than Barry White’s voice. So take an hour for yourself and get a bite to eat that will make you feel more human, and full of the spirit of the season.
Mall of GA – Buford
If you’re shopping at the Mall of Georgia, you’re not going to run short on bad food court options. But there’s a reason they call it a court: everything there should be put on trial. So head outside for some fresh air and hit Parma Tavern, Mimi’s Cafe, or Roya Mediterranean Tapas Restaurant.
Perimeter – Dunwoody
Any time you go mall-shopping you understand that there’s going to be a certain amount of sitting in traffic. If you haven’t been to Perimeter Mall in the last six months you probably haven’t experienced the joy of the diverging diamond intersection at I-285 at Ashford-Dunwoody. You’ll have to drive on the wrong side of the road for a little while. Just pretend like you’re in England, gov’nor.
For food stops, head to Chequers Seafood Grill, Sage Woodfire Grill, or Eclipse di Luna. If you’re in the mood for coffee and a pastry instead to get you back into the fray a little quicker, La Madeleine and Alons serve those.
Little 5 Points
Atlanta’s funkiest neighborhood has great boutique stores like Junkman’s Daughter, Abbadabba’s, and Wish. When you need a break you should think about getting burgers at the Vortex, Indian food at Planet Bombay or Niramish, and great pies at Savage Pizza; and that’s without mentioning the stellar strip of Front Page News, Tijuana Garage, and Cameli’s Pizza.
Lenox – Buckhead
Buckhead is famous for its restaurants, and if you can battle a little bit of traffic (or try walking like they do in Europe, it’ll probably be faster), you could find some great shopping fuel at Bistro Niko, Dantanna, Dante’s Down the Hatch (before it closes in March), or The Bucket Shop Cafe.
Phipps – Buckhead
A little further north, among stores like Jos. A. Banks, Nordstrom, and Coldwater Creek, you’ll find Tomo Japanese Restaurant, Aja, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, and the always fun Tavern at Phipps. Any one of them will be happy to help you decompress before you head back into the breach.
Northpoint – Alpharetta
Escaping the massive chains at Northpoint Mall is a little trickier than at other malls, but if you’re prepared to make the effort, you’ll be rewarded with amazing dishes at Bombay Flames Indian Restaurant, Tuscany Cafe and Bistro, and you can even build yourself a better burger at The Counter.
East Atlanta Village
Whether you’re buying music equipment for your teenager at Earthshaking Music or getting some old-fashioned books at Bound To Be Read, when you need to clear your head The Midway Pub, The EARL, Grand Central Pizza, and EAV Thai and Sushi can all help you out with that.
Northlake – Tucker
This mall keeps reinventing itself, but what doesn’t change is the quality of the restaurants just a short hop away. Marlows Tavern, the Old Hickory House, and Monterrey Mexican Restaurant will all give you the strength you need to push through and get that last Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Doll. Whatever one of those is.
Stonecrest – Lithonia
If you’re shopping out in Lithonia’s Stonecrest Mall, you could do worse than stopping off at Mamie’s Kitchen, the iconic Chicken and Waffle Restaurant run by Gladys Knight and Ron Winans, or Chow Dog.
When we think about great places to eat in downtown Decatur, our heads almost explode, so we’ll just say Leon’s Full Service, No. 246, Cafe Alsace, the Brick Store, Java Monkey, Farm Burger, Taqueria del Sol, and Iberian Pig. It’s hard to find food you won’t love.
Discover Mills – Lawrenceville
If you believe the rumors, this Gwinnett County mall has been on the verge of rolling up the sidewalk and closing its doors for years now. Drop into Kingston 30 Jamaican Restaurant for some great jerk chicken, or maybe a bento box at Yami Japan. But the coup de grace is when you book seats at Medieval Times for when you’re done shopping and just want to eat giant turkey legs while you watch grown men jousting.
Atlantic Station – Atlanta
Cirque du Soleil’s Totem show will be in town until December 30th, so be prepared for some difficulty parking, and allow extra time (and patience) getting onto and off the highway. While there’s plenty of other dining around Atlantic Station, you probably don’t want to get in your car to find it, so head to Lobby at Twelve, the pop-up restaurant Hudson North, or the Yard House.