Bone In, Claws Out: Atlanta's Top Steak and Seafood Restaurants

We've accumulated some of Atlanta's most acclaimed restaurants for a carnivore’s favorite land-and-sea food pairing.

Why does it seem the simplest things in life often require the most expertise to master? Like learning how to cook up a sizzling and succulent steak or tender and flavorful lobster tail. Sure, you could spend thousands of hours building your technique to become a steak and seafood champion—or you can find the folks who have already put in the hard work. Here, we serve you with Atlanta’s shining stars when it comes to ultra-fresh seafood and exceptional cuts of meat.

101 Steak, Atlanta, Georgia

101 Steak

One of the newest steakhouses to open in Atlanta, 101 Steak hit the scene with a mouthwatering bang. Dramatic interiors (think high ceilings, a towering wine room, regal tufted booths and massive light fixtures) welcome you even before the jam-packed menu can dazzle you with its variety. Start with the extraordinary Wagyu beef carpaccio, which is served on a wooden board topped with garlic horseradish aioli, parmesan, gaufrette potatoes and sour gherkins. Then, pick your steak based on your preferences—we can’t stop dreaming about the 14-ounce New York Strip. “Arm candy” for the cuts include Maine lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, Oscar and soft-shell crab. Don’t miss the impressive wine list (ask for sommelier Chris Reid’s expert guidance) and craft cocktails.

Bones, Atlanta, Georgia

Bones

Known for business lunches and fancy dinners (since 1979), this old-school mecca of steak is known for prime cuts, fresh seafood and Maine lobster cooked to perfection. This stop feels more like a private club than a restaurant thanks to its timeless interiors, epic wine list and impeccable service. Try the mixed grill if you can’t choose just one dish—it includes filet mignon, lamb chops and signature pheasant sausage.

Cape Dutch, Atlanta, Georgia

Cape Dutch

Cape Dutch is like a portal to a vineyard-draped countryside. Executive Chef Philippe Haddad’s Belgian background transmutes onto the menu as a flurry of European influences, some more subtle than others. Owner Justin Anthony’s South African roots also make a strong appearance on the menu, with many dishes cooked on the “braai” (Afrikaans for “grill”). Impeccably prepared proteins like elk chop and lamb shank neighbor the likes of wood-grilled whole branzino and flaky seared sea bass. Meanwhile, a stunning assortment of vegetables stand on their own merit, like the wild mushrooms, roasted butternut-squash steaks and root vegetables. Don’t forget to cap off your meal with the silky-smooth and insanely delicious Belgian chocolate soup.

Hal's, Atlanta, Georgia

Hal’s

This steakhouse staple is considered by many to serve up the best cuts in the South, let alone Atlanta. The smoky restaurant has sat squarely in the heart of Buckhead for over 25 years, and the steady stream of devoted regulars can’t seem to stop singing its praises. When it comes to meat, the old-school stop is known for its lean, 20-ounce bone-in ribeye and succulent 12-ounce filet mignon, both drenched in butter sauce. In the aquatic arena, the sea bass has been racking up rave reviews for years—with its crispy exterior, flaky interior, flavorful tomato-scallion-lobster broth and crown of shoestring potatoes, we can see why. Surf and turf done right!

Kevin Rathbun Steak, Atlanta, Georgia

Kevin Rathbun Steak

Nationally acclaimed chef Kevin Rathbun knows a thing or two about cooking up a perfect cut of meat. He may have four restaurants devoted to steak, but the chef’s eponymous Kevin Rathbun Steak is the most upscale and iconic of the bunch. And the gregarious chef’s playfulness and sense of humor shine on an eclectic menu that draws on global influences throughout. Start with intriguing appetizers like sumptuous thick-cut bacon, baked escargot and a rich roasted bone marrow. This also might be the only spot in town where you can order venison carpaccio (with black truffle aioli and arugula-pecan pesto). Dry-aged, USDA Prime meats are the shining stars here, so bring some friends to share the 22-ounce cowboy ribeye. Complement the sizzling steak with shareable sides like scalloped sweet potatoes with gruyere, a mac ‘n’ cheese tart or charred jalapeno creamed corn. Don’t forget to peruse the chilled seafood and steak accompaniment options. And if you’re still hungry (somehow), end on a high note with the chocolate bread pudding, which is served with Nutella ice cream.

Marcel, Atlanta, Georgia

Marcel

This ultra-premium steakhouse incorporates vintage French touches and decorative elements of whimsy throughout its jaw-dropping interiors. The menu showcases an array of USDA Prime steaks that may be the highest-quality cuts available in Atlanta. Try the exceptional 14-ounce bone-in filet monsieur or enormous 30-ounce Porterhouse (for two) doused in Sauce Diane or Brandy au Poivre. Don’t forget to add lobster, Alabama jumbo lump crab or Alaskan King crab to create the quintessential surf-and-turf experience. Complement your cut with flavorful sides—we can’t get enough of the pommes Dauphinoise and creamed-corn gratin. The white-tablecloth experience and superb ambience are made only more exceptional by each server's attention to detail and menu guidance.

McKendrick's Steak House, Atlanta, Georgia

McKendrick's Steak House

For more than two decades, this locally-owned steakhouse has made a name for itself as the restaurant for high-quality meats and super-fresh seafood (delivered daily, in fact). Opt for a perfectly charred, 12-ounce center-cut filet or a 14-ounce veal chop accompanied by delectable sides like creamed spinach, wild mushroom risotto or oven-roasted okra. Seafood lovers will find it hard to choose from the likes of South African lobster tail, East and West Coast oysters, tuna tartare, jumbo Alaskan King crab, and many other options. The acclaimed menu is complemented by an extensive wine list that has also received its share of accolades. Desserts are sufficient for two and worth the calories.

The Optimist

The Optimist

Atlanta chef and restaurateur Ford Fry may have emblazoned the city with seven new restaurants in 2015, but his crowning jewel remains The Optimist. The chic seafood-centric restaurant embodies coastal living from tangy cocktails to delicious starters (seafood gumbo, mussels in crabby-coconut broth, fried clam roll), roasted fish dishes and a wine list heavy in coastal selections. Two bars and an open dining area surrounded by glossy-white subway tile and hints of natural wood and faded blue will make you feel like waves are crashing nearby. You can’t go wrong with anything from the menu, which also features exceptionally fresh selections from the raw bar, but we can’t seem to stay away from the “Opportunist” plateaux (oyster, crab, shrimp, ceviche), charred Spanish octopus and duck fat-poached swordfish. On a crisp day, there’s nothing like a round of mini golf while you wait or dining al fresco on the patio.