Best Places to Live

Decatur, GA

Population: 22,242
Photo: James Camp

Decatur, GA is one of the best food cities in America. Decatur's restaurant scene separates this town from all other Atlanta suburbs. Walk through downtown Decatur and you'd swear it was designed by foodies. Each block brings a new set of edible gifts, easily accessed by wide walkways and pedestrian-friendly street crossings. Especially for its size, Decatur has one of the nation's largest clusters of highly rated, independent restaurants, cafés and pubs in the nation.

As innovative chefs bring attention to Decatur, local officials quickly credit the city's growing collection of fine dining restaurants as the catalyst for city-wide reclamation. At-home-chefs will find a bounty of fresh produce, locally produced meats and baked goods at the Decatur Farmers Market, while Your Dekalb Farmers Market offers a world market shopping experience.

Cakes & Ale, a restaurant, bar and bakery, receives the most attention from national food critics. Chef Billy Allin serves unassuming dishes, often using ingredients he grew in a nearby garden and locally sourced meats. The menu changes daily but can include guinea hen leg, crispy polenta, pork leg and trout. The large concrete bar quickly fills up when the sun sets as patrons choose from an expansive list of wines, cocktails and beers.

The Iberian Pig, opened in 2009 by friends Federico Castellucci and Chad Crete, puts a modern twist on traditional Spanish cuisine. The menu is focused on imported Spanish cured meats, fresh local produce, creative tapas dishes and regional wines.

A street for culinary exploration, Ponce de Leon Avenue, has an assortment of restaurants that will make foodies weak in the knees, such as Café Alsace, No. 246, Parker's on Ponce and Café Lily.