Sonia Chopra

Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Sonia Chopra is an Atlanta-based correspondent who covers the city and its oft-ignored ’burbs for Forbes Travel Guide. She grew up OTP (that’s outside the perimeter, or I-285) and lives in town, where she’s also the editor of restaurant blog Eater Atlanta. Beyond the metro area, Chopra has lived in Athens, Georgia, and Charleston and has traveled everywhere from Alaska to Varanasi, India.

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  • On June 23, 2013
    Sonia Chopra answered the question: Sonia Chopra

    What are some things I should know before visiting Atlanta?

    No matter the reason you're visiting Atlanta, there are a few things you should definitely keep in mind.

    Getting places is not as easy as you may think. Atlanta isn't a gridded city, and between the sometimes-confusing layout and the street names (many are called Peachtree), it can be difficult to get to where you have to be. Allot plenty of time, as traffic can turn standstill during busy hours, and find out what the parking situation will be like at your final destination in advance. People are sometimes surprised to learn that the city at large isn't very walkable and that our public transportation systems, like MARTA, aren't as extensive as subway systems in other cities. Instead, many Atlantans opt for taking taxis or Uber or decide to drive themselves.

    That being said, some of the best neighborhoods in the city are very walkable. They each have their own personality, and with that comes an array of great boutiques, salons, cafes, and restaurants. Spend an afternoon exploring Candler Park, Inman Park, Little Five Points, or Virginia Highland to get some local flavor. 
  • On June 23, 2013
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    What are the best places for brunch in Atlanta?

    Brunch may well be the most important meal of the week. Here's where to track down the best places for it in Atlanta. A note: very few restaurants take brunch reservations, so be sure to get there early. You can always grab a bloody Mary while you wait— but do remember that alcohol doesn't start flowing until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays in our city.

    Popular brunch spots in Atlanta include West Egg Cafe, Murphy's, and South City Kitchen. If you're looking for something different, head east to the Shed at Glenwood, where you can find bottomless mimosas, the restaurant's popular daily sliders, and dishes like the Shed Benedict, with fried green tomatoes, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce on a house-made biscuit with roasted potatoes. 

    Kirkwood's Sun in My Belly is long on charm and even longer on delicious food. Get the hangover biscuit with sausage, a fried egg, avocado, Sriracha sauce, and smothered potatoes. On the first Sunday of every month, SIMB does a jazz brunch where guests can bring their own champagne to enjoy while dining. Another great biscuit can be found at Homegrown in Reynoldstown. Their comfy chicken biscuit comes open-faced with deep-fried chicken and sausage gravy.

    Emory Village's Rise-n-Dine serves up everything from build-your-own omelets (with fillings ranging from the typical vegetables and cheese all the way to things like pierogies) to breakfast tacos and sweet potato pancakes. The sweet potato biscuit at Highland Bakery isn't to be missed, either, and neither are the house-made bagels at the General Muir, though the Jewish deli's smoked hash plate (crisped pastrami, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, caramelized onions, and eggs) is a worthy contender. For house-made bagels in a very casual setting, try the communal seating and table-service at Belly General Store in Virginia Highland.

    An easy way to try the hard-to-get burger at Holeman & Finch is to order it at brunch, where it's available in a much larger quantity than the 24 that are served each night at dinner. And if burgers aren't your style, pancakes surely are, so do try the banana ones at Ria's Bluebird. Here's a tip: Get your name on the list, then walk over to Octane Coffee to grab a cup while you wait.
  • On June 23, 2013
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    What is Atlanta’s dining scene like?

    Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. Atlanta's dining scene really does have a little bit of everything.

    We have celebrity chef restaurants like Glenwood Park's Gunshow, where diners can often see Top Chef alum Kevin Gillespie cooking in the open kitchen, and Empire State South in Midtown. The upscale Southern spot is owned by Top Chef judge and James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author Hugh Acheson. 

    Then we have the late-night places, like Holeman & Finch, which opens earlier but doesn't serve its infamous burger until 10 p.m. each night. Only 24 double stacks are made per day, so be sure to arrive well before 10 if you want to get one. There's also Octopus Bar, the East Atlanta spot whose doors open at 10:30 p.m. Try the salt and pepper shrimp and any of the cocktails at this chef favorite.

    For barbecue, there's Heirloom Market BBQ in Smyrna and a whole slew of other options, from Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Community Q to Bone Lick BBQ and Daddy D'z. Try Restaurant Eugene, Woodfire Grill, or Bacchanalia for white-tablecloth tasting menus, or get gyros from Nick's Food-to-Go, $4 sandwiches from Victory Sandwich Bar, or fruit cups and smoothies from local favorite Lottafrutta in Old Fourth Ward. You can also swing by the Atlanta Food Truck Park to sample dishes from any number of food trucks— just be sure to save room for a treat from King of Pops.

    Buford Highway, the stretch of Atlanta that's home to more than a thousand immigrant-run businesses, hosts ethnic options like Pho Dai Loi #2, Lee's Bakery (famous for their $2.50 banh mi sandwiches), and Taqueria El Rey del Taco.
  • On June 23, 2013
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    What are the best restaurants for a business lunch in Atlanta?

    Bocado. Choosing the right restaurant for a business lunch might not make or break your deal, but it can certainly get you extra points.

    Ford Fry's newest restaurant, King + Duke, boasts a 24-foot open hearth and features an expansive menu of wood-grilled options. The space's two levels of seating have a studied library theme, inspired by the fact that the restaurant's name comes from characters in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

    If you're across town in Decatur, try another Ford Fry restaurant. This one, No. 246, is Italian, and it offers pizzas, sandwiches, pasta, and salads for lunch. No. 246 also has a call-ahead menu for those days when you're on deadline— give them a ring before you leave the office, and your food will be ready by the time you get to the restaurant. If you've got a few minutes to spare, consider playing a game of ping pong in the space's "backyard" patio.

    In Midtown, try Lure, the sustainable seafood spot on Crescent Avenue. Lure has everything from fried oyster sliders and shrimp tacos to grilled octopus and pork lettuce wraps, and all of it comes with the restaurant's signature excellent service.

    Wow potential clients or your boss with the double-stack cheeseburger at Bocado, which is widely recognized as one of the very best in the city. Bocado also has a selection of sandwiches— it's hard to go wrong with the roasted poblano and pimento cheese with bacon— and small plates that are all served up in the Westside restaurant's airy, light dining room.
  • On June 23, 2013
    Sonia Chopra answered the question: Sonia Chopra

    What are the best restaurants for a business lunch in Atlanta?

    Bocado. Choosing the right restaurant for a business lunch might not make or break your deal, but it can certainly get you extra points.

    Ford Fry's newest restaurant, King + Duke, boasts a 24-foot open hearth and features an expansive menu of wood-grilled options. The space's two levels of seating have a studied library theme, inspired by the fact that the restaurant's name comes from characters in Mark Twain's novel,The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

    If you're across town in Decatur, try another Ford Fry restaurant. This one, No. 246, is Italian, and it offers pizzas, sandwiches, pasta, and salads for lunch. No. 246 also has a call-ahead menu for those days when you're on deadline— give them a ring before you leave the office, and your food will be ready by the time you get to the restaruant.

    In Midtown, try Lure, the sustainable seafood spot on Crescent Avenue. Lure has everything from fried oyster sliders and shrimp tacos to grilled octopus and pork lettuce wraps, and all of it comes with the restaurant's signature excellent service.

    Wow potential clients or your boss with the double-stack cheeseburger at Bocado, which is widely recognized as one of the very best in the city. Bocado also has a selection of sandwiches— it's hard to go wrong with the roasted poblano and pimento cheese with baco— and small plates that are all served up in the Westside restaurant's airy, light dining room.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Sonia Chopra answered the question: Sonia Chopra

    Where is the best pizza in Atlanta?

    Pizza, y'all. There's nothing better than a good slice (or three), and we've got the very best spots in the city right here.

    Antico Pizza Napoletana may just be the most talked about pizzeria in Atlanta, and for good reason. Owner Giovanni Di Palma imports all ingredients from Italy, so you know it's authentic. It's also a counter-service restaurant with all communal seating, so expect long lines, especially on weekend evenings. And it's BYOB, so bring a bottle of wine or a six-pack of cold beer to enjoy with your pie.

    Ammazza opened in fall of 2012 in Old Fourth Ward and has fast become known for its funky vibe, local incredients (they make their mozzarella in house and source meats from the Spotted Trotter, a local charcuterie), and late-night availability— the restaurant and its full bar serve until 2 a.m., making it the perfect spot to hit after a night at nearby bars Sound Table, Sister Louisa's Church, or Joystick Gamebar.

    Vingenzo's, in downtown Woodstock, may be a little north of Atlanta, but the pizza here can definitely hold its own amongst ITP options. Also outside of the perimter is newcomer Campania, in Alpharetta. The restaurant opened in April and already has loyal fans all over the metro area.
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  • On June 22, 2013
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    What new museum exhibits are in Atlanta?

    The Girl with the Pearl Earring can be seen at the High Museum through September 29. This iconic painting by Johannes Vermeer makes its first appearance in the Southeast; the exhibit also includes works from Rembrant van Rijn, Frans Hals, and Jan Steen, all painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

    At the Museum of Design Atlanta, or MODA, the exhibit highlighting architecht Eero Saarinen's "brief yet brilliant career" comes to an end soon, on June 30. Saarinen is known for designing the St. Louis Gateway Arch and JFK Airport's TWA Terminal, but the exhibit also delves into his "secret professional life" in the Office of Strategic Services (which later evolved into the CIA) during World War II. 
  • On June 22, 2013
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    What are the best activities to do in Atlanta?

    There are so many things to do in Atlanta, both indoors and outdoors.

    In the summer, go tubing down the Chattahoochee River (locals will tell you to "Shoot the Hooch"), catch a laser show at Stone Mountain, or tailgate before heading to a Braves game at Turner Field.

    When the leaves start to change, hike up Kennesaw Mountain or bike around the Silver Comet Trail, and in the spring, the Smith-Gilbert and Atlanta Botanical gardens are beautiful. You can also explore the Eastside Trail of Atlanta's new BeltLine, which connects Midtown to Inman Park in 2.25 miles of paved path. 

    Want to stay indoors? Tour the World of Coca-Cola or the CNN Center, check out the Buford Highway Farmers Market, go to happy hour at the High Museum, watch a puppet show at the Center or Puppetry Arts, or enjoy martinis and an IMAX movie at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.