Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants on Buford Highway
The restaurants on Buford Highway are a melting pot of international influences, and navigating the cuisine can be a great cultural experience for your kids. My family frequents this area, and we love trying new flavors. Here are our recommendations for the best restaurants along Buford Highway.
5231 Buford Hwy., Doraville
Right now, my favorite restaurant is LanZhou Ramen. Once you place your order, your children can head over to the kitchen window and watch cooks pull and cook the noodles. If it’s not too busy, the chef/owner may come out and give them a lesson in pulling noodles; this will keep them occupied until food arrives. My girls love to share an order of hand-pulled fried noodles and my husband and I usually share noodles in delicious broth with duck or beef. The steamed pan fried pork dumplings is also a favorite. Forks and knives are available, just in case your four-year-old isn’t yet adept with chopsticks.
5000 Buford Hwy., Chamblee
If you are planning your first trip to Buford Highway, Food Terminal is a great place to start. It was created by the founders of Top Spice and Sweet Hut, two Atlanta favorites. The food is Malaysian, but don’t let the fact that you don’t know anything about Malaysian food intimidate you. Food Terminal is sleek and modern in design and its menu is creatively put together with a table of contents and great photos of the food options. The crispy bao sandwiches can’t be beat, and Grandma’s Barbecue Pork is also delicious.
2905 Buford Hwy. NE, Atlanta
If Cuban sandwiches and empanadas are more your speed, you have to try Havana Sandwich Shop. My husband and I always order Cuban sandwiches and cheese, chicken and jalapeño empanadas. I have one child who will fight me for the last bite of Cuban sandwich or black beans, while the other will only eat plain chicken empanadas. The rice and beans soup and the steak sandwich are also good picks. This is the closest Buford Highway spot to Buckhead, making it easy to access from that part of town.
5288 Buford Hwy., Doraville
While many often look to Buford Highway for Asian-inspired fare, don’t count out the amazing Mexican restaurants. El Rey del Taco is a local favorite for authentic Mexican food. The tacos are obviously spot on, and add a seafood soup if you are feeling adventurous. Kids will love the straight forward combinations and fun décor, especially during the holidays.
If you have room, there are numerous dessert places within a quarter of a mile: a few roll-up ice creams shops, Paris Baguette, Mozart Bakery and Sweet Hut.
Paris Baguette is known for their cronuts, but the shop also offers giant bowls of dressed snow clouds (flavored shaved ice in tiramisu, green tea or fruit).
Mozart Bakery has more traditional desserts and cakes.
Sweet Hut offers a wide variety of rich, individual desserts as well as bubble tea drinks.
Picks from a Chef
My friend, Carey Wise, is my Buford Highway tour guide. I refer to him when I head that way for a new culinary adventure. He is the former Executive Chef at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and now owns Southern Links BBQ. He has a wealth of culinary knowledge, so I asked him for his Buford Highway short list.
El Rey del Taco: Authentic Mexican food. 5288 Buford Hwy.
Havana Sandwich Shop: Cuban sandwiches. 2905 Buford Hwy.
SoKongDong Tofu House: Tofu soup. 5280 Buford Hwy.
Man Chun Hong: Mix of Chinese and Korean dishes. 5953 Buford Hwy.
Com Vietnamese Grill: Rice paper wraps with grilled pork and beef. 4005 Buford Hwy.
Nam Phuong: Pho and Bun. 4051 Buford Hwy.
Food Terminal: Malaysian food. 5000 Buford Hwy.
Paris Baguette: Cronuts. 5252 Buford Hwy.
Sweet Hut: Asian desserts. 5150 Buford Hwy.
These restaurants are just a starting point in discovering what makes Buford Highway so unique. Whether it is Chinese, Korean Barbecue or Cuban, remember to keep an open mind, order a few things to try and give your kids a chance to explore.
If you want to try making international dishes at home…
Buford Highway Farmers Market
5600 Buford Hwy., Doraville
If the restaurants on Buford Highway are a representation of Atlanta’s melting pot, then the Buford Highway Farmers Market is where it comes to a boil. There are few places in Atlanta that offer fresher or a wider variety of produce, meat, or seafood from all over the world. It is always busy and there are going to be a lot of things you don’t recognize, right next to the things you do. It is my first stop for fresh and culturally-specific ingredients (my kids must have Udon noodles on hand at all times). Before you make your menu and shopping list, I suggest a preliminary trip to check it out and get a feel for the layout and inventory.
There’s no shortage of international treats, so let your kids go on a scavenger hunt at the Buford Highway Farmers Market:
- Mexican Pan Dulce
- Japanese fruit gummies (our favorite is Yuzu or fruit gels)
- Layered cake from the European pastry case
- Mini bananas
- Cadbury Flake Bars (a childhood favorite growing up in Scotland)
- Coffee candy from Russia, Poland, Turkey, Belarus or Ukraine
- Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) in the freezer section
- Italian Amaretti cookies
Stop by the café on your way out. My children won’t let us leave without a fresh crepe.
– Lauren Townsend