The Most Impressive Appetizers in Atlanta Steakhouses

Appetizers play a pivotal role in any meal, but especially at steakhouses, they’re a key opportunity for restaurants to set themselves apart from the standard fray of shrimp cocktail and French onion soup. In Atlanta, steakhouses have appetizers down to a science, turning out awe-inspiring dishes that are sure to whet the mightiest of appetites. Here are some of the best steakhouses in town for some show-stopping first courses. 


Chops Lobster Bar
Chops Lobster Bar

Kevin Rathbun Steak: You won’t find anything typical at this contemporary masterpiece. Across the board, dishes large and small are thoroughly inventive and entirely original. For starters, feast on a smorgasbord of eggplant fries, Coca-Cola baby back pork ribs, Jack cheese-pecan fritters with red pepper jelly, lobster fritters and even venison carpaccio with horseradish “paint.” 

Chops Lobster Bar: This institution isn’t afraid to search far and wide for the utmost ingredients, paying top dollar for high-quality. This is especially evident on its appetizer section, where calamari sourced from Rhode Island comes with thin beans, sweet peppers and toasted pepitas; and foie gras from New York gets a raw sugar brulee and Sauternes gelee; and escargots from Burgundy gets splashed with Pernod and garlic butter. 

STK: Across the country, the STK brand upholds a reputation as one of the most consistently inventive, dynamic steakhouses in the U.S. At the Atlanta location, this ethos is on full display with starter stars like big-eye tuna tartare with soy-honey emulsion, crispy calamari with chili remoulade, beef short rib ravioli with parsnips and sage, and PEI mussels in a roasted tomato and leek broth. 

McKendrick’s Steakhouse: You know you’re in the South when you see she-crab soup on the menu. In this case, the regional specialty, a rarity in every other part of the U.S., is served as a silky-smooth, buttery bisque with fresh lump crab flecked on top. It’s a standout among the appetizer selection, along with fried oysters with roasted jalapeño tartar sauce, barbecued jumbo shrimp with smoked tomatoes, and tempura fried South African lobster tail with soy-ginger sauce. 

101 Steak: With appetizer options like these, it’s all too tempting just to order one of each and make a meal of small plates. Case in point: braised fennel meatballs come with gravy-like “Sunday-style” sauce, tempura Maine lobster tail gets seasoned with green tea sea salt, roasted marrow bones arrive with fresh sage and onion marmalade, and broiled oysters come with a veritable salad of kale, roasted garlic, pancetta and Tomme cheese. 

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