Thursday, October 2, 2008

Atlanta gets shafted by Travel & Leisure poll

Travel & Leisure recently came out with a ranking of cities based on metrics including culture, food & dining, nightlife and quality of living. Having just moved back here from NY, I'm well aware of the many reasons that draw a person to Atlanta - you get a big city feel for cheap prices, a friendly and diverse community, great weather, unparalleled airport access, and a wide variety of fun things to do.

Apparently Travel & Leisure readers disagree. If you believe their poll, Atlanta is craptastic with ugly people, no good restaurants and very few redeeming qualities. Apparently all we have going for us is affordability, where we rank 11th.

I beg to differ on most of the metrics. I mean, ugly people? The South is known for beautiful women, and I wouldn't hold my breath on the ladies of Minneapolis being slimmer or better kept!

That said, it's the food rankings that really annoy me. There are more destination restaurants in San Antonio, a city with fewer than 2M people, than Atlanta? I wouldn't bet on it. Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, Bones, Chops, Holeman & Finch, Shaun's, Aria, Rathbun's...all restaurants worth making a trip for. And on ethnic food/cheap eats we rank 23 out of 25. Have these people not heard of Buford Highway?

Oh well, I suppose Atlanta is being under-estimated, which is a shame, but perhaps by flying under the radar, we can avoid the flashy overload of a city like LA and the prices of a NY. Could Atlanta's dining scene improve? Certainly. We are a land of chain restaurants and there are plenty of mediocre places to dine, but there are hidden gems and well-known and loved establishments that turn out some really fantastic food. I for one am excited by the risk-taking and attention to quality ingredients that is increasingly pervasive in Atlanta.

Travel & Leisure can kiss my grits!

So tell me what you think? Do you agree with Travel & Leisure or do you think Atlanta is being underestimated?



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