When I booked our tickets to fly to Chattanooga, TN, the best-priced itinerary included a 3 & 1/2 hour layover in Atlanta. While most travelers would think of this as a major inconvenience, I only had one thing on my mind: I’d finally be able to eat at One Flew South.
I’ve been reading about this restaurant for a while. It has a great reputation with restaurant reviewers and travel bloggers alike and gets 4 1/2 Stars on Yelp!, with almost 1000 reviews to date. It’s also on several “Best of” lists, including the 10 Best Sushi in Atlanta and Best Airport Food in the World. One Flew South refers to itself as “the first upscale dining restaurant in the world’s busiest airport.” Those are pretty big shoes to fill so you may be able to see why I was looking forward to eating there. Remember, I’m partial to Cask & Larder, my hometown airport restaurant and One Flew South set a high bar to impress me.
In order to eat at One Flew South, you first need to find it. Atlanta airport is massive, consisting of seven terminals/concourses (A, B, C, D, E, F & T), with an underground train and walkway connecting them. All of the concourses are past TSA checkpoints so you can easily go between them.
One Flew South is located in Terminal E, which is one of two international terminals the airport has. If you’re coming from a domestic flight, you need to take the train to Terminal E and head up the escalator. The restaurant is directly ahead, on the left.
There’s table seating inside, along with seats at the sushi bar and the regular bar.
There’s also a section on tables outside that is great for people watching, if that’s your thing. While we were there, we sat at the outside tables and listened to the pianist playing at the adjacent food court. What, your airport doesn’t have live music at the food court?
I guess it’s about time I got to writing about the food. Here’s a copy of the menu the day we were there. It does appear to change with some regularity, as items I read about online were no longer available but new ones were.
Our server was attentive and catered the experience to each guest. When we sat down, she asked us how much time we had to dine with them. I said that our plane wasn’t for 2 1/2 hours but we had to get back to the other terminal. She said that was plenty of time and did we want to eat quickly or spend our time at the restaurant? I told her we didn’t have to get anywhere and we could stay as long as they’d have us. I thought this was a very common sense thing to do for an airport restaurant but it was done in a very friendly yet professional manner. One of the small touches that this place gets right.
We started with a round of drinks to start off our vacation. Sharon ordered a Georgia Bellini ($15) that included champagne, peach puree and ginger syrup and I got a Bombay Sapphire dry martini ($15). Both drinks were wonderfully prepared (I can’t believe bartenders can mess up a dry martini but they often do). In just enough time for us to enjoy some of our drinks, the food arrived.
Sharon ordered the Pulled Duck Sandwich ($15)
while I got the “OFS” Dirty South open-faced meatloaf ($14).
Yes, that is meatloaf with smoked bacon covered with a fried egg.
Both of these dishes were as good as they looked. In fact, I’m surprised we both took the time to take pictures of them before devouring them. The only negative at all was the dishes were not very large so if you’re hungry, just an entree might not fill you up.
Don’t worry, because that will leave room for dessert. Normally we’ll order one dessert with two spoons but there were so many choices we decided to try two of them.
Banana Pudding ($9) on the left and Bourbon Pound Cake ($9) on the right. Note that both of these are on the same side of the table. Sharon decided that she’d try some of each because they looked so good and then I could have what was left 🙂 I did eventually get to try them and they were both fantastic.
At this time, we had to leave to get to our plane. In all, we were there for a little short of two hours. At no time did we feel the service was dragging and our food was delivered hot (or cold) and drinks were freshly made. Our water glasses were always refilled before they got to the bottom. We left there full, maybe too full and feeling that we had an excellent dining experience, no matter where the restaurant is located.
One Flew South lived up to the hype. The decor is fresh and modern fitting into the international terminal. The staff was all professional, efficient and friendly. It’s rare that a place is able to pull off all three. The food is top notch and the only fault we found was the servings are a bit small for the price. Drinks were inventive and flavorful with prices on the top end of what you’d find at a restaurant bar in a major city. Our check ended up being right around $100 with 3 drinks, 2 entrees and two desserts.
I can see why people love this place so much. It’s not a restaurant that you’d expect to find in an airport. The staff, the food, the atmosphere belongs in a major city with a line to get a reservation. Instead, you can walk up to eat a great meal between flights. I’m glad I finally got a chance to eat here. If I ever have another a long layover in Atlanta, I’ll be back, but I’m not going to plan one just so I can eat here again (Note from Sharon: Well, maybe? Depending on the trip? LOLOL!).
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