I’m always looking for amazing local foodie joints in Atlanta, and I’m excited to say that I’ve found a new personal favorite nestled in the Highlands.

Run by affianced team Laurie Dominguez & Chef Steven Lingenfelter, Illegal Food delivers surprisingly elevated fare in a funky, relaxed space. You might remember their pop-up turned permanent location at Joystick Gamebar in Edgewood, but you can find their new home surrounded by Highlands favorites like Dark Horse & Atkins Park.

Illegal Food is known for their burgers (Zagat touted their burgers as the best in the city in 2014 & 2015) but don’t sleep on their outstanding menu of ever-changing items Thursday – Sunday of each week.

I had the opportunity to try a mix of both menu standbys & brand new items (I visited on a Thursday), and was honestly blown away by every plate put in front of me.

My meal started with a bowl of incredible crackly fried pork rinds tossed in a salt & vinegar mix – I didn’t even order them, but Laurie mentioned that she’ll bring variations of these out to guests as a fun starter to their meal.


illegal food atlanta


One of the best things I ate at Illegal Food (and one of my favorite fall dishes I’ve had in Atlanta to date) was a beautiful squash ravioli with brown butter sage and shaved pecorino. The dish was so complex and full of hearty fall flavor, I would have never guessed it was from a restaurant known mostly for their burgers.


illegal food atlanta


Before moving on to the burgers and sandwiches on the menu, I also tried a bright bowl of beef tip stir fry, black & white rice, and seasonal veggies topped with a sunny side egg. This dish was a surprising addition to a menu populated with hearty classics and twists on bar favorites, and made for a wonderful plate of leftovers the following day (come ready to eat, the portions are huge!) It also looked stunning on cameria, if I do say so myself.


illegal food atlanta


To wrap up my meal (if you can believe I was still able to fit in more food at this point), I tried the buffalo fried chicken sandwich with Swiss & blue cheese, as well as The Fungus Among Us, a massive burger with a blend of wild mushrooms, swiss, arugula, red onion, and truffle mayo.

The buffalo chicken sammie was covered in a perfectly crispy breading and tossed in a sweet, not too spicy sauce – the blue cheese & house-made pickles made this one a home run for me. In addition to the genius name, The Fungus Among Us is savory and satisfying, with a bit of delicate crunch from the arugula and red onion. All of Illegal Food’s burgers are ground in-house daily with Brasstown Beef, with all sandwiches served on Ratio Bakeshop buns from Decatur.


illegal food atlanta

illegal food atlanta


The bottom line at Illegal Food – everything on the menu is handcrafted with locally sourced ingredients by a small, passionate team. You can feel the thought and story behind every dish – and the outdoor patio on a stunning fall day doesn’t hurt either.

Make sure to check out the weekend menu at Illegal Food for wicked specials in addition to their usual suspects. To learn more about Illegal Food and to plan your visit, click here.

Thanks so much to Laurie and her team for hosting me. This is a really fantastic restaurant, and it was a pleasure tasting their food and sharing it with ATL Adventurer readers.