The Athens bubble is a magical place where food dreams are possible, but have you ever wanted to venture south for a night? Well if you're looking for an excuse to make the great escape, here are five Atlanta food destinations that'll make your trip worth it.

1. Taquería San Pancho

chili, beef, chorizo, tacos
Reilly Farrell

From a casual Cuban sandwich shop in Cali N Tito’s to a real Uruguayan panadería at Tacuari Bakery, Athens has an outstanding array of Latin American cuisine. This, however, doesn’t mean there aren’t experiences worth seeking outside of the Classic City.

Taquería San Pancho, located in Tucker, GA, provides a huge selection of simple, authentic Mexican dishes with meats not usually found on American restaurant menus (pig head, beef tongue, beef brain, tripe, etc.).

Bilingual friends are recommended, as the menu is completely in Spanish, and you’ll want to be able to understand when the number is called for your order. If you’re looking for some Spanish-speaking immersion (and fresh tacos), Taquería San Pancho has you covered.

2. Pho Bac

Pho Bac evokes strong childhood memories for me. As a kid, I visited with my dad and sister in search of meals unheard of in our Atlanta suburb. My family's lunches and dinners there were fantastic.

Now, the pho broth still explodes on the tongue, and the onions and beansprouts still add a refreshing crunch to the soup.

Additionally, Pho Bac's menu includes bahn mi, vermicelli, and Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk, but the pho is truly the star of the menu. Pho Bac is, without a doubt, worth the day trip to Buford Highway.

3. Double Zero

I typically have to stop myself from assuming Italian restaurants are boring. While it’s often represented by a few basic entrees in the U.S. (pizza, pasta, lasagna, etc.), Italian food is actually a diverse cuisine made to bring out its ingredients’ best qualities.

Double Zero is no exception: ingredients from pork belly to duck to a wide variety of mushrooms are displayed at their tastiest. Savory egg-based pastas, and authentic Italian pizza’s await, so if you want to visit your friends at Emory, grab a delicious meal at Double Zero while you’re there.

4. Tempo Doeloe

Tempo Doeloe is a rare source of real Indonesian food in Atlanta. The casual atmosphere prepares diners for a simple meal. But when the food arrives, flavors upon halal flavors cover the table in a family style arrangement.

Indonesian fare served at Tempo Doeloe is hearty and filling, combining both South and East Asian spices to form cohesive food creations. It’s a meal that will leave you more than full for your drive back to Athens.

5. Sun in My Belly

Athens has plenty of charming brunch spots, so if you're a regular at The Grit or Mama's Boy, you'll love Sun in My Belly. The restaurant provides an excellent refueling destination near the Old Fourth Ward. Challah French toast, shrimp and grits, and a pimento cheese omelette are just a few of the tempting breakfast menu items.