Answers from Our Experts (2)
The food culture in Birmingham has bloomed in recent years, influenced by an influx of foodies and James Beard award-winning chefs inspired by farm-to-table movements. It was tough to narrow down the list, but here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ favorite places to eat in Birmingham:
1. Highlands Bar and Grill. For sophisticated French-inspired Southern cooking, chef Frank and Pardis Stitt whip up some of the best cuisine in town. With an oyster bar and daily entrees such cornmeal fried quail and flat iron steak, and a vast wine menu—there’s plenty to keep everyone smiling.
2. The Hot and Hot Fish Club. James Beard award winner chef Chris Hastings commands the helm here with a tasty, seasonal menu. Snag a seat near the open kitchen for lively atmosphere or ask to be seated in the dining room for a more private experience. All of the produce is freshly picked from Dave Garfrerick’s farm, and you can taste the freshness in each dish.
3. Bottega Restaurant and Café. Executive chef Frank Stitt has done it again. Within walking distance of The Hot and Hot Fish Club, you’ll find Bottega, an Italian-inspired restaurant. You can dine in the main restaurant or for a less expensive experience opt for the café. The service and cuisine are both top notch. We loved the Golf shrimp risotto and the hickory grilled Tanglewood Farms chicken.
4. Chez Fonfon. For authentic French bistro cuisine, as conceived by Chef Frank Stitt, make a trip here. Whatever you order, don’t miss the house favorite, French fries with aioli.
Ocean. This George Reis restaurant specializes in, you guessed it, all things from the ocean. Seafood lovers will be in heaven with a menu full of the freshest oysters, lobster, crap and tuna.
This is a mature food market because when Frank [Stitt] opened his restaurant in 1982, that was the big bang moment for Birmingham. An independent food scene was born. It’s been wildly successful and important in Southern culture and since that time, a lot of people have come out of Frank’s kitchen and out of my kitchen and other people’s kitchens to create a real diverse market. We have great food trucks like Shindigs, and great local restaurants like Ollie Irene, Bettola, Stones Throw Bar and Grill, Brick & Tin and El Barrio. I could go on and on. Also our barbecue community is really strong, whether it’s Jim ‘N Nick’s or Golden Rule or Full Moon. Plus, we’ve got an interesting hot dog culture — the Greek community 100 years ago started popping up these really great little hot dog stands that are amazing.