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Saturday lunch in Birmingham this week

Unfortunately, most of Birmingham's best restaurants are closed for lunch on Saturday. It sounds like you're looking for a nice, sit-down lunch. If that's the case, your best bet is Bottega Cafe (next door to Bottega restaurant). The cafe is more casual (and less expensive) than the restaurant, but still delicious.

Some other options
- Flip Burger (at the Summit; upscale and creative burger place; owned by a Top Chef winner)
- Chez Lulu (in the English Village area of Mountain Brook; good sandwiches/soups/tarts; French; attached to a Continental Bakery which provides the restaurant with all of its bread)

Apr 23, 2012
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Going to Birmingham for the day...Looking for a great spot to have a tasty casual dinner...Any suggestions?

Here are a few options I think would fit your criteria:

Chez Fon Fon - Casual upscale French bistro; crowd is mostly well-dressed young professionals; owned by highly acclaimed local chef Frank Stitt; entree prices range from $10-20; great cocktails & wine list

El Barrio - New downtown restaurant serving Mexican food; focus on high-quality local ingredients (i.e., you won't find ground beef tacos with processed cheese here--think more along the lines of carnitas with lime crema, etc.); great atmosphere; tacos are $3.50/per, entrees range from $13-19

Trattoria Centrale - Downtown restaurant focusing on Italian food; the pizza is roman-style--relatively thick crust and cut into squares, toppings are creative; pastas are truly delightful; emphasis on local ingredients; very small, so gets crowded; no table service--you order at a counter and they bring you the food; very affordable (about $10/person) [Note: Only open for dinner on Fridays]

Dec 30, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Birmingham -- Best meal of 2011

My best meal of 2011 was at Bottega. I started with the Parmesan Souffle, which is always delicious. But the standout was my entree, lobster spaghetti. The lobster was tender and flaky, the noodles perfectly cooked, and the tomato-sauce delightfully spicy. For dessert, I had a blueberry, polenta-poundcake tiramisu.

Nothing else really came close to that meal, although I'll give shout-out to MIX for their Pork Belly BLT. That was definitely my best lunch of the year.

Dec 23, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

El Barrio -- Birmingham

For those of you who don't know, the guys responsible for Trattoria Centrale (aka Zaza) have just opened a Mexican street food restaurant on 2nd Ave North. Here's the online menu for those who want to peruse:

Currently, El Barrio is just open for lunch (11-3), but will soon extend their hours to include dinner six nights a week. The renovation to the building is fantastic. If nothing else, the restaurant will be a great place for an after-work margarita simply because of the atmosphere/location.

I went for lunch a few days ago, and ordered the duo of salsas, a taco carnitas, and a taco al pastor. The salsas were fairly typical: one was red, tomato-based; the other green, tomatillo-based. The salsas were chunky, and clearly fresh. But despite the freshness, the red salsa was still nothing more than a tomato mush (with a hint of cilantro). There was not an ounce of heat. The green salsa had a subtle flavor, but not worth the calories.

The tacos were a definite improvement. The al pastor was absolutely delicious and had a nice kick. I will be back for that one. The carnitas was solid. Service was slow, but that's to be expected during any restaurant's first week.

Despite the weak salsas, I will definitely return. I'm intrigued by some of the more inventive items on the menu, and the tacos are the best in the immediate area. And, hopefully, El Barrio will work out some of the kinks as they get in the swing of the things.

Dec 23, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Special occasion dinner - Birmingham

The chef/owner of Highlands Bar & Grill (Frank Sitt) also owns Bottega, Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fon Fon. If you like Highlands, you'll like the other three. Bottega and Bottega Cafe are Italian-inspired while Chez Fon Fon is French. There are other options, of course, but I think you'll enjoy any of the Stitt establishments.

Dec 03, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

New Gastropub - Birmingham

Apparently, a new gastropub just opened in Mountain Brook Village. Sounds pretty good--the chef has worked at Bottega Cafe among other places. See the link below for details.

Anyone been?

Aug 11, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Birmingham-NEED HELP!!!

For good places to drink beers around the Highland Avenue area:

The Garage
J. Clyde

For the best food in the Highlands area:

Chez Fon Fon
Hot & Hot

Of the options listed above, I think Hot & Hot or Highlands are best for a group of guys who want to hang out and have some drinks. They are upscale, but not in the "stuffy" sense. They're just nice restaurants with great food and a comfortable atmosphere. They both have very active bars. You will need reservations.

2921 Highland Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205

Aug 07, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Brick & Tin, Birmingham

Just wanted to add that Brick & Tin has mostly solved the wait issues. While the restaurant is always crowded at lunch, the ridiculous crowds have died down as the newness has worn off and the downtown lunch options have increased. The past 3 times I've been, my wait has been no longer than 10 minutes (which is certainly worth it).

Aug 01, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Birmingham - Favorite "cheap" eats/dishes?

I had this bucatini recently at Trattoria's Friday dinner. I agree--it was outstanding!

Aug 01, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Bham area - Let's talk barbecue

I've been to the vast majority of the places mentioned in this thread, so I'll throw in my 2 cents. In Alabama, I have found 2 barbeque restaurants that I truly enjoy: Saw's (in Homewood) and Archibald's. Of the two, Archibald's is superior overall, but the chicken at Saw's is perfect.

Archibald's is nothing more than a cinderblock shed in the middle of a rundown neighborhood in Tuscaloosa (Northport, technically). The pulled pork is slow-cooked, and bathed in a very thin, vinegar sauce. There also appears to be some South Carolina mustard-sauce influence as well. The pulled meat is smoky, fatty, and tender. It's the best pulled pork I've ever had, and truly better than anything else in Alabama. There's no sides (except white bread, made deliciously soggy by the sauce). If you love BBQ, it's worth the drive from Birmingham. Archibald's is now the standard by which I judge all 'cue.

A few other Alabama places that are worth going to, but are not truly great: Jim N Nicks, Dreamland, The Brick Pit (Mobile).

Jul 29, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Birmingham - new, or new to you?

Have you been to ORE in Crestline Park? It used to be Open Door Cafe, but they have a new menu.

What about that new Frio en La Paz place in Vestavia?

There's also that relatively new breakfast/brunch place near Mountain Brook Village, Over Easy. I haven't heard any reviews, but it's probably worth checking out. If you've been, I'm curious--how was it?

Jul 29, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Birmingham - new, or new to you?

Bettola--I can't comment yet as I have not been, but it's on the top of my list of places to try. I'm mostly intrigued by the housemade salames, the imported cheeses, handmade pastas, etc.

Jul 29, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South

Birmingham - new, or new to you?

Well, I have no idea where you've been, so I apologize if some of the suggestions are obvious, but here it goes:

Saw's - Great BBQ restaurant in Homewood. They're smoked chicken is excellent (they serve it with a white sauce). I have not had their pork/red sauce, but I've heard good things. They do BBQ right.

Brannon's Public House - Irish gastropub downtown. I haven't been, but have heard good things.

MIX - Gourmet sandwiches/bakery downtown. Partially owned by Chris Dupont (from Cafe DuPont). The MIX BLT is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Ever. Essentially, it's slabs of succulent pork belly stuffed inside fluffy, freshly baked foccacia. With of course tomato, romaine, etc.

Camp Taco - Taco joint in Five Points. The interior's pretty shabby (I think it was an old Subway), but the tacos are great. The ingredients are advertised as fresh, and they certainly taste like it. My favorite has chicken, corn, and white BBQ sauce on it. Not a traditional taco, but very good.

Trattoria Centrale - I think it was mentioned in this thread, but have you been for their Friday dinner or Sunday brunch? They're both phenomenal.

GianMarco's - Great Italian place in Homewood. It's been around for a while, but I just found out about it.

Urban Standard - They started doing dinner, but I haven't been. Judging from their other stuff, it's probably pretty good.

Hart and Soul - Sandwich shop that just opened in Edgewood. Got a good review in the paper--I haven't been.

Slice - Gourmet pizza place in Lakeview. The atmosphere is the best part, in my opinion. The porch has a view of Lakeview with the skyline in the background. They have only AL beers on tap, which is a good thing in my book. Food is good, too.

Bettola - Upscale Italian/pizza place in Lakeview. Food + Wine just named it the best new restaurant in the South.

Urban Standard
Birmingham, AL, Birmingham, AL

2901 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Jul 28, 2011
magiccityfoodie in Central South