I love a good bite to eat. People wonder how I can be so skinny but it is because I only like really good food y’all! And when I say really good, I mean food that is fresh, exciting, and gorgeous. Zagat voters named Birmingham, Alabama as #1 for Next Hot Food Cities. Naturally, I was thrilled to be accepted by the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau for a Media Tour so I could check it out in person and share my findings with you. Here I will give you the scoop on the best restaurants Birmingham AL with plenty of photos to back it up and I’ll also let in on my suggestions for Birmingham things to do while you are in town. You can make a fantastic weekend getaway, just bring stretchy pants y’all because the food sure is good!
Best Restaurants Birmingham AL- Experience The Burgeoning Foodie Scene
Birmingham has changed dramatically in recent years with much growth and revitalization. I loved seeing all these old glamorous 1920’s buildings turned into hip fun spots for the young people. You will find the delicious comfort food you expect but you will also find some great fine dining, with fun, eclectic offerings. First up on my list of best restaurants Birmingham AL is Roots & Revelry.
1.Roots & Revelry Review
This Birmingham restaurant is the perfect example of the revitalization I mentioned before. It is located on the 2nd floor of the historic Thomas Jefferson Tower (aka TJ Tower). This 19-story building was formerly a hotel but has been turned into luxury loft apartments and you will still enjoy the ornate marble lobby area from the late 1920’s when you enter the building.
Fun Tidbit: I noticed a tall metal structure on top of the building that kind of looks like a mini Eiffel Tower and a local told me that was blimp docking station built because in the late 20s they thought that would be the next big form of transportation!
Roots & Revelry is a perfect place to start your culinary tour of Birmingham because they take what you know as traditional Southern Food and elevate it into a whole new fine dining experience. It is so good! They are open for brunch, lunch, and dinner. I ate there for brunch. They make it their mission to take advantage of the most fresh and local ingredients and you can tell an immense amount of pride goes into each dish they serve. And the drinks too! I ordered a Bloody Mary and it was just perfectly spiced and so full of flavor. I asked the waitress about it and she said they puree celery and the mix sits in the refrigerator for 3 days while all the flavors meld together.
Y’all hungry yet? Here’s more best restaurants Birmingham AL.
2. Pizitz Food Hall
The Pizitz Food Hall (which reminds me very much of a smaller version of Atlanta’s hip Krog Street Market) is perfect for a bite to eat, dessert, coffee or cocktails. It is located in the old Pizitz department store and features a delicious collection of small restaurant concepts from an array of accomplished restaurateurs. The center of the hall is fittingly dominated by The Louis, named after the original owner of The Pizitz building. It serves classic homemade treats like milkshakes and handmade sodas, as well as craft cocktails and local beers. The food vendors included international cuisine such Ethiopian and Japanese & Hawaiian cuisine Poké. It all looked delish but we went to town at the Waffle Works because they featured so many innovative ways to enjoy waffles! I was stuffed already when I got there but this is the kind of food you don’t pass up so I indulged in a bit more of everything with the shrimp and grits waffle being my favorite.
Expand your belts, there are more of the Best Restaurants Birmingham you will want to try!
This Birmingham restaurant is mixture of upscale dining with a casual feel. Ovenbird takes inspiration from the live fire traditions (wood fire cooking) of Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, and Argentina. The menu focuses on seasonal southern ingredients prepared in a small plate (Tapas) format. They have an amazing selection of craft cocktails, craft beers, and wines. Each dish was vibrant, full of new flavors, and very creative.
That is still not all, there are plenty of nice restaurants in Birmingham!
4. Trattoria Centrale
Another internationally influenced Birmingham restaurant is Trattoria Centrale. This place is serving up breakfast, lunch, Friday dinner, and Sunday brunch. They take the Italian culinary experience to a whole new place. I am Italian and I have spent lots of time in Tuscany and I can tell you that the influence is very authentic however, he is very creative and puts his Italian spin on dishes you would never find in Italy in a very successful way. Be ready to be surprised by his creations and very pleased. For example, breakfast pasta! The daily breakfast menu features locally sourced eggs and milk and you gotta love that too.
Just remembering all those good restaurants in Birmingham is really starting to make my mouth water!
5. Johnny’s Restaurant
Johnny’s Restaurant is a perfect reflection of classically fine dining trained chef and owner,Timothy Hontzas. He is Greek and Southern and that is exactly what you will find in his restaurant. He makes everything, including the yogurt for Taziki sauce from scratch. Everything is seasonal and locally sourced. The menu features “Meat & Three” as well as Greek specialties, such as Souvlaki and Greek meatballs.
Those are some of the best restaurants in Birmingham AL! If you’ve you tried any of these let me know your thoughts in the comments area below. But, I’m not done y’all. I have some more foodie secret insider tips to share with y’all.
Avondale has a happening food scene with coffee shops, barbecue, breweries, and a New York style pizzeria, Post Office Pies.
I was lucky enough to dine at a pop up restaurant with the chef behind Post Office Pies, Chef John Hall. He is from Birmingham and has returned there after culinary school, and gaining experience cooking in New York City. The five course meal was astounding. It was served at a private home built in 1910 on Birmingham’s Southside. It was such an intimate setting and I really enjoyed getting to talk to the guests as the meals made their way out to the table. It was a truly lovely evening.
Pop up restaurants are getting to be a thing in Birmingham so keep an ear open y’all!
I also have to tell you where you can get the best Red Velvet Cupcakes! Urban Standard cupcakes were delish and usually I wonder how places think I am going to eat all the icing they piled on top but this icing was so good, I gobbled it up.
I hear tell of a few more places you should eat in Birmingham:
Savage’s Bakery- Family owned and operated, in the heart of downtown Homewood, Alabama.
Hot and Hot Fish Club- Serves farm-to-table regional fare in downtown historic Birmingham.
Saw’s BBQ- Named as one of New York Times’ 52 Places to visit in 2017.
Some Good Eats Made In Birmingham:
Golden Flake Potato Chips – Known as the crispiest chip in the South.
Bud’s Best Cookies- Bite-sized!
The Peanut Place Peanuts – A Birmingham fixture since 1907.
Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale – This serious ginger ale ain’t playin’.
OK, so that is it for my list of Best Restaurants Birmingham AL and my insider foodie tips. I was planning to share some Birmingham things to do while you are there but I am have run on so long already that I will keep it short. I visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Negro Southern League Museum, Vulcan Park and Museum, and Railroad Park and I thought they really made my visit even more enriching.
As a side note, if you are worried about racism in Birmingham, I didn’t feel that was an issue at all. From what I saw, Birmingham has a history that has foraged strength and unity in moving forward and leaving that ugliness behind. You can read an more about that in my friend’s article at Travel See Write.
I stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Birmingham Downtown Near UAB in the Five Points South District and it was very nice and very convenient.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best restaurants Birmingham AL! Leave your experiences or suggestions in the comments below.