Right in the heart of Birmingham's downtown lies this bright, festive restaurant. With polished wood and a giant, colorful mural adorning the wall, the atmosphere is comfortable and friendly. The menu features dishes inspired from all over Mexico, from of course tacos to dishes like short rib quesadillas, grilled chorizo meatloaf or enchiladas. At the bar, fill up on something from their impressive wine list, one of their four different margaritas or another one of their unique, signature cocktails.
Niki's West has been a Birmingham institution since 1957, and little has changed since then. Diners can opt for quicker cafeteria service of the classic southern "meat and three", or table service, where you can order more extensive steak and seafood dishes. Get the full range of southern specialties at Niki's West, from country fried steak, fried catfish and crab legs to sides like collared greens, sweet potatoes, lima beans and fried okra.
Located downtown near the University of Alabama-Birmingham and its medical center, the Fish Market is the cheapest and possibly the best seafood restaurant in Birmingham. The owners are from Greece, so the self-service dining area is decorated with Greek photos and artwork. There is a small grocery area and of course, a fish market. The food is fresh, and the portions large. Be prepared for a crowd at any given time; this place is an unbeatable value and that's a well-known fact.
Trattoria Centrale is a popular, casual place located in Birmingham's bustling downtown. The trattoria serves Italian-inspired dishes, from pizzas with toppings ranging from three cheese to sweet potato or egg to pastas and salads. The trattoria is especially well known for its daily specials, which might be anything from Chicken Piccata to Panzanella. They also source much of their produce from their own rooftop garden, and are especially popular for their Sunday brunch.
Rojo is a popular choice for people looking for outstanding Latin and American menus in one trendy place. Diners can take their pick of American favorites like cheesesteaks, burgers, wings and big salads, or Latin dishes like tacos, burritos and quesadillas. There is also a gluten-free menu and a kids menu. Also popular is the weekend brunch with a small but solid selection of breakfast burritos, egg dishes and Mexican-inspired foods. Daily specials include a weekday happy hour, sangria Sundays and Corona Tuesdays.
Located on First Avenue North in downtown Irondale, Irondale Café, the original WhistleStop Café, has been serving traditional Southern food at the same location for years. The cafe is a traditional Southern restaurant where the customers order their food cafeteria-style, then carry the tray to a seat. The cafe became famous to the rest of the world when it was the setting for the book and film Fried Green Tomatoes. Though judging from its large and loyal clientele, it became famous in Irondale many years before that for its quality and consistency—and cornbread rolls!
Downtown Birmingham has a slew of soul-food and Caribbean themed restaurants. One of the better ones along 4th Avenue is definitely Yeh Man, where the Jerk Chicken is spicy and the Oxtail is braised perfectly. Guests have their choice of goat, oxtail, chicken or vegetarian and the option to prepare it stewed, Jerk style, or in a delicious curry. Whatever you choose, the plates are authentic and the prices are always right.
Green Acres Cafe is a chicken wing specialist, where the kitchen prepares thousands of them every week. In addition to wings, the menu is simple, straight-forward and no-frills, with items like the ubiquitous Southern fried green tomatoes, okra and whitefish. If you prefer chicken gizzards and livers, Green Acres prepares some of the best in town. To drink, it's water, tea, soda or fountain-drinks all the way.
Maki Fresh is a local chain of casual restaurants that serves healthy rice bowls, sushi and salads. There are locations around Alabama as well as Mississippi, where the fast-casual kitchens prepare Maki rolls and flavorful bowls. The list of signature rolls include the Bubblegum made with crab, tuna and Sriracha, the Kadoma Tuna served on a rice cake, or the Tide which is cooked entirely in Tempura batter. For meat lovers, the novel sliders are excellent and the rice bowls equally innovative and delicious. Additionally, Maki Fresh has a kid's menu with healthy options for the little ones.
Roly Poly Sandwiches is a franchise restaurant/deli with locations in more than twenty states. The menu features more than fifty different specialty sandwich combinations, and you can find almost every type of deli meat imaginable, from bologna to headcheese. Create your own sandwich and the list of options becomes even more innumerable. In addition to sandwiches, counter service also offers salads, soups and a catering menu for private events.
Found in the bustling downtown area of Birmingham, Brick & Tin offers an impressive menu comprising flavorsome sandwiches, delectable soups and salads. Owned by Mauricio Papapietro, this sandwich joint is creatively done up with exposed, brick walls and comfortable seating. Brick & Tin procures all ingredients from local farms, while the meats are always freshly cut and hormone-free. The well-stocked bar offers unrestricted views of its kitchen, so you know that everything is being prepared in a healthy way. Brick & Tin also offers interesting options for non-meat lovers.
With just this location and another in Las Vegas, celebrity chef Todd English presents a mishmash of dishes that range from classic sliders and chicken wings to lobster rolls and Ahi tuna wontons. One look at the menu and you will see many familiar items like fish & chips, French dips, Reuben sandwiches and burgers, but chef Todd amplifies them with his own particular flair. Just as with his location in Vegas, this space exudes modern elegance with a tinge of nostalgia in the tin ceilings and open bay window seating, and it is far more convivial than pretentious.