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.
GianMarco is a collaborative effort between brothers Giani and Marco Respinto. With immense respect for their Italian heritage, their namesake restaurant is an ode to northern Italian gastronomy. Delectable classics including homemade pasta and regional specialties are served in a charming atmosphere that is reminiscent of a quintessential trattoria. They pride themselves on a thoughtful selection of over 300 wines that are sourced from vineyards across Italy. Take in the aromas of the cuisine that promises a whiff of tradition.
Located on Highland Avenue near Five Points South, Bottega offers an eclectic menu of Italian-inspired dishes in a very stylish setting. The building itself resembles a Roman civic building, with faux archways and a decorative concrete facade. The decor is Art Deco in style, and the furnishings are elegant and tasteful. The menu features a wide array of appetizers and entrees that change daily. Though many of the dishes are Italian-inspired, they also make good use of local ingredients. The dessert menu and the wine lists are extensive.
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 on 11th Court near Five Points South, Hot and Hot Fish Club offers an ever-changing menu of items made from local, organic produce and farm-raised meats. The menu changes daily, but the approach to cooking is consistent in its focus on freshness and variety. The award-winning wine list offers a complement to each dish. With the exposed brick walls decorated with modern art, this is an excellent spot for meetings and intimate gatherings.
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.
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.
Situated in a historic downtown building, Chef Tom Saab prepares recipes that pay homage to traditional techniques, only he uses ingredients that are more localized. For instance, the fried green tomatoes come with a crawfish aioli and the massive Gulf Shrimp plate is served with vegetable risotto. Of course, guests can still find Steak Frites and Duck Confit if looking for more traditional French bistro dishes, however one would be remiss not to order the Grilled Octopus served with Spanish Chorizo, Romesco and a Squid-ink Vinaigrette for the entire table before starting with anything else.
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.