Birmingham Restaurant Guide

These Birmingham restaurants redefine Southern food.

In this pocket of the Dirty South, it's not about fancy. Sure, James Beard Award-winning chefs like Frank Stitt and Chris Hastings know how to put on the dog. But it's today's young turks obsessed with putting great food in the hands of diners no matter the restaurant style—or price point—who are driving the food scene.

El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar
Under the guidance of Brian Somershield, a Stitt acolyte, this ever-bustling joint turns out thoughtful interpretations of modern Mexican, such as grilled chorizo meat-loaf. 2211 2nd Avenue North; elbarriobirmingham.com

Highlands Bar and Grill
Frank Stitt's landmark restaurant that made the city a must for food lovers. 2011 Eleventh Avenue South; highlandsbarandgrill.com

Hot and Hot Fish Club
A showcase of Alabama's bounty, grown, caught, or foraged. 2180 11th Court South; hotandhotfishclub.com

Johnny's Restaurant
Timothy Hontzas, whose family founded Niki's West, delivers his farm-fresh take on the meat 'n' three. 2902 18th St South Suite 200; johnnyshomewood.com

Niki's West
The ultimate meat 'n' three, with more than 30 veggies on the lineup. 233 Finley Avenue West; nikiswest.com

Ollie Irene 
Don’t let its strip mall location fool you; this suburban gem is all about farm-fresh ingredients from local purveyors. The mussels are the best in town and you’re in luck if the 20-Mile Salad is on special—every ingredient comes from less than 20 miles away. 2713 Culver Road; ollieirene.com


Satterfield's Restaurant
These chefs maintain strong relationships with local farmers, intimately tying their menus to the growing seasons. 3161 Cahaba Heights Road; satterfieldsrestaurant.com  

Saw's Soul Kitchen
Barbecue man Mike Wilson recently moved his restaurant into the burgeoning Avondale neighborhood, adding such options as Fried Green BLTs and marinated lady peas to his roster of porky goodness. 205/315-4366

Steel City Pops
The Watkins family makes each flavor with organic cane sugar and loads of fresh fruit, à la Mexican paletas. With varieties like the tart and tangy Strawberry Balsamic ($3), they show that even simple frozen treats have upped the ante. steelcitypops.com

Vittoria Macelleria
Chef James Lewis, owner of trattoria Bettola (bettolarestaurant.blogspot.com) will change the way you think about meat at this small-plate homage to the art of butchery. 205/315-4366