Where to begin? From international fare to down-home cooking, people in Birmingham restaurants know their way around the kitchen.
Klingler's European Bakery & Cafe in Vestavia Hills serves decadent breakfast treats seven days a week. Try the cheese blintzes with blueberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar.
For something a bit more formal, sample the Sunday brunch menu at Cobb Lane Restaurant, where you'll find the signature she-crab soup.
Art favors morning meals at The Continental Bakery in English Village, a small European cafe with traditional crusty breads and pastries. Stay for lunch at its neighboring sister restaurant, Chez Lulu, where Bohemian style and fresh salads and quiches make for a pleasant repast.
I spend lots of Saturdays feasting on the catfish sandwich at O.T.'s Neighborhood Sports Grill. If you're craving something more exotic, you can easily take a break to eat Thai noodle dishes or sushi at Surin West.
Still hungry? For an inexpensive seafood dinner, go for Fish Market Restaurant. If you want to splurge, eat at chef Frank Stitt's Highlands Bar and Grill. Order the stone-ground baked grits as an appetizer.
Also in the family of Frank Stitt restaurants, try Bottega or Bottega Café. These spots offer Italian and Mediterranean flavors in a hip atmosphere. Try the three-cheese macaroni or an oak-fired pizza topped with smoked salmon.
Another star in Birmingham dining is Hot and Hot Fish Club. Chef Chris Hastings creates the seasonal Hot and Hot Tomato Salad, combining tomatoes, fried okra, and bacon.
For something simple, choose the new 122-room Courtyard Birmingham Downtown at UAB. The hotel is within walking distance to City Stages.
Another option is the Hampton Inn Lakeshore near Homewood. The inn's upscale touches create a comfy environment at a nice price.
If you want more luxury, drive 20 minutes from downtown to the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. The newest and best place in Birmingham, it's part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. (Note: June 16-18 is a busy weekend for local hotels. Visit www.sltravelplanner.com for more choices.)
Birmingham has all the excitement of a big metropolis with the sweetness of a small town. Get ready for a good time when you visit. You may enjoy yourself so much, you'll want to call it home too.
For more information: Contact the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau at (205) 458-8000, 1-800-458-8085, or www.thediversecity.org.
The Five Musts In Birmingham
There's no way you can see and do everything this magical city has to offer in three days. Here are the spots that Art and I think you should put at the top of your list. See Web Exclusive: Some of our favorite attractions.
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- Birmingham Botanical Gardens
- Highlands Bar and Grill
- Garage Cafe
- Pepper Place