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Reviews

dixie fish buster crab blt sandwich Catch the Buster Crab BLT at Dixie Fish Co.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

If it is seafood you crave, there is not much you can’t find on the extensive menus at Dixie Fish Co. Located on Highway 280, Dixie is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and offers both in house and off site catering.


wine loft birmingham lebanese wineUncork an organic wine with a heroic history. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson 


Tonight at the Wine Loft, Certified Sommelier, Stella Nystrom shares a beautiful Chateaux Musar Jeune Rough 2011—and its amazing history.
Bottega Cafe late night pizza Two of Frank Stitt’s restaurants now offer late night specials.

By Jan Walsh


Both Bottega Café and Chez Fonfon now have late night specials from 9:00 until 10:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays. And we recently caught both of them on two separate weekends.
big-bad-breakfast-benedictBig Bad Breakfast opens along Highway 280.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Big Bad Breakfast recently opened at 5361 U.S. 280.  Here the most important meal of the day truly is breakfast. Thus the eatery is open from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. seven days a week—offering an expansive breakfast menu, along with a selection of lunch items.
Seasons 52 Birmingham organic cocktails Chill with Seasons 52 organic, summer spirits.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Seasons 52’s summer cocktails boast organic vodka and summer fruit and vegetables.  

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill—located at The Summit—is known for its wine bar and an award winning wine list. But don’t overlook their seasonal cocktails. Today we take a mid afternoon break away from the summer sun in their cool, dimly lit bar and look over the cocktails and seasonal cocktails menus. And we select the Cucumber Basil Smash and Strawberry Basil Infusion. Both include Prairie Organic Vodkas.
on tap craft brews On Tap Sports Café’s Beer Wall has it all.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


On Tap Sports Café has been a favorite neighborhood pub since 1996. Now with four Birmingham metro locations—Galleria, Inverness, Lakeview, and Fultondale—On Tap draws regulars from all around.
shula's coco rita cocktail You can’t lose with dinner at Shula’s Steakhouse.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Dining at Shula’s Steakhouse is consistently a winner.  I have dined here for restaurant reviews and at other times just for pleasure for many years. And from the ambiance, service, to the cuisine, they have a perfect record with me.

The concept of Shula’s Steakhouse is a tribute to the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins led by coach Don Shula. Their 17-0 record is the only perfect season in NFL history. Head Coach, Starla Andrews leads the Birmingham team at Shula’s to continued success.
Bistro 218 snapper sancerreSancerre is lovely match for Bistro 218’s red snapper.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The Alabama red snapper season is one to catch. We did just that and paired this beautiful fish with a bottle of Domaine Vincent Delaporte Sancerre 2012.

LLoyd's restaurant ham plate

Lloyd’s Restaurant serves home cooked meals on Highway 280.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Much has changed since Lloyd’s Restaurant opened in 1937. But one thing that has not changed is the comforting, Southern style goodness coming out of the kitchen at Lloyd’s—and their friendly staff, who serves it.


Primeaux Bologna Sandwich Primeaux Cheese and Vino blends café with retail.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Primeaux Cheese and Vino is more than a café. It is also a cheese, wine and gift shop. Here I can taste and shop for cheese and wine, purchase gifts for my foodie friends, and have lunch or dinner made with local products and European finds.
The Melting Pot Restaurant Birmingham cocktails Linger over a fondue dinner at The Melting Pot.


By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Dinner at The Melting Pot is a social experience. Whether you need time to connect with your mate, spend time with family, catch up with friends, or have a business dinner, this is the place for a leisurely night out together.  Unlike some restaurants that book reservations back to back, and expect you to leave at a certain time, The Melting Pot invites you to linger over your meal—for a couple of hours or more.

Iron City Grill fried green tomatoesIron City Grill mixes music with local food products.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Iron City Birmingham will entertain you and sustain you. It boasts a large entertainment venue, bars, and a full service grill. There are two entrances. The main entertainment entrance is 513 22nd Street South—landmarked by its massive marquee. And the entrance to the Grill is located at 2208 6th Avenue South. Iron City Grill serves lunch and dinner Mondays through Fridays, dinner on Saturdays, and is open only on concert Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Iron City Grill also has live music on Thursday through Saturday evenings and on Friday during lunch.  
Jim 'N Nick's ribsJim ‘N Nick’s ribs make Memorial Day memorable.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


No need to fire up the grill for my Memorial Day gathering. Rain or shine, I bring home Jim ‘N Nick’s hickory smoked spareribs instead.
26 cocktails New cucumber cocktail at 26 needs a name.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Ever wonder how cocktails are invented—and how they get their names? The history of every cocktail is a unique one. Yet many have a connection to the circumstance in which they were invented.
Chez Fonfon lamb daubeChez Fonfon calls me for lunch, dinner and late night. 

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Chez Fonfon is more than a bustling, French bistro to me. Having a love affair with all things French, it is my familiar way of escaping to the country that I most love to visit without ever leaving town. Chez Fonfon’s French Provencal food, French wines, and French ambience embrace me, and I them. 
Billy’s Sports Grill brings home New Belgium brews!

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The wildly popular Fat Tire is here in Birmingham! Both Billy’s Sports Grill locations, English Village and Overton, have these brews on tap and by the bottle. And at Billy’s English Village you can take it—or any other of their home draft beers—home in 32, 64, or 128 ounce bottles.

Jackson’s achieves cutting edge, comfort food.  


By Jan Walsh 


Photography by Beau Gustafson

 

Sometimes dining is an adventure. I discover new foods, new preparations, and new restaurants. But it is always nice to have places to “come home to,” such as Jackson’s Bar and Bistro. Slipping into a big, black booth, near the wood burning oven on this late Saturday morning, I take a look at the menu and am comforted—not bored—by my choices. Stuffed jalapenos, a pizza with an egg on top, a seasonal side of squash casserole, even fried ice cream—and 70 dishes to choose among.

Grab scrumptious, global street food at Tau Poco.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Tau Poco is Chris Dupont’s newest eatery. Located at 121 20th Street North, Tau Poco is primarily a small, lunch, take-out spot that serves global street food. True to its name, Tau Poco means tiny vessel in Vietnamese and Spanish. But it also has a few tables and approximately 20 seats. Dupont is also the executive chef and owner of Café Dupont, which is located on the same block as Tau Poco.
Toast tonight with Fleming’s 46 Diamonds Schramsberg.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Make any evening special with Fleming’s private label Schramsberg 46 Diamonds 2009. This extra dry sparkling wine is available exclusively at Fleming’s while it lasts as only 350 cases were crafted exclusively for Fleming’s.
Hot and Hot Fish Club reinvents the Noodle Bowl.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Chef Chris Hastings is constantly innovating the cuisine at Hot and Hot Fish Club. And one of his most famous, cutting edge, culinary inventions is his version of the noodle bowl—Hot and Hot Noodle Bowl.
Bistro V has a swank new bar and specialty cocktails.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Where better to celebrate Valentine's Day than in a brand new bar?

Jeremy Downey recently expanded Bistro V with a new bar. The bar space doubled the size of this chef driven restaurant with both bar seating and table seating. This stylish bar space has bamboo flooring and ceiling, comfy love seats, leather chairs, soft Edison lighting and tables of rough hewn wood.
Todd English P.U.B. serves upscale fare and endless brews.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Todd English P.U.B.“raises the bar” on bar food. Nothing on this menu is typical pub fare. From surf to turf, every dish has foodie appeal. The Raw Bar features fresh oysters, shrimp, crab and Maine lobster—or combine in a seafood tower. The Carvery boasts prime beef and roasted fowl. Even the sandwiches include an artisanal hot dog and a hand chopped tuna burger. Yet English’s Southern roots also shine with offerings of baby back ribs, chicken wings, pork sliders, a fried green tomato salad and accompaniments of grits and collard greens.
Dinner at Avo reaches new heights.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Jan Walsh


“Where do you want to go for dinner tonight?” Often this is a rhetorical question intended to start a discussion, rather than the expectation of a decisive answer.  And it can even lead to a debate—if one does answer the question with the name of one restaurant. Competing palates collide when choosing between upscale verses casual fare and ambience. It doesn’t have to be this way. Head to Avo and Dram.
Sip Veranda on Highland’s cocktail that is getting national press.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


One of my favorite bars in town is at the Veranda on Highland. If Ernest Hemingway were still living and were in town, I expect that he would “find himself” here.
Dyron’s fried oysters and crab claws make perfect appetizers.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The fried crab claws at Dyron’s are an addiction of mine. I attempt to order them even when they are not listed on the menu. And so far I have always succeeded in having them fry up an order as requested. Accommodating such requests is fitting of the low-key attitude that Dyron and Sonya Powell have achieved at Dyron’s Lowcountry.
Pair Zin with Steak Au Poivre at Village Tavern.

 
By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Tender steak, creamy potatoes and a big, red wine make a classic meal. At Village Tavern, this classic is fulfilled in a pairing of Steak Au Poivre and St. Francis Zinfandel, 2009.
Have your pick of in season veggies at Ted’s Restaurant.

By Jan Walsh

Photography By Beau Gustafson


There is nothing more satisfying to this Southern belle than a fresh vegetable plate. As a child I helped my grandmother pick veggies—okra, squash, corn, turnips, pink eye peas, tomatoes and more. Then I watched as she cooked them—incorporating decades of expertise.
Avo stirs things up with chic new appetizer and cocktail.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The menu at Avo and Dram offers a lot of comfort. Patrons including myself get in the habit of ordering our favorites—for good reason. But executive chef, Ben Kirk and bartender Kyle Campbell are stirring things up a bit with some exciting new dishes and cocktails. But don’t worry. Your old favorites are still on the menu along with these fabulous new finds.
Savor fresh fare in a swank ambiance at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Seasons 52 Fresh Grill recently opened to a packed house at 245 Summit Boulevard at The Summit. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, boasting live music nightly and a wine bar. The menu is seasonal and weekly, with 52 menus of chef’s dinner specials, thus the name “Seasons 52.” All dishes are planned for calorie count—with nothing on our menu more than 475 calories.
I fall in love with Bistro 218 at first bite!

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Downtown Birmingham now boasts another fab, fine dining restaurant. Bistro Two Eighteen incorporates local and regional food products with the culinary styles of traditional French Bistro and modern American. The restaurant opened in November 2012, at 218 20th Street North. And tonight is my first experience.
Discover awesome new pours at The Wine Loft.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mike Dunnavant keeps the wine and his passion for it flowing at The Wine Loft. Every time I stop in, he has new and interesting wines on his glass list. And tonight is no exception. Seated on the leather sofa in the private tasting room, we have a nice view of the red wine cellar. This room can be reserved and is no extra charge.
Cafe Dupont’s roots grow deep in downtown Birmingham.

 By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The brown storefront branded with “Cafe Dupont”—in gold letters—stands proudly in downtown Birmingham. And it should. When owner and executive chef, Chris Dupont opened on 20th Street in 2003, he brought new hope to the downtown culinary scene and as a positive step towards the revitalization of downtown Birmingham. I first reviewed the restaurant just after it opened and recall conversations with this chef and entrepreneur. Mixed with Dupont’s staunch vanguard was a healthy dose of fear. Yet this fear soon turned to hope, confidence with the success of the restaurant’s lunch, dinner, private events and bar in the years that followed.
I ate every dessert on Bellini’s menu.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Bellini’s has a talented, new pastry chef, Amber Croom. She has a new dessert menu. And today I met her and tasted them ALL during lunch: Affogato, Bananas Foster, Bread Pudding, Gelato Flight, Key Lime Panna Cotta, Malt Chocolate Cake with Adult Milkshake, Red Velvet Cheesecake, and Tiramisu.
GianMarco’s celebrates a decade of fine dining excellence.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


It is difficult to believe that I have been dining at and reviewing GianMarco’s Restaurant for 10 years. Seems like yesterday that I had my first dinner here. Kevin and I shared Marco’s Four Cheese Torta appetizer, and entrees of Tuscan Style Grouper and Spaghetti with meatballs and sausage. Tonight all three of these dishes are still on the menu. Indeed, not a lot has changed at GianMarco’s during the past decade—because the Respintos had it right from the beginning. Still family owned and family operated GianMarco’s remains one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. They serve the highest quality Gulf seafood, delicious meats, and authentic Italian fare with portions that are substantial but prices that are not.
I am craving seafood and find a feast at Dodiyos.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Like the antiques lining the walls of the restaurant, Dodiyos Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare has only gotten better with time. Tonight we are excited to see that in addition to their expansive dinner menu, they also have a Happy Hour Menu and a Dinner Specialties menu. So we order from those, which save us on cocktails and wine and introduce us to some tasty new seafood dishes.
Have shrimp and grits two ways at Jackson’s Bar and Bistro.
 
By Jan Walsh
 
Photography by Beau Gustafson

 
Jackson’s Bar and Bistro offers Shrimp and Grits, New Orleans style—or not.  The dish includes Andouille sausage atop three cheese grits. But if you prefer less New Orleans flavors, the same dish is offered without the sausage.
 
Asian Rim delights serious sushi lovers and those who aren’t.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Asian Rim Sushi Company opened to rave reviews in November 2012. The restaurant fuses an array of delectable dishes—from raw ahi tuna to a cooked to order rib eye over wasabi-mashed potatoes—for lunch, dinner and late night.
Make Mix’s fitness menu a part of your dine out routine.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Mix Bakery offers a Power Salad that is popular with fitness foodies.
Chef Chris Dupont developed the salad from his own family’s eating habits. At home, snacks for his children are a healthy plate of raw fruit and veggies. So Dupont evolved this snack plate to a new level at Mix—the Power Salad.
Hot and Hot Fish Club’s Chris Hastings outdoes himself in 2012.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Chris Hastings achieves most successful year to date in 2012. This year Hastings presence on the national culinary stage hit a new high with his 2012 Best Chef of the South James Beard Award and his triumph on Iron Chef America. In 2012 Hastings also appeared on The Today Show, CBS Morning, and Martha Stewart and was featured in national food magazines.
Pair flambéed chocolate with chilled bubbly at The Melting Pot.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The Melting Pot is a restaurant like no other in the Birmingham area. It brought fondue back into my life—and expanded my palate for fondue fare. After dining here the first time, I even asked for a fondue pot for Christmas. And I got two. But my own pots do not compare to my experiences at The Melting Pot. Here I can relax and “cook” my fondue without shopping for fondue fuel and food. 
Highlands Bar and Grill celebrates 30th Anniversary!

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


On November 21, 1982 Frank Stitt opened his first restaurant, Highlands Bar and Grill. And Birmingham’s transformation as a culinary gem began. The restaurant set the benchmark for Birmingham restaurants and began an evolution of the city’s education, appreciation and sophistication of both food and wine—one winemaker dinner at a time. And while Birmingham had some great restaurants before Stitt’s, today we have many more because of him—including his four restaurants and all the chefs who worked with Stitt before opening their own eateries.
GianMarco’s wine bar and retail shop draw wine savvy patrons.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


GianMarco’s Restaurant has long had one of the finest and most flexible wine programs in Alabama. Brothers Giani and Marco Respinto own and operate the restaurant, and offer more than 300 select restaurant quality wines on the wine list. Wines are offered in servings of three ounces, six ounces, quantino, and by the bottle. And the price point for each and every wine is very competitive.
Match Dram’s Bluegrass Breakfast with Schramsberg Brut Rosé.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Whatever happened to country ham and red eye gravy? Restaurant brunch menus rarely offer this dish. Yet I often crave a plateful of country ham, biscuits, red eye gravy, eggs over medium, and white grits—my favorite breakfast as a child.
But I have found it now. And it is even better as an adult—paired with sparkling wine or Champagne.
Ocean’s new wine cellar houses fine, old ports.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Port has a history of being the wine that men drank while smoking a cigar—after the women had left the room. That was then. Now women drink wine alongside the men at the bar. And I recently had the pleasure of tasting Warre Vintage Ports with George Reis, executive chef and owner of Ocean and 26. These ports are a recent addition to the wine list at Ocean and 26. And another recent addition to Ocean—its wine cellar—provides a space for the restaurant to lay down some older bottles, such as the Warre Vintage Ports.
Make a meal of this popular appetizer at Billy’s Sports Grill.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


If you love nachos and seafood, Billy’s Sports Grill has an appetizer that you will
want to make into a meal.
Vino is an intimate and artistic spot for a Mediterranean dinner and wine.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Vino is an intimate dining spot, which celebrates its first anniversary this month. This dinner restaurant boasts a global wine list and handcrafted cocktails paired with fresh and healthy Mediterranean fare.

New Bone In Filet Mignon at Shula’s Steak House beats all.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Shula’s Steakhouse has all new menus with new offerings for both lunch and dinner. And their new 15 Ounce, Bone In Filet Mignon is destined to become a classic.
Explore Zinfandel with three Ravenswood Zins: Sonoma, Napa and Lodi.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I had dinner with Joel Peterson when he was in Birmingham a few… (gulp) years ago. Where does time go? Recently when his Ravenswood County Series arrived at my door—for tasting and consideration—I was reminded of the evening with the Godfather of Zin.
Satterfield's Restaurant scallopsSatterfield’s Restaurant is a favorite dinner destination.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Satterfield’s Restaurant is nestled in the heart of Cahaba Heights, just behind The Summit. Convenient to most of the Birmingham metro area, loyal patrons enjoy this daily changing menu. Whether it is steak, seafood, quail, duck, rabbit, chicken or pork that you crave, you will find them matched with local vegetables and fruits, and prepared with European influences.
On Tap Sports Café serves a serious $20 Angus Burger.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Tired of wimpy burgers that leave you asking, “Where’s the beef?” Try On Tap Sports Café’s $20 Burger.

Enjoy fresh, healthy fare at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


A Greek vacation inspires a Mediterranean café in Birmingham. Wholesome ingredients and innovative ideas from the Greek Islands, Mediterranean markets, and Mom's kitchen synthesize, creating the dishes that make up the café’s fresh and healthy menu. Then Taziki’s Mediterranean Café sprouts one after another locations across the Southeast—also adding many scrumptious new dishes.

Dreamland’s pork spare ribs are good to the bone.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Why the name, “Dreamland”? John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened his first Dreamland Café in Tuscaloosa in 1958—the same year Bear Bryant started coaching at the University of Alabama. Big Daddy was a brick mason who wanted another income to support his family. So he prayed for guidance. And legend has it that God told him in a dream to build a café on the land next to his home. And Big Daddy did just that. Since that time Dreamland has opened several locations in Alabama and Georgia, including our own Birmingham Dreamland.
Chill on Bottega’s patio with handcrafted martinis.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Bottega Restaurant and Bottega Café each boast their own private, hedge-lined patio. Massive iron gates serve as entry to both. And in the spring yellow Lady Banks roses burst with color and aroma—draping the water fountain on the restaurant side. But no matter the season, when weather permits Bottega’s patio is the place to be.

Local and regional foods shine in Dyron’s cuisine.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Dyron’s Lowcountry you can’t miss the chalkboard that is front and center. It boasts the local food purveyors with their products served on the menu. This tribute provides both well-deserved recognition and speaks to the authenticity of Dyron’s lowcountry cuisine.
Café Dupont’s farmer’s harvest vegetable plate is upscale and downhome.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


It is always a difficult decision to choose a dish for lunch at Café Dupont. Each appetizer and every entrée sound tempting. Yet today I am curious to see what Chef Chris Dupont does with the farmer’s harvest vegetable plate. And I pair this Southern veggie feast with a glass of food friendly Sancerre—Claude Riffault Sanceere Les Boucauds 2010.

I’m hooked on Ocean’s catch and George Reis’ cooking.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I love seafood—crab, oysters, scallops, shrimp, grouper, snapper, lobster and more. I like them wood fire grilled, steamed, baked, pan seared, or Southern fried. And Ocean’s offerings and preparations are as vast as the sea—serving only the best quality seafood from every continent—prepared as desired. So what is not to love?

Nabeel’s sautéed shrimp, peasant salad, and wine bring back Greek memories.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

As a daily special Nabeel’s offers several Greek delights. One of my favorites is the “Sautéed Shrimp from the Greek Islands.” It brings a bit of déjà vu of my trips to the Greek Islands. Actually the shrimp is from the Gulf Coast, but the recipe is from the Greek Islands. And this delicious dish, its accompanying tangy salad and a cold glass of crisp, white Greek wine tease my palate as to my real location—Nabeel’s in Homewood.

MetroPrime is a swank new steakhouse on Southside.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


MetroPrime is a locally owned steakhouse that recently opened in a prime location on Southside. Located at 1035 20th Street South, the steakhouse is situated on the curve in Five Points South and is open for dinner Mondays through Saturdays and serves Sunday Brunch.

Chez Fonfon’s simple grilled fish is simply delicious.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

When lunching at Chez Fonfon, I arrive early. Today I open the place at 11:00 a.m. because I know that by 11:30 there is typically not a table left. And by noon the bar will likely also be full.

Avo and Dram host Innis & Gunn Beer Dinner.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Avo & Dram’s recent Innis and Gunn Highland 18 Year Old Beer Dinner included four courses paired with Innis and Gunn Beer poured in their signature glassware. Here I learned the Innis and Gunn’s Oak Aged Beers story, which is almost as incredible as their beers.

Ted’s Southern cooking serves a loyal following.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

You can’t miss Ted’s Restaurant. It is located at 328 12th Street South with the large, original “Ted’s Cafeteria Restaurant” sign on the corner. Recent updates to the interior make lunching here more appealing. But it is not ambience that draws the crowds. We go to Ted’s for a taste of what busy Southerners miss—but have no time to cook—fresh meat and three, home style fare.

Pair pizza and Peroni at Slice Stone Pizza and Brew.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I love to try “new” restaurants—a few months after they open. Today we lunch at the new family owned and operated pizza restaurant in Birmingham’s Lakeview District. Appropriately located in the stone building at 29th Street South, Jeff, Chris and Jason Bajalieh opened Slice Stone Pizza and Brew here in 2011.

The Bright Star’s ambience, cuisine and service achieve excellence.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


New concept restaurants come and go. Restaurants that consistently achieve excellence—in what they bring to the table—remain. And as the oldest continuously family owned restaurant in Alabama, The Bright Star has won the test of time.

Cantina Tortilla Grill serves fresh and flavorful Mexican fare.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Cantina Tortilla Grill at Pepper Place is the original Cantina location. This successful restaurant sprouted other taquerías in the Birmingham metro area, on Highway 119 and at Patton Creek.

Highlands Bar and Grill celebrates 29 years of excellence.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

On November 21, 1982 Frank Stitt opened his first restaurant, Highlands Bar and Grill. With monies raised from his cooking classes and from his mother mortgaging her home, Highlands opened to rave reviews. And 29 year later, patrons and media are still raving about this French inspired Southern restaurant.

Veranda on Highland’s wine cellar is filled with legendary wines.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

My favorite table at the Veranda on Highland is the chef’s table in the wine cellar. Here vintage, first class—and first growth—wines are displayed under lock and key, in wine cabinets with antique bronze screens in this 1,500 bottle capacity cellar. And above these racks are personal wine lockers of VIP patrons. 


Another Broken Egg serves soup, salad and sandwiches.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Another Broken Egg is a popular breakfast and brunch spot in Mountain Brook Village. Breaking eggs may be their specialty, but they also serve a tasty lunch fare——entrée portion salads, hearty sandwiches and the soup of the day.

Chef Marco Morosini spices things up at The Silvertron Cafe.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The Silvertron Cafe has been a popular neighborhood restaurant for more than 25 years. In November 2007, Marco Morosini and his wife Elan reopened the restaurant, preserving the past’s popular dishes while bringing new life to The Slivertron Café with Marco’s Italian influence.

Big Bird

Lloyd’s Baked Chicken Greek Style is highly recommended. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Lloyd’s has been serving American and Southern style cooking for 74 years. Founded in 1937, the restaurant is a Highway 280 landmark. I can recall when it was “in the middle of no where.” Yet through the decades, as its neighborhood changed into a bustling area, Lloyd’s has remained true to its identity of a family style restaurant with friendly, attentive service and an extensive menu—all things Southern veggies, BBQ, steaks, steaks and more. 

Enjoy awesome food in a casual mood at Billy’s Sports Grills.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Billy’s Sports Grills offer terrific food, comfortable ambiences, and friendly service.


In 1979 the original Billy's Sports Grill opened as a bar and small kitchen serving simple sandwiches in Mountain Brook’s English Village. Billy's Chicken Sandwich quickly became the signature dish. Also immediately popular were Billy's Famous White Sauce and Hot Mustard Sauce. In the years that followed, Billy's menu expanded to include signature sandwiches, salads, wraps, steaks, and most recently fresh seafood for lunch and dinner.

Root Beer Float at Jackson’s Bar and Bistro will make you smile.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


A favorite, spring meeting place is the spacious patio of Jackson’s Bar and Bistro. The black iron umbrella tables that dot the space invite you to pull up a chair. And the menu entices with a variety of tempting cocktails. Hmm, what will it be? Misery and Gin sounds tempting—hasn’t been a good day. The Root Beer Float sounds happy. I opt for happy.

bellini's handmade pastaBellini’s Cheese Ravioli is a plateful of comfort. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

It is believed that ravioli was invented as a means to use left over food and originated in Liguria, Italy. Thus the original name—Rabiole—means bits and pieces, odds and ends in Genoese dialect.  Agnolotti is a variation from Piedmont, which are cut into rounds.  

Day and night, locals love to dine at GianMarco’s Restaurant. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

GianMarco’s Restaurant is undisputedly one of the most popular restaurants in the Birmingham metro area. Yet hunger alone is not what draws locals here. Instead it is an appreciation—and a craving—for an Old World Italian cuisine and dining experience that GianMarco’s consistently achieves. Due to its popularity, dinner reservations are needed. But if you crave their authentic Italian—and have no diner reservations—show up for lunch, as we did today. 

My favorite beef tenderloin tacos just got bigger! 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

A longtime favorite dish is the Soft Tenderloin Tacos at Village Tavern. Tender bite sized tips of beef tenderloin overfill three warm flour tortillas—in this dish found on the appetizer menu. The tacos also include shredded lettuce, a luscious lime crema, hot salsa and fresh guacamole. Bowls of the creama and salsa are served on the side for those who want to add more. In addition to the beef tenderloin taco, options of fresh fish and chicken soft tacos are also available.

Bottega Cafe is an institution among locals.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Frank and Pardis Stitt’s Bottega Cafe is one of my favorites for lunch, cocktails and dinner. And I am in good company. Local “movers and shakers” are among the cafe’s steady clientele.

A holiday dinner at Shula’s Steakhouse can’t be beat.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

I have always enjoyed drinks and dinner at Shula’s. Yet tonight’s experience beats all. From cocktails to crème brulee, it is a real winner.

Nabeel’s Café and Market is one of a kind.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Nabeel’s Cafe and Market is an authentic, Homewood landmark, situated at the edge of Homewood Park. 

Nabeel’s is named for its original owner Nabeel Shunnarah, who opened it in 1972. In 1993 John Krontiras and his wife, Ottavia bought the café from Shunnarah. During the 17 years since, they have expanded into three dining rooms and a market. The café and market reflect the owners’ heritages. John Krontiras is Greek and Ottavia is Italian. Nabeel’s is both, with additional touches of other Mediterranean flavors. 

Cafe Dupont is a favorite among local foodies.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

A foodie is a person with an ardent appreciation for food, the preparation of food and the latest food trends. A foodie might—or might not—do much cooking because a foodie’s “highest and best use” is eating, not cooking. Local foodies are food warriors, who dine around in search of “the best” of everything. From fried chicken to rare tuna, they revisit only restaurants with a cuisine that lives up to their standards. And among the restaurants local foodies frequent is Cafe Dupont.

Ocean consistently serves the best of fish, prepared to perfection.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

For seafood lovers, such as myself, Ocean is the place for dinner. Ocean starts with the best quality fish from every continent and prepares it to your preferences.

Highland’s Bar and Grill hosts Thomas Keller dinner and book signing.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Celebrity chef Thomas Keller visits Birmingham. He is hosted by Frank and Pardis Stitt for a dinner and book signing—for his latest cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home—at Highlands Bar and Grill.

Dodiyós serves an array of tasty Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Dodiyós opened in late 2009, in the former Tria Market location at SoHo Square. The eatery’s cuisine is a mix—of both traditional and innovative dishes primarily from Greece, but also from Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. The exotic, eclectic ambience and cuisine have been well received by locals.

Pair Shula’s Steak House with a night at the Hyatt Hotel.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Jason Wallis

Located inside the Hyatt Hotel—in the Riverchase Galleria—Shula’s Steak House maintains a freestanding atmosphere, with its own entrance adjacent to the hotel’s revolving doors, and complimentary valet parking.
And a second entry is located in the hotel lobby.

 

Satterfield’s chef driven fare is made of local and regional products.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


In 2005 Becky Satterfield evolved her successful catering business into a restaurant of her own—Satterfield’s. Located at 3161 Cahaba Heights Road, the restaurant is conveniently located to the greater metro area. And it is one of the closest chef driven restaurants to my Liberty Park neighborhood, the surrounding Vestavia and Mountain Brook neighborhoods, and The Summit.

Another Broken Egg cracks open in Mountain Brook Village.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Craving Eggs Benedict at 1:30 p.m. or a cheeseburger at 6:30 a.m.? No problem. Another Broken Egg is a family oriented and family operated restaurant that serves a vast breakfast, brunch and lunch menu—300 items—daily from 6:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Chris Dupont lives the American dream daily in downtown Birmingham.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Jason Wallis

In times like these it is important to realize that the American dream is alive and well—in downtown Birmingham. Dreaming is easy. Bringing dreams to fruition is difficult. And once all the work to make a dream comes true is done, it is easy to take what has been built for granted and move onto another dream. But when perfection is one’s dream, the work is never done. And Chris Dupont accepts nothing less than perfection.

For most of us, dining out at an upscale restaurant is more than a meal. It is an experience to look forward to from the time we make a reservation until we walk through the door. Hopes for a nice table, excellent service and a memorable meal are high. Chris Dupont understands these expectations and consistently exceeds them.

Dram serves comfort fare in a welcoming ambience.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Dram Whiskey Bar is located in the heart of Mountain Brook Village. It is named for the traditional Scottish whiskey measure—dram.

The Place

Food is both simple and magical at Hot and Hot Fish Club.

By Jan Walsh

Photograhy by Beau Gustafson

Catch a behind the scenes glimpse of the people who make Hot and Hot Fish Club a success. Find the best seat in the house, and most importantly get a bite of the best dishes—course by course. And find recipes from Chris and Idie Hasting’s cookbook—hot off the press.

The Place

Highlands Bar and Grill is rich in history and deserving of accolades.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Jason Wallis

In 2009 Highlands Bar and Grill was a nominee for James Beard’s top honor, our nation’s most outstanding restaurant. How can I follow such a rave review? I can’t. Yet I can share my own dining experience tonight—and my knowledge and experience of this restaurant and its cuisine developed over many years as well as tonight’s dining experience.

Nabeel’s is a synthesis of a family’s heritage—Greek and Italian.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Miller Mobley

Nabeel’s Cafe is an original. John Krontiras was born in Greece, and his wife, Ottavia was born in Italy. In Homewood, Alabama, they conceived a café that is both—along with additional Mediterranean influences. Since 1993 the Krontiras family has grown the original Nabeel’s Cafe more than three times the original size, overtaking the entire building, with three dining rooms and a Greek market.  

GianMarco’s family, food and experience bring diners back for more.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

GianMarco’s is a cult restaurant. Regulars would like to keep this small Italian, family owned and family run restaurant all to themselves. But—good or bad—foodies tend to dine and tell their dining experiences. Thus they soon find themselves boasting about their lunch or dinner at GianMarco’s to family, friends and co-workers, only to find them at the next table the following week.

Dine in style, and within your budget, on Fleming’s $6 Prime Sirloin burger.

By Jan Walsh

The only good thing I have found about this bad economy is the new $6 Prime Sirloin Burger at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. Available in Fleming’s bar area until 7:00 p.m. each evening, this scrumptious burger is sure to draw a loyal following.

Chef driven Avo opens in heart of Mountain Brook.

By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson

Upscale Avo is a new chef driven restaurant in Mountain Brook Village. It is located in a new, brick building upstairs from its partner, more casual eatery, Dram Whiskey Bar. Tonight we dine at Avo but take a peek inside Dram.

Sip cool, cocktails in the new, old world bar at Cafe Dupont.

By Jan Walsh

Chris Dupont's new bar opened in March 2009. Expanding the restaurant into the adjacent storefront created space for the bar and a new façade and entry for the restaurant. Entering through the double doors into the bar, it is evident that Dupont restored, rather than remade, this 131-year-old building. From the original tiles on the floor to the beamed ceiling above, the bar exudes authenticity and transcends time. For the bar, Dupont used the same interior designer he previously used for the restaurant—his wife, Leslie.

Divine is in the details at Satterfield’s.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Great restaurants don’t just happen. They are born of both imagination and execution. Pastry chef and owner, Becky Satterfield created a fine dining ambience that is relaxing rather than pretentious. She believes that every possible detail should be attended to, for each and every guest. And this belief is executed into a reality found in every detail of the restaurant—from the valet in waiting to the last bite of delectable dessert.

Ocean’s wide net of offerings touches all continents and satisfies many appetites.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

To say that Ocean is a “seafood restaurant” is an understatement. This upscale, restaurant’s cuisine draws flavors from every continent. On the menu are fish from the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific and the Mediterranean. And in the kitchen, executive chef /co owner (with his wife Harriet), George Reis uses spices and techniques from the countries that surround these waters.

Cafe Dupont resumes lunch service, offering familiar favorites and new temptations.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Today is a day I have been looking forward to for quite sometime. It is the opening day for lunch at Cafe Dupont. And I celebrate the occasion with a dining room filled with many other Dupont followers.

Chez Fonfon's Chocolate Pot De Creme is a pure pleasure.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

I have never had much of a sweet tooth. I can easily say, "No" to most desserts. But at Chez Fonfon the first thing I see each time I enter the door is dessert. Fresh baked tarts, a towering cake and other specialties of the day line the antique, wooden server and the small, white marble-topped table beside it.

Bottega celebrates 20th anniversary and debut of the restaurant's cookbook.

By Jan Walsh


Bottega Restaurant has much to celebrate. In 2008 the restaurant's interior underwent a remodeling that retained the integrity of its architecture but updated its ambience. This same year, executive chef Frank Stitt was awarded the national distinction of being one of five chefs to receive a James Beard Nominee for Outstanding Chef. And Stitt's new cookbook, Bottega Favorita, which debuted in Birmingham in November, will become available in bookstores nationally on January 1, 2009.

Dip into a decadent dark chocolate fondue at The Melting Pot.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Who can resist a late night bite of fondue and chocolate?

Cafe Dupont's cuisine wows and whets the appetite for more.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Cafe Dupont draws diners from both near and far. When a writer for Food & Wine magazine called me from New York to discuss Birmingham as a culinary city, she asked for recommendations of restaurants to review. Cafe Dupont was one of my suggestions. Upon her arrival to town she popped in for lunch, and called me afterwards with her critique. "I was wowed by Cafe Dupont!" she exclaimed, before going on to describe in detail each delicious dish. I was not surprised, as I have been "wowed" again and again since the restaurant opened in 2003. And Cafe Dupont led her "Food and Wine Across America" article on Birmingham, which was published in the October 2007.

Remember this number, 26.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Being a writer I am not number oriented. I find it difficult to recall phone numbers, account numbers, any numbers. But there is one number that I have no problems with at all. And that is 26. Perhaps it is the memories of good times shared lunching there with friends and nights out with my husband. Perhaps it is the Monday night special of unforgettable baby lobster tails with Champagne. Perhaps it is the chocolate desserts. 26 makes a lasting impression.

Billy's Bar and Grill opens second location, Billy's On Overton.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Every neighborhood needs a Billy's. Liberty Park, and nearby Mountain Brook area residents, just got one. Billy's On Overton is the brother restaurant to Billy's Bar and Grill in Mountain Brook, a longtime neighborhood favorite of many who live, work and shop in English Village. Satisfying the need for an upscale sports bar and grill, the new eatery on Overton opened its doors in April 2008. Those of us who live in the area have watched, waited and been looking forward to this for months.

GianMarco's cheese ravioli is both large and light.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Ordering lunch or dinner at GianMarco is always a dilemma. But no matter what I order, it is consistently delicious and always arrives hot with steam rising from the plate. And this always reminds me of co-owner, Giani Respinto's line, "People wait for pasta. Pasta does not wait for people."

Chez Fonfon is classically French and absolutely excellent.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Excellence is easy to observe and difficult to replicate. Frank and Pardis Stitt replicate excellence without replicating restaurants. Each of their eateries (Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fonfon) has its own identity, style, cuisine, and standard of excellence. With each dining experience comes a renewed respect for the Stitts. Being a bit of a Francophile, Chez Fonfon satisfies my appetite for French bistro fare and French wine.

Village Tavern's Birmingham location is home to the company's corporate executive chef.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mary Grace Viado is the corporate executive chef for the eight Village Taverns across the United States. As corporate executive chef for the company, it is Viado's job to create and execute recipes.

Hot and Hot Fish Club's tasting menu has it all.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Co-Owner and executive chef of Hot and Hot Fish Club, Chris Hastings created a menu just for my table and paired each course with wines. And they will happily to do the same for you.

Shula's 48-ounce Porterhouse satisfies the heartiest of appetites.


By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

If you can't get enough of a good steak, join the club. Shula's Steak House offers a steak that will satisfy any appetite. This 48-ounce Porterhouse is made of Shula's own certified Angus beef, breed on The Graham Angus Farm in Albany, Georgia. And if you make the cut, by can finishing this 48-ounce Porterhouse, you become a member of The 48 Ounce Club.

Billy's Sports Grill's Santa Fe Salad is big on flavor.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Billy's Sports Grill in English Village is a family-owned, neighborhood pub Located in English Village. They offer an extensive menu featuring appetizers, grilled burgers, steaks and salads. And the Santa Fe Salad is a favorite for those who want, not just a salad, a meal.

The Melting Pot offers fondue for intimate, business and social dining.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

As the X Generation discovers fondue, we Baby Boomers are bubbling over with memories of swirling chunks of French bread in melted cheese, beef tips sizzling in hot oil and dipping fruit into pots of deep, dark chocolate for dessert. But Bob Dylan was right. Times are a-changing. And much is new in fondue.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar serves a summer showpiece.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Take a bite out of summer with a Chilled Seafood Tower at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

This appetizer is offered in two sizes. The smaller dish serves two to four appetizer servings, and the larger one serves four to six. Yet the large tower also makes a perfect entrée for two. Pair it with a bottle of Champagne for the perfect summer feast.

The Bright Star celebrates 100th Anniversary.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

The Bright Star is the oldest, continuously operated, family owned restaurant in Alabama. And June 2007 begins the second century of success for this landmark restaurant.

Explore the depths of Ocean's diverse offerings.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Ocean celebrates its fifth anniversary. And patrons continue to discover fresh, new pleasures from its extensive menu. Ocean and 26 (located next door) are locally owned and operated by executive chef, George Reis and his wife Harriet.

Cafe Dupont celebrates three years of culinary excellence.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

In December 2003, Chris Dupont opened Cafe Dupont on 20th Street North-to rave reviews. The consistently divine cuisine soon brought a host of regulars. And three years later this perfectionist continues to outdo himself. "Looking back, I was very fearful of where I was, what I was doing, and how long it took to get the restaurant open..."

Highlands Bar & Grill transcends time and exceeds expectations.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Convinced that Alabama would support a restaurant with "southern soul and Provencal flavors," Frank Stitt raised money teaching cooking classes, his mother mortgaged her home, and Highlands Bar & Grill opened November 21, 1982. Stitt quickly became Birmingham's celebrity chef and put the city on the culinary map.

Start with an upbeat ambience, add an eclectic mix of menus, and the sum is George Reis' new restaurant, 26.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Ocean is no longer an only child. Owners George and Harriet Reis recently added a new member to the family. "Brother restaurant," 26 (Twenty-Six) is located just next door to Ocean. Its name is a play off the numbers two and six-as their two sons were born two years and six months apart, both were born on the twenty-sixth, and wore baseball jerseys numbered two and six. Yet like many younger brothers, 26 quickly developed an identity all its own.

Family owned and operated, GianMarco's serves the finest authentic Italian fare.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Less than three years ago, GianMarco's opened in Homewood and quickly became a neighborhood favorite. Soon afterwards, recommendations of their authentic, Italian cuisine and treat you like family service brought diners from far beyond the neighborhood. And today brothers, Giani and Marco Respinto and their father Giovanni's restaurant is a small, "Italian" landmark for Birmingham area diners.

Dinner at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is a rare pairing of vintage wines with the freshest of fare.

By Jan Walsh


Photography by Beau Gustafson

 
Investing both their money and their lives in Birmingham, operating partner John Cowan and chef partner Oliver Robinson opened Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar at the Summit in 2002. And with their continued dedication of time and talents, it's still sizzling.

 
 
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