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Reviews - Casually Upscale

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dodiyos hummusDodiyós Hummus is a comforting ritual.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Dodiyós hummus is both healthy and delicious. It is high in iron, folate, along with vitamins C and B6. Chickpeas are also a good source of protein and dietary fiber.

The earliest known recipes for a similar dish, hummus bi tahina, are found in cookbooks published in the 13th Century in Cairo, Egypt.
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.
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.
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.  
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. 

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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.  

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 
 
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