Guide to Birmingham Day 1: Our Favorite Restaurants

Welcome to Day 1 of the Guide to BirminghamMy Favorite Restaurants!  Now Matt and I are by no means professional food critics, but we do know good food when we taste it.  I, for one, am very particular and picky.  I definitely prefer to cook at home so I know exactly what is going in my meal, so it’s important to me that when we do go out, I feel like we are getting good, quality food.  Quality over quantity is definitely my preference, although Matt may argue differently 🙂  With that being said, here are 10 of my favorite restaurants in the area…
Favorite Date Night: Hot and Hot.  I just love the atmosphere here and the service is always top notch.  Plus, since the dress code requires you to fancy it up a bit, you just feel like you’re on a special date.  The menu changes daily to correspond with whatever is in season, most of the ingredients are local, and most importantly, the food is phenomenal.  They also have my most favorite dish of anywhere…the farm fresh veggie plate.
* Most Under-Rated: Silvertron Cafe.  I feel like no one ever talks about this place, unless you are a regular.  We have never had a bad meal here and I love the variety on the menu.  Nothing fancy, or really even special, but the food is always good.  I especially love the Sunday brunch (mmmm, fluffy pancakes) with the $2 mimosas.
Favorite Lunch Spot: Tie between Bottega Cafe and O’Carrs.  In the fall and spring, it’s hard to beat a lunch on the Bottega patio.  Good food, good service and good people watching.  When I need something quick though, or during my lunch break, O’Carrs is my go-to place.  I love, Love , LOVE that giant fruit plate.
* Best “I need a fun night out, but also want some decent food”: Cucina Superior.  For some reason when I feel like I need a fun night out, Tex-Mex or Mexican always comes to mind, which is funny, because I’m not really a fan of either.  I also still want a decent meal.  Cucina has really great, quality Tex Mex, and one of the best margaritas in town, served martini style AND they’ll make a “skinny” version. The atmosphere is fun too. 
* Favorite Splurge: Jinsei.  I have a feeling that this restaurant doesn’t necessarily have to be a splurge, but it always seems like it is when we go.  Their sushi menu is amazing, but of course the best rolls are also the most expensive ones.  They also have a to-die-for mojito list, but at $12 a pop, that quickly adds up.  Still I can’t not imbide in one when we go.  Anyways, we only go here when we plan to splurge.  That way we can order what we really want and enjoy it guilt free.
* Favorite “Go-To”: Whole Foods.  We go to WF for dinner at least once a week.  Besides the ever popular hot bar and salad bar, we love the sit-down cafe and the pizza cafe.  Best pizza, ever, hands down.  The cafe also serves a really great brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.  I love that you can just pick out a bottle of wine from the huge grocery selection and they’ll just pop it open for you with no corking fee.
Favorite Chain Restaurant: Bonefish.  I admit that I am kind of a local food snob and really don’t like chains, but sometimes I have to give in to the hub’s request for Red Lobster and Applebees go with the flow.  However, Bonefish is pretty darn good.  We actually like to just sit at the bar and order a few different appetizers.  I also love their martini list.
Favorite Breakfast SpotAnother Broken Egg (sit-down) or Crestline Bagel (quick).  There’s a reason why there is always a 1 hour + wait at Another Broken Egg.  It’s always good.  Matt loves their skillets, I love their blackberry oatmeal, and we always have to start with the little beignets with orange marmalade.  Crestline Bagel just has the best bagels around…always fresh, soft and chewy, and lots of varieties to pick from.

* Best Bar: Dram Whiskey Bar.  Amazing drink menu (I’ve actually learned to like tolerate whiskey by trying different ones here) and they have great apps and snacky foods.  The scene is nice and cozy too (fires during the winter, outdoor patio when it’s warmer).  This is a great date night spot too.

Favorite All-Around: Chuck’s Fish House.  Seriously, best menu in Birmingham.  We have never had a bad meal here and it’s one of those places where it takes us 30 minutes to decide on something because everything on the menu sounds amazing. 
Ok, there you go!  Happy eating!!
(Tomorrow I’ll be back withWhere to Daytrip”)

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