8 Places To Eat And Drink In Birmingham, AL

The South is a wonderful place to eat if you know where to look. From the chef-driven urbanity of Atlanta to the Creole/Cajun treasures in Louisiana, each area has its own culinary style and verve. That proves true in Alabama, where Birmingham has leapt to the forefront of the state's food movement. Whether you're looking for James Beard Award–winning fine dining or good ol' fashioned 'Q, you're sure to find something that sparks your palate. Here are eight great places to dine and drink in Steel City.

  1. Saw's

Mike Wilson may have started out in the test kitchen at Cooking Light, but there's nothing light about his insanely good brand of Southern cooking at Saw's. Wilson's barbeque and soul food is a revelation in a town that already loves barbeque and soul food. If you need convincing, just try his pulled pork over turnip greens and grits, or the moist, crispy-skinned chicken that flies out of his smoker and into Birmingham bellies faster than a shotgunned beer at a Bama tailgate. Three locations (Saw's BBQ, Saw's Soul Kitchen and Saw's Juke Joint)

  • Highlands Bar & Grill
  • Frank Stitt has been a Southern master for decades, and Highlands Bar & Grill is the flagship of his empire. French technique combines with the freshest Southern ingredients for an elegant menu that proves everything in the Deep South doesn't need to be smoked to be good. His signature stone-ground baked grits appetizer is a masterpiece that skews more soufflé than runny side dish, and anything with seafood is guaranteed to be a winner. 2011 11th Avenue South, 205-939-1400

  • Little Donkey
  • The owners of BBQ powerhouse chain Jim 'N Nick's opened this Mexican restaurant in Homewood last year and it's already racking up the accolades. Corn tortillas are freshly made in-house and the are-you-sure-this-isn't-barbeque crazy tender brisket makes for excellent tacos. There are rotating $2 premium shots every night (Makers on Wednesdays!), so plan your visit accordingly and go to town on some of the best chips and salsa around. 2821 Central Avenue #101, 205-703-7000

  • Black Market Bar + Grill
  • There's a whole macabre theme to Black Market, but don't let the skulls fool you — this is the type of bar every town needs. It's funky and fun and the beer list is a healthy mix of craft favorites (Rogue, Oskar Blues) and local favorites (Good People, Avondale). The menu is laced with amped-up bar food like Greek egg rolls and crawfish-laden Creole quesadillas so you can soak up your long night of drinking with some proper Southern grease. 2011 Highland Avenue South, 205-933-8035 and 3411 Colonnade Parkway #800, 205-967-8787

  • Miss Myra's
  • Alabama is barbeque country and everyone has their own personal favorite, but Miss Myra's in Vestavia Hills has earned its loyal following thanks to high-quality meats and a delicious white barbeque sauce. All the usual smoky suspects are on the menu (pork, brisket, sausage and chicken) but Miss Myra's has a secret weapon: homemade pies. Plow through a two-meat combination plate and finish up with a giant slice of peanut butter pie. You'll be rolling with the Tide in no time. 3278 Cahaba Heights Road, 205-967-6004

  • Hot and Hot Fish Club
  • Lots of chefs like to pay lip service to the idea of knowing where their ingredients come from, but when you talk to Chris Hastings, you get the sense that there's nothing more important in the world. Hastings is a Food Republic friend and columnist and James Beard Award–winner, but above all that he's one hell of a chef. His restaurant is a temple to the bounty of the South and everything from his iconic Hot and Hot Tomato Salad to a three-way Fudge Family Farms pork dish will make you wonder why haute Southern cuisine hasn't taken over the world. 2180 11th Court South, 205-933-5474

  • Avondale Brewing Co.
  • Until 2009, beer in Alabama was limited to 6% alcohol by volume. Since then, the legislature has "freed the hops," which has led to some awesome breweries sprouting up in Birmingham. Avondale Brewing Co. is barely two years old, but you can find their brews on taps all over town as well as in their very own taproom, where co-founders/brothers Coby and Hunter Lake serve up their local-themed beers in a legendary building in the up-and-coming Avondale neighborhood. 201 41st Street South, 205-777-5456

  • Steel City Pops
  • In sweltering Alabama summers, a solid popsicle is worth its weight in gold and at that's why the year-old Steel City Pops has become a sweet bank. The creative paleta (i.e. Mexican popsicles) menu has over 30 flavors divided simply between fruity and creamy and we're not just talking your standard cherry and orange here. The buttermilk paleta is a tangy, rich bar that's a distant relative of cheesecake, and the fruity mayhew paleta showcases a little-known tart Southern berry (similar to a crabapple) that has long been an indigenous delicacy. 2821 Central Avenue, Suite 109, 205-969-8770, and 329 Summit Boulevard

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