Best Restaurants

Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Birmingham dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Birmingham Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

Shula's Steak House
Photos from the Miami Dolphins' storybook "perfect season" line the walls at this steakhouse, and don't be surprised when your server passes you a pigskin -- it's the menu, after all! The Shula's Cut steaks (a designation given only to qualified cuts of Premium Black Angus Beef®) steal the headlines, but Maine lobster and several selections of fish are also there for the savoring. For dessert, gratify your cravings with a sinful chocolate concoction, or opt for a classic like crème brulee or apple cobbler. (205-444-5750)

Hot and Hot Fish Club
Described as serving global cuisine with local ingredients, Hot and Hot is a longtime Birmingham favorite. But don't let the curious name confuse you -- the owner's great-great grandfather belonged to a gentleman's club of the same name in South Carolina. Recipient of many, many food and wine awards, the restaurant boasts entrees like wood oven-roasted duck breast and crispy confit, sauteed snapper on parsnip puree, and hickory-grilled sirloin with fingerling potatoes and blue cheese butter. An extensive wine list is also available. (205-933-5474)

Some of the finest Italian food you'll ever find. Expertly prepared homemade ravioli, veal and seafood satisfy the most discriminating palate. One of the top spots for Birmingham locals. For a more casual experience, dine in the sister café next door. (205-939-1000)

daniel george restaurant & bar
This is one of the premier restaurants in Birmingham. Once you enter daniel george (an amalgamation of the owners' first names), you're immediately charmed by the space's sophisticated yet charming atmosphere. The wine list is extensive, as you might expect, but what really wins rave views are the creative American numbers prepared in the kitchen. Though the menu changes daily, you can count on outstanding game, Gulf seafood dishes and French cuisine. (205-871-3266)

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Dreamland BBQ
When the subject of Alabama legends comes up, Dreamland should no doubt be mentioned in the same breath as George Wallace, Bear Bryant, and Bo Jackson. Known far and wide for their sinfully delicious BBQ ribs, "Big Daddy" Bishop and crew took a simple concept (ribs, their signature sauce, and a few pieces of white Sunbeam bread) and, over the years, developed it into something that can only be described as down-home gourmet. Rustic decor, historic signs, and old photos decorate the walls, recreating the character of the original Jerusalem Heights location, but the food truly steals the show. As the saying goes, "Ain't nothing like' em nowhere!" (205-933-2133)

Café Dupont
Chef-owner Chris Dupont opened his first restaurant in Springville back in the mid-90s, and it was so well received he opened another location in downtown Birmingham in 2003. He had the space renovated, but certain elements -- the weathered brick walls, original hardwood floors and high ceilings -- remained in order to preserve the building's integrity and century-old charm. As to the fare, Dupont is dedicated to using ingredients grown locally, so his featured mains may include the likes of grilled Georgia quail with andouille sausage, Painted Hills flat iron steak with Yorkshire pudding, or Duroc pork chop with sweet potato soufflé and tempura-fried apple. (205-322-1282)

Chez Fonfon
People love gathering at this comfortable, upscale European-inspired space, with its old fashioned gas lights, café tables covered in white linens, and patio seating. The extensive wine list ups the place's popularity, as does Chef Frank Stitt's skillful takes on bistro classics such as country pâté with pork, steak tartare, and moules et frites. In keeping with the French theme, Chez Fonfon also has a boules court for those who want to work off calories with a bit of post-meal pétanque. (205-939-3221)

Jackson's Bar & Bistro
Located in Homewood's SoHo development, this attractive eatery mixes traditional European with more global creations like crab rangoons. Casual and unpretentious, Jackson's has the eclectic quality found in the best big city neighborhood gathering spots, making it popular with Homewood's young and trendy set. Stop by yourself for a few drinks, a bite of wood-fired pizza, and friendly conversation. (205-870-9669)

Highlands Bar and Grill
It doesn't get any better than the Highlands Bar and Grill. A veritable institution in Birmingham, celebrated Chef Frank Stitt's menu combines New South cuisine with rustic French influences. The restaurant is housed in a 1920s Spanish revival building. Known for great crab cakes and creative dishes including roast pork tenderloin served with creamy grits, blackstrap molasses and mustard greens. Superior service ensures an unforgettable dining experience. Reservations are accepted up to a month in advance. (205-939-1400)

Maps and Directions

Shula's Steak House 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Steakhouse
Neighborhood: Hoover
Cost: $$$$
Hot and Hot Fish Club 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Southern
Neighborhood: Five Points South
Cost: $$$
Bottega 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Five Points South
Cost: $$$
daniel george restaurant & bar 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, European, French, New American
Neighborhood: Mountain Brook
Cost: $$
Dreamland BBQ 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, Local Specialty, Soul Food, Southern
Neighborhood: Five Points South
Cost: $
Café Dupont 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American, Southern
Cost: $$
Chez Fonfon 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, French
Neighborhood: Five Points South
Cost: $$
Jackson's Bar & Bistro 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Eclectic, European
Neighborhood: Homewood
Cost: $$
Highlands Bar and Grill 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, European, French, Fusion, Southern
Cost: $$
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