A Visitors Guide to Birmingham, AL: Eat and Drink your way through the Magic City

As you can tell by my Instagram, I am back in Birmingham, AL visiting for the week and I am SO EXCITED! like, cannot express my excitement to be back in The Magic City. We loved living in Birmingham and I am so excited to be back and spending time here with some of my favorite people, and dogs.

This picture is taken from the corner of my old office building, how cute is the Alabama theatre?

Any Birmingham native will tell you the best thing about Birmingham is the food! The south, in general, is known for its really heavy, fatty, fried, foods but you don’t have to look far in Birmingham to find options that aren’t traditional southern foods.

So you are in Birmingham for a conference, maybe staying in Birmingham with plans to drive to Tuscaloosa for a football game. This foolproof dining plan will have you falling IN LOVE with the Magic City.


Start your morning at a new local favorite, The essential. This eatery was started by two locals who aspire to give you the perfect meal with all local ingredients. It’s not your traditional southern breakfast but obviously, you will be able to get the staple sausage biscuit just make sure you don’t leave without their homemade pop tarts, YUM!

If breakfast is not your thing and you just need to start your day with a great cup of coffee then off to Woodlawn cafe you go. They have small bites and really great, strong coffee.


Hattie B’s

Hattie B’s in Birmingham

The famous Nashville hot chicken restaurant holds true to their roots in their Birmingham location, it’s so good. Anytime, we would have any visitors stay with us in Birmingham we would immediately take them to Hattie B’s.

My ideal meal:

  • Medium grilled tenders
  • Pimento cheese mac & cheese
  • French fries
  • Diet Coke

PERFECTION! (honestly, if I had to choose any meal, it would be this)

Jack Browns

Jack Brown’s in Birmingham

If hot chicken isn’t your cup of tea across the street is an excellent hamburger joint, Jack Browns. Their hamburgers are small but mighty and they have the best beer selection to accompany a burger and fries. Anytime I see cream cheese and jalapenos on a hamburger, SIGN. ME. UP.


Birmingham has some wonderful fine dining establishments including James Beard’s 2018 Outstanding Restaurant winner: Highlands Bar and Grill. While fine dining is wonderful, I am going to stick to my moderately priced suggestions to complete the day of great eating.

El Bario

El Barrio – Downtown Birmingham

This delicious restaurant is mainly marketed as a Mexican restaurant but I would say its much more of Mexican/ Southern fusion. Needless to say, their grapefruit margaritas are EVERYTHING! They also have my favorite Saturday brunch in Birmingham. When we first moved to Birmingham I was immediately drawn to this place because the interiors remind me so much of restaurants in California.

Bamboo on 2nd

Bamboo on 2nd – Asian Fusion, Birmingham, AL

Who knew Birmingham could deliver such awesome Asian fusion? Everything from their ramen bowls to their sushi is perfect, accompanied by a fun, energetic atmosphere. A wonderful downtown eatery.

Fancys on Fifth

Looking for a nice southern-inspired dinner? Look no further than Fancy’s on Fifth. Start with a dozen oysters, shoot, you can start and finish there. After Fancy’s go across the street and do yourself a favor and enjoy a sour beer at Avondale’s’ sour room.

Late Night Eats

If you are ready to end your night with a bang, the corndog at Carrigans will complete your food excursion in Birmingham. It’s the deep fried goodness that dreams are made of complete with hipster ranch you won’t regret this calorie binge.

Corndog at Carrigans – Birmingham, AL

I have such a special spot in my heart for Birmingham, I mean shoot, my kitty Penny was born just south of the Magic City. This dining guide was so easy to make because its all the places I will be eating at this week while visiting Birmingham.


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