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New to Mobile Alabama, Where's The Good Stuff?

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  • Big Milwaukee Jun 18, 2006 11:08 PM
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Just moved to Mobile Alabama from Milwaukee Wisconsin. The first night we moved to Mobile Alabama I had to eat at the Olive Garden on Airport. I want to avoid that place. It wasn't bad, it's just the Olive Garden. I straight up love good food, especially regional places with character. Here are some of my fave places I've already eaten at in Mobile: Dreamland BBQ, Pillars, Wentzell's Oysters House.
On my list to visit is the Brick Pit, Original Oyster Bar, Cafe 615, Dew Drop Inn.
I'm curious to know what other magical and delicious places there are to check out in the Mobile AL area.
Thanks!

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  1. r
    Ransom's eyepatch

    Mobile has some drop down soul food and outstanding jerk chicken take out. Unfortunately, as far as I know, it's not on the Mobile tourist maps. The stretch of 90 in Thodore has several fine meat and three places, just keep your eyes open. There are several bizarre Vietnamese fried fish places on Old Shell toward town that are worth visiting. You pay: $6. You get: huge styrofoam box of okay fried stuff. Ocean Springs used to have excellent soul food, two odd Vietnamese fryaterias, and okay coffee. However, I haven't visited since the storm. All of middle class black Mobile--though not all of middle class segregated white neighborhoods--have fine, reasonable, diner-type meat and threes. Have you been to Southern Fish and Oyster? It depends, I guess, on how you feel about eating fish out of the bay--me, I'm quesy about it--but SFO can be transcendental, depends on the catch and the weather and parking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ransom's eyepatch

      Saucey Q and Brickpit,should be better experiences than Dreamland.

      Tom

    2. I always enjoy Nan-Seas on the west side of the bay. I'm also a big fan of the pulled pork at the Brick Pit.

      1. Guido's in Oakleigh. Bakery Cafe. La Pizzeria. John & Linda's Diner. Tiny Diny. Zitso's. Yen Restaurant. NoJa. Quatorze. Queen G's. Osman's. Mediterranean Cafe. I have had recent strong positive experiences with these mom & pop eating stores. Welcome to Mobile.

        1. In addition to those named elsewhere, most of which are definite must-dos, I'd say:

          Busaba's Thai Cuisine (downtown on Dauphin)
          Butch Cassidy's (near Florida and Old Shell
          Heroes Sports Bar (downtown on Dauphin)
          La Pizzeria (by Leinkauf school)
          219 (lunch only, at Conti and Joachim)
          Yen (Vietnamese on Holcombe Avenue)
          Felix's Fish Camp (on the Causeway)
          Via Emilia (across from USA on Old Shell)
          Jericho Cafe (down the block from Via Emilia)
          Zea (OK, it's a link in a small chain)
          Banana Docks Cafe (at Old Shell and Hillcrest)
          Big Time Diner (on Cottage Hill near University)
          Hennessy's (Old Shell and I-65)
          Manci's Antique Club in Daphne
          Whatever they're calling Pelican Point south of Fairhope these days, mainly for the view.

          NoJa downtown is probably worth a shot, but I can't speak from experience.

          The Bakery Cafe was once much better, but if you've never been, you might not notice how stale it's gotten

          1. I've been to the Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores and it was great. Had the pan seared grouper with creamy tazo sauce or something to that effect. Outstanding.

            My inlaws are in Huntsville and my wife and I are totally sold on Dreamland.

            1. Don't forget about Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Best filet oscar in the south.

              1. Dear Fellow Chowhounders,
                Thank you for the awesome Mobile recs! I can tell you right now that my gut is starting to get big after all the delicious meals I've eaten so far, I feel like I'm eating my way through Mobile. I think I'm going to have to join ProHealth gym to rectify some of my chowing.
                Anyway, lets get serious and get back to Mobile food.

                The Brick Pit was transcendental, Food Network worthy and them some in every respect. In a classic old fashioned building, slightly rundown and the bbq aroma permeating the air. Friendly service, a banana pudding that made me gasp, and then the bbq, and the sauce. It takes cajones to put out a sign that says best bbq in Alabama on your front door like the Brick Pit does. After eating there, I believe the sign.

                My favorite dish at the Original Oyster House were the oysters on the half shell, absolutely delicious. The price was a nice surprise at a dozen for $6.95. I thought the prices, food, and the ambience of the Oyster House more pleasant than Felix's Fish Camp. Felix's Fiah Camp has a slightly prettier view being it faces the other side of the bay, but they had service issues at the hostess/seating area and the food was not amazing.

                Queen G's Cafe: Just 5 minutes from my home, boy, was this place cute. Loved the little homemade cornbreads, the yummy fried oysters, the german chocolate cake looked lucious. Mint leaves in our lemonade and sweet tea, and deviled eggs are an option for a side dish. This is a can't miss Mobile culinary treasure. Not a fancy place, but charming and elegant anyway.

                Saucy Q's: Very good side dishes, hard for me to say whether I liked the banana pudding more at brick put or at saucy qs. Fall off the bone ribs, amazing sauce. Unbelievable. I loved the brick pit and saucy qs.

                Mobile food rocks!
                Let me know if you have any other suggestions, or share some of my opinions on these places. I got to work my way through the rest of these recommendations. If you see a big lady barreling her way down the sidewalk somewhere in Midtown looking hungry, it just might be Big Milwaukee looking for her next chowhoundish delight.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Big Milwaukee

                  Oh Yeah, the Mellow Mushroom is wonderful.

                  1. re: Big Milwaukee

                    Hello Big Milwaukee. My boyfriend and I just moved here from Waukesha. The seafood here has been terrific! I have to say, though, that I miss all the fantastic Mexican restaurants we had in Waukesha and Milwaukee (5th and National!!!). I hope you have found your year here in Mobile to be good. We could do without the southern heat but are being patient for the cooler temperatures and 50+ less inches of snow each year.

                  2. Hey, We just moved here from Seattle. We are eating our way around the area and we have experienced several of the restaurants you talk about. Yes, the Brick Pit is great. Hennessey's is awesome and has some of the best quality meats and fish in their sandwiches and burgers. Their coleslaw is good and their seafood bisque is the best. Try a little lunch cafe up Old Shell called the Chat a Way. We live in Springhill and work for Air/Sea Forwarding on Springhill Ave. WE are from Washington State where good food is plenty. The Southern food has been fun so far but we have a long way to go. Butch Cassidy's was OK. Old Time Diner is good and Ruth's Chris has some great seafood dishes featuring the local shrimp, fish, tuna. We love the downtown Wintzell's and Original Oyster house is great. We have not tried any of the Thai or Asian food yet. We are still working on the Southern food. I guess Saucy Q is supposed to be one of the best. We tried Barbecuing with Honey which was good. We hear that the Tiney Diney is good. Anyway, it's been fun so far.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: northwestnative

                      Unfortunately that is the only Indian place in town and it's OK. There is an Indian grocery on Springhill (I believe) in West Mobile if you want to try making your own. Otherwise do what we do and go out for Indian anytime we are traveling.

                      IF you like Ethnic foods, there is a really good mom & pop Vietnamese restarurant on Azalea near Michael. When we moved here 2 years ago one of my husband's co-workers recommended it. We had never had Vietnamese food before & the staff was very helpful with ordering & proper eating technique.

                      Some of our other favorites are:
                      Original Gambino's in Fairhope - the pasta is good but I go for their flounder dishes
                      Bankgkok Thai Cuisine - I haven't been to the one on Airport but the one on Government has a weekday lunch buffett
                      Naman's Market on Old Shell
                      there's a sushi restaurant on Dauphin downtown & a second location in Daphne but I can't think of the name

                      1. re: xulori94

                        The place with good sushi on Dauphin is Liquid Lounge. It's the best!

                    2. Wow! I didn't realize how many people are moving to Mobile! My husband and I are in town on a house hunting trip. We'll be moving to Mobile next month. Of course, before we arrived I asked people from the area for a list of the best local places. I know a lot of these have been mentioned already but here's the list:
                      Ed's Shed
                      Original Oyster House - this was mentioned by almost everyone. We ate there on Sunday and I thougth the food was good but I was expecting more. I think my biggest disappointment was that most of the menu was fried seafood. I did read an earlier posting about the oysters on the half shell so I'll have to try those next time. I was suprised that I actually liked the cheese grits.
                      Mariner
                      Brick Pit
                      Dreamland - we ate there last night and it was really good.
                      Zea's - One of our favorites. I had the garlic & herb chicken and my husband had the trout. He wants to go back tonight (Thursday for the leg of lamb).
                      Wintzel's - Another of my new favorites. They also have $1 domestic beers and 25 cent oysters on the half shell during happy hour.
                      Big Time Diner
                      Picklefish - We had lunch yesterday at the one near USA. The service was a little slow but we both liked the white chicken veggie pizza.
                      Felix's Fish Camp
                      Justine at the Pillar
                      Dick Russell - supposedly has good breakfast. We might go there today.
                      Mellow Mushroom
                      Neighbors

                      We like Indian food and the only one I have seen is on Airport Blvd. Is it any good? If not, is there another one in town?

                      1. Any report on Dick Russell's? Is there anywhere else in Mobile that has a hearty Southern breakfast?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Superterrific

                          Dick Russell's is very good, the breakfast is historically famous , a perfect southern start to the day, they also have a great hamburger (the old fashion) you gotta try the fried pickles with it. I know I am responding to an old post but if you have not tried the boiling pot or the Shrimp basket you should try them, very good seafood, The Shrimp basket has the best fried white fish, a very eggy tasting batter and their coleslaw has tiny seed shrimp in it. If Sushi is your desire you should try Rock n Roll Sushi they are my favorite sushi place in Mobile. Now if your looking for great Chinese try Peking on Hill crest rd or China Doll on Airport and McGregor.

                        2. Hi all. I'm a non-smoking, gay, "New York liberal" foodie who just moved to Mobile to be with my partner.

                          Looking for other nice people, straight or gay, who'd like
                          experience some of Mobile's best chow places with us.

                          Happy holidays.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sjs5572

                            I just moved back home to Alabama after years in NYC and LA and would love to find some people to try restaurants with. And who better than a "non-smoking, gay, 'New York liberal' foodie" (and his partner)? Sounds like my ideal dinner companions. I'll try almost any kind of restaurant (not too crazy about offal, but otherwise I'm pretty open), and I'd really like to find a great Indian place. And Thai. And Chinese, and Japanese. So if you're still looking for people to join you, I'd love to.

                          2. Hi there Big Milwaukee. I live outside of Montgomery, not in Mobile, but just wanted to remind you of our jewel vacation area Gulf Shores/Orange beach. It's about a 45 minute drive on I-20 East across the bay and then south on Hwy 59. There are a lot of fantastic independantly owned restaurants over there to try. Some of my favorites are Lesters, Bayside Grille, Tacky Jacks, Calypso Joe's, Shrimp Basket, just to name a few. And if you are into some serious people watching and a guaranteed fun time, don't forget to check out the FloraBama! Welcome to Alabama!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Missi

                              At any of the Gulf Shores spots mentioned above, you might, by chance, have "fantastic" meal or experience, but it would be the exception, not the rule. Unless you love fried, which would raise your chances. The on-again-off-again seasonal nature of biz here contributes to the inconsistency.
                              But you can always get a good cold bottled beer here. That is the local specialty that just about everyone gets right.

                              1. re: gulfgirl

                                Other real good choices are Cosmo's and Tin Top if you're in the area. Locals and those "in the know" go.

                                http://www.cosmosrestaurantandbar.com/

                                Tin Top Restaurant & Oyster Bar
                                17240 County Road 10, Bon Secour, AL 36511
                                (251) 949-5086

                              2. re: Missi

                                You might also try a couple of restaurants at The Wharf. Villagio just opened up. Pretty good Italian influenced food, although the prices are a little steep for a shopping mall in LA (Lower Alabama). Also at The Wharf is Ginny Lane's with some great cheeseburgers and some good unfried fish dishes. One more place there is Rafter's, sports type bar with a good selection of beers and a pretty good pulled pork sandwich.

                                1. re: dd992emo

                                  Thanks for the tip. Going down around New Year's. Will check them out.

                              3. The Tin Top is over the top! Ha Ha!
                                Kelley

                                1. The Brick Pit was as good as advertised. The ribs, the pulled pork, even the slaw. And while I wouldn't gasp at any banana pudding (not my fave dessert), Brick Pit's is one of the best I've ever had.

                                  Here are pictures of the food and the interior:
                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/amywatts...

                                  1. You have to try the Dew Drop Inn! Get the hot dog all the way. Noja was good, really enjoyed the duck and had a good wine menu.

                                    1. Welcome to Mobile!

                                      For fine dining, check out the new restaurant, True, in Legacy Village off Dauphin St, across from Spring Hill Hospital. The chocolate desert is the best in town! A bit pricey, but the food was excellent.
                                      NOJA, downtown on N. Jackson St. Upscale.
                                      Cafe' 615 has a wonderful Sunday brunch. $20 entree' with bottomless mimosas. Fix your own Bloody Marys in the bar (or they will make one for you, if you like). Get there early. It's full by noon.
                                      I hear The Royal Scam, downtown on Royal, is good for lunch, but haven't been there myself.
                                      Liquid, downtown on Dauphin, has great sushi.
                                      Osman's, a small family place that has excellent steaks. Be sure to make reservations.
                                      Eastern Shore:
                                      If you venture over to Fairhope, The Colony Grill is a good upscale place. Just had their delicious shrimp scampi last weeked.
                                      Also in Fairhope, Wash House. Upscale.
                                      The Sunday brunch at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear is a gastronomical experience.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: ibslaura

                                        Moved here from Oakland, Ca. I've had plenty of good seafood.
                                        Yen's is good enough to make it in Oakland or DC.
                                        Taste of Thai in Irvington is better than the two Thai places in Mobile
                                        Most of the seafood on the Causeway is pretty good.
                                        Abba Med and Shiraz Persian are both pretty good as is Jerusalem Cafe.
                                        La Michoacana in Robertsdale will make you think of California.
                                        Osman's Croatian is really good.
                                        Food Pack on Old Shell is oddly good even though it looks like a convenience store from the outside.
                                        T&L Noodle Bar on Azalea is pretty good.
                                        Jamaican Cafe on Azalea is also good.
                                        Via Emillia on Old Shell by South Alabama is good but has weird hours.
                                        Butch Cassidy's has a good burger, wings, and happy hour.
                                        Brick Pit =tasty

                                        I'd gladly eat with people. I don't care if you're gay or whatever. I'm conservative, but conservative California might be liberal Alabama.

                                        The Indian restaurant on Airport is not good. Go to one of the Indian grocery stores near South Alabama and a cookbook or look up Manjula'sl Kitchen on youtube.

                                        I'd suggest Backyard BBQ and Cafe for soulfood but that's me.

                                        Mud Bugs on D.I.P. has good seafood that is very cheap

                                        1. re: mitchecon

                                          Whowee! It's been twenty long years, but I FINALLY wrangled a transfer back to Mobile. I cannot wait to get there. Glad to see that many of my old favorites have survived, and many new ones haved popped up, keeping the tradition alive that Mobile is one great eatin' town. I love it more than Seattle and San Francisco combined, and it's only rival for me might be Charleston. This time around, the wife wants to settle up in Fairhope, but I'm a little worried that the Eastern Shore has sprung up with nothing but franchise restaurants (you don't find me in Applebee's except in true desperation). So, please tell me that ain't so ... because I'll wear out the causeway getting on with the gumbo blitz.

                                          1. re: sociallyautistic

                                            On our visit to Mobile we tried Wintzell's. Loved the place! My oyster sampler was great. My wife's fried oysters were among the best we have had anywhere. Cole Slaw on the side was perfection. Prices are very reasonable. Visitors to Mobile should not miss a visit to Wintzell's.

                                      2. I was just in Mobile a few weeks ago for my sister's graduation. We went to this little place called 'Blu' - fine dining, local flavor, very personal service, interesting, tasty, an overall great experience. The best part is, they don't have a liquor license so it's BYO - definitely helps to cut down on the bill.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: queenhilly

                                          Hey y'all have to eat at Whataburger! We used to have one in Memphis. When I go to Mobile, that's the first place I hit. The best cheese burgers on the planet.

                                          1. re: thesnootyfoody

                                            I LOVE Whataburger!! My son begs to stop whenever we're near one. So sad that they've never come back to Memphis.

                                            Another recommendation for Mobile would be Osman's. It's small and quiet, but the food is delicious. The owners are Bosnian, and while they don't put a lot of Eastern European food on the menu, they do really great continental European cuisine.

                                        2. Saucy Q ROCKS. I think they put crack in their potato salad, it's so addictive...

                                          1. Bangkok Thai is the best Thai food, and the spring rolls are hand's down my favorite I've had anywhere.
                                            For sushi, I'd say Bonsai on Schillinger or venture across the bay to Master Joe's.
                                            For breakfast/brunch, it's hard to beat Spot of Tea downtown on Dauphin. I also like Dick Russell's if you're in the Theodore/Tillman's Corner area.
                                            Jerusalem Cafe off of Airport is great for Mediterranean.
                                            Fuego (dubbed as a "mexican eatery with Cali coast fire") is great Mexican food with tasty margaritas.
                                            The Kitchen on George is some incredible fine dining, and if I'm remembering correctly, it's run entirely by Virginia College culinary students.
                                            And lastly, I've never been to the True Midtown location, but the one on Dauphin was some suberb and eclectic fine dining when it was still opened.

                                            While food in Mobile is predominantly southern/BBQ/deep fried, but there are some choices for foodie types or those looking for variety and (potentially) healthier options.

                                            Last but not least, if you're looking for some food that Mobilians always rave about, travel over to Dauphin Island Parkway to Mudbugs to pick up a sack of cooked crawfish and low country boil to feast upon...you won't be disappointed!