Will be attending a convention at the Sheraton on Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd -- Know absolutely nothing about the city or its restaurants. Anything nearby that's good for breakfast, lunch, and or dinners (and drinks!) Any cuisine will do as long as it's good.
Thanks so much for any and all suggestions.
The choices downtown are fairly slim. The best(only)nice restaurant downtown is Cafe DuPont (on 20th St. bwtn 1st and 2nd Aves) - open for lunch and dinner. Small venue; and excellent food.
Many excellent choices are less than a mile away. Frank Sitt, the city's premier chef, has four places where you can't go wrong. His flagship is Highland Bar and Grill (ranked #5 in the country by Gourmet last year)- the best in town - and you will need to reserve well in advance. Next door is his French Bistro Chez Fon Fon - no reservations, more casual - and the food is excellent (but is authentic French Bistro fare - steak with frites and mayomnaise; mussels, etc). A block away, you'll find Bottega Restaurant and Bottega Cafe. As the names suggest, the Restuarant is more formal Italian; the cafe is casual (pizzas, padine, etc.) and has great people watching. A good place to grab a drink.
Also, many (not me) love Hot & Hot Fish Club around the corner. For fish, I prefer Ocean and its more casual sister 26.
All of these are within a few blocks of each other and about a mile from your hotel.
I second all of Bluehound's choices. You can't go wrong with any of those restaurants. Another suggestion would be G's. Excellent fare!!! Very cosmopolitan (especially for Birmingham). Downtown is beginning to bounce back a bit with condos and lofts going up like crazy. Got to feed those urban dwellers, so I see many good to great restaurants opening up.
Go to http://www.birminghammenus.com, click on the "Southside" link and it lists several of the restaurants mentioned above. Check out their sites & menus.
I wasn't aware that G's was going to close while they were getting the Tutwiler location up and running.
Chez Fonfon, mentioned by Bluehound above, was named #1 on MSN for most amazing wine experience. It's a lovely place with a definite bistro feel. Try the cheese course at dinner - divine!
The Marriot by UAB Hospital (19th & 5th S?) is within walking distance (6 or 7 blocks) of many excellent places to eat. In the 5 Points area (about 20th & 11th) there is:
Chez FonFon (bistro)
Highland's Bar & Grill (5 star - recently written up in the NYT)
Ocean (fabulous seafood)
26 (more casual sister to Ocean)
Grape (wine bar with good food)
Surin West (excellent Thai & sushi)
Jim & Nick's 11th Avenue Grille (good bbq)
If you go the complete opposite direction (towards downtown), there are fewer options. One to note - Cafe Dupont (on about 20th & 1st Ave N). Excellent! I can't say enough good things about it. Also, scheduled to open sometime in Feb, Icon. It's the new restaurant at the Historic Tutwiler Hotel (about 20th & 5th N). The people opening it is known around the city for top notch food, ambience & service. I'm looking forward to trying it!!
I work at UAB Hospital, so if you need anymore recommendations, just let me know!
Are you talking about the Marriott on Hwy 280 in Inverness? If so, that's about a good 30 minutes outside of town--longer if you've hit rush hour traffic. Better to stay closer into the city for better food, IMHO. Depending on what kind of stuff you like, I would recommend Sol y Luna and Los Angeles. These are two restaurants owned by the same Mexican owner. The first one is kind of like a tapas (small plates) place. The latter is a white table cloth "nuevo latino" cusine in a slightly more formal environment. Last week I went to a fairly new restaurant called Bettola. It's in the historic Dr. Pepper Building about 5 minutes from UAB. It has a big wood burning stove where they do most of the cooking. It is Italian w/handmade pasta, pizzas, and salads. I really enjoyed it. It's a young couple that owns it, the husband is in the kitchen and the wife is in the front of the house. My friend Wil and I ended up eating at the bar where the owner's wife waited on us. She was super nice and the food was really tasty.
BTW, I hope you plan on renting a car. Birmingham does not have a good mass transit system nor are taxis readily available.