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Feb 17, 2007 01:50 PM

Best Fried Catfish within 25 miles of Birmingham?

Gearing up for a trip to B'ham.Definitely going to need a good Fried Catfish fix.?Could y'all point me towards the best in the area please?

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  1. I'm not sure if it's a regular menu item, but the last time I had fried catfish at the Irondale Cafe, it was scrumptuous!! They serve the fried green tomatoes made famous from Fannie Flagg's book (and movie) Fried Green Tomatoes.

    Surin West, a Thai restaurant in Southside, has a great fried catfish as well. You wouldn't expect a Thai place to succeed with such a southern item, but it works. The sauce that accompanies it is very good.

    1. Is Tophat still open up in Garden City?It's a barbecue restaurant but the catfish was the real deal.

      12 Replies
      1. re: scrumptiouschef

        Damn,Y'all used to be you could bring up Fried Cafish in a tavern in Bham and talk to impassioned strangers for a good hour.Did all y'alls fried fish houses close?I know Fish Market is great on all fronts but....

        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          The Fish Market is really great, but I've never personally tried the fried catfish. I would imagine it would be delicious. Catfish Cabin in Roebuck closed years ago. It was a wonderful place to go. For truly stellar catfish (and any other fried swimmer), I go to Top O' the River, but it's outside of the 25 mile range you indicated (Gadsden).

        2. re: scrumptiouschef

          Top Hat is still open. I agree that the catfish is very good. I love a spot where a barbecue/catfish combination plate is offered.

          1. re: Hushpuppy

            Any recent reports on Shaw's in Hanceville Alabama?

            1. re: scrumptiouschef

              Top Hat is open and I've always enjoyed their catfish much better than their barbecue. But that's more than 25 miles outside of B'ham. BTW, so is Shaw's, but that's in Holly Pond, not Hanceville. And I just have to mention this: the best catfish I've had in the entire state is Red's Catfish Cabin in Cragford, Alabama. Second runner up: Ezell's in Lavaca.

              That Ezell's that opened in Pelham was not anywhere near as good as the original and has closed. I understand there is another in Trussville now.

              Sheilal is right about the catfish with the sauce at Surin. Very good.

              Where else in town? Green Acres. The original is out by ACIPCO but I don't think they are open for lunch (I was just there last week...closed). The others in the local chain are open for lunch but vary by quality.

              Catfish may be the only thing I haven't had at Fish Market (downtown) but I'd absolutely try that.

              Niki's West does their catfish fried, grilled, Cajun, or blackened. I'd definitely suggest that too.

              Mudtown also.

              Bet I'm forgetting a bunch but those should be a good start.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                Oh goodness! I just realized that the original thread was from 2007 but the most recent was from last month, asking specifically about Shaw's.

                Unless Shaw's has moved, they are still in Holly Pond. When I was a little girl, I went to their first location where they had a little footbridge going over their indoor koi pond (that was a huge-big-deal if you were a kid).

                I've been to their newer location and it was pretty fair but not great by any standard. Of course, that's been a couple of years ago so it's possible that it's changed for the better.

                1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                  I think Jim N Nicks catfish is the best in Bham. And I eat a lot of catfish. When Ezells was in Pelham, I couldn't imagine how they could compete. The serving size at Jim N Nick's is always enough for me to take some home for tomorrow's lunch. Ezells gave you little tiny portions. I just about cried. The Catfish Ponchartrain is pretty good at Cajun Steamer in Patton Creek.

                  1. re: curej

                    I dont know what curej is talking about, I ate at Ezell's is Bessemer last Teusday on my lunch break, and was very impressed. From the hostes to the servers to the cashier, they all seemed happy. It did not stop there, the food was sublime. I had a blackened catfish fillet poboy, with home made cocktail and tarter sauce, very good. Not to mention the free hushpuppies and slaw. I am looking forward to eating there again.

                    Ezell's Cafe
                    1050 N Fourche Ave, Perryville, AR 72126

                    1. re: JMiles

                      The Ezell's in Pelham was a far cry from the other Ezell's around the state. Even the hushpuppies were just a bit off.

                      I know it's a far drive from Birmingham, but I've been partial to Top of the River in the Rainbow City/Gadsden area.

                      Haven't tried Jim N' Nicks for the catfish though, so I'm not sure. Curej, which location of Jim N' Nicks do you suggest?

                      Top of the River
                      1606 Rainbow Dr, Gadsden, AL 35901

                      Ezell's Cafe
                      1050 N Fourche Ave, Perryville, AR 72126

                      1. re: Jannae

                        I have always had good luck at the J&N on 280 just below 119 on the way out to Chelsea. But I have to say, Jim N Nicks is one of the most consistent "chain" BBQ restaurants that I've ever known. When we moved here from Charleston SC, I missed "Sticky Fingers" (a rib joint from that part of the world) and hoped they'd put one out here someday. Ironically, Jim N Nicks (from here) now has several branches in the "low country" and I'm still waiting for a Sticky Fingers here. I think the closest on is in Chattanooga, but I may be mistaken.

                      2. re: JMiles

                        You don't have to know what curej is talking about. Curej knows what he is talking about, thank you very much.

                        Probably as a result of the lukewarm reception to it's lukewarm food, the Ezells in Pelham CLOSED. Further, I talked to several people who shared my opinion of that Ezells location. I'm glad you had a good experience at the Bessemer location.

                      3. re: curej

                        Have you ever been to Cajun Steamer?? Wondering if this place is worth a visit.