Best places to show off in Birmingham?
My parents are in town for four days and I am planning a tour-de-force of Birmingham restaurants while they are here (plus they have the credit card that can afford it) They are foodies from San Antonio who love wine bar/bistro type places and love all types of food. I want to take them to a nice mix of places that really show off the diversity of the town. Here's what I have so far, please suggest alternatives to help me give them the best weekend ever:
Day 1: Flight in: Dreamlands after the airport...start it off with the typical southern ribs
Day 2: Dinner reservations at Highlands B&G...they've heard great things and requested this one. Can't wait to try it myself.
Here's where I need help...
Day 3, lunch: I am looking for a fun lunch place in one of the neighborhoods like Cahaba Heights or Mountain Brook, something that would show off the city's 'hometown' atmosphere...I was thinking maybe chez lulu or the bakery?
Day 3, Dinner: I was thinking of taking them to something seafood-related...possibilities I've considered are: Hot & Hot, Ocean, and 26.....one question--which is better, ocean or 26?
Finally, Brunch on Sunday: I heard L. Indica cafe was great, also I've been to Jacksons....any other interesting brunch suggestions?
You might think about taking them to Chez Lulu for brunch rather than lunch--I think that their brunch is better. Open Door Cafe and Fire also do a good job with brunch.
If they like bistros, then Chez Fonfon would be a good choice for lunch (best hamburgers in town). I would call first to see if they are open, because I don't think they are open for lunch every day. Other lunch options with a "hometown" feel: Bottletree, O'Carr's or Tip Top Grill (for the view as much as for the food).
For seafood, I would definitely take them to Ocean. Hot and Hot is outstanding and always has several good seafood choices on its menu, but that is pretty much all Ocean does--the nori-crusted tuna there is great, as is the grouper over white cheddar chees grits.
Open Door for brunch is wonderful and lovely. Chez Lulu is a great choice for lunch. Another suggestion would be O'Carrs. They have a great chicken salad/fruit plate. And their cheesecake is divine! Definitely Ocean for seafood - the lobster pot pie is to die for!!!!! 26 is really good (LOVE the chicken satay salad), but way more casual and contemporary.
Save the Chez Lulu for Sunday brunch. It's interesting and they have outside seating in picturesque Engligh Village.
I heartily recommend Hot and Hot. But if you're set on Ocean vs. 26, go with Ocean.
That leads you to Day 3 lunch: Is it a weekday or (looke like this is the case) a weekend? Heck, either way, if their credit card hasn't had all the number rubbed off yet, try Icon at the Tutwiler Hotel. Great food by one of Birmingham's best chefs, Geoffrey Slate. If you want to eat in Cahaba Heights, Miss Myra's barbecue has been highly praised here and elsewhere (including a recent writeup in the Washington Post). O'Carr's is locally owned -- deli sandwiches. If they like ethnic food, try Taj India off Highland Ave., or even a light-casual Mexican meal at Taqueria Mi Casita in Homewood.
Daniel George is one of my favorites. I go there so often I have a regular server. That makes me sound bias, but my first experience was so great that I have continued going back on a very regular basis. The veal picatta is a house specialty. They always have several seafood options along w/ a steak, chicken and/or pork on the menu nightly. They also offer oysters on the half-shell and several excellent appetizers as well.
Thanks everyone! I'm going to have to try Chez Fonfon, is it open on Saturdays?
I actually went to O'Carr's the other day for lunch--I agree, one of the best slices of cheesecake I've ever eaten. I was the only one in my group not to order the Chicken Salad, though, and I was left wondering if that's the sort of place where the only thing to order is the salad...my pork tenderloin sandwich was good, but the goat cheese spread they slathered on top made it too rich to finish. It was almost like an icing.