What's good for a foodie in Montgomery?
I would also be interested to hear the answers to this one... especially places that are good to stop at while driving through the area!!!
Check out "El Rey" (www.burritolounge.com) in the Cloverdale neighborhood (to say that it is a Mexican restaurant does it no justice. It is owned and operated by Americans. I have nothing to compare it to but it's what I imagine Rick Bayliss' food to be like...)
Also in Cloverdale, check out "Filet & Vine" (www.filetandvine.com -- most locals will know it as "Dirk's"). It's an above-average meat & three...(but) the thing I miss the most from their is their bacon. Go in for breakfast and get it with some eggs...or order a B.L.T. or something (even better, a Grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich ADD BACON). It is the best I've ever had.
The Capitol Inn Hotel's Four Seasons Restaurant's (www.capitolinnhotel.com/restaurant.html) Lunch Buffet is Old South-Quaint, and has the best banana pudding I've ever tasted. (Warm, with meringue.) The buffet menu rotates daily and is posted on their website.
There was also a soul-food place...you'd have to do some asking around to find out the name (I stopped and asked a meter maid where a good place to grab this kind of food was...and that's how I discovered it.) It was on the "other side of the tracks" side of Downtown (somewhat near Old Alabama Town but closer to the jail and several bail bonds places.) It was in a run-down place several blocks from the beaten path. That's all I really know about it, but they had great "fish fry"-type dinners and (as I remember) great potato salad and stovetop-style mac & cheese.
The Farmer's Market operates a meat-and-three-type place...believe it's called the "Farmer's Market Cafe". I don't remember the entree being too exciting, but the vegetables were incredibly fresh and there was a variety not seen at most other restaurants of this type.
Last but not least, quickly -- barbeque. Locals will be split between Dreamland (www.dreamlandbbq.com) and Jim and Nick's (www.jimnnicks.com). Both are now regional chains. I wasn't impressed with Dreamland, but it does have a long history in Alabama with its styrofoam and Pepsi plastic punch-letter menu boards. Jim and Nick's, for my money, was much better. It is perhaps the most "polished" BBQ joint I've ever been to...but despite it's chain-like tendencies has, IMHO, excellent BBQ. Most servers will allow you to ask for inside or outside meat (so if you like that crunchy tasty outer crust like I do, ask for extra outside!) They also have excellent homemade smoked sausage.
I don't know what's bringing you to Montgomery, but might I add that the aforementioned establishments are really about the ONLY things I miss about the place. Just saying...
Jacobsessoms, Adamdm listed some places- not sure if you did a search but you might have seen this post with more, & a detailed map:
Everyone has their own definition for what might be a foodie place and what might not, but here's more of an ethnic approach:
1. Arrirang- Most authentic Korean food in town, and there are lots of places for a small town like this. They have table top grills, and karaoke on friday nights. This place could stand up in nyc- they have to be good because we have a large Korean population here due to the Hundai plant.
2. India Palace- North indian food with some south indian options. Buffet at lunch, but go at night to experience the full spectrum of their menu. Bring lots of people so you can try different things.
3. Island Delight- The one west indian place in town- good for lunch. Call ahead for veggie patties, or to make sure if they have roti. Meat patties and coco bread are normally available. Sometimes they get in aki and breadfruit. Different things on different days- I usually try and go for the oxtails or goat.
4. Kabuki or Satsuki. Kabuki is owned by a nice chinese family, and Satsuki is owned by a group of young koreans, and has more of a korean influenced menu- i.e. bulgogi and kimchi- but really nice green tea. Both are great places for fish, although I think Kabuki gets in more special items- ie. toro, etc. The same chinese family that owns east china owns kabuki- so I try and patronize them often.
5. East China- Only real chinese place in town. Call ahead for special items such as whole fish, chinese long(rope) beans, asian eggplant, and ho fun thick noodle. I would go here as often as possible.
6. Esperanza Taquaria- Favorite little taco house. Go here for sopas and lengua, or tripe. Good home-made horchata & other drinks.
7. Los Cabos Cantina- Favorite tex/mex- good chili poblanos and 99c margarita tuesdays.
8. Taquaria Hacienda Prattville- Similar menu to esperanza.
9. Number 16- Spanish Style Tapas- pallela, flatbreads, great wine selection- ports.. live music..
10. Green Papaya- Best Laos food in town. Usually will get the green papaya salad, lard na, larb, etc. They have laos mango with coconut milk for dessert sometimes. Make sure to order everything Laos style- (as opposed to thai style)
Kabuki is great for sushi...about the best and freshest you can get around here. I've yet to have a bad meal and always get great service at Green Papaya, even if it's not authentic Thai. Lek's can be good but is usually over priced for the quality IMO. I've heard great things about Arrirang as well, but have yet to eat there.
Thanks for the Olive Room shout out on a previous post araess...I've been the Sous Chef there for the past 4 years now.
Cool yeah, I love olive room- wins hands down in ambiance against the competition like garrett's, number 16, la jolla, and city grill- and the scene next door at nobles is fun. When Ted gets imaginative with the food it sure is an awesome trip- reminds me of some of the stuff on the menu at Yellowhammer in Waverly- worth the drive from Montgomery if you haven't checked it out.
- oh and pinotboy I think the soul food place might actually be Davis Cafe. It's right by the train tracks, bonds places, and low income housing- good too.
Just heard the yellowhammer in waverly's chef is moving to nancy patterson's here in montgomery. I don't know what is going to have to happen to keep yellowhammer's menu and food as high of quality as it has been, but I hope it happens. I hope the chef gets to do everything he has done in waverly at nancy patterson's times 10- but to loose yellowhammer as a culinary destination would be horrible.
These looked interesting..
The Pines Restaurant
1044 Elm St
Troy, AL 36081
not amazing but dependable
Sweet and Savory
218 E Academy St
Troy, AL 36081
103 Highway 231 S
Troy, AL 36081
Full bbq place with all of the fixings.
have a pickup window if you want to call ahead.
Crowes Fried Chicken (& home made sauce
)904 N 3 Notch St
Troy, AL 36081
Highway 231 Byp
Troy, AL 36079
Fishbones of Troy
600 S Brundidge St # A
Troy, AL 36081
Fishbones Seafood Market & Cafe
60 S Court Sq, Troy, AL, 36081
Mossy Grove School House Restaurant
Elba Hwy, Troy, AL, 36079
Half Shell Oyster Bar & Grill
119 Southland Vlg Ste C, Troy, AL, 36079
3855 county road 308, Troy, AL, 36079
pecans,cake,cookies,candy,bread,pralines,heavenly hash,pecan picker,gift baskets
1208 University Hwy, Troy, AL, 36079
334-566-8800 Reservations Are Not Accepted, Ribs, Sandwiches, Seafood, Specializing In, Steaks
Campus Deli & Subs
812 S George Wallace Dr, Troy, AL, 36081
1009 Highway 231 S, Troy, AL, 36081
Ingram Curb Mkt
101 W Fairview St, Troy, AL, 36081
Sisters Restaurant (buffet- saturday lunch is supposed to be special)
13153 Us Highway 231
Troy, AL 36081
German Schnitzel Haus
3 W Pointe Ct # F
Enterprise, AL 36330
8 North Pointe Pkwy.
Enterprise, AL 36330
501 Plaza Dr # 109
Enterprise, AL 36330
490 N Daleville Ave
Daleville, AL 36322
Rawl's Hotel (check out the belvino gourmet shop in back for wines, cheese, beer)
116 South Main Street Enterprise, AL 36330
( 334) 347-7612
Hooks BBQ- the best BBQ in Troy, but that's only because Country's BBQ is the only other choice that I know of & they seriously suck.
I lived in Troy for 5-6 years during college and can recomend you try
1)- Crowes Chicken-get the fingers w/ 3-4 extra sides of sauce,
2)-The Half Shell- Straight up greasy bar food, but the foods normally good and the beer is always ice cold.
On your way back through, Sisters would be a great choice, if you're like me and need some good 'ol country food to shake off a hangover after 3 days at Bama Jam.
I really like some of the replies here so far, but no one has mentioned my favorite place in town, Jubilee Seafood. Located in the quirky but fun Cloverdale neighborhood, it consistently serves the best, freshest seafood in the area. It's not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but the food is excellent, the service always great, and the beer ice cold.
Preparations vary from simple grilled fish, to a daily changing menu of more elaborately prepared dishes. I am partial to the grilled triggerfish (when on the menu) but everything I have had there has been very good.
It has an atmosphere that you would expect to find at a "locals" place in a beach community. We are, IMO, lucky to have it here in Montgomery.
re: Andrew in Alabama
You're right, the seafood is fresh at Jubilee, and you pay for it. For more economical options that are still fresh I like aw shucks(still in montgomery county) or if you need to stick to the area check out capitol oyster bar- I noticed a bigger bill at capitol also though. The price of food must be going up everywhere. I think jubilee gets the seafood from destin connection- who has seafood sandwiches that sell at lunch if you get the chance to try them out.
For Korean, I really like Shilla, which is located off the Atlanta Highway, in a shopping center surrounding Eastdale Mall.
It is family run, very friendly, and the food is great. At lunch, my wife and I both order Bi Bim Bap, and share a large tofu soup. The bill comes out to around $20, and the little side dishes are the best and most generous I have seen in town.
re: Andrew in Alabama
I noticed at arrirang they have Bibim naeng myeon and Mul naeng myon! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naengmyeon
A cold noodle perfect for summertime.
Can you describe the side dishes more at Shilla? I haven't been. Also, do they have grills on the table there? I notice the side dishes change depending on what you order at arirang, but they are almost always good.
Let's see if I can remember what we had last time at Shilla. My knowledge of the names of items is limited, so I will do my best to describe them:
Eponymous marinated bean sprouts
Starchy chunked potato-like vegetable with spicy red sauce
English cucumbers with sesame and spicy marinade (this was great!)
Squid strips with red spicy sauce
Green vegetable (taste similar to asparagus) in a sesame marinade
Tofu cakes with onions, green onions, garlic in an amazing sauce (this was the show-stopper.)
In addition, the Bi Bim Bap was amazing. Hard to beat for $7 per person.
I think they do have some tables with the BBQ grills, but only in the private rooms. It seems to be popular with Korean ladies, who always seem to be there in large groups at lunchtime.
re: Andrew in Alabama
I might go back to arrirang anyways because I love the ladies that work there so much. It's usually a couple of guys back in the kitchen, one older lady, two medium aged ladies, a younger lady, and a girl that are there pretty much all the time. If you go when it's slower the service is great (sometimes they will cook for you on the grills at the table, which is an honor). If it's busy you better not have any events scheduled for later in the evening. It's especially busy on friday and saturday nights, but I enjoy the atmosphere of not being in a hurry and drinking lots of soju- then slipping back into the karaoke room and making a fool of myself. I wonder what effect the partial closure of the hundai plant will have on the business of the place and the special items they get in. :(
Jubilee is usually excellent and you can eat a decent meal for a modest sum by ordering the West Indies Salad ( a regional delicacy composed of lump crabmeat, onion , oil and ice water) , a bowl of gumbo, or the half fried oyster or shrimp dinner which comes with waffle fries and a marinated slaw. They will give you boiled shrimp instead of fried if you ask. I am quite partial to the BBQ shrimp, which is wrapped in bacon. If you get there early enough and the shrimp ettoufe happens to be on the menu order it quick before it is gone. The fish dinners can be pricey, but they are excellent, really worth the cost. The raw oysters are top rate as is the Key Lime Pie. The crab cakes may be the best in town, but I am spoiled and don't like more than 1/4 a cracker of breading in mine, which really you only get if you make it yourself. At Jubilee you can eat well for under $15 or for $50+ . Dinner only, not open Monday. Destin Connection is a place to buy seafood and take it home to cook, the sandwiches are great if you can snag one, but the location can be a tad dicey so pay attention.
El Rey is fun if you sit outside and the food is tasty, India Palace is always good (but truly a basic environment) and I see the owner of El Rey there almost more often than at his own place.
Don't bother with Dreamland in Montgomery, it is not even a faint shadow of the Tuscaloosa original, or go to the other chains. If you want bbq, go the downtown Farmer's Market Cafe for a sandwich or to the Capitol Inn's Four Season's Restaurant on a Friday. The latter is my all time favorite Meat and Three in Montgomery and the BBQ pork is really good . It is an all you can eat buffet with green beans and mac & cheese like you don't get outside of the deep south..other choices too, but those are my favorites. Both open for lunch. PJR's is the place for ribs, it is hard to find but worth the hunt on the days that they have ribs.
Derk's Filet and Vine is a fun place for lunch and an early dinner (closes at 6!) but is no longer open for breakfast except on Saturdays. Steam tray meat and 3 which is always high quality ingredients and a wide variety of food, but results vary . The cabbage would make a cabbage-hating kid into a believer, the Tomato Basil soup is really good and the cornbread muffins are just perfect. I eat there a lot, but it is not where I take out of town guests looking for serious meat and three. The pimento cheese is still great, but thegrilled sandwich is not what it used to be since they stopped using Big Sky Bread.
I have not been to Martha's since they began serving buffet style, but always like the meat and three there. The fried chicken is second best in town and the pork chop casserole is very tasty.
I am partial to the chive dumplings, the transparent thai roll and the panang curry at Ala Thai off Anne Street and at Lek's original place, the Tom Kha soup is my favorite.
Not been to the Olive Room recently, but none of the other big name restaurants currently are not worth the money. Sad, because there have been first rate restraunts here.
Red's Little School House, a way off the Troy Highway about half way in between Montgomery and Troy is another good meat and three with tasty fried cornbread and other southern things. My over-the-top gourmet cook cousins and I go there for Thanksgiving dinner and see other foodies there, but mind -- it is basic southern cooking, high in fat, salt and taste.
Great comments. Unfortunately, PJRs closed down. Too bad as I really enjoyed their food, and the owner always had a wonderful attitude.
As for the rest of your recommendations, you reminded me that I haven't been to India Palace in quite some time. I'll have to go this week.
Ala Thai used to be my favorite, but the prices have increased and the portions declined, so I am back to Lek's, especially the downtown location at lunchtime where the Basil Chicken "Thai Style" may be one of my favorite dishes of all time, anywhere. Order it and thank me later.
When I look for a good restaurant, one of the things at the top of my list is consistency, which seems to be a real problem for some restaurants here in Montgomery. It makes it hard to recommend a place to a friend if you never know what you are going to get, or if you have to call ahead to see who is working that night. Although I have had amazing meals at Ala Thai, apparently when the owner was working(old location behind esperanza, and ann street location), I have also had meals that were so rancid smelling I had to send them back. I am familiar with the smell of fish sauce and fermented shrimp paste, etc. and there is a difference between that smell and the smell of something that has gone bad. As for Thai gratiem I have eaten there family style enough to have ordered the same dishes several times, and can say I have never gotten the same thing twice! Either the portions will change entirely, the presentation will change entirely, or the ingredients will be different. Sometimes at Thai Gratiem I feel like I get a good deal, sometimes I feel like I have been ripped off. As for leks, I haven't been to the original location in some time but have been to the railroad location downtown many times. I like the decor but it has grown to be one of my least favorite places. Their sushi seems so heavy to me- deep fried bacon and mayonase roll? It's so far away from the light, refreshing sushi you get at satsuki or kabuki- and as for their thai food I really feel like I am getting ripped off.. not much flavor and lots of filler like onions and green/red bell pepper. I have ordered the basil chicken thai style but felt like the portion was super small- and still not that balance of flavor I look for in thai food- spicy, fishy, sweet, sour, salt. Maybe it all depends on who is working at Leks- I hear it's better when he is there and not at his birmingham location- but it hasn't been dependable at all. I always get an amazing meal at green papaya, it's as close to authentic as you are going to get for this area, and I like the people there. I have to recommend it over Ala Thai, Leks, and Thai Gratiem. I've recommended dishes in a previous post but stick to the things that have thai/laos names and request all of the accompanyments- you won't be sorry.
I have been to Reds once. To me, it was a great place for a restaurant in a remote location, but the food was really bad. When I went the place was pretty much empty, but the food trays were empty also. We waited for them to come out and refill stuff but it didn't happen, so we made do with warm soggy fried chicken and pasty sides. I imagine thanksgiving would be different but for other times I recommend staying in town and going to davis cafe, the farmer's market, or capitol inn. You said they make bbq sandwiches on fridays at capitol inn, but I thought fridays was the day for squeelers(whole catfish) -which I love. They might toss it up and have both that day- don't know.
I'm not a big fan of Filet and Vine(dirk's). I've ordered a reuben there and could barely eat it the thing was so soggy and the meat was skimpy (not a thick reuben)- and the hot bar? There's better listed above. I do go there to pick up specialty beers but that's it really. If I want to get steaks I go to steak and wines in peppertree. They have prime all the time. Once I asked dirk if he carried prime, and he snidely replied so others could hear 'boy, you are in montgomery, alabama!' implying that there aren't cows here I guess? Seems strange coming from a guy who runs a speicialty wine shop. Anyways-
As for Jubilee- have you compared the prices to City Grill out east? Just curious. I think city grill/nextdoor does a better preparation- and you actually get different sides from dish to dish instead of having dirty rice, steamed veggies, and a roll with everything- which is how jubilee does it. I always thought that was a little bit of a cop-out on their part. I'm pretty sure the prices for the upscale dishes are comparable, and I like the atmosphere much better at next door- not so much city grill.
As for BBQ- I recommend staying at home. I've never had anything at a BBQ restaurant around here that has really impressed me. Maybe the ribs at 5 brother's bbq? Something odd is the black sauce at Chris's place in prattville- It tastes like cloves. I have enjoyed the beer joints(wings) at Love Shack with the Alabama White BBQ Sauce- but sometimes it tastes more like horse radish(which I love) and sometimes it tastes more like ranch(which I don't).
Scott Street has decent sandwiches, no better than I could make at home, and good salads if you don't mind all shredded iceberg topped with industrial cheese and lunch meat.
I don't know if it has been mentioned yet, and since we are talking about downtown, the Commerce Cafe has a very passable meat and two lunch daily. In fact, it gets my vote for the best meat and two in town, now that Hillwood Cafe is no more. Commerce Cafe is located in one of the RSA buildings downtown on Adams Street, with free parking in the deck across the street. Very convenient if raining, since there is an underground walkway.
Here's the website:
re: Andrew in Alabama
Most sandwiches could be made better quality at home..especially compared to the ones sold around here! Heck most restaurant food around here could be made better at home.. so compared to the sandwich places like dirk's, etc- I don't know- could be the best. I want to give chappy's reuben another try after hearing my friend singing about it the other day.
I don't really like sandwiches at all unless it's something special- so I usually just go without in montgomery-
unless it's a bahn mi
and there is only one place here that has them as far as I know- not the best but will kill the craving- oriental market at 126 coliseum blvd
Get a few when they come in and freeze them- then when you are ready to eat, wet the outside of the baguette and toast it up- then you could spruce it up with some corriander leaf and sriracha- maybe a fried egg. Best sammmie in town with a little doctoring!
I like the sandwich resembling a kati roll from india palace as well, though I think they call it a kabab roll- ask for it with paneer instead!
Will give City Grill a chance again. It's been a while, but I always thought the food didn't have any taste.
Eat the salad at Scott Street a lot because the lettuce, tomato, onion are always really fresh and iceberg doesn't bother me; never had a sandwich there. I like the portabella reuben there, but there is no real reuben in town. Used to be a good place down on Adams Avenue a decade or so ago that made a half-way decent one.
The Capitol Inn has bbq (not sandwiches) and catfish on Friday.
A good post. I really appreciate the time you have taken to recommend some of the best places to eat in Montgomery. Not all out of towers like myself know about these great places. Is there any places that you can recommend that I can take my family , especially small children. Love it if you could reply.
I know other moms who would love to know about this, if you have time post your comments on our bizymoms Montgomery community as well http://www.bizymoms.com/montgomery/in...
Thanks, I'll do what I can to help. I think it may be easier for me to list places that aren't kid friendly. Next door, Buds, and the outsides of places like El Rey and Capitol City Oyster Bar are all smoking. Inside of places like City Grill may be too quiet and reserved for children if they are out of control. Although, if they are out of control I recommend keeping them inside until you've taken some parenting courses! Other than that I think you'll be fine bringing your children to all of the other aforementioned places. If you want to narrow your criteria I may be able to help you out more. Was there a certain cuisine or price range you were interested in? Is there a timeframe you plan on being in the Montgomery area? I am not familiar with bizymoms.com but don't think it'd be a problem to post a link to this forum there if you are interested in sending people over to join in the discussion!
I had another couple of excellent meals at Jubilee in the past two weeks. One thing I don't think has been mentioned, besides the freshness of the ingredients, is the quality of the service. Scott, the bartender, is amazing at keeping everything straight at the bar, filling drink orders for the other servers, and taking telephone orders. It is a joy to dine at the bar there, and there is rarely a wait for those seats.
If you have not discovered the Wishbone Cafe...run don't walk !!! I t is located in the Publix shopping center on Atlanta Hwy and Taylor Rd intersection. Located in a refurbished Quizno's, you won't believe what the chef/owner can do with his refurbished sandwich grill. A dive by all comparisons, you step inside after being warmly greeted at the door. You are treated as if you are best friends for life at this establishment. I am not sure if the food is so remarkable, or if they just know how to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside before you eat!! On every visit I have had there, my waitor/waitress has either pulled up a chair or stood tableside for a lengthy discusion on some topic or another. And you don't find it offensive or intrusive...they are just that down home friendly. As for the food...well you just have to walk in, ask for the Blue Plate Special of the day. Usually it is a fish or seafood, over a bed of thier fabulous "dirty rice" ( infused with spinach and a rich cream sauce) and hit a few times with cajun seasonings. My last visit I was treated to blackened grouper on dirty, finished with cream sauce and parmesan crusted shrimp. A side of cajum style toast and a forgettable side salad, complete the meal, but you could have skipped those. They are a no fry zone and everything seems to be wood grilled. Most other items on the menu that I have tried or good, some not so ( I hated the quesadillas, but then why try that in a cajun restaurant??) The lunch sandwiches are good and I hear the Boardroom Burger is to die for. But the star of this show is the special of the day; check the blackboard in the front window and go with it! ...order it with a sweet tea (thier own version with fruit juices) and it will set you back a paltry $12 bucks...and you won't be sorry! Be warned it is a packed place for weekday lunches, also crowded with people pickin' up! And at night you might have to wait a few for one of the few tables. But trust me...try it..
Finally tried this place yesterday, and everything you say is true. Really impressed and pleased that we tried it. My dining companion (my law clerk) told me that she may become a regular.
Be warned, this isn't "lite" dining by any stretch, but we were certainly made to feel at home and the food was simply wonderful.
Try it. Thank me later.
Don't know if this has been posted yet, but Tomatino's on W Fairview in Old Cloverdale has great pizza--flat crust, lots of toppings, and good beer. Afterward, head next door to Cafe Luisa which is owned by the same people (they share a kitchen!) for an intimate, Bohemian coffee atmosphere.
It's actually on east fairview- west fairview is very different! (wrong side of the tracks)
I highly recommend avoiding espresso drinks at Louisa. The quality is inconsistent- and I have to say.. I won't call the owner Brown a coffee nazi, because that would imply some sense of character or rough charm, or that he actually works behind the register. It would be good of me to say at this point that I have not worked for nor do I know this man, I've just seen him in action. The guy is a loose cannon and has no problem yelling at his female employees or snatching around his wife in front of customers. That can definitely put a damper on your intimate, bohemian time- although there is the chance that you will miss the guy entirely and have a slice of pizza that is great for montgomery standards, or a cup of coffee that isn't starbucks.
I suggest patronizing the establishment across the street if you are to stay in the area and are up for anything else. Tyler, the owner of el rey, has always been kind and accommodating, and the crowd and ambiance is, in my opinion, the best in the neighborhood. If you don't feel like El Rey, at least give the burger/chicken sandwich at bud's a chance or try jubilee. Having a passable slice doesn't give tomatinos a passing grade for me after being run out of there several times by the public abusiveness of the owner towards his staff. The place is a shadow of its former self since the change over and subsequent cutting back of organic and local ingredients in my opinion anyway.
I'm more upset about the goat hill tavern, the hotel bar, closing downstairs from there- I know capitol inn was good for nostalgia, but at least there are hundreds of other places selling canned vegetables in the area. There really aren't any dive bars with music selling high gravity beer now that goat hill is gone.
One discovery we have made is Sinclair's in Old Cloverdale. Loved this place! My husband and I shared a baked artichoke dip, then the cheddar burger. Yum! Our waiter, George, was excellent. Our son ordered the fish tacos, and they too were fresh and excellent. So happy we found this place, and I would highly recommend it.