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Funky, or interesting, in Birmingham/Homewoood Alabama

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I'm flying into Birmingham(my first time in AL.) and I have one night available to have a great meal. It must be near the Courtyard Homewood Birmingham Hotel as we do not have a car. We don't want to "break the bank" but we are New Yorkers and love funky, ethnic, and just simply great food!
Also, for the other nights we are staying at the hotel, any recs for a quick late night meal within walking distance of this hotel? (we're in a conference from 9-9 so won't have energy to travel after )any grocers near the hotel?
Thanks in advance, I hope my posting is clear.

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  1. You will be very nearly in a food, much less chowhound, wasteland. I guess there are a couple of ok options at the Brookwood Mall down the street, but not many (Brio, the mexican place). I would take a cab to Southside/Highlands area. It won't be more than $15 or so each way but get the hotel to call one for you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dax

      Zia's is getting pretty good reviews, too. In the same shopping area downthe street.

      1. re: Dax

        can I have a rec in that Highlands area please.

        1. re: yeshana

          The four best restaurants in the Southside/Highlands area -- Highlands Bar and Grill,its sister restaurant Bottega Restaurant, Hot and Hot and the Veranda -- will run $150 plus per couple if drinking wine. That may hit your "break the bank definition. Highlands, however is world-class. The restaurant and the chef at Hot and Hot both are finalists for James Beard awards.
          Highlands' other sister restaurants also are in that area: the bistro Chez Fon Fon and the cafe fraternal twin of Bottega, Bottega Cafe. Both would fit your definition of funky and good food, but only an ethnic nod (unless you count French or European ethnic, which technically they are).
          Other good suggestions in the 5 Points South area are sister restaurants (detecting a theme?) Ocean and 26, which specialize in seafood.
          While in that area, check out a couple of great watering holes: The Garage (tucked on a side street less than two blocks from Bottega), and J Clyde. Do the Garage during the day because it has a funky courtyard with statuary all around and bays (it once was a garage) filled with antique stuff. If you go in the next week or two, the huge wisteria vine will be in bloom with purple flowers that resemble bunches of grapes.
          The J Clyde is a beer lover's paradise near Ocean/26 (if your tastes go more toward trendy martinis, try the Blue Monkey next door to J Clyde). J Clyde has about 200 beers and 50 or so taps, as well as two beer engines pumping cask-conditioned ales. Tuesday and Thursday are half-price pints of any draft of 6 percent alcohol or less. Nice pubby atmosphere, too. The food...well depends on how much you're drinking. I've like the apps better than the burgers.

      2. Check out Do-Di-Yo's in Homewood, it is a neat place and I think it's what you're describing when you say neat, funky and ethnic.
        http://www.dodiyos.com/

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ms. Finiky

          Do Di Yo's is always crowded- gets good and so so reviews- go to Highlands or Ocean

          1. re: hlsess

            from their site price listings, these are "break the bank" restaurants. We're from NY and would like to have a more mid to lower cost meal with great food- we find that in NY all the time(as well as NY highly priced restaurants with horrid food!)

            1. re: yeshana

              Nidal's in Homewood has good Greek/mediterranean food at low prices. They often have very fresh grouper at ridiculously low prices.

              Since you're from NY, I think that funky-ethnic in Birmingham transaltes to barbecue or meat and three places. Rent a car. Go to Full Moon BBQ or Nikki's (meat and 3) or the Orginal Golden Rule BBQ (only the original in Irondale)

              -----
              Golden Rule
              81 Church St, Birmingham, AL 35213

              1. re: yeshana

                NY has more great mid to lower cost meals than almost any city to which I have ever been. Dodiyos is good and will not break the bank. Or as Big Daddy suggested, try the break the bank sister restaurants (26, Fon Fon, Bottega Cafe) which are all in Southside/Highlands area and will not break the bank.

          2. I am a New Yorker living in Montgomery. We don't have any vietnamese restaurants in town, so sometimes when I'm in the area I'll go by Pho Que Huong in Homewood. I don't know if many of the restaurants listed fit the criteria you've requested (funky, ethnic) but this one does. http://gastronomyblog.com/2008/10/30/...

            I don't have to say that you can absolutely find better vietnamese in flushing or heck, even in chinatown- but this one will do in a bind.

            4 Replies
            1. re: araess

              great recs on the last several responses- really seems to fit what we want! thanks so much.

              1. re: araess

                You may also like the bottletree menu,
                http://www.thebottletree.com/btmenu.html

                or the mr. chen's menu
                http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/45/142559...

                A little bit more of a drive for you though, I'm afraid.

                1. re: araess

                  it'll be a cab ride- probably won't want to add to our expense because of a dumb cab ride expense. I'd rather spend the 7 extra dollars on a Martini!
                  thanks anyway- sounds good for another visit.

                  1. re: yeshana

                    heck yeah expense me a martini while you're at it. let us know how it goes!