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Special occasion dinner - Birmingham

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I make my way to Birmingham each year during Christmas to visit family and friends. My sister and I usually have a special dinner one night as part of our celebration and usually go to Highlands Bar and Grill. I find the food to be really good and the experience with the staff to be pretty impeccable.
Does anyone have other recommendations that would be above average in both food and experience? I'm interested in trying something new this year.
Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

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  1. Hot and Hot is another Birmingham institution, as is Frank Stitt's other high-end restaurant (Italian) Bottega. The Veranda on Highland features a former Commander's Palace chef. A new restaurant in town that has blown me away is Ollie Irene.
    http://www.hotandhotfishclub.com/
    http://www.birminghamrestaurants.com/...
    http://www.verandaonhighland.com/menus/
    Ollie Irene doesn't seem to have an online menu. Check out their Facebook page and you'll get a feel for their approach. Killer cocktails, great small plates and a limited number of inventive entrees. Veggie sides rock, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Big Daddy

      Google can't find it for whatever reason, but Ollie Irene's website, with menu, is simply http://www.ollieirene.com/ Menu isn't updated daily, so it's not exact, but pretty damn close to what it was on Wednesday when I was there.

      Think I'll post on the other thread about it now, actually.

    2. The chef/owner of Highlands Bar & Grill (Frank Sitt) also owns Bottega, Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fon Fon. If you like Highlands, you'll like the other three. Bottega and Bottega Cafe are Italian-inspired while Chez Fon Fon is French. There are other options, of course, but I think you'll enjoy any of the Stitt establishments.

      1 Reply
      1. re: magiccityfoodie

        Thanks all. Lots to consider this year!

      2. I would also recommend Cafe Dupont. The service is great, as is the food. It's downtown which is only a few blocks north of southside where Highlands is located. If you like seafood, you might want to check out Ocean. Had one of the best meals all year there not too long ago.

        1. Names not mentioned so far but should be include: Bettola in Pepper Place and Ocean. Personally, I wouldn't put Ollie Irene in the same category because although its food is good it's a lot more rustic than the other places mentioned.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mahalan

            You are absolutely correct on the rustic atmosphere at Ollie Irene. But that's part of its charm. Its atmosphere is more homey than fine dining, but the kitchens takes food as seriously as they do in the other kitchens mentioned above.