Whether you’re looking for casual Southern comfort food or a fine-dining experience, there’s a restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama, to suit your taste. The city has everything from authentic European cuisine to real American-grade grits. These local restaurants embody the unique flavor of Huntsville, making it sing with high-quality food, a welcoming atmosphere and great opportunities to dine al fresco.
Restaurant, Cafe, European, German, $
Established in 1972, Ol’ Heidelberg is one of the most respected restaurants in Huntsville, with a reputation for serving the best, most authentic German food in the city. Add good service and reasonable prices, and it’s no surprise that diners return again and again. The restaurant offers a genuine German atmosphere, enhanced by local music and décor, plus large portions of schnitzel and sausage platters. Don’t dig too deeply into the bread basket if you want dessert – a favorite is the home-baked German chocolate cake.
Restaurant, South American, Mexican, $
The top spot in Huntsville for Tex-Mex is Rosie’s Mexican Cantina – a hit among groups and parties (it’s also child-friendly, and walk-ins are welcome). The festive atmosphere is what clinches it – and the specialties are crowd-pleasers, among them the mahi-mahi fish tacos. The chicken and home-made tortillas are famously good, and vegetarian meals are made from scratch with fresh ingredients every day. It’s a lively, much-loved watering hole, with many cocktails on offer, including margaritas. For warm evenings, there’s an outdoor seating area. If you’re on the move, there’s also a fast-food-style Little Rosie’s Mexican Taqueria on Whitesburg Drive.
Cotton Row Restaurant
Restaurant, North American, American, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $$$
Trophy-grabbing chef James Boyce has a knack for creative dining experiences. Opened in 2008 and showcasing true Southern hospitality, Cotton Row Restaurant is one of the most renowned dining establishments in the city, with a long menu of modern American cuisine and elegant décor, all wrapped in a three-story brick building from 1821. The inventive and ever-changing menu is a big success thanks to a collaboration with local farmers and foragers, highlighting seasonality and locality. Try the braised black angus bone-in short ribs with a bottle of pinot noir.
Pane e Vino Pizzeria
Pizzeria, Restaurant, European, Italian, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $
Pane e Vino Pizzeria is a Huntsville big hitter, turning out excellent rustic-chic Italian food against the backdrop of Big Spring International Park. It’s casual and family-friendly. Pizzas named after artists such as Salvador Dalí and Jackson Pollock (the Huntsville Museum of Art is nearby), along with other dishes, are made to order; watch the chefs work in the open kitchen as you sip your way through a bottle of wine. The pizzeria is also the ideal sunset-watching spot, as you can sit on the romantically lit patio. Art, wine and a quattro formaggi – our idea of a perfect day.
1892 East Restaurant and Tavern
Restaurant, Bar, North American, Vegetarian, $$
The focus at 1892 East Restaurant and Tavern is on community and nurturing food-farmer-neighborhood relationships. Here in the Five Points Historic District, one of the oldest in the city, tradition combines with hospitality and a generous helping of fresh organic ingredients. The deep-red walls and rich woods create an inviting, relaxing atmosphere, and you can socialize over drinks at the long bar near the entrance. The menu has a range of New American dishes, including the signature crispy Gulf shrimp and grits in a smoked tomato sauce. Vegetarians can pick from one of the most extensive non-carnivorous menus in Huntsville.
Connors Steak and Seafood
Restaurant, North American, Seafood, Steakhouse, $$
Welcome to the go-to steakhouse in Huntsville, which set up shop in 2008 in the Bridge Street Shopping Centre (the second of five venues across the USA). It has landed a stash of Best of Huntsville awards over the years. It serves premium aged steaks along with seafood dishes and – if rare and bloody just aren’t your thing – a whole load of gourmet salads, pasta dishes and burgers. The large outdoor seating area is one of the best in town, with views of the shopping center lake and a great westerly outlook dominated by vibrant sunsets.
Restaurant, Asian, Japanese, Vietnamese
There’s a handful of Vietnamese places in these parts, but Viet Cuisine stands out for its levels of flavor and freshness. It balances crisp ingredients with authentic spices and serves it with a gregarious appeal that keeps the crowds coming back when they need to fire up their taste buds. The bánh mì (traditional Vietnamese sandwich) always hits the spot, as does the exceptional pho and traditional clay-pot dishes. One of the top picks is the vermicelli with stir-fried lemongrass chicken, made super zingy with onions.
Farm Burger Huntsville
Restaurant, American, $
To get a true taste of Huntsville while supporting sustainability in Alabama, head to Farm Burger. Farmers from around the city provide it with fresh, locally raised and grown ingredients to create chef-inspired burgers, salads and sides, such as sweet-potato hush puppies with apple butter, pimento cheese fries with pickled jalapeños, and onion rings with smoked paprika mayo. Just don’t fill up on these because, after your burger, you’re going to need a hand-spun milkshake with house-made whipped cream to wash it all down.
Sandwich Shop, American, $
Who could fail to go gooey over a place with a name like Melt? Particularly when it conjures up your best-loved comfort foods – tweaked gently in the most delicious of ways. One mouthful, and you’ll wonder how you’ve lived your whole life without mac-and-cheese-stuffed egg rolls or pretzel-breaded cheese sticks. It makes winning sandwiches, too. Try the Cajun grilled pineapples on the Flyin Hawaiian or the pulled pork on the Cuban – they say cheese makes you dream, and they’ll be sweet after a visit here.
Restaurant, American, $$$
Take an upscale dining experience, add a dash of Southern hospitality and a pinch of French influence and stir vigorously – you’ve got the magic recipe for The Bottle. As the name implies, there’s a wide selection of beers, wines and cocktails, but that’s just to wet your whistle for the main course. The menu is based on the freshest ingredients available, so any given evening, you could be tucking into chicken-fried quail, Murder Point oysters, or a duck confit. And if you’re lucky, a French flan will soon follow.
Sandwich Shop, American, $
At Super Chix, chicken and custard are out to replace peanut butter and jelly as the new delicious dynamic duo. Here, you choose your ultimate chicken sandwich and team it with a preferred milkshake. Perhaps Nashville hot and chocolate? Cheesy BBQ and vanilla? Add a sidekick, such as fried pickles, coleslaw or loaded hand-cut fries. “The Last True Chicken Sandwich” is waiting at Super Chix to rescue your taste buds.
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, American, $
After working for years under renowned chef Daniel Boulud, chef James Boyce knows how to innovate while respecting classic dishes. At Commerce Kitchen, he pays homage to Southern cuisine with his unique updates. You can’t go wrong with Gulf shrimp and grits or a fried green tomato benedict for brunch. However, the true Southern soul-filling dishes are revealed at Sunday Supper. Pull apart warm skillet cornbread while you wait for chicken fried steak, blackened catfish or buttermilk fried chicken to hit the table, then loosen your belt for a slice of bourbon milk chocolate pecan pie.
Bar, Restaurant, American
What’s in your glass here is just as important as what’s on your plate. Local brews, fantastic bourbons and wines that you’ll find nowhere else in the state all work exquisitely with a refined menu that’ll delight the most discerning palate. Certified A5 wagyu beef and seared U8 scallops are things of wonder to observe on the plate, surrounded by baby bok choy, truffle macaroni and cheese, and pommes purée. If you think choosing an entrée is difficult, wait until you see the bread pudding, cheese boards and drinks on the dessert menu.
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