Whether you’re looking for casual southern comfort or a fine-dining experience there is a restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama, that will fit the bill. You’ll find everything from authentic European cuisine to real American-style grits. These ten local restaurants capture the unique flavor of Huntsville boasting high quality food, welcoming atmospheres and great al fresco dining opportunities.
Restaurant, European, German, $$$
Ol Heidelberg Cafe, Huntsville | Courtesy of Ol’ Heidelberg
Owned and run by the Schrader Family, Ol’ Heidelberg was established in 1972. Over the years it has built up a reputation for serving the best and most authentic German food in Huntsville, with good service and at a reasonable price. One of the oldest and most recognized restaurants in the area, diners at Ol’ Heidelberg are invited to share in a truly authentic German experience complete with music, decor and large portions of schnitzel and sausage platters. Tuck into the bread basket and if you’ve not got room for dessert, you can get one to go: a favorite is the home baked German chocolate cake.
One of the top spots for casual, upscale dining in Huntsville, the award winning Grille 29 offers diners a wide variety of high quality dishes within a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere located in the beautiful village of Providence. Serving lunch and dinner, favorites include jumbo scallops stuffed with crabmeat, and mouth-watering steaks. Their reputation is built on beautifully presented, hearty sized entrees, one of which is featured in ‘100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die’. The restaurant has also been named ‘Huntsville Best Restaurant’ and Taste of Huntsville ‘Overall Winner’ multiple times. Diners should be sure to save room for dessert specials such as chocolate peanut butter truffle. The whole experience is enhanced with a signature cocktail.
Voted the best spot in Huntsville for Tex-Mex, Rosie’s Mexican Cantina is a great restaurant for groups and parties. The festive atmosphere at both full-service venues is combined with great specialties such as Rosie’s favorite Southwestern ribs. They also have a reputation for their chicken and homemade tortillas, special house dishes and a good selection of vegetarian meals all made daily from scratch with fresh ingredients. Rosie’s Mexican Cantina also makes a great watering hole with weekday drinks specials including Margarita Mondays, Sangria Tuesdays and Cerveza Wednesdays. The Cantina has an outdoor seating area, is child friendly and walk-ins are welcome. If you’re on the move there’s also a fast-food style Little Rosie’s on Whitesburg Drive.
Restaurant, North American, American, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $$$
Cotton Row Chef James Boyce is a critically acclaimed and award-winning industry veteran. Bringing his flair for creative dining experiences to downtown Huntsville, Boyce opened Cotton Row in 2008 and soon established it as one of the city’s most renowned restaurants, combining an extensive menu of modern American cuisine with comfort and elegant decor. Housed in a three-story brick building built in 1821 along the cotton exchange, the restaurant is inspired by the story of the cotton traders once synonymous with downtown Huntsville. The restaurant boasts three dining areas, The Cedar Pipe Cellar, The Loft and The Cotton Row Restaurant, which are all available for private dining. Showcasing true southern hospitality, the inventive and ever changing menu at Cotton Row works closely with local farmers and foragers and is heavily influenced by seasonality and locality.
Pane e Vino Pizzeria, another James Boyce creation, is a big-hitter with its offering of rustic-chic Italian fare and stunning views of Big Spring International Park. A casual, family-friendly pizzeria, their motto is ‘In Crust, We Trust.’ Their delicious pizzas are all named after famous artists such as Monet, Salvador Dali and Jackson Pollack. You can even watch the chefs at work as all dishes are made to order right in front of your eyes in the open kitchen. Located just below the Huntsville Museum of Art the pizzeria is the place to go for pizza, wine and art. It’s also a wonderful spot to watch the sunset from the romantically lit patio. The restaurant’s stunning surroundings create the perfect place to enjoy lunch or dinner after touring the priceless collection of art works housed above.
Offering a taste of New Orleans in Huntsville, the Po Boy Factory is a local family favorite. Offering authentic cuisine in a casual, friendly atmosphere, the restaurant is ideal for groups and those traveling with children. The interior is covered in Mardi Gras and Louisiana State University decor to match the Big-Easy inspired menu. The Po Boy Factory offer up large portions of daily specials alongside their staples of jambalaya, crawfish, oysters, shrimp and other Cajun treats, all with a side order of Louisiana hospitality. But it is their signature po boy sandwiches that keep customers coming back time and time again. With a live-and-let-live approach, the restaurant is the perfect spot for those looking for good quality fuss-free dining.
1892 East Restaurant & Tavern, Huntsville | Courtesy 1892 East
The focus of 1892 East Restaurant and Tavern is community and it is driven by food-farmer-neighborhood relationships. Situated in the historic Five Points neighborhood, one of the city’s oldest, the restaurant combines tradition, hospitality and the freshest, organic ingredients. The deep red walls, rich wood and banquet-style setting invite diners in and there is a long bar at the entrance perfect for socializing. Working closely with local farmers the restaurant has earned a reputation for elevating even the simplest of ingredients to new levels in a wide variety of ‘New American’ dishes such as their signature crispy Gulf shrimp and grits in a smoked tomato sauce. 1982 East also has the most extensive vegetarian menu in Huntsville. Overall 1892 East aims to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable dining and the development of a local food economy dedicated to high quality foods.
Nestled within the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, at lunchtime Clementine’s at the Garden offers up a wide selection of gourmet sandwiches, salads and homemade soups accompanied by friendly service and stunning garden vistas. Known for their homemade food, the Clementine’s chicken salad (of which there are five versions) is particularly popular along with their tomato and dill soup. Between April and September the restaurant also hosts monthly Thursday Evening Dinners. This presents a unique dining experience served on the outdoor deck set high above the gardens. In addition to the Botanical Gardens location, Clementine’s run a successful catering business serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and have been operating in Huntsville for over 25 years.
Restaurant, North American, Seafood, Steakhouse, $$$
Connors Steak & Seafood is the go-to steak house in Huntsville. The restaurant opened its doors in 2008 in the Bridge Street Shopping Centre, the second of three venues across the USA, and has won numerous ‘Best of Huntsville’ awards over the years. As the name would suggest, the restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and premium aged steaks but also offers a wide range of gourmet salads, pasta and burgers to suit all tastes. The large outdoor seating area at Connors is one of the best in Huntsville, with views of the shopping center lake and a great westerly outlook, perfect for catching the sunset.
There’s a handful of Vietnamese places in these parts, but few can compare to the level of flavor and freshness that Viet Cuisine offers. The artful combination of fresh ingredients, authentic spices, and gregarious service makes this spot the go-to for Vietnamese food in Huntsville. The Bahn mi (traditional Vietnamese sandwich) hits home as does the exceptional pho and traditional clay pot dishes. For wholesome, well-crafted Vietnamese food with special attention to taste in Huntsville, look no further.