Homewood Gourmet 1919 28th Ave S 205-871-1620 HOMEWOOD

Having worked for greats like Emeril LaGasse and Chris Hastings, chefs Chris and Laura Zapalowski blend fresh local ingredients with a distinctly south Louisiana flare. In addi- tion to outstanding sandwiches and salads (don t miss the Baby Blue), daily specials are unstop- pable, like Wednesday s fried green tomato sandwich with goat cheese and ham. Oh, and don t forget the bread pudding. Be adventurous! The food is so good, so fresh and so original, it s like they packed a fine dining restaurant into the confines of a local, chef-owned café. Justin M.

Hot and Hot Fish Club 2180 11th Ct S 205-933-5474 BIRMINGHAM

Seafood isn t the only thing on the menu here, where the focus is always fresh home- grown goodness and seasonal delicacies with a Southern flair. The artful décor and open kitchen at this Southside favorite add to the unforgettable dining experience. The food is fresh, local and in- novative, the wait staff knowledge- able regarding flavors and wine pairings and the atmosphere is at once intimate and lively. A winner for date night, girls night out or a large party! Mia G.

Irondale Café 1906 1st Ave N 205-956-5258 IRONDALE

Originally The Whistle Stop Café made famous by the movie and book Fried Green Tomatoes, this is a truly legendary meat and three. With choices like fried chicken, country-fried steak and catfish and a slew of fresh vegetables, choosing your ideal meal takes careful consider- ation. When you bite into that first fried green tomato, you ll see what all the fuss is about. I enjoy it all at the Irondale Café. Great home cooked meals you should try the peach cobbler. Helen M.

Iz Café 2514 Rocky Ridge Rd 205-979-7522 VESTAVIA

Dishes like Aunt Carolyn s chicken salad and a four-layer banana cake make this funky lo- cal gathering place a standout. Also located at the Library in the Forest on Highway 31. I plan my life around their gour- met to-go calendar, which you can check out on their website. It s all so good! Stacey S.

Jim N Nick s Bar-B-Q 1908 11th Ave 205-320-1060 BIRMINGHAM

Though the menu is extensive, their ribs are not to be missed.

Major bonus: the melt-in-your- mouth homemade cheese biscuits. Ask your server to keep em coming, and enjoy it all with a pint of their ice-cold Reverend Mudbone ale. Other locations throughout Birmingham. The catfish dinner! Have you seen how it hangs off the platter? Whaaaaaaaaaoooo! O Ran C.

Jinsei 1830 29th Ave S 205-802-1440 HOMEWOOD

Chic ambiance, impeccable service and the best sushi in the state are what you can expect at Jinsei. Chef Nobuhito Kadoma brings 20 years of expertise from Osaka, Japan; San Francisco and NOBU. Phe- nomenal champagne and sake selection as well as handcrafted cocktails. Drink and dinner specials several nights a week. Great food, fresh sushi! Great drinks, excellent service. Steve M.

Joe s Italian 21 Weatherly Club Dr 205-663-411


Just on the outskirts of town, you ll find some of the finest traditional Italian cooking around. The original Joe s was established in Gilroy, California in 1977, but when Joe and Elvira Bertolone retired and moved to Alabama to be closer to their children, they opened a new