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The 25 best restaurants in Birmingham

Our pick of Brum's best eats, from the cheap and cheerful to the oh-so-fancy
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You’re here because you know Birmingham’s restaurant scene is pretty much second to none. Sure, New York and London might have it pipped for sheer breadth, but there’s a reason Brum holds its culinary own with the best of them. On any given night you can settle down to a meal in a superb Michelin-starred spot, get stuck into what’s probably the UK’s best Indian restaurant scene and taste food from some of the finest up-and-coming culinary stars in the business. Then there’s all those incredible family-run favourites and super satisfying cheap eats. Quite the choice. So to make your life easier, just feast your eyes on our pick of the best Birmingham restaurants right here. You’re in good hands.

RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Birmingham.

1
adam's, restaurant
Restaurants

Adam's

icon-location-pin Central Birmingham

Why go? Michelin-starred grandeur to suit any special occasion.

In 2013, Adam's began life as a less than glamorous pop-up in a former sandwich shop. Thanks to subsequent high demand and an almost cult-like following, Adam's amped up the production pace and outgrew its original location (receiving a Michelin star in the process). These days, you'll find Adam's in a much grander premises on Waterloo Street, where contemporary fine dining is at the heart of the operation. If you're feeling particularly peckish, opt for the tasting menu, where you'll get to nibble on eight different mouthwatering courses each served with specially paired vino. It isn’t cheap, but the quality is high and offers a bit of gastronomic adventure. After all, it's not every day that you get to tuck into crab cashew satay.

Price range: blowout.

2
Original Patty Men, 2018
© Jack Spicer Adams

Original Patty Men

Why go? Hip hop megastar Drake ate here, which is the ultimate kudos for a burger bar.

This effortlessly hip street food joint, which spent a couple of years roaming the city, has found a permanent home in a Digbeth archway. Launched by a bunch of designers, it provides a fun atmosphere in which to enjoy innovative patties and craft beers. Self-professed to be ‘patty pimps and purveyors of filth’, the menu sounds deliciously messy – the 'Alabama slammer' a particular highlight: a boneless chicken thigh with a ginger and lime slaw. Tasty.

Price range: budget.

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3
bistro 1847, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

1847

Why go? A stylish vegetarian haven that'll impress on a first date.

This veggie joint puts a gourmet twist on meat-free meals, without too high a price tag – a three-course meal will set you back just £29. Set up in 2011 and headed up by chef Tony Cridland, 1847's seasonal dishes might include asparagus with avocado mousse or risotto of roasted cauliflower, pearl barley and almond topped with a cured egg.

Price range: mid-range.

4
Zindiya, 2018
© Zindiya

Zindiya

Why go? Somewhere quirky to hang out with your besties and pick at innovative small plates.

This colourful Indian street food joint plays on tradition, but jazzes it up for the city crowd. From the decor – mismatched furniture, exposed brick walls, big murals of Indian brand logos – to the talis, the selection of which include pani puri (potato and chickpea dumplings), chilli cheese on toast and okra (ladies fingers) fries. Amongst the craft beers, you'll also find lassis, masala chai and Indian soft drinks.

Price range: Budget.

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5
Otto, 2018
© Otto
Restaurants, Pizza

Otto

icon-location-pin Bordesley

Why go? To get the gang together for an evening of unpretentious (mouthwateringly good) dining.

Home to some of Birmingham’s finest pizzas, Otto is an intimate spot that serves up wood-fired delights in the heart of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. A capsule menu of eight pizzas keeps the focus on quality and includes some Italian classics as well as more contemporary creations. In terms of locality, all of the dough is made in-house and toppings are sourced from suppliers in the UK and Italy.

Price range: Budget.

6
The Distillery, 2018
© The Distillery

The Distillery

Why go? For a sumptuous pre-gig meal that’s easy on the bank account 

Despite its close proximity to Birmingham Arena, this canalside gin distillery provides an affordable pitstop. The deconstructed kebabs are worth tucking into: lamb shawarma or charred aubergine, or their huge Sunday roasts brimming with all the trimmings. There's also a bottomless brunch option if you're keen to fill up before heading out. But the real excitement is at the gin bar, where tipples of all shapes and sizes are served with glee. Expect everything from a vibrant ‘Rhubarb & Rosehip Rickey’ which combines Beefeater gin with tart lime juice, soda water and rhubarb and rose hip cordial to a classic Tom Collins. There are bar snacks too, which nicely supplement the alcoholic offerings.

Price range: Budget.

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7
simpsons, restaurant
Restaurants

Simpsons

icon-location-pin Edgbaston & Harborne

Why go? Top-quality European dishes in the kind of elegant surrounds you'd expect at a wedding.

One of the city’s first Michelin-starred restaurants, Simpsons is still a shining destination for fine dining. Located in the leafy suburb of Edgbaston, the pretty garden of this grand Georgian restaurant and guest house is a draw in summer and makes a perfect backdrop for chef Luke Tipping’s seasonal menu.

Price range: Blowout.

8
Lucky Duck, 2018
© Lucky Duck

Lucky Duck

Why go? Fuss-free dining that’d especially suit a break in a shopping trip.

The city welcomed its first bao bar in February, located in the historic Jewellery Quarter. While a traditional Chinese street food, Lucky Duck has added its own twist. Fillings here include beef brisket and sour mustard leaf, aubergine and peanut chilli, and fried cod and curry sauce. But it's not just bao on the menu: they specialise in noodles too.

Price range: Budget.

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9
bodega, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

Bodega

Why go? For quality Latin American street food with a bunch of mates.

Casual, lively and playful, Bodega is one of the most hard-to-book restaurants in Birmingham. The secret of its success lies in its combination of great food, buzzing atmosphere and killer drinks. Bodega’s moreish menu of burritos, nachos and must-have sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo may no longer be a novelty, but it’s still pulling in the Brummie crowds.

Price range: Budget.

10
Bonehead, 2018
© Bonehead

Bonehead

Why go? Take a mate, and split a plate of inventive wings.

This Birmingham newbie opened in March and has been heaving ever since. The modest, industrial styled space works on a first come, first served basis, but given the fast nature of the food, you shouldn't be waiting long. Bonehead's specialty is free-range fried chicken, with takeovers offering more options (Beavertown and Eat Vietnam have already had a go). As a tasty entry point, try the soy honey butter wings with Jack Daniels syrup.

Price range: Budget.

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11
carter's, restaurant

Carters

Why go? Michelin-starred dishes that’ll excite even the most discerning diner.

This intimate and friendly neighbourhood restaurant has wowed the critics and counts a Michelin star among its many awards. It’s headed up by chef Brad Carter, who trained at Birmingham’s renowned College of Food (now University College Birmingham). His creative cooking focuses on great British produce, with each dish made up of three key ingredients.

Price range: High-end.

12
The Physician, 2018
© The Physician
Restaurants

The Physician

icon-location-pin Bordesley

Why go? Treat the folks to a top-quality pub lunch in a heritage building.

Formerly the Birmingham Medical Institute, The Physician has been given a full dose of the gastropub treatment, with £2.4 million lavished on bringing the historic spot back to life. The bar is large and impressive, as are the fully functional fireplaces. There's a courtyard garden, an orangery, and the food is high-end pub grub with real ales from the region to wash it down.

Price range: Mid-range.

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13
byzantium, restaurants

Byzantium

Why go? For shareable with friends in this Mediterranean den.

Head to the lively suburb of Kings Heath and you’ll find Birmingham’s best tapas restaurant. Small and elegantly decorated, Byzantium is filled with ornate lamps, religious art and chapel-like seating. The theme carries through to the food, which branches out from usual Spanish tapas classics such as patatas bravas.

Price range: Mid-range.

14
Peel's at Hampton Manor, 2018
© Peel's at Hampton Manor
Restaurants

Peel’s at Hampton Manor

icon-location-pin Bordesley

Why go? To eat a meal that looks as good as the date you’ll be scoring major points with. 

Housed in an upmarket manor hotel with a walled Victorian garden, Peel’s is the first restaurant in Solihull to receive a Michelin star. A succession of locally rooted chefs have helped to renovate and elevate the place to its current high standard. The menu focuses on simplicity, with an emphasis on high-quality produce to put together informal but well thought out dishes.

Price range: Blowout.

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15
purnell's, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

Purnell's

Why go? For big celebrations in unfussy surrounds.

Chef Glynn Purnell is a lynchpin of Birmingham’s gastronomic scene, famous for his nose-to-tail cooking. Having won Birmingham one of its first Michelin stars at a previous restaurant, Purnell set up shop on his own soon after, where sure enough, the Michelin gods came knocking again. Try the ‘Brummie Tapas’ menu, which spans from poppadums to slow-cooked beef.

Price range: High-end.

16
chung ying, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

Chung Ying

Why go? To dip into some dim sum with your besties.

One of Birmingham’s best-known and best-loved Chinese restaurants, Chung Ying is something of an institution in the city. Since the original restaurant opened in the heart of Chinatown in 1981, the family has grown to include two other sites: Chung Ying Central and Chung Ying Garden. The classic Cantonese fare here scores points with hungry Brummies, as well as visiting tourists.

Price range: Mid-range.

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17
Itihaas, indian restaurant
Sal Maxuda

Itihaas

Why go? Contemporary cuisine for foodies after an Indian meal with a twist

Birmingham has long been famous for its South Asian cuisine, with a proliferation of curry houses, balti restaurants and Indian eateries. However, there are a few that have risen above the crowd and carved out a superior niche. Itihaas is one of them. It’s long been popular with hard-to-please corporate professionals, but also attracts admiration from Birmingham’s army of dedicated food-lovers.

Price range: Mid-range.

18
kitchen garden cafe, brunch

The Kitchen Garden Café

Why go? An affordable cafe that would provide a wonderfully quaint backdrop to a private party.

Meander through pots, plants and every shade of green via an unassuming opening in the York Road to discover this thoroughly chilled-out spot. Sharing a courtyard and ethos with a neighbouring organic farm shop, the Kitchen Garden Cafe does a steady, loyal trade throughout the week. For the meaty-minded, the smoked dry cured bacon stands out.

Price range: Budget.

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19
la fibule, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

La Fibule

Why go? To enjoy laid-back Moroccan dining with friends.

Moroccan cuisine often flies under the radar as other, shoutier food trends like Mexican or Thai grab the limelight. But the subtle flavourings, patient slow cooking and rich variety make La Fibule a perennial Birmingham favourite. The interior is beautifully authentic, with hanging lanterns, patterned tiles and cushioned seating. The menu is broad and offers the opportunity to go beyond the quintessential couscous and lamb tagine.

Price range: Mid-range.

20
Lasan, Indian restaurant
Sal Maxuda

Lasan

Why go? To impress that special someone without breaking the bank.

Possibly Birmingham’s best-known Indian restaurant, Lasan has ridden a wave of publicity ever since it was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘The F Word’ in 2010. The decor is a fusion of modern and traditional; fancy mirrors and ornaments adorn the space. Fine dining is the guiding principle at Lasan and every dish is carefully constructed and beautifully presented.

Price range: Mid-range.

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21
pure bar & kitchen, restaurant

Purecraft Bar & Kitchen

Why go? An evening here will satisfy even the fussiest craft beer enthusiast.

Despite offering more than 100 beers, Purecraft is often the pick of Brum’s gin-swigging contingent too. As well as a more substantial food menu – itself employing an array of ales and lagers as ingredients – a plethora of moreish, pastry-based bar bites keeps the rabble on the right side of lively all evening.

Price range: Budget.

22
sabai sabai, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

Sabai Sabai

Why go? Top quality Thai food, with branches in Moseley and Harborne.

For a classic meal in clean and vibrant surrounds, you can't go wrong with an evening at Sabai Sabai. The usual suspects, like pad Thai, satay skewers and green curry are all made expertly well, but to venture outside the box, try the fiery geng bha jungle curry.

Price range: Mid-range.

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23
san carlo, restaurant
Sal Maxuda

San Carlo

tWhy go? Award-winning Italian for food-lovers.

With affordable Italian cuisine and branches across Birmingham, Manchester and Chester, it'd be easy to assume that San Carlo is just another restaurant chain. But not only is each restaurant individually stylised, but the lively San Carlo is the recipient of both regional and national foodie awards. There are an astonishing 140+ dishes to choose from, all of which have been created with fresh produce and an aim to push the boundaries of taste combinations. It's also been featured in countless magazines and newspapers – and if that's not enough to convince you, try the lobster ravioli.

Price range: Mid-range.

24
karczma, restaurants
Sal Maxuda

The Karczma

Why go? Traditional Polish eating that'd suit an evening out with a bunch of mates.

If you're wondering, Karczma means tavern in Polish, and you can guarantee a cosy Polish inn vibe here. For starters, the ceiling is thatched and flanked by wooden beams. You'd be hard pressed not to feel at home here. Especially with comforting food that includes dumplings, stew and potato pancakes.

Price range: Mid-range.

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25
The Plough, bar

The Plough

Why go? The perfect place for fussy eaters; separate menus include vegan, gluten-free, allergen breakdown and kids’ options.

The Plough is one of Birmingham’s favourite pub-restaurants, with a lively atmosphere, great pizzas and an impressive selection of whiskies, wines and ales. Booking ahead is always advised, especially if you’re planning a Sunday trip. The wine list is extensive, there’s a dedicated whisky bar, and the cask ale selection has won repeated praise from Camra.

Price range: Mid-range.

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