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Photograph: Jack Spicer Adams

The 26 best restaurants in Birmingham you need to try

London who? England’s second city is home to the most Michelin stars outside the capital. Here’s our guide to the best restaurants in Birmingham

Written by
Richard Franks
James Brennan
Kayleigh Watson

Birmingham might just be Britain’s most exciting food destination right now. This burgeoning city bursts at the seams with creative chefs, great-value restaurants and Michelin-star dining – in fact, there are more Michelin-approved joints here than in any other UK city outside of London. Its street food is daring, its small plates push boundaries and as for the fried chicken… well, you won’t find anywhere better.

We’re certain you’ll find something to your tickle your tastebuds in our recommendations below, whether it’s an all-out fine dining experience for a big birthday or some messy burgers for you and your mates after the football. Or, if it’s not dinner time just yet, fill up with one of the city’s many afternoon tea options or Insta-worthy brunch spots. Feeling hungry? These are the best restaurants in Birmingham according to us.

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Birmingham

Best restaurants in Birmingham

  • Restaurants

Adam’s began life in 2013 as a less than glamorous pop-up in a former sandwich shop. Thanks to subsequent high demand and an almost cult-like following, it 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 premise on Waterloo Street, where contemporary British dining is the name of the game. And while Michelin-starred restaurants can often feel pretentious, Adam’s manages to avoid this and excite with its refreshing, approachable fine-dining experience.

Another of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants, Carters of Moseley offers British tasting menus inspired by the changing of the seasons. Chef-owner Brad Carter’s ethos is simple: to be as farm-to-fork as a restaurant in Birmingham can be. Carter and co. source their ingredients from local farmers and allotment holders for their tasting menus, which change – sometimes daily – based on the fresh ingredients available. Expect only the best here; book the chef’s table for a real treat.


An old favourite at this point, Original Patty Men still holds up against the seemingly never-ending competition as a favourite haunt of Birmingham’s burger connoisseurs. Launched by a bunch of designers and now with two restaurants – one in a Digbeth archway, the other at The British Oak in Stirchley – staff refer to themselves as ‘purveyors of filth’. OPM’s menu is deliciously messy (it’s not unknown for OPM to replace a burger bun with a glazed doughnut) and hip-hop megastar Drake even placed a rather large order from here too. Kudos.

Purnell’s completes a triple-pronged Michelin-starred welcome to Brum’s dining scene – aren’t you lucky! Purnell’s is the brainchild of celebrity chef Glynn Purnell; his menus blend British influences with French and East Asian ingredients to create a truly unique dining experience. The Purnell’s menu evolves with the seasons and is famous for featuring Britain’s finest seafood, such as Gigha halibut and Orkney scallops. Make time for the cocktail lounge afterwards.


The Wilderness is a somewhat provocative experience. Spearheaded by proud Brummie Alex Claridge, this could well be Birmingham’s most creative fine-dining experience; his passion for local heritage, food and rock and roll is plain for all to see. What feels playful on the surface is deadly serious, though: The Wilderness unlocks senses and unearths flavours you didn’t even know existed. Seriously cool, and seriously overdue a Michelin star.   

There’s little else to be said about Bonehead other than it is Birmingham’s best fried chicken – hands down. This effortlessly cool chicken joint near New Street station attracts fried chicken fans from all over the country to devour its wares, and despite its speciality being succulent chicken, its sauces aren’t far behind. Think: hot wings, sriracha honey butter burger dressing and blue cheese tater tots.


A café by day and a restaurant by night, Tropea has brought the tastes of Italy – more specifically, Calabria – to Harborne. Favouring great coffee, pastries and focaccia before switching to contemporary yet seasonal Italian staples for the evening, this relaxed setting and authentic Italian wine set up a chilled dining experience.

With a handful of locations across the West Midlands (Birmingham city centre, Moseley, Harborne and Stratford-upon-Avon), Sabai Sabai is thriving with quiet composure. Its pleasurable Thai menu caters to all dispositions, whether that be pad thai stalwarts, seafood lovers or the vegan-friendly crowd. Sabai Sabai really are local legends: they lead where others follow.


Orelle is the swanky new kid on Birmingham’s fine-dining block. This contemporary French restaurant sits pretty on the 24th floor of the shiny 103 Colmore Row skyscraper, in the heart of the city’s business district, with unparalleled skyline views accompanying its intricate dishes. Order the côte de boeuf and share a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Thank us later.

Hearty portions and delightful presentation showcase Tamu’s high-quality ingredients at their colourful best, and there’s plenty to cater for vegetarian and vegan tastebuds too. Open sandwiches, French toast and pancake stacks make this a prime brunch spot, with ‘super salads’ a decent healthier option. A real Bearwood gem worth making the effort for.


In the charming Great Western Arcade – home of independent bars, shops and restaurants – Land sets out to prove once and for all that plant-based dining is long past being dull. Since opening in 2019, the restaurant has focused on prioritising seasonal ingredients while taking inspiration from various cuisines around the world. Taste and texture are heightened by the stylish presentation.

Ming Nham, the brains behind the effortlessly brilliant Eat Vietnam, turned his street food pop-up into a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in 2019, and Stirchley locals will tell you it’s one of the best things to happen to the suburb. Nham, who grew up in Vietnam and arrived in Birmingham as a child, heads up a team of passionate young chefs whose modern takes on traditional Vietnamese dishes often lead to queues up the high street on Saturday afternoons. Look out for the bánh mì specials at lunch times, and definitely go out of your way for the Sunday lunch.


With a colourful Snowhill restaurant as well as a tap room near Aston, Indian Brewery slaps an original twist on its food and craft beer formula. Their Indian fish and chips combines your favourite battered cod with masala fries and replaces ketchup with curry sauce, while the fat naans only speak for themselves. 

These are big burgers. Cool, edgy and lots of fun, The Meat Shack slings uproariously decadent stacks, chicken and loaded fries into suspecting mouths. The trademark smashed patties are a big draw (the Hell Shack packs a hefty punch), but vegetarians can indulge in an equally attractive cheese and mushroom beast called Bella Emberg (she was an iconic Brit comedy actress of the 1980s, trivia fans). Graffiti-strewn walls and a backstreet location make it seem all the more depraved, and happily so.


Another of the city’s most creative dining experiences comes with Kray Treadwell’s 670 Grams, based in the Custard Factory. His dishes often reflect the surrounding heritage; the rhubarb custard tart is a nod to that. 670 Grams is Michelin-recommended and Treadwell won the Michelin Guide’s Young Chef of the Year award in 2021 – it’s no surprise to see their ten covers often fully booked out. And at £110, the 18-course tasting menu might just be the best value in the city.

Possibly Birmingham’s most lauded restaurant is contemporary British restaurant Simpsons, a local institution that has held its Michelin star aloft since 1999. Simpsons offers more than just your traditional meal: for a start, it’s in a Grade II-listed Georgian villa on the city-centre peripherals. You’re also in the hands of multi-award-winning chef patron Andreas Antona who has three decades of culinary experience. Simpsons caters for all tastes: British fish and meat is highly regarded, but they have also been recognised by Peta as one of the UK’s top ten restaurants for plant-based dining. 


A lot is going on in and around Digbeth landmark The Custard Factory, but Baked in Brick has been quietly smashing it. With a custom-built oven and an in-house bakery, you presume good things from the dough – play it safe with one of its thick-crust, thin-base pizzas, go a bit wild on a calzone, or pop in on a Sunday for the much-raved-about roast dinner.

Despite the prime location on New Street, it’s easy to walk straight past Medicine’s unfussy exterior. Pop inside, however, and you are greeted with a boggling range of sweet and savoury bakes, which could easily be considered a meal on their own. The excellent brunch menu includes traditional and vegan breakfasts, buddha bowls and a mouthwatering grilled cheese sourdough.


La Galleria is tucked away on the short stretch between New Street and the thronging railway station bearing the same name. First-rate Italian cuisine awaits at this family-run venture, whose team are passionate about the food they serve; notably the top-notch pizza and fresh pasta dishes (served in reassuringly generous portions). Cosy with a relaxed atmosphere, it’s a snug spot for a date or family meal.

There’s a lot to be said for a good curry at the end of a night out, but nowhere does the balti better than Shababs: home of the authentic balti. This dish was invented in Birmingham in the 1970s when chefs attempted to make their dishes lighter to appeal to western tastes, and Shababs on the world-famous Balti Triangle is where everyone goes to try it. For less than £20 per head you can enjoy a starter, rice, naan, main and a drink – and it’s BYOB too. Great value.


Located at the intersection of the Gay Village, The Arcadian and The Hippodrome, this understated Korean establishment whips up some of the best East Asian grub in the city centre. Aside from the eponymous dish, the restaurant’s dupbap and bibimbap tickle the tastebuds; take a punt on the bulgogi dupbap – sticky, tender beef – or classic ramen for an authentic Korean meal.

Isaac’s brings New York-style diner classics to the UK’s second city. Everything here is exceedingly rich: there are your famed New York steaks and cheesecake, plus Italian staples like gnocchi and ragú, but there’s a hefty section of the menu dedicated to oysters and seafood too. Top it off with a boozy Miami Vice milkshake.


Another popular establishment in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Saint Pauls House is a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar that has made a name for itself as a stylish abode with great food and drink without compromising on the hearty portions. Their full English breakfasts and Sunday roasts, for example, will set visitors salivating, while their herb-infused and sourdough crusted cod loin or hefty steaks offer something a tad more indulgent. Stay the night for an all-round relaxed experience.


It’s true that fine-dining etiquette (and often the prices) can put people off – but this is where Harborne Kitchen comes in. Jamie Desogus heads up this neighbourhood restaurant which aims to do away with the stuffiness you expect at some establishments and provide equally good food at more attainable prices. See this as an informal introduction to high-end food, if you like, with simple British tasting menus to equal the very best in the city from just £50. Keep an eye on Bun & Barrel too, their cool new burger joint just opened a few doors down.


It’s bold, but we’re going to say it: this is Birmingham’s best pizzeria. Located on Kings Heath’s York Road, Poli does simple wood-fired pizzas very well indeed. Start with their ’nduja and honey cheese garlic bread and move on to the quattro formaggi pizza with fior di latte mozzarella, colston bassett, scamorza, parmesan, black pepper and honey. Order the squid ink, when it’s in, for your pizza crusts, and then pop next-door to Grace and James to sample their natural wine. BRB, just booking a table.

Birmingham’s only Peruvian restaurant doesn’t have to be this good, but it is. Robert Ortiz’s Chakana, housed within a former bank in Moseley, pushes all flavour and presentation boundaries here; micro herbs and edible flowers float on blobs of vivid green, purple and peach, while main-course elements are placed so meticulously that it’s almost a shame to dig in and ruin it. Less of a hidden gem, more of a slow discovery – and we’d advise you to discover it soon. See you at the bar for a pisco sour.

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