"Birmingham needs more restaurants!" Said no one ever.
In a city with several fine dining eateries as well as places services serving cuisines covering over 30 countries all over the world, it's safe to say we've got a decent choice of places to eat.
But if you're craving inspiration for the next time you head out to dinner, these are the 50 restaurants we reckon Birmingham should boast about.
We’ve been strict with the criteria, leaving out the multitude of cafes, pubs and bars serving fantastic food (as well as the stacks of superb street food enterprises) to focus purely on the restaurants.
How many have you tried?
St Mary's Row, Moseley
Not only one of the best in Birmingham, this is one of the best in the country, winning The Good Food Guide 2015 Readers’ Restaurant of the Year and was awarded its first Michelin star in 2016.
Most recently is was named as one of only two Birmingham restaurants in the Sunday Times top 100 restaurants in the UK. Expect top-class food with no pretension.
Never mind that this unassuming cafe restaurant is located on the edge of a council estate, the Italian food on offer here is of A list standard. We recommend you keep it traditional and order the classic margherita - tomatoes and mozzarella cheese cooked in a wood fired oven by chef Sawky from Bologna.
There's also homemade tortellini on the menu with the fillings changing daily. Best of all it's outstanding value.
Harborne High Street
This place really impressed us and we are so pleased to see it get recognition as a new entry in the Good Food Guide 2018.
It describes itself on the website as an informal neighbourhood restaurant but don't be fooled, the head chef and owner Jamie Desogus trained under Gordon Ramsay and this is distinctly fine dining albeit served up in a super casual atmosphere .
As well as enjoying epic dishes such as seared curried pollock with dhal Mulligatawny, diners can enjoy watching the talented chefs at work in the open kitchen.
It's also incredibly good value.
This city centre pub is renowned for its quality north Indian food. And in August it had a sparkling six figure refurbishment. So now the decor is as nice as the food. Dishes include the sizzling mixed grill - spiced minced Seekh kebabs, spicy chicken wings, chicken legs and crispy fish pakora.
Other desi favourites include sensational saag paneer, lamb rogan josh and butter chicken.
Read our review here
Great Western Arcade, city centre
While vegetarian restaurants often take a rustic approach, this one in the gorgeous Great Western Arcade pulls out all the stops.
Whether you opt for a tasting menu or a la carte you’ll be wowed by inventive flavour combinations and stunning presentation without worrying about breaking the bank.
This bustling gin bar opened in May 2017, replacing the old Fiddle and Bone pub. It's a bar, gin distillery and restaurant all rolled into one.
The Distillery’s location next to the historic Roundhouse on one side and the canal on the other, is truly exceptional. It feels pretty secluded - hidden away round the other end of Arena Birmingham, so setting it apart from all the other nearby bars and eateries.
The menu has surprisingly Middle Eastern influences with dishes such as hummus and flatbread, slow roasted lamb leg Shawarma, charred cauliflower Shawarma and Merguez sausages. There are also sourdough pizzas, burgers and salads available too.
It's also reasonable priced, expect to pay around £30 for a three course meal with drinks.
Great Western Arcade, city centre
This place most definitely serves incredible Japanese food in a gorgeous intimate setting - transporting you a million miles away from Birmingham. The Sushi Passion menu looks like an edible comic book strip and the platters of sushi and sashimi are like works of art.
Sit down at the intimate zakatu table and enjoy a Teriyaki sushi platter with a glass or two of saki. Or be seated at the bar and watch the chef in action as well as the train delivering your sushi.
Read our review here
Acclaimed Cornwall Street restaurant Opus has a reputation for valuing top-quality ingredients and serving them without the usual fine dining fluff or frills.
The food and service here is excellent. They even host source dinners so you can meet the farmers, fisherman, growers and cheesemakers who supply the restaurant.
Opus also boasts wonderful Bar Opus at One Snowhill serving up an impressive selection of cocktails.
Since launching in April 2013 Adam’s has not only won a star from the Michelin inspectors (the fourth for Birmingham) but also a loyal following in the city, with diners eager to take to social media to spread the word.
Adam moved from his tiny restaurant in Bennetts Hill to a very swish restaurant designed and decked to Mayfair looking standards in Waterloo Street.
Park Regis, Broad Street
This is a very swish and sexy rooftop restaurant with a menu to match. Rofuto is a modern Izakaya tapas style eaterie on the top floor of the Park Regis hotel which opened in 2016. On our visit we enjoyed an outstanding six course tasting menu including an Dim Sum platter made of scallop Shumai, beef & foi gras gyoza and mushroom spring roll as well as sesame tuna takaki.
The food is sublime but don't take our word for it. Rofuto was recently named one of the new entries in the respected Hardens Guide 2017.
Not your usual fine dining restaurant, this tiny place has a quirky interior with preserved moss on the walls, a theatrical-style leafy canopy and water dripping like rain into a windowsill trough of plants you can eat.
Run by chef Alex Claridge, don't expect standard fodder here either. This will be a true dining theatre experience - and you might even get to try ants!
The restaurant recently announced it was moving to bigger premises in Bennetts Hill, so no doubt will be putting its incredible food under the noses of more people very soon.
It has recently earned a well-deserved place in this year's Michelin Guide 2018.
Grand Central and Selly Oak
There was much anticipation when this popular Japanese place, much loved in Selly Oak, opened up in Grand Central.
In Grand Central it offers an intimate atmosphere that feels more authentic to what you might experience in Japan.
We loved the teriyaki sirloin steak with noodles.
St Paul's Square
Over the 13 years Lasan has sealed its reputation as one of the finest Indian resturants in Birmingham, the UK and the world, winning best local restaurant in Ramsay’s Channel 4 F-Word show and chef director Aktar Islam cooked to victory in the Great British Menu.
Lasan (or “posh spice” if you will) is a sister restaurant to Raja Monkey (see below), specialising in Indian street food, and Argentinian steak house Fiesta Del Asado.
And the Lasan Group are soon to launch lobster and beer venue Nosh and Quaff in Colmore Row.
Self-titled Yummy Brummie Glynn Purnell's Michelin starred restaurant on Cornwall Street is a regular on the UK's best restaurant lists.
As well as appearances on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, running a bistro around the corner (see below), publishing two cook book and being an all-round ambassador for Brum, chef has maintained his position at the helm of one of the most highly praised restaurants in the city (by critics, industry insiders and laymen alike).
9 Shaw's Passage, Birmingham B5 5JG
Tom Maher and Scott O’Bryne built their reputation serving their street food burgers at Digbeth Dining Club.
They became so popular they decided to make the leap into the restaurant business.
It is very rustic with an industrial feel but the burgers are pretty special.
Most come in a yoghurt and buttermilk bun with some exceptions. They’re all made with aged beef patty, unless you go for the vegetarian option which is a slow cooked and shredded portobello mushroom.
Sides are fries with a variety of slaws and toppings including the OPM spice mix.
Currently opens Thursdays -Sundays.
The Atrium AND Brasserie at UCB
It may have passed you by but The Atrium at University College Birmingham is serving up a first-rate food experience in its Summers Row dining room.
The chefs and waiting staff are students and the elegant restaurant has a buzzing atmosphere.
And while the quality is sky-high the cost is much lower. Fine dining at bargain prices.
Read our review here
In the heart of Birmingham’s Balti Triangle is Al Frash (meaning “butterfly”), a simple-looking curry house with a BYOB policy.
But its emphasis on fresh ingredients cooked simply has won the Ladypool Road restaurant a reputation as one of the city’s best balti houses.
Read our review here
Watch Al Frash cook a quick balti below
York Road, Kings Heath
In Kings Heath’s York Road, this restaurant has become a favourite thanks to its Mediterranean sea sharing plates.
It’s a tapas-style feast with European, north African and Middle Eastern influences and the price and atmosphere make it a great choice for group bookings. The restaurant has been so successful that the owners will soon be opening a deli in Moseley sellling Italian cheeses and chutneys, plus artisan chocolates, pastries, gelato and homemade Italian food.
High Street, Harborne
The restaurant has had a radical revamp -it is now Turner's at 69 after chef Richard Turner decided to ditch his tasting menus and radically re-design the food offering.
The respected restaurateur has said the city is in need of good quality middle market food.
Expect a more relaxed, informal dining experience but the same commitment to quality produce and ingredients.
Despite losing a Michelin star, it still has a slot in the list of recommended restaurants in the 2018 guide.
A good place to escape the chaos of Broad Street’s Golden Mile. Generous portions, delicate spicing and killer cocktails make this a favourite.
And it has now welcomed a new sister restaurant to the scene - Praza by Pushkar in Edgbaston.
This is one of the best curry houses in a city with no shortage of gems. Asha's was recently named the best spice restaurant in the Midlands by the British Curry Awards.
Expect inventive dishes, generous portions and slick service.
Unusual among Italian restaurants, Fumo specialises in wonderful “ciccheti” (Venetian-style tapas).
This little sister to next door neighbour San Carlo, has more refined, less gaudy decor, including a marble bar with a knock-out range of cocktails. Mama mia!
It is also opening a £1million restaurant and cocktail bar in Selfridges.
The daddy of Birmingham’s Michelin star scene, Simpsons moved its Michelin starred place out of Kenilworth and into a beautiful detached building Edgbaston in 2004.
It offers supreme sophistication delivered by a down-to-earth team who are genuinely passionate about the food they’re cooking and serving.
This 33-year-old restaurant existed before Chinatown’s Arcadian.
It now boasts sister restaurants Chung Ying Garden in Thorpe St and Chung Ying Central in Colmore Row.
Ask for the alternative (Chinese) menu and you’ll find Cantonese treats including roast meats, seafood and braises. Try the dim sum at lunchtimes.
Read Brum food guru Lap-fai Lee’s guide to Chinatown’s best restaurants here
Nosh and Quaff
This lobster and beer restaurant opened in a beautifully restored Grade II listed building in Colmore Row at the end of July 2015.
Perch yourself on the red and brown leather American diner-style seating and booths and savour the fresh lobster dishes or beef ribs.
Read more here
Anderson’s Bar and Grill
St Paul's Square
A Jewellery Quarter restaurant squirreled away in a beautiful old building in a corner of St Paul’s Square
Expect precisely-cooked steaks in this atmospheric cellar diner. And try the ribeye.
El Borracho de Oro
Harborne Road, Edgbaston
After selling restaurant Don Diego in Sutton Coldfield, co owner Emma Yufera-Ruiz (who previously worked at Simpsons restaurant) set up El Borracho de Oro in Harborne Road, Edgbaston.
The restaurant is firmly focused on quality ingredients and truly authentic tapas. El Borracho means the golden drunk in Spanish so there is an extensive wine menu as well as beers and sangria.
Bordesley Street, Digbeth
This squat seventies brick building filled with a mish-mash of trinkets transports diners from inner-city Digbeth to a Polish hunting lodge on the slopes of the Tatra Mountains.
Try the Placek po Zbojnicku (melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked beef stew served on a giant potato pancake, fried and crisped around the edges) or the Zurek w chlebku (a hearty rye soup with smoked sausage, potato and boiled egg, served with a rustic wow factor in a hollowed out loaf of crusty bread).
And definitely finish with a shot of Zoladkowa, served neat.
Mughal e Azam
Situated in a converted united reformed church, this is one of Birmingham’s best looking curry houses with a menu that's equally impressive (and a BYOB policy).
Try the salmon tikka starter, explore the chef’s specials for mains and, whatever you do, do not leave without ordering the gajar halwa for pudding.
Read our review here
The Warehouse Cafe
Allison Street, Digbeth
This little place in Digbeth may be called a “cafe” but it transforms into a restaurant in the evening.
With a loyal following, it was sorely missed when it closed down in early 2013 before reopening only a few months later.
The Warehouse Cafe is run as a not-for-profit community interest company (CIC) serving meat-free food in the Friends Of The Earth building in Allison Street.
Well worth tracking down. BYOB.
Fiesta del Asado
Another offering from Birmingham’s Lasan Group, this Argentinian steak house in Hagley Road has a loyal following.
Launched in late 2012, it boasts a powerful wood-fired grill at the front of the open-plan kitchen. It is all about the meat.
Think: smoky blood sausage, jambon iberico and various cuts of beef cooked to perfection.
Read our review here
You’ll find Minmin in a friendly, vibrant corner of the Latitude Building in Bromsgrove Street, Chinatown.
Expect fantastic noodles and other Far Eastern dishes, many with a Vietnamese influence, at the right price.
Don’t expect fine dining - that’s not what this place is about.
Bodega, one of Birmingham’s fantastic Bitter’n’Twisted venues, is perfect for an after-work bite-to-eat, a relaxed date or a meal with a group of friends, offering filling, tasty grub with good value and no fuss.
Try the burritos, of course.Read our review here
Don’t venture to Purnell’s Bistro expecting a sort of “lite” version of Glynn’s flagship restaurant just around the corner.
The bistro isn’t trying for Michelin stars. The food is simpler and less experimental, the service more relaxed and the prices lower.
But it shares Purnell’s commitment to high quality ingredients creating wonderfully flavoursome dishes.
Moseley and Harborne
South Birmingham is a lucky place to be. There are two Sabai Sabais, one in Moseley, one in Harborne.
Both serve authentic Thai food such as kao pode tord, geng deng and pad gra prao.
Expect well-priced food and slick, friendly service.
Read our review here
The Pickled Piglet
A hidden gem in city centre dining, the Pickled Piglet is well hidden off Broad Street, down Gas Street.
You’ll find small plates to share as well as sharing boards.
Try the sirloin steak and hand-cut chips.
Hotel Du Vin and Bistro
Good simple French food is the focus at this opulent dining room in the former Birmingham Eye Hospital in Church Street.
Expect attentive, friendly, efficient service in a dining room draped in Parisian chic.
Punjabi Rasoi occupies an airy and light space in a building a little way out of Acocks Green Village.
This is a place with a short menu rather than a tome listing numerous dishes, most of them based on a couple of stock sauces to which ingredients are chucked, and it’s great value for money.
Commendably cheap with portions that are both generous and filling.
This Korean restaurant has a gained a huge following since opening three years ago, serving nicely priced, flavoursome food just a stone’s throw from the monotonous chain outlets of the Bullring.
Try a spicy pork stir fry with sticky rice or kimchi dumplings. Alternatively, try the ultimate comfort food, bibimbap.
This is a long-established, busy and charming family-run eatery in Stratford Road.
It’s unlicensed, serving unfussy South Indian food (including dosa) and when he was in Birmingham this is where Jamie Oliver chose to eat with 30 of his mates.
There’s also a sweet centre if you want to treat yourself to a box of treats from the counter on the way out.
This venue used to be known as Lasan Eatery, but has been reinvented, serving street food influenced by the cuisine of southern India rather than the Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Kashmiri dishes to which we Brummies are accustomed.
The rustic decor and food is far removed from parent restaurant, Lasan, but the commitment to quality ingredients and cooking is shared.
The Bartons Arms
High Street, Aston
If enjoying great beer and good food in stunning surroundings isn’t your bag, the Bartons Arms probably isn’t for you.
For everyone else, this historic pub is your Mecca.
With its own name, and sitting separately from the rest of the pub in the former Smoking Room, Oaka makes the grade as a standalone restaurant.
Landlords Siriporn and Wichai Thumjaroen, who moved to Britain from Thailand nine years ago, turned the former smoking room into Oaka, including Anglicised versions of Thai food as well as authentic Thai flavours.
Try the Tuesday two-courses-for-£10 deal.
Read our review here
This Turkish restaurant at the southern end of Ladypool Road (near Brighton Road) is a bit of a find.
A huge charcoal grill facing the restaurant is the ultimate open kitchen.
Try the Yogurtlu Adana (£8.45) with really naughty fried bread pieces beneath chargrilled spicy lamb in Anatolian sauce with a cooling yoghurt. Excellent.
A small, smart restaurant in Burnett Road, Streetly, serving food cooked with skill and care.
Expect smart decor, attentive, charming and efficient service and food that is well-crafted, imaginative and, most importantly, great to eat.
Try the murgh malai kebab, tarang-e-king prawn or lamb travancore.
A small, atmospheric, family-run Persian restaurant not far from the Plough and Harrow in Hagley Road, Edgbaston.
It’s a treasure trove of authentic dishes that are rare to find in Birmingham.
Don’t be put off by the plain appearance of this place in Stockwell Road, Handsworth. The focus here is on the food - top Turkish cuisine. The old woman sitting patiently by the window making bread by hand knows her stuff.
If you want a higher class kebab - cooked on coals - this is the place.
Bader (has a sister restaurant in Small Heath’s Coventry Road) brings Middle Eastern cuisine to Ladypool Road, the heart of the Balti Triangle.
Lebanese leads the menu at this place, which is beautifully decorated with Arabian fabrics, tiles and mosaics.
Try the tabbuleh (enough parsley for you?), the meaty flatbreads or the lamb shank (which is enough to feed a family of four).
The stylish place is a good for celeb spotting as well as somewhere you can enjoy incredibly delicious food.
And warm and professional service make this a go-to for a fabulous and hassle-free dinner in Brindleyplace.
Edmunds Bistro de Luxe
Edmunds was recently rebranded as Bistrot de Luxe offering accessible menus inspired by classic French country cuisine. Didier Philipot aims high with his cooking and this is unmistakably a fine dining restaurant.
Expect food unashamedly in the classic tradition and influenced by his native France.
A Moseley institution, this is a fine restaurant that’s consistent and a top place for a good curry. Serving authentic Pakistani dishes try the paneer shashlik for a subtle joy.
A rewarding reasonably priced experience, plus they have great cocktails and lovely friendly service. Food made with passion.
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