There’s no doubt in our mind that Birmingham is one of the most exciting food destinations in the UK. But it’s not all about Baltis and Michelin stars. From iconic Indian cuisine to amazing Italian restaurants, mouthwatering fine dining to exciting street food, there’s an exciting range of restaurants to be found in the second city. We’ve rounded up just some of the very best restaurants in Birmingham that you have to try at least once in your life.
There are five Michelin-starred restaurants in Birmingham (all make this list), but Purnell’s must be among its most famous. Its owner and chef, Glynn Purnell, is famous for having won the Great British Menu twice, as well as regular appearances on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen where he is better known as the Yummy Brummie. But none of this makes Purnell’s among the best restaurants in Birmingham, what does is the food.
Purnell’s, the fine-dining restaurant in Birmingham City Centre, focuses mostly on innovative British fare but also takes influences from France and the Far East. Contemporary and chic, the dining room is vibrant and spacious, while Glynn likes the presentation of the food to be equally flamboyant. A 10-course tasting menu costs £125 per person, extra for wine pairings.
Purnell’s, 55 Cornwall St, Birmingham B3 2DH
From fine dining to family-sized sharing naans. Yep, we’re heading to the Balti Triangle where the best restaurant serving Birmingham’s iconic curry has to be Shababs. It might not be the originator of Birmingham’s iconic balti curry, but Shababs is the best still serving it in Brum and beyond. There’s a huge menu to choose from, but every main dish is cooked balti-style – which means cooked quickly over high heat, like a stir-fry – all somewhere between £10 to £15. Shababs should be a right of passage for every Brummie.
Shababs, 163-165 Ladypool Rd., Sparkbrook, Birmingham B12 8LQ
In the leafy suburbs of Edgbaston sits a Georgian mansion that houses Simpson’s restaurant, Birmingham’s oldest Michelin restaurant. It started in Kenilworth in Warwickshire but moved to Birmingham in 1999 and hasn’t looked back since. Between the lunch and dinner menu, tasting menu, plant-based menu and children’s menu, there’s plenty to choose from too.
The food itself aims to respect classical tradition but is a contemporary take on British cuisine, “combining influences from around the world in dishes based on fabulous impeccably sourced seasonal ingredients.” While huge glass windows line the walls so that you can enjoy your meal looking out onto the beautiful garden.
Simpsons, 20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3DU
4. Original Patty Men
An original is worth more than a copy and you won’t find more original than OPM. Birmingham’s street food legends and self-titled “purveyors of filth” have some of the best burgers in Birmingham, no doubt. Choose from an epic list of burgers: the Alabama Slammer with a deep-fried boneless chicken thigh, lime and ginger slaw, and either Alabama sauce or Frank’s hot sauce; the Pineapple Express with a beef patty, maple coated bacon, roquito chilli peppers, cheddar cheese and pineapple hot sauce; and the Po Money, Po Mushroom with Po boy style breaded ‘shrooms, pickle and cajun Boss Man sauce.
Original Patty Men, 9 Shaw’s Passage, Birmingham B5 5JG
Be it the braised octopus or aubergine parmigiana, at Tropea, each plate is designed around a star ingredient. These sharing small-plate dishes are heavily influenced by Italian street food. And use only the finest, seasonal ingredients, either from Milanese markets or local suppliers. Expect plenty of fresh pasta, seafood and regional specialities, from fresh day-boat fish to venison.
Past highlights from Tropea’s ever-changing seasonal menu include bomboloni (basically small doughnuts) filled with gorgonzola dolce and pickled walnut puree; seafood risotto with mussels, baby squid and red prawn; and Neapolitan sausage with parmesan polenta and red onion agrodolce. Try cocktail classics like Negroni or a range of Old World wines as well. Perfect for washing down that steady influx of plates you’ll be ordering.
Tropea, 27 Lordswood Rd, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9RP
Seeing as this is Birmingham, there has to be more than one curry house among the best. (We could fill a whole list of the best Indian restaurants in Birmingham, in fact, we have.) Lasan is legendary throughout the country. Having shot to fame in 2010 after winning Best Local Restaurant in the UK on Gordon Ramsey’s The F Word. It’s also a record six-time winner at the British Curry Awards, with its first in 2002.
Maintaining such longevity, Lasan clearly has a winning formula that consistently places it among the best restaurants in Birmingham. The Indian restaurant is very much haute cuisine, serving seafood moilee and goat biryani. A main will cost you anywhere from £17.95 for a vegan biryani to £28.95 for king prawns in a fenugreek leaf bhuna. But some of our favourites include courgette flower tempura, monkfish johl and the lamb Kashmiri rogan. Yum!
Lasan, 3 – 4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, St Paul’s Square, B3 1SD
If money is no object and there’s only one Indian restaurant you have time to visit in Birmingham. It has to be Aston-born Aktar Islam’s Opheem. It’s the only Michelin-star restaurant serving Indian cuisine. Many Indian regions are represented on the modern fine dining menu, with the odd Persian and Arabian influence too. The current 10-course tasting menu journeys from Mumbai to Malabar via Delhi and West Bengal, and will set you back £115 per person. A cheaper five-course menu is also available, as well as an a la carte lunch menu. Undoubtedly the finest Indian restaurant in Birmingham.
Opheem, 65 Summer Row, Birmingham B3 1JJ
Vegetarians and vegans are better represented on the food scene than ever these days in Birmingham. Those on a meat-free diet should look no further than Land. The fine dining restaurant focuses on seasonal vegetables to create colourful plates where the vegetables shine, proving meat doesn’t have to be the star of the meal. Whether you eat meat or not, this is easily one of the best restaurants in Birmingham. It’s reasonably priced for fine dining too, with five courses for £38 and eight from £45. The menu regularly changes, but expect seasonal plant-focused dishes inspired by flavours from around the world.
Land, 26 Great Western Arcade, Colmore Row, B2 5HU
9. Eat Vietnam
Stirchley has quietly become one of the coolest areas in Birmingham. But what about its coolest restaurant? Well, that has to be Eat Vietnam. The umami-packed traditional Vietnamese restaurant constantly reinvents its dishes, so repeat visits are a must to keep up with an ever-changing menu. Barbecued pork shoulder served in a coconut curry, or salt and pepper tofu with noodles are our current favourites. But you have to try the Marmite and PB chicken wings (also served as cauliflower wings) for a serious savoury, flavour bomb.
Eat Vietnam, 1422 Pershore Rd, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2PH
10. Tiger Bites Pig
Money isn’t everything when it comes to the best restaurants in Birmingham. Sometimes simplicity is everything and that’s exactly why we love Tiger Bites Pig. These Taiwanese bao buns, rooted in the street food of East Asia, are made fresh every morning. It’s an intimate space, where you can watch all the food prepared in front of you too.
Two or three make for a fantastic meal, with red braised pork belly, buttermilk fried chicken and crispy duck among our favourites. But vegans should try the equally ‘meaty’ tofu and oyster mushroom. If that doesn’t sound enough, Tiger Bites Pig’s hearty rice bowls topped with a protein of choice, spicy veg, house pickles and a cured egg yolk also feel like a steal without short-changing you on flavour.
Tiger Bites Pig, 34 Stephenson St, Birmingham B2 4BH
11. Carters of Moseley
Chef and proprietor Brad Carter is a self-taught, Birmingham native that aims to take customers on a ‘culinary adventure’ through foods they couldn’t have made at home. Brad’s posh doner kebab restaurant stole all the headlines recently, but Carters of Moseley is still his best. Each dish is comprised of a handful of key elements. This allows for the flavour of each ingredient to speak for itself and enhance the flavour of the other ingredients, without one overwhelming the other. Menus evolve on a daily basis, influenced by the British season and a mission is to replace foreign ingredients with native alternatives. It’s this dedication that won it a Michelin star.
Carters of Moseley, 2c St Mary’s Row, Wake Green Rd, Moseley, Birmingham B13 9EZ
Do you fancy dining in the clouds? Enjoy panoramic views while you eat at Orelle. Unbeatable views of Birmingham and modern French cuisine make it not just one of Birmingham’s best restaurants but the most romantic too. Located on the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row, it offers a contemporary take on classic French recipes celebrating the best of British produce.
Dishes include blackberry cured trout for starter; suckling pig and pumpkin tagliatelle for mains; and venison, grouse and chicken wellington en croute for sharing. While Orelle’s abstract triangular design pays tribute to the site’s heritage as the former National Westminster House, drawing influence also from the nearby Jewellery Quarter.
Orelle, 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 3AG
Let’s be honest. Sometimes no matter how nice the restaurant is, or how delicious the food is, nothing can beat a simple pizza. It hits the spot like nothing else can. If you are on the lookout for the best pizza restaurant in Birmingham, you have a few choices but our pick is POLI in Kings Heath. Serving Neapolitan pizza and small plates, this intimate pizzeria has some mighty fine pies. From puttanesca to ‘nduja and garlic-fermented honey, these woodfired sourdough pizzas have some gorgeously puffed-up crusts.
POLI, 21 York Road, King’s Heath, B14 7SA
What, another one? Yes, Birmingham is blessed Michelin starred restaurants, all worthy of your time. (Even if it’s just for a special occasion.) Named after the chef, Adam Stokes, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Natasha, Adam’s sleek, sophisticated and comfortable. Classically cooked quality dishes served in an approachable environment are what Adam’s aims for. An a la carte menu is served alongside two tasting menus, with a world-class wine list also available.
Adam’s, New Oxford House, 16 Waterloo St, Birmingham B2 5UG
15. Chung Ying Cantonese
Chung Ying Cantonese is Birmingham’s oldest, and still its best, Cantonese restaurant with the largest selection of dim sum in the UK. Opened in 1981, it is the beating heart of Birmingham’s thriving Chinatown. Offering all the favourites ranging from exotic cuts to Cantonese classics, fresh seafood to a wide selection for vegetarians and vegans. For an authentic taste of Hong Kong, you have to make this your next restaurant visit.
Chung Ying, China Quarter, 16-18 Wrottesley St, Birmingham B5 4RT
Out in Moseley, you’ll find Birmingham’s first Peruvian restaurant. You won’t find many restaurants elsewhere in Brum, or the UK for that matter, like this. But expect punchy, vibrant and colourful food with classic dishes like ceviches, tiraditos and causas. With dishes designed for sharing and a relaxed environment, Chakana is made to be spent with good company. It’s also home to one of the largest ranges of pisco (a Peruvian spirit) in the country.
Chakana, 140 Alcester Rd, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8HT
17. Grace & Savour
Is it technically in Birmingham? We’re not sure. But the Grace & Savour in Solihull is too good to be ignored. The West Midlands newest Michelin-star restaurant only opened in February 2022. But it has taken no time to prove it is one of the best restaurants in Birmingham. Partly due to its unique concept, but mostly because of the amazing food and setting.
Based in Hampton Manor, the idyllic countryside retreat, Grace & Savour offers a fifteen-course tasting menu. All are served from an open kitchen, with a commitment to locally-grown, ethical and bio-diverse ingredients. But before you’ve even begun to try the food, you’ll be free to tour the garden where everything is grown for this immersive dining experience. Plus, you can also experience the restaurant’s cookery school while you’re there.
Grace & Savour, Hampton Manor, Shadowbrook Ln, Hampton in Arden, Solihull B92 0EN
18. 670 Grams
If you’re looking for the coolest restaurant in Birmingham, then it is undoubtedly 670 Grams. Set in the ultra-hip Custard Factory, where graffiti decorates the walls, this is fine dining that won’t break the bank but will break boundaries. Expect influences to come from anywhere, stretching as far as Europe to Asia via your local takeaway. Kray Treadwell was awarded the ‘MICHELIN Young Chef Award Great Britain and Ireland’ in 2021, so the innovative chef and his restaurant are definitely ones to watch.
670 Grams, 4 Gibb St, Deritend, Birmingham B9 4AA
19. Harborne Kitchen
In 2022, The Good Food Guide described Harborne Kitchen as “packing mass-appeal into posh nosh,” and we have to agree. It opened in 2016, offering contemporary and creative British cuisine at affordable prices. Whether you’re just in the mood for something simply delicious or after a carefully curated culinary experience, Harborne Kitchen has it all. Whatever you choose though, the diner’s enjoyment always comes first. You might also want to check out head chef Jamie Desogus’ other rock ‘n’ roll-inspired burger restaurant The Bun & Barrel.
Harborne Kitchen, 175-179 High St, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9QE
20. Hockley Social Club
Is this cheating? Because Hockley Social Club isn’t technically one restaurant but many! Home to multiple rotating kitchens, serving the city’s best street food, Hockley Social Club is always new and exciting. Past kitchens have included the award-winning Thai joint Buddha Belly, Yardbirds with some of the best-fried chicken in Birmingham and the seriously Instagrammable Urban Cheesecake. Plus plenty more, all showing off the breadth of Birmingham’s sensational street food scene.
Hockley Social Club, 60 Hampton St, Birmingham B19 3LU