Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Birmingham
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Birmingham restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 190 restaurants in Birmingham and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Birmingham restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Birmingham Restaurants
1. Maribel British, Modern restaurant in Birmingham 6 Brindley Place - B1
On the Brindleyplace site that was once Edmunds (RIP), this April 2018 newcomer attracted some brilliant reviews in last year’s survey for Richard Turner’s accomplished cuisine. He departed, though, in mid May 2019, just before our current survey closed, to be replaced by Harvey Perttola: formerly a sous chef at Lichfield’s Swinfen Hall. The move seems to herald a desire for a ‘more relaxed’ (less ambitious) style of dining than previously and in the circumstances it seems sensible to leave a re-rating till next year.
2. Sabai Sabai Thai restaurant in Birmingham 268 High Street - B17
2018 Review: More reports please on Torquil and Juree Chidwick’s stylish modern Harborne Thai: part of a local mini-chain of upmarket Thai restaurants founded in Moseley in 2003.
3. The Karczma Polish restaurant in Birmingham Bordesley St - B5
10/10 for effort on the décor at this kitschy classic five minutes from the Bull Ring, but decorated like an old Pollish cottage. Too limited reports last year for a proper rating of the hearty east European scoff, but all feedback is positive.
4. Rosa's Thai Cafe Thai restaurant in Birmingham 2b Chamberlain Square - B3
The “lovely Thai food” at these reliable cafés is “impressively authentic given that they are a chain” – “excellent value” and “fast”, if occasionally let down by “iffy service”. Founded in 2008 by Saiphin and Alex Moore, who inherited the name of their first East End site, the group has 18 branches in London and expanded to Liverpool, Manchester, Reading (delivery only) and Leeds following the sale of a majority stake to US investors. The couple also have two spin-offs, Lao Café in Covent Garden and the new Chinese noodle bar Hoh Sek in St Katharine Docks.
5. Adam's British, Modern restaurant in Birmingham 16 Waterloo St - B2
“No need to go to London restaurants that so often disappoint!” – Adam & Natasha Stoke’s “beautiful restaurant with a lovely bar and intimate dining area is in a central location that has parking outside”. Its food score remains the highest in Brum (by a very narrow whisker from Purnells) with practically all feedback describing “fine dining at its best” – “no over the top scientific nonsense”, just “food that continues to be innovative, beautifully prepared and presented” and service that’s “professional, never pompous and which knows how to connect without intruding”. “Enjoying the tasting menu downstairs at the chef’s table is a great experience.”
6. Purnells British, Modern restaurant in Birmingham 55 Cornwall St - B3
TV-chef Glynn Purnell’s swish HQ in the business quarter was Birmingham’s most-mentioned restaurant in the survey last year and is often recommended as “Brum’s best” (with ratings on almost exactly level pegging with rivals Adam’s and Opheem). Criticism is most notable by its absence, with nothing but rapturous reviews for his “technically accomplished cuisine, with well-executed creative dishes” and “interested, attentive and well-paced service”.
7. Carters of Moseley British, Modern restaurant in Birmingham 2c Wake Green Rd - B13
“Passion for food and drink” is much in evidence, “along with a really warm welcome” at Brad Carter’s “smart casual” fixture, which again scores top marks for his “fantastic” and “inventive” cuisine, from an eight-course tasting menu (for £90), or, if you go earlier in the week, four-course and six-course options. Added attractions include a “really imaginative vegetarian option” and a “passionate wine supremo” who also has some “really interesting alternatives to wine” up his sleeve (“quirky beers, plum sake, natural cider…”).
8. Harborne Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in Birmingham
Jamie Desogus has created a “vibrant, relaxed, open-plan environment” at the former butcher’s shop that he opened in 2016, and all reports are full of praise for his “exceptional” modern cuisine, available from a three-course à la carte (‘choice’) menu early week, or at weekends from six-course or eight-course (‘chosen’) menus.
9. Opheem Indian restaurant in Birmingham 65 Summer Row - B3
“Aktar Islam (ex-Lasan) is doing a fabulous job in his new venue” – a “super-stylishy”, 70-cover venture that’s immediately hailed as “Birmingham’s best Indian”, with “dedicated” staff delivering an “equisite” and “exciting” modern twist on Indian cuisine. “It’s is a little off the beaten track from the city-centre but well worth seeking out”. In October 2019, Michelin – unusually for a regional Indian – awarded it a star.
10. The Wilderness British, Modern restaurant in Birmingham 27 Warstone Lane - B18
With its black-painted walls and punchy sound track, Alex Claridge’s decidedly rock ‘n’ roll Jewellery Quarter four-year-old has courted attention over the years with ants on the menu (and this year a social media campaign involving fake guns). There’s serious intent in the open kitchen here, though – “something quite unique happens, with a tasting menu that blows you away” and “beautifully crafted” drinks to go with it; “more restaurants should aim for an ’80s soundtrack too!”
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