I was enjoying a delicious latte at a classy coffee shop on our last full day in Birmingham, AL. I was whinging to the coffee shop owner about bad coffees & meal choices since my wife and I flew in from California late the previous day. The sweet lady said we needed a great dining experience before we left Birmingham and suggested a restaurant called Highlands Bar & Grill…..a high end French restaurant a few miles from our Hyatt Regency hotel. It sounded pretty decent to me !
It was so popular she challenged me to get a reservation for that evening. I looked the place up and it’s high praise reviews plus 4.8 star rating were off the charts and diners had to reserve a table up to a month in advance. On top of that they served Venison, Quail and a bunch of other stuff I wasn’t real familiar with. I texted my wife that this French place might be a great way to experience some Birmingham fine dining. When my wife finished training her staff at 5pm at her company’s premises in Vestavia Hills..( the reason for our trip here ) I jumped in our rental car to go pick her up so we could arrive at the Highlands Bar & Grill soon after it commenced serving dinner at 5.30pm.
I figured an early arrival might boost our chances of getting a table at no notice. The place was already pretty busy when we strolled through the front entrance to be greeted by Matt who was one of the managers. I have posted 1000’s of reviews & photos of restaurants, cafes, fine coffee shops + other stuff on the top review forums including Yelp & TripAdvisor for many years. I held up my iPhone with my Google Maps review profile showing 230 million photo views world wide.
Matt the manager said they were booked out but he had a half table for us in the bar area…voila ! Hey it might have been my cute Aussie accent that scored us a table ! Inside there was a huge jazzy looking central bar dividing 2 large dining areas. We chose a Crab / Shrimp Louie Salad appetizer followed by a Venison, Quail, Pork Spare Rib Mixed Grill for mains and then a Chocolate Mousse Cake + Decaf Cappuccinos for dessert. We shared all of our courses……this place wasn’t cheap ! I knocked down a couple of Birmingham’s own Good People Brewing IPA’s as well during dinner.
We were waited on by up to 5 different servers including our superstar Tina despite the restaurant being packed to the rafters. Smartly dressed Joseph who was also one of the restaurant managers came to our table to have a chat & suggest fine dining options for when we arrive in Atlanta, GA the next day. Our meals tasted extraordinary and the plated presentation plus service attention exceeded almost anywhere we have dined. And kudos to young Margaret for keeping us well hydrated all evening.
Beautiful art deco framed posters adorned the high walls and the historic appeal of the interior / exterior of the building added to our enjoyment. We agreed this is a very classy restaurant. When we left to retrieve our car in the complimentary valet car park I said to my wife that the Highlands Grill & Bar is probably the best restaurant in Birmingham if not all of Alabama. Our valet attendant overhead me and said that the restaurant had just won the very prestigious James Beard Award for “Most Outstanding Restaurant In the USA” on it’s 10th trip to the finals. Apparently that is the same as winning an Oscar at the Academy Awards. Needless to say we were very impressed !