Vino News

These 7 restaurants take cauliflower to the next level

The cauliflower craze has taken over the world, and Birmingham’s food scene is on top of it. You might see the cruciferous vegetable used as a substitute for rice, pizza dough, and even burger buns, but cauliflower also is wonderful highlighted in all its floret glory. Several local restaurants have caught on and found ways to turn the veggie into an appealing appetizer, side dish, or entree. Here are seven options that will make you rethink cauliflower.

Gobhi Mattar Masala and Gobhi Pakora at Taj India
Cauliflower has long been a staple in Indian cuisine as a replacement for meat. Since many Indians are vegetarians, they use plenty of substantial vegetables that make for a filling dish. At Taj India, an entree of Gobhi (cauliflower) Mattar Masala features cauliflower and peas mixed with a flavorful spiced sauce. You can also snack on Gobhi Pakora–a street food dish of crispy fried cauliflower in a spicy batter. Served with green chutney and tamarind sauce, the appetizer provides several levels of flavor.
2226 Highland Avenue | 205.939.3805 |

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites at Iron City Grill
These large florets tossed in spicy buffalo sauce are seriously addictive. They offer everything you love about buffalo chicken wings, just without the meat (vegetarians rejoice!). And trust us, you won’t miss the chicken. The cauliflower is tossed with blue cheese crumbles and served with spun carrots and shaved celery, as well as a side of creamy buttermilk garlic dressing. Bonus: the dish also is gluten-free!
2208 6th Avenue South | 205.202.5483 |

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower at Avondale Common House
Have a craving for Chinese takeout food but don’t want the added MSG bomb? Avondale Common House’s Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower is the perfect solution. The cauliflower is breaded and fried, tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce, then topped with crushed cashews and scallions. It’s the best snack to nosh on while listening to live music at the restaurant every Tuesday night.
4100 3rd Avenue South | 205.703.9895 |

Roasted Cauliflower at Sky Castle
Sky Castle celebrates cauliflower in its simplicity by giving it a good roast–and not much else. Roasting brings cauliflower’s natural flavors without overwhelming it in sauces. Since the restaurant is owned by the Bajalieh brothers, they bring in a little bit of their Mediterranean heritage by serving their cauliflower with a tahini vinaigrette. Lemon and capers add a bit of acidity and salt to round out the dish.
2808 7th Avenue South | 205.578.6080 |

Korean Fried Cauliflower at East West
The new Asian-fusion joint on Second Avenue North downtown has already become a favorite for those looking for a flavorful culinary experience. The restaurant’s large selection of small plates includes the Korean Fried Cauliflower–a dish they debuted in several pop-ups before opening the restaurant. The florets are breaded in a tempura batter, fried until crisp, and tossed in an umami-packed garlic-ginger sauce.
2306 2nd Avenue North | 205.202.4496 |

Cauliflower Taco at Bartaco
Cauliflower in a taco? You bet. The latest taco joint in Edgewood brings California-fresh Mexican cuisine to the city. One of the most unique is the cauliflower taco. Serving as a substitute for meat, it’s a good option for vegetarians who still want to enjoy a taco (along with the Portobello and falafel taco dishes). A romesco sauce tops the cauliflower taco, which can be served in a corn tortilla or lettuce wrapped for the carb-conscious.
1017 Oxmoor Road | 205.875.8226 |

Bang Bang Cauliflower at Vino
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, cauliflower pairs well with spicy sauces because the hearty vegetable holds up well to richer flavors. Vino has their own spicy version, made with a sweet red chili sauce. Scallions and roasted sesame seeds add to the popular appetizer’s Asian flair. Try it on “Merry Monday,” Vino’s weekly Monday happy hour, where the dish is only $5.
1930 Cahaba Road | 205.870.8404 |

Vino News

Top spots to dine in Birmingham this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away, and plans are beginning to take shape for those wanting to celebrate this day of love. Whether you want a casual meal or a swanky dining experience, here are the top spots to dine in Birmingham this Valentine’s Day.

Bamboo on 2nd

Dig sushi? Then this Valentine’s Day head to Birmingham’s Loft District to Bamboo on 2nd. This exciting and affordable Pan-Asian restaurant and bar offers sushi rolls, noodle bowls, small plates and a variety of skewered and Asian-inspired salads.

There is also a full bar, which features unique cocktails, plus all the classics. Select sake and a complete wine menu is also available, with Asian and locally crafted beer on tap and by the bottle.

Price: $25 and under per person

Address: 2212 2nd Ave N., Birmingham, AL 35203

Phone: 205.703.0551

Fancy’s on 5th

Looking for a casual and cool spot to eat on Valentine’s Day? Then head to Fancy’s on 5th – an oyster dive and burger bar located in the heart of Avondale.

Turkey patties, veggie patties, gluten-free bread and lettuce wrap “buns” are all available upon request so everyone can eat at Fancy’s!

Ask about the Feature Burger to discover unique eats by Fancy’s chef, Joey Dickerson. Don’t forget the fried goat cheese as a starter! Can I get an mmmmmm, good?!

(Fancy’s is owned by the same crew as MELT Avondale and the Melt Food Truck, so you know it’s gonna be amazing!)

Seating is first come, first served. No reservations available.

Price: $25 and under per person

Address: 430 41st Street, Birmingham, AL 35222

Phone: 205.777.3662 or 205.834.2306

 Cocina Superior

If you haven’t been to Cocina Superior in Brookwood Village, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to go, whether on a date or for a Galentines night out.

This modern Tex Mex restaurant features incredible dishes and an impressive selection of unique cocktails all served in a sleek and stylish setting.

If it’s not too chilly, seating is also available under the stars on a large heated patio.

Price: $30 and under per person

Address: 587 Brookwood Village, Birmingham, AL 35209

Phone: 205.259.1980

Surin West

It’s hard to say no to Surin West – a favorite of so many in Birmingham. Offering authentic Thai cuisine, fresh sushi and all the extras in a calm yet exciting atmosphere, Surin West delivers the perfect spot for Valentine’s Day.

The coconut soup is a must-order.

Complimentary parking for Surin West’s guests is located on 19th Street South.

(Surin also has locations on Hwy. 280 and in Mountain Brook, but I think the one downtown is the most romantic.)

Price: $35 and under person person

Address: 1918 11th Ave S., Birmingham, AL 35205

Phone: 205.324.1928

Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille

Birmingham’s popular restaurant, Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille, wants to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a three-course, prix-fixe menu with choice of soup or salad starter, signature entree and divine dessert.

Price: $59.95 per person before 5:30p.m. and $79.95 per person after 5:45p.m. (Tax and gratuity are not included.)

Address: 4 Perimeter Park S., Birmingham, AL 35243

Phone: 205.968.1597


If Italian-Mediterranean cuisine is calling your name this Valentine’s Day then Vino is a divine choice. Located in Mountain Brook’s charming English Village, Vino is presenting a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner menu hand-crafted and selected by Owner Al Rabiee.

Along with dinner, guests will receive complimentary roses and enjoy Moscato-infused chocolate covered strawberries. Talk about romantic!

Price: $75 per person. (Tax and gratuity not included.)

Address: 1930 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook, AL 35233

Phone: 205.870.8404


Open since 1988 in the historic Bottega Favorita building, Bottega creates all the essentials Valentine’s Day feels – a warm, sophisticated environment and incredible cuisine inspired by Italy.

Bottega is offering a Valentine’s special that includes a first course, main corse and dessert. Find the menu here.

Price: Set at $75 per person for the Valentine’s Special

Address: 2240 Highland Ave, Birmingham, AL 35205

Phone: 205.939.1000

BRIO Tuscan Grille

In the mood for Italian? Then enjoy a warm, relaxed evening out at BRIO Tuscan Grille.

Dine amongst cozy fires and huge windows on Tuscan-inspired grill fare, pasta dishes and incredible soups, along with wine and cocktails.

Price: $50 and under per person (not including alcohol)

Address: 591 Brookwood Village, Birmingham, AL 35209

Phone: 205.879.9177

Highlands Bar and Grill

Spend your Valentine’s at Highlands Bar and Grill, one of Birmingham’s most iconic restaurants with Chef Frank Stitt. Located in Birmingham’s Southside, Highlands features an ever-changing seasonal menu of French-inspired, regional Southern fare served in a romantic and elegant setting.

This Valentine’s Day, Highlands will be preparing a special menu to celebrate the occasion. Click here to find out what this exquisite meal will feature.

Price: Set at $85 per person for Valentine’s Special

Address: 2011 11th Ave S., Birmingham, AL 35205

Phone: 205.939.1400

Hot and Hot Fish Club

French, Southern and California-style cooking blend together in Birmingham’s Hot and Hot Fish Club. Set against the backdrop of downtown Birmingham, enjoy an intimate dinner at the chef’s counter with a front-row view of the open kitchen, in the main dining room or in the harvest room. There is also bar seating for cocktails and delicious appetizers.

For the love of dessert, be sure to stay for truly incredible after-dinner treats, like Tiramisu Doughnuts, Cranberry Cheesecake and Elton’s Chocolate Souffle.

Price: $75 and under per person

Address: 2180 11th Ct. S., Birmingham, AL 25205

Phone: 205.933.5474

Ocean Restaurant

Located in the trendy 5 Points District of Birmingham’s Southside, Ocean offers some of the best seafood in town and an award-winning dining experience.

Feast on an array of oysters, shrimp, clams and lobsters from the raw bar, while sipping on one of Ocean’s signature margaritas or house cocktails.

Price: $100 and under per person

Address: 1218 20th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35205

Phone: 205.933.0999

Satterfield’s Restaurant

Fresh ingredients? Check. Friendly and knowledgeable staff? Check. Memorable experience? Absolutely! If you’re seeking a place to dine this Valentine’s Day that offers all of these qualities then Satterfield’s is the One.

Located in the heart of Cahaba Heights, Satterfield’s delivers fine dining in a relaxed environment. Discover a variety across the menu with French, Italian, Spanish or Mediterranean influences, each with an unexpected southern twist.

Price: $75 and under per person

Address: 3161 Cahaba Heights Rd., Birmingham, AL 35243

Phone: 205.969.9690

Texas de Brazil

Texas de Brazil, located in Birmingham’s Uptown area, tops off our list as one of the most upscale spots for a Valentine’s Day dining experience. Here you’ll be provided all of the essentials for a truly romantic evening. Dine on upscale Brazilian fare featuring all-you-can-eat grilled meat carved tableside and a salad bar with over 50 items to choose from.

Be sure to take a look at Texas de Brazil’s award-winning wine list, or sip on their fresh-made signature cocktail — the Caipirinha.

If you want to ensure a table for the most romantic night of the year, reservations are a must.

Price: $100 and under per person (not including drinks)

Address: 2301 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N., Birmingham, AL 35203

Phone: 205.588.8333

Where will you  be eating this Valentine’s Day? We wanna know!

Vino News

Get a taste of fall’s favorite dessert at this charming eatery

A couple sits under a tree swathed in soft-white lights on the patio at Vino restaurant in English Village. Summer is waning but the still-warm night air carries a hint of fall.

The couple shares an order of Apple Fritters A La Mode. It evokes a similar seasonal transition, with summer’s ice cream and fall’s apples singing pleasant harmony.

Open since 2011, Vino is known for Mediterranean-style cuisine spanning from Morocco to Italy and on to the Middle East. But one of its best-loved desserts is as all-American as apple pie.

Vino Apple Fritters A La Mode is as simple as three balls of fried apple-flecked batter, served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of sweet apple slices. Cinnamon sauce tops the dessert. When time allows, the kitchen scripts the word “Vino” on the plate in chocolate.

Owner Al Rabiee has served apple fritters in some form since he owned the Southside restaurant, Anthony’s, in the 1980s. “We used to make them bigger but over the years we started making them smaller,” Rabiee says. “People are watching their weight.”

Customers have long associated the restaurateur with fritters. Rabiee says that when his daughter was born, people at the hospital would point out his family and tell each other, “Those are the fritter people.”

Timing is the key to Vino’s fritters, Rabiee says. The dough needs several hours to properly rise before it’s formed into balls and deep-fried in non-GMO rice bran oil.

Rabiee recommends Grand Marnier or Cointreau as an accompanying after-dinner drink.

Rabiee has built a strong fan base over the years. After selling Anthony’s, he ran other Southside restaurants and sold real estate for a few years before opening Vino.

The California contemporary-style building includes an art gallery, Gallery 1930, which is separately owned. In 2015, Rabiee opened the Gallery Bar inside the space, which specializes in cocktails, oysters, and other seafood appetizers.

Windows showcase the gallery, even when it is closed. “People love to walk around and see the artwork,” Rabiee says.

The patio at Vino, with nearly two dozen tables, almost doubles the inside seating capacity. It is one of the city’s most inviting places to dine al fresco.

The elevated patio is set back and mostly shielded from traffic on Cahaba Road. Most of the outside tables are under a cover. During dry weather, tables are set up under the patio’s four trees, which are strung with lights, providing a peaceful setting to enjoy a leisurely meal or a sweet treat.

Vino News

Greater Birmingham Humane Society helps canines in the crosshairs of hurricanes

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and the surrounding area, Allison Black Cornelius knew life would immediately change. Shelters in and around the stricken areas were going to need room for pets stranded or separated from their owners by the storm.

For that to happen, those pets already in the shelters needed to go somewhere else.

Birmingham was one of those “somewhere elses.”

“After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, there were a lot of displaced animals,” Cornelius said. “What people don’t realize is that these animals are lost and you can’t move them too far away from home. So one strategy is to move the existing animals to other shelters in safer areas to make room for the influx of other animals.”

Following Cornelius around the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) as she deals with the influx of animals and humans drives home the need for alternative shelters. She petted one dog while listening to an owner’s concern. At the humane society shelter, Cornelius is in her zone.

“We are partnering with Louisiana shelters to empty them out for Harvey-impacted animals, bring them to Birmingham and either adopt them out or take them to other shelters,” said Cornelius, chief executive officer of the GBHS.

It’s easy to see the affection Cornelius has for the animals as she pets and loves on them, squeezing, kissing and talking to them like a mama bear with her cubs.

“I have been here at the humane society since the summer of 2014. I’ve always loved animals and given to organizations that helped animals,” she said. “When GBHS took over animal control, we went from 7,500 animals to 22,000 animals. We have four vehicles that are equipped to pick up animals from disaster areas and from all over the country.”

The GBHS is awaiting more than 60 animals from the Harvey-hit areas and soon will take more animals from the Hurricane Irma-affected region. Things will be busy for a while, but Cornelius said it comes with the job.

“Events such as Pooches on the Patio at Vino in English Village are critical to our outreach,” she said. “We believe you don’t use people to develop a mission, you use a mission to develop people. So that allows us to bring what we’re talking about to life and it helps to attract volunteers, because without the hundreds of volunteers and 80 full-time staff, we could not do what we do.”

Hundreds of people gathered at Vino Sept. 6 for Pooches on the Patio to show their support for the GBHS and the animals it saves. The GBHS was there to promote its adoption program and facilitate financial support and volunteerism.

Katie Beck of Style Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations said the dog-filled patio at Vino for the second annual Pooches fundraiser was a success.

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work, and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at

Vino News

Dine with your dog at Vino’s Pooches on the Patio event

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — Vino is hosting an event called Pooches on the Patio in celebration of the restaurant’s sixth anniversary.

The Italian-Mediterranean restaurant located in English Village is hosting the event that will benefit the Greater Birmingham Humane Society and feature themed, specialty craft cocktails for animal lovers.

The GBHS will have adoptable dogs at the event, but guests will not be able to adopt dogs on-site. Guests are also invited to bring their furry friends. There will be opportunities to win prizes like gift cards or toys and treats for your pets.

Pooches on the Patio will be on Wednesday, September 6th from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Event organizers encourage guests to make reservations in advance to attend.

To learn more about Pooches on the Patio, visit the Vino Facebook page. To make reservations, visit the Vino website here.

To learn more about the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, visit their website here.

Vino News

Pooches on the Patio back to benefit humane society

This year’s event will again feature adoptable pets, which members of the humane society socialize throughout the evening, and families can bring their own dogs to sit with them on the patio while they eat dinner.

For one evening this September, Vino will be going to the dogs.

Scheduled for Sept. 6 from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the restaurant will be hosting its second Pooches on the Patio event, again to benefit the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

“The first year it was held because last year was Vino’s fifth anniversary,” said Al Rabiee, owner of Vino. “It was such a big success last year that they decided to have it this year.”

Rabiee said the event will again feature adoptable pets, which members of the humane society socialize throughout the evening, and families can bring their own dogs to sit with them on the patio while they eat dinner.

“[Last year], everybody loved sitting out on the patio with adoptable pets walking around and learning more about the humane society,” Rabiee said, and Vino provided water bowls for any thirsty dogs.

During the hours of the event, 15 percent of the sales that evening will go towards the humane society, too.

Similar to last year, specialty drinks will also be available, and all attendees — two-legged or four-legged — will receive a goodie bag. Rabiee said that the goodie bags for the people will include brownies and Vino’s well-known apple fritters. “That’s truly a treat, for sure,” he said.

Registration and tickets are not required for the event, although reservations are recommended for the evening. Contact Vino by calling at 870-8404.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Aug. 17 at 3:40 p.m. to attribute quotes to Al Rabiee.

Vino News

Gallery Bar opens in English Village

The Gallery Bar, located in Gallery 1930, opened on Oct. 21. The bar serves drinks and seafood appetizers.

A new option is now available for diners seeking cocktails and oysters. Gallery Bar, located at 1930 Cahaba Road and owned by Vino, serves drinks and pre-dinner appetizers.

The spot still serves as Gallery 1930 displaying art during the day. According to a press release by representative Audrey Pannell, Feizal Valli was chosen as the director of cocktail programs at the bar. Valli has worked for Collins Bar, Hot and Hot Fish Club and other downtown Birmingham restaurants. The press release said Gallery Bar will have a standard drink menu and seasonal offerings that change every three months.

The Gallery appetizer menu includes various types of seafood, including four types of oysters, as well as flat bread and fries. Besides cocktails, Gallery offers wine, beer and champagne.

Gallery Bar will be open 4-10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 870-8404 for more information.

More at: Gallery Bar opens in English Village

Vino News

Cocktail and oyster bar opens in Mountain Brook

Gallery Bar, a new cocktail and oyster bar that offers signature drinks and small-plate appetizers, has opened in Mountain Brook’s English Village.

The bar, which adjoins Vino restaurant at 1930 Cahaba Road, operates as the Gallery 1930 art gallery during the day and transitions into a cocktail lounge at night.

Birmingham restaurateur and Vino owner Al Rabiee is also the proprietor of Gallery Bar, and Feizal Valli, who is also the general manager and principal bartender at The Collins Bar, is the director of cocktail programs.

“We are thrilled to be expanding and to now offer a cocktail and oyster bar in English Village,” Rabiee said. “Our diners will love our larger space and added option for pre-dinner drinks and appetizers. The drinks that Feizal has developed will perfectly complement the culinary atmosphere at Vino.”

Valli has created a cocktail menu that includes specialty drinks such as the Reagan Years (with bourbon, green chartreuse and Regan’s orange bitters), the Woodsman (with Bulleit rye whiskey and ginger liqueur) and the Mississippi Mongoose (with Cathead honey-suckle vodka and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao), as well as such classics as an Old-Fashioned, a Whiskey Sour and a Pimm’s Cup. All are $9 each, and the specialty cocktails will change with the seasons.

“Gallery Bar is going to be the perfect in-between for customers who want more than a basic cocktail list, but don’t want to venture out to completely inaccessible cocktails,” Valli said. “We really want to provide something for everyone. People can stay in their comfort zone with our familiar cocktails or try new ingredients that are presented in an approachable way.”

Before relocating to Birmingham following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Valli started in the bar business in…

More at: Cocktail and oyster bar opens in Mountain Brook

Vino News

Intimate and artistic spot

Vino is an intimate dining spot that celebrates its first anniversary this month. This dinner restaurant boasts a global wine list and handcrafted cocktails paired with fresh and healthy Mediterranean fare.

The Place

Vino is located at 1930 Cahaba Road in Mountain Brook’s English Village. Enter to the left side of the art studio. Here the patio provides al fresco dining with an outdoor fireplace and patio bar. Inside, a crisp white-on-white ambience provides a blank canvas for this candlelit, California contemporary styled restaurant. Vino also hosts private events in the restaurant, the patio and the functioning gallery with beautiful art on display.

Tonight, there is a cross-section of diners enjoying a beautiful evening at Vino. Outside on the patio are a group of friends who greet each other for their drink after work. At the patio bar, several businessmen let the day’s cares drift away with a cocktail or two. A group of UAB doctors are dining on the patio. And inside the dining room is a couple whose date night out is spent at Vino. I overhear the woman saying, “I am glad we discovered this place.”

The People

Restaurateur Al Rabiee’s preference for smaller restaurants is fulfilled with Vino. Rabiee’s son, Matthew, is Vino’s bar manager. His passion is also his work, seeking the best wines for Vino’s wine list and incorporating fresh fruits into Vino’s martinis and drinks. Rabiee previously operated Anthony’s near UAB and Assagio and Southside Bohemia in Five Points South.

Favorite Fare

From the martini list, we select Chilton County Strawberry Martini and Capannini Martini. We sip martinis with fresh French bread with herbed butter The deep-red strawberry cocktail bursts with freshness that only local berries can achieve. Yet it is a balanced cocktail, not too sweet, thus maintaining the integrity of a real martini. The Capannini is golden-brown in color with nice body and complex rummy flavors. Next time I must try Matthew’s signature martini, Lemon Berry Fusion, in which he muddles fresh local berries, lemon zest and Lemoncello and adds Stoli Vanilla Vodka.

The appetizers are my favorites at Vino. The place lends itself to pairing a bottle of wine with one of an array of apps and sides. And this is evident by the name of the appetizer list, “Soups, Scoops, Spreads, Frittangas and Skewers.” Tonight we select Artichoke Castroville and Fried Crab Claws for…

by Jan Walsh, Photography by Beau Gustafson

Read more online: Vino is an intimate and artistic spot for a Mediterranean dinner and wine.

Vino News

Vino adding a new oyster bar

Vino is currently constructing a new art lounge featuring a cocktail and oyster bar. Construction began in April and is slated to be completed by the end of this summer.

Currently an art gallery by day, Gallery 1930, located adjacent to the English Village restaurant, will transform into the Gallery Bar in the evening for Vino. Menu items will include a variety of oysters from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans served raw or grilled, a fried oyster salad and a classic shrimp cocktail. A full-service bar and large selection of Grower Champagne will be served.

Birmingham-based interior designer Richard Tubb and his design assistant Gary Olivieri are working on making the new bar area cohesive with the existing dining space. Architect designer Cherri Pitts of Studio C Architecture and Interior is also part of the team. New outdoor rattan and teak wicker seating will be added for use both indoors and outdoors. Glass walls surrounding the space will create a seamless flow from the inside of the gallery to the gardens and patio area.

“I want it to be a place where you don’t know if you are on the inside or the outside,” Tubb said. “The clean décor and architecture will force you to focus on the beautiful food and artwork and appeals to both the traditional and contemporary tastes. These businesses are great assets to English Village, and I have loved working with the owners on the expansion.”

Vino will continue to serve patrons on its existing patio through the renovations.

“We are thrilled to be expanding and to now offer a cocktail and oyster bar in English Village,” said Al Rabiee, owner of Vino. “Our diners will love our larger space and added option for pre-dinner drinks and appetizers.”