My wife and I live in Decatur, but we both work in Huntsville. We go to church in Huntsville, we shop in Huntsville, we go to movies in Huntsville. We practically live in Huntsville, with the exception of owning a house and sleeping in Huntsville. We're working on that part, but I digress...
One other thing we do in Huntsville quite a bit is eat. Yes, we both like to eat, and so do our children. We have eaten at many places in Huntsville so I figured making a list of the best places we've eaten, or the best dishes we've eaten, wouldn't be too hard. Then my cohorts and I agreed that the places on the list should be local to Huntsville or at least not a franchise or a chain. So that threw out my favorite fast food place, Chick-fil-a. (It's the only fast food place I like!) I put on my thinking cap (and I asked my wife), and here's my list of the best places to dine in Huntsville. They are categorized by type of food, but in no particular order.
Bandito Burrito - Grande Burrito with Rice and Beans
I dare you to finish it. I've gone in starving and not been able to eat it all. The original location on Governor's Drive may not look as nice as their Madison location, but it has character. And sometimes character just makes the food taste a little bit better. When you order a side of cheese dip, they bring it in a taco shell bowl. Eat the dip, then eat the bowl! Another good thing: the grande burrito with rice and beans will only set you back about $6.
Phil Sandoval's - chips and salsa
The Year of Alabama Food webite lists Rosie's as the place to go for Mexican food, but I prefer Phil Sandoval's, or Phil's for short. Their chips and salsa are fantastic. I could make a meal out of just the chips and salsa. The chips are thinner than most tortilla chips, but they still hold salsa well. Even though their service is fast, I tend to fill up on chips and salsa before my entree arrives. For lunch I'll often order a chicken soft taco and a side of rice, and it only sets me back about $5. I never leave hungry. Actually, I usually have to work to make room for the free soft-serve ice cream they provide at the end of my meal.
Tommy's Pizza - Mediterranean Pizza
Tommy's doesn't just make pizza, they make pizza pies. Their New York style pizza is fresh and different from every other pizza place in Huntsville. The large slices of thin crust pizza ensure you get plenty of toppings and that you can actually taste the toppings and not just the dough. Their original location at Bridge Street Towne Centre is a little bit funky and very fun. You can sit outdoors and overlook the carousel and the lake, or you can sit inside and enjoy a timeline about the history of pizza and photographs by local photographers. It's very kid-friendly, too!
Connor's Steakhouse - Boursin Filet (filet topped with boursin cheese and tobacco onions)
I'm going to make a confession. I haven't eaten here...yet. My wife and I are celebrating Valentine's Day there tomorrow. Maybe I shouldn't put it on the list since I haven't eaten here, but I'm basing its inclusion on what I've heard from everyone who has eaten there. Everyone says it's the best steak in Huntsville, and everyone says to get the Boursin Filet and the cheese grits. We have tried to eat there before only to be turned away by a two hour wait for a table. This time, I made reservations (highly recommended), and tomorrow I will finally have a chance to taste the steak everyone seems to love.
Ol' Heidelburg - bread and desserts
This is the only place I've had German food in Huntsville. Actually, it's the only place I've ever had German food unless you count the ice cream I at when I spent a few hours in Germany. Ol' Heidelburg does have some of the best bread I've ever eaten. They bring a basket to the table when you sit down, and I could easily eat a basket by myself. The bread is always warm when they bring it out. I like mine with some butter and a bit of their mustard. As for the desserts, I've heard they are homemade, and I wouldn't doubt it. They are absolutely fantastic! A warning: a lot of the food is very rich and can sit heavy since it's fried and smothered in sauces.
Phuket - Thai Coconut Soup
There are several local Thai restaurants, but I love the coconut soup at Phuket. It has just enough spice to warm your palette, but it's sweet enough that you can't stop eating it. The entrees are good, too, but not noticeably better than other local Thai places.
Beauregard's - Habanero wings
Sure, Beauregard's seems to make all of the Huntsville's best lists, and for good reason. I know a guy from the DC area who makes it a point to eat here every time he visits, and he'll buy their hot sauce to take home. The habanero wings are hot, but they also have flavor. The wings are crisp and delicious. A word of caution: the habanero wings WILL make you sweat,. I think they might have given me a little chemical burn on my lips.
Blue Plate Cafe
I've only eaten here one time (breakfast), but when I came home that day I told my wife that I had to take her to try it. It's just good food. Several people mentioned Blue Plate to me when I told them about this list, so I know I'm not the only one who believes you should eat here.
To see what my friends listed, check out their blogs:
As of right now, this is my list of places I wouldn't want to miss if I were looking for local fare in Huntsville. I know I haven't eaten at every local place, so I've probably overlooked some places. If you know of a place you think should be on the list, let me know so I can check it out!