The Best Potatoes in Birmingham

Potatoes in Birmingham
Photo by YelenaYemchuk

Potatoes, one of America’s staple vegetables, are a humble food. They are not fussy, they do not ask for attention, they do not beg to be noticed. Baked, roasted, broiled, browned, glazed, mashed, or fried they adorn our plates as a side dish. They are oftentimes merely an afterthought to the main course. (Unless you are 35 weeks pregnant and the fried version of this food is the only food you crave, at all hours of the day.)

This past winter my husband and I ordered the modest spud as a side dish, never anticipating the deliciousness we encountered. Afterwards we couldn’t stop talking about our delightful surprise. 

Our experience inspired us to set out on a culinary adventure to find the best potatoes in Birmingham. Without further ado, here are our favorites!


My husband and I sit side-by-side at one of the best restaurants in town, donning our holiday best. My extended family in Tuscaloosa has made the one hour drive for our annual Holiday Meal. As a new Alabamian (and foodie), I am excited to be at a James Beard award winning chef’s restaurant, Bottega. The meal passes quickly with savory bites, balanced cocktails, and dazzling conversation. 

However, the moment my husband and I share a bite of the lightly fried potato side dish, the room freezes. Our eyes meet and widen. The potato’s outside is perfectly crunchy and seasoned while the inside is light as a pillow. We exclaim, “I’ve never had a potato this good!” We spend the next few months discussing the possible technique to recreate this masterpiece.

About the Restaurant: Bottega is one of Frank Stitt’s Birmingham gems and is “inspired by the wine bars and trattorias of Italy–from Venice to Palermo…Italy inspires the cuisine, carefully crafted by linking ingredients from the American South with artisanal producers from the Italian countryside.” The renovated dining room inspires you to dress up. The servers anticipate your needs and are knowledgeable on every single dish. Prepare to say yes to entrees you hadn’t considered and to walk away feeling satisfied and indulged.

The Dish: The “crispy crushed potatoes, calabrian chili aïoli” side dish is available in the Dining Room only. There’s a version available in the Cafe (no reservation required), but I haven’t tried it yet. (But if you do, please let me know how it is!)

Reservations: You’ll need to snag reservations on Resy about four weeks in advance.

Ovenbird Restaurant

My husband and I walk through an inviting patio strung with twinkling lights to reach the front door. My trendy dress, with a cutout in the back, swishes around my ankles. As we are escorted to our table in the corner, I notice a wood fire behind the bar and dozens of small plates on other tables. It feels as though I am walking into a restaurant in Portugal. 

My husband and I spend the evening with new friends around the table. Putting in our order requires serious discussion and strategy. As soon as we see the “roasted potatoes with fresno chili cream and queso fresco”, we know we have to try it. Our waiter makes other recommendations and writes down our expansive order with a smile. Our table is quickly full of interesting cocktails and small plates: seafood, charred veggies, cheese, marinated steak, and more. 

As we wait in anticipation for our potato plate to arrive, my husband and I remember our spud experience at Bottega. Would this measure up? The waiter places the steaming plate of potatoes in front of us.The potatoes are smaller in size and perfectly crisped. There is some spice, but the cream and queso fresco provide the perfect cooling effect. 

We finish the plate, look at one another, smile, and declare another excellent potato dish! 

About the Restaurant: Ovenbird, owned by Chris and Idie Hastings, is nestled in Pepper Place. The menu “focuses on the amazing seasonal southern ingredients we know and love that takes inspiration from the live-fire traditions of Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, Argentina and, of course, the American South.” 

The Dish: “Roasted potatoes with fresno chili cream and queso fresco”

Reservations: Reservations are available on Resy.

Cafe Dupont

Out of town family visitors call for a special occasion at a Birmingham classic restaurant. I select a favorite timeless dress and prepare to imagine life in Paris in another time: white tablecloths with candles, entrees served on pottery specifically created for this restaurant, waiters in button downs and aprons, and service with a smile. 

We are seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant and watch the restaurant come alive. Our order requires some discussion but mostly swift decisions are made, and we agree to split everything family style. As soon as I spot “truffled creamed potatoes” as a side for the chicken dish, I know we must order it.

The Buttermilk-Fried Joyce Farms Chicken Breast entree arrives next to a perfectly creamed potato side. I dig my fork in, and the velvet texture slides down my tongue, the earthy truffle a perfect aftertaste. 

We’ve found it– more amazing potatoes!

About the Restaurant: Café Dupont, Chris Dupont’s restaurant, is located in Birmingham’s historic North End in a building from the 1870s. It is modeled after a classic bistro. Its menu, “which changes daily, reflects a fresh perspective on regional ingredients. Classic cooking styles paired with locally grown ingredients create contemporary flavors and signature dishes…Café Dupont is a strong supporter of the ‘slow food’ movement, which seeks to encourage the enjoyment of regional produce and traditional foods, which are often grown organically.”

The Dish: “Truffled creamed potatoes”

Reservations: Reservations are available on Resy.

Reader, join us on our culinary adventure with the potato. Where should we go next?


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