When you think of Huntsville, Alabama, do upscale eats and creative restaurants come to mind? On my first visit, I was not prepared to be blown away by the culinary scene, but boy, was I ever. There are so many great restaurants in Huntsville, AL, that you will have a hard time choosing where to go and what to order, so I’ll lend you a helping hand. Here are the places I visited and what I had, plus a few other suggestions—happy eating in Rocket City.
Restaurants (In No Specific Order)
- 1. Po Boy Factory
- 2. Big Spring Cafe
- 3. Phil Sandoval’s Mexican Restaurant
- 4. Sam and Greg’s Galeteria and Pizzeria
- 5. Ale’s Kitchen
- 6. Phat Sammy’s
- 7. Honest Coffee Roasters
- 8. Another Broken Egg Cafe
- 9. Pane E Vino Pizzeria
- 10. Blue Plate Cafe
- 11. Piper and Leaf
- 12. La Finka Mexican Restaurant & Grill
1. Po Boy Factory
Huntsville’s Po Boy Factory is where you’ll find all your Louisiana favorites, even down to the Gambino bread. The festive eatery serves po’boys, red beans and rice, gumbo, and muffuletta, just to name a few. Start your dining experience with the Fried Pickles basket, and don’t miss the spicy sauce, super zesty, and with a bit of kick. I had a Shrimp Po’Boy for dinner with all the traditional fixings, plus slaw as my side dish. I think the secret ingredient in the slaw, which was so freaking good, was horseradish. I’m still dreaming about those pickles.
2. Big Spring Cafe
Huntsville’s oldest restaurant, Big Spring Cafe, also dubbed the home of the Greasy Burger, is a must for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I had to try both a cheeseburger and chili dog, which was fine because the price for both was only a little over $5. They were both outstanding, and you can watch the cook hand-patty out every burger that goes on the grill. My daughter had Chicken Tenders and fries, which were really good and came with a little boat of ketchup or dipping sauce. It also came with a side salad, just lettuce and super fresh tomatoes, which hit the spot. Our service was perfection.
3. Phil Sandoval’s Mexican Restaurant
After reading the Mexican restaurant menus for Huntsville, we chose to eat at Phil Sandoval’s Mexican Restaurant, known for sharing the family recipes. From the minute we walked in the door, we were made to feel special and appreciated. Dinner started with Queso Blanco, a must when eating at a Mexican restaurant. My daughter and I had a Chicken Quesadilla and Pollo Con Rajas, a specialty dish that was an excellent choice for dinner. My pan-fried chicken breast was topped with a three-pepper cream sauce and melted Chihuahua cheese. Yummy!
Let me mention that Sandoval’s takes the COVID safety measures to the max. The restaurant surpassed all others that I visited in Huntsville for cleanliness, temp checks, and social distancing, even when that meant customers had to wait a few minutes for a table. Impressive.
4. Sam and Greg’s Galeteria and Pizzeria
Whimsical, kitschy, and fun is the best ways to describe Sam and Greg’s, in an 1896 historic building on downtown’s Southside Square. You can choose from deluxe pizzas (gluten-free crust available), sandwiches, local brews, plus the gelato selection will curl your toes. Even a basic cheese-only pizza from Sam and Greg’s is memorable, which is what we ordered. Upstairs is an alien-themed space, while downstairs (first floor) is dedicated to art and whimsy. The outdoor patio is darling.
5. Ale’s Kitchen
Straight to Ale’s restaurant endeavor, Ale’s Kitchen takes bar food to another level. Choose between burgers, salads, pizza, and hearty appetizers as you enjoy the Campus No. 805 space to its fullest. The Montreal Poutine is so yummy, with big fat hand-cut fries, Wisconsin cheese curds, brown gravy, and scallions.
I had the Jerk Chicken Tacos with spicy slaw, avocado sauce, and crumbled tortilla strips for my main course. You can choose the side dish. Ale Kitchen’s burgers are served on a Fredbread bun, a local favorite. I can’t imagine you could go wrong with anything on the tempting menu.
6. Phat Sammy’s
Oh my, where to start with Phat Sammy’s. This basement tiki-themed restaurant is bold, bright, and so much fun. You’ll be transported to the tropics, even more when you order a fun drink, alcoholic or not, that comes in cutesy mugs, glasses, and crazy stirrers and straws. Then, the food is top-notch.
One of the most popular menu items is the Phat Fries, drenched in fried chicken, cheese curds, sweet Chinese sausage gravy, and kimchi sauce. Then, the drool-worthy dish is topped with a fried egg. OMG, they are addictive. The Spam Fried Rice bowl is exceptional, with chunks of griddled Spam, English peas, teriyaki sauce, baby corn, and topped with a one-hour egg. This dish gets an A for originality and a thumbs up for deliciousness.
7. Honest Coffee Roasters
I loved Honest Coffee Roasters so much that I visited three times in my four days in town. First of all, they have an exceptional cold brew—full-bodied and rich in flavor. Second, they have bangin’ breakfast sandwiches. I swear by the sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. It takes a few minutes to make, but I promise it is worth your wait. I found Honest Coffee Roasters to have a friendly staff, competitive prices, and to have some of the best coffee around.
8. Another Broken Egg Cafe
The only chain I visited in Huntsville is popular around the south and has an incredible menu. Another Broken Egg Cafe is located in the Twickenham Square neighborhood and offers street parking right in front. The bright and cheery restaurant serves a wide array of breakfast and lunch dishes.
I chose the three Pancake Trio Flight and picked Lemon Blueberry Goat Cheese, Bananas Foster, and Ipanema Estate pancakes from the list of six choices. My favorite was the Ipanema coffee-infused one, with sliced strawberries, caramel sauce, and Irish whipped cream. The Pancake Trio also came with two eggs served how you like and breakfast meat.
9. Pane E Vino Pizzeria
One of Chef James Boyce’s four Huntsville restaurants is Pane E Vino, located on the side of the Huntsville Museum of Art. You place your order at the counter; then, a server helps with the rest. There is indoor and outdoor seating, both in a covered patio space and on the sidewalk.
The restaurant serves pizza, calzones, pasta creations, and a handful of appetizers. I enjoyed the Chicken Carbonara, which had baked cheese over the pasta, peppers, spinach, and red onion, with a garlic Alfredo sauce. It tasted terrific and was filling, but not overly filling. The pasta came with a breadstick, too.
10. Blue Plate Cafe
A beloved institution in Huntsville is the Blue Plate Cafe. I had people from all over the USA telling me I had to go there, so I did, for breakfast. The diner is clean and sparkly and has a sense of place that makes everyone feel welcome. To eat, I had poached eggs, chicken sausage, a biscuit, and sausage gravy: nom, nom—what a perfect plate. My eggs were perfectly cooked, too.
Blue Plate Cafe has Cheesy Browns, a unique recipe for breakfast potatoes, which is terrific. If you are a potato fan, don’t miss it.
11. Piper and Leaf
Piper and Leaf is an artisan tea company in Huntsville, Alabama, with four locations. I visited the Constitution Park location, with free Wifi, indoor and outdoor seating, and many scratch-made pastries to choose from. There are dozens of tea choices. While I typically do not order something I’m familiar with, Piper and Leaf’s staff carefully talked me through several options and explained the ingredients. I had the Briar Patch brew, iced and slightly sweetened, and it was fantastic! I also took a cheese and herb scone with me for later.
12. La Finka Mexican Restaurant & Grill
One of Huntsville’s newest Mexican eateries, La Finka, offers a beautiful setting, tasty food, and attentive service. I can’t say enough for how good the service was everywhere I ate in Huntsville. Start your meal with warm and crispy tortilla chips, served with tasty tomato salsa. Queso Dip is the perfect accompaniment to everybody’s favorite snack, and I never miss ordering it. I tried the fajita chicken taco salad for lunch, which was stuffed full of peppers, onions, and flavorful chicken, along with a dollop of sour cream, pico de Gallo, and guacamole. The shell was a bit puffy and tasted much better than a typical fried corn shell. I rate everything at La Finka delcious.
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