The Best Restaurants in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

These great local restaurants will have you leaving full of Roll Tide pride.

Dreamland Bar-B-Que in Tuscaloosa, AL
Photo: Courtesy of Dreamland Bar-B-Que

Archibald's

This local barbecue joint has been a favorite for more than 50 years. Archibald's in Northport and its sister restaurant Archibald and Woodrow's (located just 10 minutes down the road) are known for one thing, and one thing only--ribs. Pick up a slab to share, or order by the pound. Throw in a side of slaw, baked beans, or potato salad, and you've got a classic barbecue meal you'll be dreaming about for months to come.

Buffalo Phil's Pub and Cafe

Students and alumni love this spot for great hot wings, chicken fingers, and cold beer right on The Strip (The University of Alabama's entertainment district, located next to Bryant-Denny Stadium). It's tough to get a table, but you can order takeout for tailgating or eat while standing. For the ultimate experience, go on a Friday for the $6 30 oz. margarita special, and start your meal with an order of queso bacon fries. They're exactly as delicious as they sound.

Chuck's Fish

In 2005, Charles Morgan III, owner of Harbor Docks in Destin, Florida , had the idea to bring Gulf seafood to his home state of Alabama. He opened his first Chuck's Fish in Tuscaloosa that year and has opened five more across the southeast since. All the seafood at Chuck's is sourced from Harbor Docks' wholesale market, so you know its always fresh. Get the Gulf Fish of the Day (served hickory grilled, bronzed, or sauteed), and don't sleep on the generous sushi menu.

Nick's Original Filet House

Better known to patrons as Nick's in the Sticks, this classic dive is all about good steaks at ridiculously affordable prices. Order the bacon-wrapped fillet, served with a side salad and either a baked potato, fries, or onion rings. Pro tip: Get the blue cheese dressing for your salad (it's the most addicting mashup of ranch and blue cheese you'll ever try) and ask for extra to use on your onion rings and fries, too. Be there at 5 p.m. to get a table in this tiny joint. If you don't quite beat the rush, join the crowds congregating outside with Nick's signature punch, called the Nicodemus, in hand.

The Waysider Restaurant

It's breakfast like grandma used to make. Look for the small red house. It's been around since 1906 and doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. On weekdays, you can get breakfast in the morning and classic meat 'n' three staples at lunch. Weekends are breakfast only. Come craving the made-from-scratch biscuits topped with redeye gravy.

Avenue Pub

Find Southern pub favorites with an upscale spin at this downtown restaurant that's been rocking and rolling since 2014. For instance, the BLT is dressed up with fried green tomatoes, and the fish and chips features cod battered in a local brown ale, hand-cut fries, and homemade tartar. Locals call the Happy Hour Burger ($5 served Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) one of the best in town.

Sitar of India

This beloved Indian eatery has been a staple in the Tuscaloosa restaurant scene for almost two decades. The community congregates over the expansive buffet of made-from-scratch curries, tandoori, and fluffy naan six days a week (closed on Mondays). At dinner, you'll find an ever-growing list of dishes for vegetarians and omnivores alike. Bring a crowd, order plenty to share, and enjoy your flavorful feast.

Rama Jama's

Look for the little white building and bold red umbrellas right outside Bryant-Denny Stadium, and you've arrived at this tried-and-true Tuscaloosa tradition. Inside, every inch of wall space is covered in memorabilia from the University, and the red-and-white checkered floors only add to the Roll Tide spirit. Lunch is all about classic concession food, from burgers and fries to hotdogs smothered in chili. If you're feeling bold, order one of the National Championship specials, menu items that pay tribute to the number of football championships won by the Crimson Tide. The BLT features as many bacon strips as championships (18 and counting).

Forte

New kind on the block, this brasserie in the Alamite hotel has been making waves for its menu of French classics and steakhouse-inspired dishes. Dinner is a no holds barred affair, where diners can order everything from escargot and sweetbreads to coq a vin, steak au poivre, Maine lobster, and octopus cassoulet.

Dreamland Bar-B-Que

Tuscaloosa's got no shortage of great barbecue, but perhaps no spot is as well known or loved as the original Dreamland. Opened by John "Big Daddy" Bishop in 1958, the once-humble smokehouse has expanded into an 11-location franchise that spans Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. One thing that hasn't changed? The legendary ribs, pulled pork, and smoked chicken--always fresh and always served with a plate of white bread to sop up the saucey goodness.

City Cafe

Technically located in the nearby suburb of Northport, we'd be remiss to talk about Tuscaloosa food and leave out City Cafe. This beloved diner has served stick-to-your-ribs country cooking to a diverse crowd since 1931. Daily meat 'n' three options include everything from chicken and dumplings to fried catfish to hamburger steak to beef tips. And of course, there's every Southern side imaginable from mac and cheese to turnip greens to candied yams to fried okra.

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