Remember when Zagat named Birmingham one of the ‘hottest food cities’ in the US’? We’re still rocking the title.

Back in December Zagat named the Magic City as one of the nation’s top new culinary spots, ranking right up there with San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Since we were fortunate enough to nab this distinctive recognition from the world’s most exhaustive restaurant rating’s guide, Birmingham has added even more places to eat, drink and be merry in 2017

The Cuban sandwich from Cosecha Urban Kitchen. Via Cosecha Urban Kitchen.

As a chef’s wife, part-time recipe developer and chronic restaurant gal, I’m thrilled at all the dining options Birmingham has to offer. 2017 is tasting good, ya’ll. Here are my top-five new additions to our ever-growing food scene.

While my list of up-and-comers may differ from yours, (the more, the merrier, in my humble opinion) here are the ones hitting the spot for me:

Ichicoro Imoto Via Facebook
  1. The Pizitz Food Hall: 1821 Second Ave. North, Birmingham
    Have you been yet? I’ve probably seen you there, among the crowds eating their way through choices upon choices of yumminess. The Pizitz Food Hall seems to be the newest talk of the town and for good reason. Lots of eating options all in one place, with a large bar called The Louis right in the middle. Grab yourself a craft cocktail, beer or wine if you’d like a libation to go with your world-class dining options. As a ramen aficiando, I’m in love with Ichicoro Imoto.

    Via Whistling Table

  2. Whistling Table: 3916 Clairmont Ave., Birmingham
    This fast-casual concept comes from Mac Russell, the chef and co-founder of the Shindigs catering company and popular food truck. The restaurant will be located in the former V. Richards space in Forest Park and is rumored to be an extension of Shindigs, featuring a variety of farm-to-table dishes. No target opening date as of yet, but I can’t wait!
  3. Vinnie Baggs: 1006 Oxmoor Road, Homewood
    You had me at beef brisket with potato latkes. This Chicago-style spot offers lunch and dinner, with a family-friendly menu. There’s a bar, too, if you’re in the mood for a cold one with your meal. The concept comes from Birmingham restaurateur Tim Vakakes from PT’s Sports Grill. They’re bringing in bread from Chicago for their grinders, like Greek souvlaki and Italian beef.
  4. Cosecha Urban Kitchen: 1701 First Ave. South, Birmingham
    A Latin spot located in the LIV Parkside development right by Regions Field fits right in with the UAB crowd. It’s perfect for a quick bite to eat after playing soccer with friends at Railroad Park, which is how my husband and I stumbled upon it. We tried the tasty Cuban sandwich, and it was huge. The staff was super friendly, and that’s a plus in my book.

    Shu Shop via Facebook

  5. Shu Shop: 1818 3rd Avenue North, in the historic Graves Building
    I’ve been eagerly awaiting this “home-grown izakaya and ramen shop” that’s set to open sometime this month. I mean, really, we cannot have too much ramen, ya’ll. I hope they include more of that vegan gyoza I’ve been hearing about from their pop-dinner fans.

Hope to see you out and about and stuffing your faces in Birmingham, my fellow food lovers. You know that’s what I’ll be doing, as celebrating local bites is my favorite pastime.