An inside look at the NEW menu items at Bottega Cafe + the status of Highlands Bar & Grill

Frank and Pardis Stitt in front of Bottega Cafe
Pardis and Frank Stitt are ready to welcome you back into Bottega Café. (Bham Now)

Foodies, rejoice—local favorite Bottega Café has officially reopened. We stopped for a delish lunch of their new spring menu items and to get the scoop on the status of Highlands Bar & Grill. Keep reading for all the details you need to know.

The Café is back!

Bottega Favorita
The Cafe is Back! (Bham Now)

It’s the news you’ve been waiting for, and I don’t blame you. Bottega Café officially reopened its doors two weeks ago with a menu full of new spring items. We caught up with the beloved chef behind a family of favorite restaurants, Frank Stitt, to learn about the opening.

“It’s a really bustling and exciting place again, and people have this excitement of returning to one of their favorite places where the food is great, the drink is great and the music is great. It’s been a blast to have the café back.”

Frank Stitt, Chef + Co-Owner, Bottega Café

Reservations are not taken at the Café.

What you came here for—the NEW menu items

Starters at Bottega Cafe
Fresh focaccia and olives to start the meal. (Bham Now)

Of course, you’re probably wondering about the new menu items that Bottega Café is introducing. We tried a few of their new offerings, and I’m here to tell you: you can’t go wrong with anything. Pro tip: any trip to Bottega should start with their focaccia and olive oil, the perfect combination with light and spongy bread that soaks up that delicious oil.

“We’re at the cusp of springtime, so we’re doing a risotto with crawfish, shrimp, sweetpeas and tender herbs. We’re doing a lot of things with bulb onions and we brought back this roasted head-on shrimp with chili and pickled peppers.”

Frank Stitt, Chef + Co-Owner, Bottega Café

Here’s a look at a few new appetizers on the menu:

  • Deviled eggs + tapenade
  • Crostini with burrata, prosciutto di parma + arugula
  • Roasted shrimp with calabrian chili butter, garlic, lemon + parsley

If you asked me to choose a favorite, I truly couldn’t. The deviled eggs were the perfect light appetizer to start the meal, but I could order the crostini to enjoy as a meal on its own.

Shrimp and crawfish risotto
The shrimp & crawfish risotto. (Bham Now)

Next up: entrees.

  • Meatball piadine with mozzarella, marinara, olives, pepperonicini + arugula on a bread made of pizza dough
  • Shrimp risotto with sugar snap peas, bulb onion + mint
  • Roasted salmon with orzo, sweet peppers, bulb onion, chickpeas + a caper aioli

One word of advice when you’re getting ready to order: find a few friends and split your menu items amongst the table. That way, you’ll get a chance to try everything Bottega has to offer.

Of course, we finished with desserts. We got two perfectly decadent options: the lemon semifreddo, a light frozen mousse with a delicate vanilla and lemon flavor, and the burnt honey cake, a 10-layer crepe cake I’ve been dreaming about since I first tried it last year.

An update on Highlands Bar & Grill

We’re incredibly excited that Bottega Café is open again, but we also wanted to know the status of Highlands Bar & Grill, the first restaurant that Frank Stitt opened in Birmingham in 1982.

“We like to think within the next few months, we’ll have Highlands open even though we’ll probably just start with both sides of the bar being open at Highlands. That’s exciting and on the horizon.”

Frank Stitt, Chef + Co-Owner, Bottega Café

Throughout the pandemic, Chez Fonfon has remained open, in part thanks to the restaurant’s devoted fans as well as the staff’s willingness to introduce changes.

“A lot of our regulars didn’t mind having their jackets and sweaters and blankets on to sit outside on the patio. The back of Fonfon is such a beautiful spot, and we limited spacing and the tables inside. Fonfon is one of those places where that room is full of energy. You smile when you go in Fonfon, and we’re excited to have that energy back and guests dining at the bar again.”

Frank Stitt, Chef + Co-Owner, Bottega Café

It’s nice to have you in Birmingham, Bottega!

BottegaCafe 20220315 120826 1 An inside look at the NEW menu items at Bottega Cafe + the status of Highlands Bar & Grill
James with cobb salad, roasted heritage turkey, bibb & radicchio, avocado, pancetta, gorgonzola – Bottega Favorita (Bham Now)

There’s something especially exciting about businesses that have a hand in putting Birmingham on the map, and Bottega Café is certainly one of them.

“Some people have been with us for years and share our philosophy that is about respect, knowledge, care and a genuine welcome. I hope that people feel like this is a special place for them.”

Frank Stitt, Chef + Co-Owner, Bottega Café

What’s next for Bottega and the Stitt family of restaurants? Aside from keeping an eye out for the official reopening of Highlands Bar & Grill, we’re going to stay tuned to Big Spoon Creamery. Stitt told us that they’re partnering with Big Spoon to create a specialty ice cream for Bottega Café!

Will YOU be checking out the new menu at Bottega? Tag @BhamNow in your foodie photos!

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Cecilia Wood
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