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17 Tuscaloosa Restaurants You Should Check Out

Where to eat near Tuscaloosa when you’re craving something delicious.

Tuscaloosa, AL, is well-known for being the home of the University of Alabama and the Crimson Tide football team. What this beautiful southern city should also be known for is great food!

Having visited many places, I decided to put together a list of where to eat in Tuscaloosa. I have traveled to the city a lot, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone, but I’m always searching for good food near me, no matter where I’m at. 

three friends enjoying food and wine at a restaurant in Tuscaloosa

If you find yourself near the University, you’ll find that there are so many restaurants it can feel overwhelming! Southern comfort food and barbecue are popular here, but there are other choices as well.

There’s a lot of variety on this list, as I like to try a little of everything. The best Tuscaloosa restaurants not only have good food but that southern hospitality staple as well. 

Check out our list of the best restaurants in Tuscaloosa, AL!

Best Restaurants in Tuscaloosa

  1. Dreamland BBQ
  2. Five Bar
  3. Dillard’s Chophouse
  4. Evangeline’s
  5. Archibald & Woodrow’s
  6. Avenue Pub
  7. Chuck’s Fish
  8. Cypress Inn Restaurant
  9. DePalma’s Italian Cafe
  10. Glory Bound Gyro & Co.
  11. Half Shell Oyster House
  12. Jim ‘N Nick’s
  13. Mugshots Grill & Bar
  14. Nick’s Original Filet House
  15. Rama Jama’s
  16. River
  17. Antojitos Izacalli – Authentic Mexican Restaurant

Dreamland BBQ

5535 15th Ave E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
Phone: (205) 758-8135
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If you want to know where to eat in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and your heart is set on the barbecue, go to Jerusalem Heights and stop in at Dreamland BBQ! The first thing I noticed about the food was the meaty portions of supremely-flavored ribs that they serve.

The way the meat pulled from the bone left a lasting impression on my friends and me as well. The vibes were jovial, and the service was impeccable.

If a good meal is what you’re looking for, try Dreamland’s full slab of ribs, hearty Mac n cheese, and rich baked beans. 

If you have a sweet tooth, their banana pudding is unanimously declared the best in town by the locals!


Five Bar

2324 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 345-6089
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On my visit to Five Bar, I had a beautiful experience. The first thing I noticed is the fact that Five Bar only serves five dinners, five signature cocktails, and five wines. 

You’d think such a limited variety would be problematic; it turns out, it’s not! Especially when all the components of the dishes are perfectly cooked and delicious.

Five Bar has happy hour daily, brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and ladies’ night every Thursday. If you have trouble finding Five Bar, remember it’s near the Bama Theatre.

I tried the shrimp and grits during my visit, and it was delicious. I also recommend the Paneed Chicken and the Swordfish over fettuccine pasta if you go.

The staff is both professional and friendly, so you are assured a good time here.


Dillard’s Chophouse

2330 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 614-8782
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Dillard’s Chophouse has a welcoming and casual ambiance. Although the overall temperature was business casual, this fact doesn’t make this place any less relaxing.

I went with friends, and we loved how the staff engaged with us. Apart from the staff, there was an elegance and sophistication about the way they prepared something as ordinary as a steak; this was true with the seafood dishes as well!

The filet mignon was divine, along with the cheesecake. I recommend you try their oysters on the half shell and fried green tomatoes, which we saw get ordered quite a bit.


Evangeline’s

1653 Mcfarland Blvd N, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
Phone: (205) 752-0830
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Evangeline’s exudes elegance and romanticism. This restaurant serves new American cuisine with a wide selection of wine. Moreover, the dining room is swanky and upscale, which simply adds to the overall opulent feel of the restaurant. 

It’s near the Tuscaloosa Galleria shopping mall, making it a great place to dine after hitting the stores.

If you’re at a loss for what you want to try Evangeline’s, try their fish, of any kind, because all of it was delicious. The portions are generous, and the staff is courteous and friendly. The Creme Brulee was delightful, and you can’t go wrong with any of the wine choices. 


Archibald & Woodrow’s

4215 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
Phone: (205) 331-4858
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I can truly see why USA Today chose Archibald & Woodrow’s as having some of America’s tastiest Ribs. It’s one of the best Tuscaloosa restaurants. 

It was originally a mom-and-pop store, and it eventually transformed into a barbecue joint that’s now a mainstay in Tuscaloosa!

Archibald & Woodrow’s is near the IMAX movie theater; great dinner and a movie date night ideas for sure.

The owners use hickory wood to give their critically-acclaimed barbecue a rich flavor. The catfish and black-eyed peas were executed very well also. 

They have a nice kid’s menu, casual decor, and ambiance, and it’s just a nice restaurant to try. The staff is helpful and accomodating for small and large parties alike. 


Avenue Pub

405 23rd Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 759-4900
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Avenue Pub can be found not too far from the Children’s Hands-on Museum. The Pub has character! 

The atmosphere is so warm and inviting, which can be needed when you’re on vacation looking for a place to unwind from a busy day of traveling and sightseeing. 

They have a nice variety of cocktails, and they serve locally made beers. They also feature live music on Mondays and Thursdays, and they serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The steak sandwich was such a delight to eat, and it was very flavorful. You should try the jalapeno cheese dip and their salmon if you get a chance to dine there!


Chuck’s Fish

508 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 248-9370
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Chuck’s Fish surprisingly serves more than delicious fish. It was a delight upon our arrival to see such an eclectic menu with so many delicious dishes. 

We found Chuck’s Fish bar right next to the University of Alabama and Bama Theater, conveniently placed!

Happy hour is every day from 5-6, and they host ladies’ night every Tuesday, which features half-off on select drinks. They also offer $2 sushi for every guest.

We noticed that the staff was fantastic, which made the experience that much better. 

The handmade stone oven-baked pizza was a standout along with the stuffed shrimp, tuna poke, and crunchy tuna sushi. You don’t regret going to Chuck’s. 


Cypress Inn Restaurant

601 Rice Mine Rd N, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
Phone: 123-456-7890
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The atmosphere of the Cypress Inn Restaurant is nothing but friendly and inviting. This establishment is upscale and versatile; it can accommodate anything from a date to a family dinner or a graduation party.

The staff was particularly attentive while not being overbearing at the same time. I liked the Cypress Inn Smoked Chicken, Crab Claws, Spinach Dip, and the Mississippi mud pie.

This place is a foodie’s dream; plenty of variety, nice decor, tasty drinks, and an overall excellent experience that keeps you coming back. Don’t hesitate to visit the Cypress Inn if you’re in town. 


DePalma’s Italian Cafe

2300 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 759-1879
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DePalma’s Italian Cafe serves customers on a first-come, first-served basis, which means reservations are not accepted here.

Upon arrival, there may be a bit of a crowd, which is probably indicative of the fact that the food is good. The wait times can be kind of long, so do try and get there early.

My personal experience was phenomenal. 

The servers were very nice, and my food was wonderful. I had the stuffed mushroom caps and the Tiramisu. Authentic Italian cuisine with an American twist sums up DePalma’s, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go there again. 


Glory Bound Gyro & Co.

1301 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 349-0505
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Glory Blind Gyro & Co. has fun-filled college vibes. This restaurant is everything you want in authentic Greek cuisine. It’s unique, and it seemed to emphasize good service as well as tasty food.

There are a lot of things to get into nearby, likely because this restaurant is so close to University of Alabama’s campus, which is a bonus.

The hummus and pita bread was fresh, as were all of the ingredients. The Baklava I had for dessert was heavenly. 

I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to kick back and enjoy quality Greek fare at excellent prices. 


Half Shell Oyster House

2325 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 860-7001
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Where to start? The atmosphere at The Half-Shell Oyster House unexpectedly gives off back-in-the-day French Quarter-style vibes. 

They have exposed brick walls, antique doors, stained glass windows, and Jazz music playing softly in the background; it was quite the experience! 

They have hands-down the best seafood gumbo I’ve had in a while. 

The servers were really friendly, and you could tell they take that southern hospitality thing to heart! My friends had crab cakes and seafood stuffed portabellas. All of their dishes were delicious, and the ingredients were fresh.

They also had plaques all over the walls that showcased award after award for the best seafood, best restaurant, best oysters, and more between 2018-2021.

10/10 would return next time I’m in town, and if you need recommendations on where to eat in Tuscaloosa, give them a shot!


Jim ‘N Nick’s

305 21st Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 469-2060
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Jim ‘N Nick’s is well-known throughout Tuscaloosa, it’s right over by the Queen City Park, and they have several options for dining. 

When I took a visit to this restaurant, I couldn’t dine in, so I chose the super convenient drive-thru option! 

The ambiance is really laid-back, and they’re known for their brisket for a reason. Their meats are smoked extremely well and always packed with flavor.

My favorite dishes were the loaded Mac and Cheese, the Brisket Chilli Cheese Fries, and the Banana Pudding for dessert. 

You can also sit outdoors if you’d like. Many locals have deemed it the best Bbq in Alabama, and I can’t say it’s not debatable! Stop by if you’re ever near the University, the service is also excellent, and servers are attentive. 


Mugshots Grill & Bar

511 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 391-0572
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Over by the Bryant-Denny Stadium, Mugshots Grill & Bar consistently satisfies. It’s an upbeat joint that is the perfect place for game day celebrations or just to hang out with friends. 

I loved their Southwest egg rolls, but the best part of going there was the Bacon Guacamole burger. They have like a Hawaiian twist going on, and they’re always willing to make suggestions if you don’t know what to get. 

The portion sizes are huge, especially the burgers, and you have a pretty extensive beer list to choose from as well. I highly recommend visiting Mugshots if you’re in the area!


Nick’s Original Filet House

4018 Culver Rd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 758-9316
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If you’re on the fence about where to get food in Tuscaloosa, Nick’s Original Filet House can be a go-to option. 

They have been around for quite some time in Tuscaloosa, and Nick’s seems to be a staple in the community. I happened upon the restaurant one day while near Palmore Park, and I’m glad I did. 

They have a signature drink, the Nicodemus, which was so good I ordered two. It’s a quaint eatery that takes pride in high quality. Everyone’s friendly, you get cheesy biscuits while you’re waiting for your food, and the menu has a nice variety. 

I had a T-Bone, but it was cooled to perfection, and the server was attentive in making sure that everything was prepared how I wanted. Much appreciated! You won’t regret it if you drop by for lunch. 


Rama Jama’s

1000 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 737-7524
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If you’re looking for college town vibes, an all-day breakfast, and a sports-centric food spot, Rana Jama’s is the place to go. The name is perfect because they do have a festive environment that pulls you in. 

They even sell souvenirs like t-shirts and mugs, which are a nice touch. The National Championship BLT burger was so juicy and cooked perfectly. It was also huge!

The Rama Jama was like a mini sports museum with all kinds of Alabama sport’s team’s history sprinkled around on the walls, which was cool. Overall, I highly recommend it based on the exceptional service and tasty appetizers alone. 


River

1650 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 632-3801
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The River restaurant sits on the Black Warrior River (Riverwalk), and it’s kind of urban-chic but still casual and welcoming. 

The dining room area is spacious, and the servers were more than hospitable when I arrived. They have specials throughout the week, and the brunch is superb. My favorite was the shrimp n grits and the biscuits with gravy. The mimosas are out of this world as well. 

Friendly service, happy hour, and nice decor make this restaurant stand out in the area. The view just puts it over the top. You are guaranteed a good time at The River. It’s also perfect for date night!


Antojitos Izacalli – Authentic Mexican Restaurant

623 Hargrove Rd E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: (205) 331-4226
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I went to Antojitos purely based on other reviews. And I’m glad I did! 

The tacos are phenomenal; the meat was flavorful, and the sauces were fresh and pungent. It has a modest kind of setup, but it goes well with the laid-back vibes. 

The servers make sure you feel welcome, and they are knowledgeable about the menu. The drinks list was pretty good as well. My favorite thing about the restaurant was the tostadas for lunch. 

It’s a low-key place, but the food stands out, and you can’t go wrong with any of the dips or appetizers. I recommend trying it if you want to switch things up down south in T-Town. 


Final Thoughts

I did my best to mix it up and try to provide you with a little bit of everything as far as where to get food in Tuscaloosa. Many of these restaurants are located near the University of Alabama because that’s where all the action takes place!

Is there anything I missed? Please comment below and let me know so I can take a look!

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is from Sanibel Island, Florida, and a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.