There’s no shortage of renowned oyster establishments in the South. But tripsmarter.com pegged Wintzell’s Oyster House as its No. 1 destination for the specialty.
“Fried, stewed, or nude”: the Oysters are served every way imaginable at Wintzell’s, where oysters are, unsurprisingly, the trademark dish. And they’ve been the trademark dish since the eatery’s flagship location opened in 1938. Regional seafood favorites also dominate the menu, from low-country boils to Cajun seafood fettuccine and bacon-wrapped shrimp.
Though the original location became something of a landmark in historic Mobile, the restaurant has since expanded to multiple locations perfect for catching oysters in the nude, served Rockefeller style, or wearing their favorite pajama pants. Still, each eatery retains the original’s decorative signature: several dozen whimsical signs on the walls. The website even features some of their slogans, including: “Never kick a man when he is down—he may get up.”
In 1890, the Cotaco Opera House hosted many of the country’s top, touring song-and-dance acts. Through the golden age of vaudeville and during its brief resurgence as a teen fad in 1978, the opera house reverberated with rollicking live performances.
Today, it's a riot of flavors that fills the brick building with guests. In 1996, Meg and Scott Curry adopted the historical venue with a mission to continue its spirit of creativity. The couple works together to dream up gala-worthy catered dinners and a lunch menu packed with fresh meat and produce. As head chef, Scott perfects the dishes, calling upon a lifetime of classic French culinary training and experience in kitchens throughout the United States, including Decatur Country Club and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Meanwhile, Meg draws on her love of travel to inform globally inspired dishes such as a muffaletta sandwich with olive relish and spring-roll salad with ginger vinaigrette.
Vittone’s slings dough by the disk and noodles by the nest to Decatur and Huntsville-area residents, serenading Alabamian taste buds with traditional Italian fare. Hone dairy origami skills with a gooey cheese calzone ($4.58) or exact ocular revenge on the moon with a lunar eye-hitting pizza pie, such as the Benzina, mounded with meaty pepperoni, italian sausage, bacon, ham, hamburger, and shredded cheeses ($8.03 for a small or $17.22 for a large). The eternally changing dessert menu silences the shrieks of banshee sweet teeth, and garlic breadsticks ($2.30) provide the perfect weaponry for pretend sword fights.
Zen Beri's nonfat, low-fat, and no-sugar-added frozen yogurt—in flavors such as cheesecake, dark chocolate, and blueberry tart—brims with certified live active cultures. Its self-serve machines bestow gobs of these sweet treats, as well as dairy-free sorbets, on bowls. Guests can then heap on more than 50 toppings, such as candies, fruits, and nuts, to customize their dessert creations. Staff members also skillfully craft tempting sundaes, smoothies, and coffee drinks from Zen Beri's signature frozen-treats menu. They can also tightly pack quarts of take-home treats so that guests can indulge their sweet tooths during Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory marathons.
Anchored by a menu of spicy-salmon rolls, chicken-lettuce wraps, and ginger lobster, Fulin’s Asian Cuisine won Toast of Music City's Best Chinese award three years in a row. This culinary excellence extends to all eight locations throughout Tennessee and Alabama, where chefs craft eclectic Asian fare that reflects the standards of the flagship restaurant. Additionally, talented mixologists shake up martinis or margaritas at each eatery, and diners can freely access the WiFi in order to sip a cocktail and enjoy a sizzling teriyaki rib eye with their Skype date.