Imagine a warmly-lit room paneled in walnut, the crisp white tablecloths absorbing the gleam of the copper bar. The aromas filling the room are reminiscent of Italy and the Mediterranean: simple Venetian fish dishes, Tuscan roasts, Moroccan tagines and flavors from throughout the Mediterranean basin. This is Bottega Restaurant. Open in 1988 in the historic Bottega Favorita building on Highland Avenue, this is the second in Frank Stitt's family of restaurants. Frank, a four-time James Beard Award nominee, wanted a place to work with the sun-drenched flavors of the region without imposing on the existing French influence of his first restaurant, Highlands Bar & Grill.Cafe Bottega is patterned after bustling Italian trattorias. An open kitchen and wood-fired brick oven produces pizzas topped with farm eggs, mascarpone prosciutto and and Bottega's roast loin with polenta, tomato chutney and Venetian spinach. Bottega and Cafe Bottega are two of four restaurants owned by Frank Stitts in Birmingham's Southside neighborhood.
Owner of three award-winning Birmingham restaurants — Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant and Café and Chez Fonfon — chef Frank Stitt is credited by many as a leader in Alabama’s rise to national culinary status. A native of Cullman, Ala., Stitt once worked at legendary restaurant Chez Panisse in San Francisco, as well as in kitchens throughout Paris. Stitt was named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2001, and has since received multiple nominations in the foundation's Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant categories. In 2007, he earned the Southern Foodways Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award, and Esquire magazine inducted him into its Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2011. The author of two cookbooks, Stitt frequently appears in national, regional and local publications, where he discusses his love of creating classic Southern cuisine with a European sensibility.
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2240 Highland Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205
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Bottega is one of three Birmingham eateries belonging to well-known chef and restaurateur Frank Stitt. The restaurant has a split personality of sorts. On one side is a white tablecloth, fine-dining establishment known for its deliciously rich entrees and Parmesan soufflé appetizer. On the other side is a trendy, casual cafe complete with a communal table and a bar stacked with regulars. The restaurant is open at night only, while the cafe serves both lunch and dinner.
Although the menu at Bottega changes daily, the Parmesan soufflé is a regular offering in the dining room and makes a perfect appetizer to share. This creamy, decadent dish is served straight from the oven and features sweet, wild mushrooms and salty Galloni prosciutto. You'll hardly be able to wait for it to cool down before you take that first rich bite.