Birmingham is the place to be if you want to try a variety of cuisines from around the world. From Spanish, Indian and French, Brazilian, Polish and Italian to Japanese to Indonesian – and there's even a Hawaiian restaurant opening soon, Birmingham is a veritable melting pot of different cultures.
Here’s our guide to the just some of the mouth-watering international cuisines we can enjoy in Birmingham.
Ngopi [ng-ow-pee] is the first and only Indonesian Coffee Shop & Munch in Birmingham. The brand "Ngopi" itself represents the act of drinking coffee and the establishment’s tagline, "Let's Ngopi!", is the Indonesian way to say ‘let's have coffee’. Ngopi offers some of the popular coffees from its homeland such as Es Kopi Susu, Teh Tarik, Matcha Latte and Milo Chocolate alongside familiar coffee blends. It also serves light meals with a modern twist such as Gado-Gado, Bakso, Risol, Pisang Bakar and more. Pay Ngopi a visit if you would like to experience a truly authentic and unique Indonesian feast.
Fazenda Birmingham is the latest addition to the flourishing restaurant scene in the heart of the financial district. Fusing century-old gaúcho traditions and rodizio dining in opulent surroundings, the restaurant serves exquisite wines and the highest quality meats. Begin with a visit to the gourmet sides bar followed by skewers of sizzling meats served one by one. Settle yourself in for a few hours to enjoy the tradition behind the unique Brazilian way of serving food.
Named Best Restaurant of 2018 at The Birmingham Awards, this family-friendly restaurant is all about traditional, handmade Italian cuisine made using the highest quality ingredients. All their food is freshly made and created to evoke memories of ‘old Italy’ but with a modern twist and they also have a well-stocked delicatessen of imported Italian goods for you to buy. Laghi’s also has a great social scene, organising pizza and pasta masterclasses for both the grown-ups and kids and themed nights to enjoy.
Since it was opened by the Distefano family in 1992, San Carlo has always been a popular destination in Birmingham for authentic Italian food made from fresh ingredients. It has won both regional and national awards and the San Carlo empire now extends to restaurants in Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Manchester, London as well the far east.
‘Italian cuisine that’s traditional and innovative and in equal measure’. That’s what acclaimed Birmingham chef Aktar Islam, formerly of Lasan and having recently opened Opheem, has recently brought to Birmingham with his newest opening, Legna. Set in opulent surroundings, the restaurant focuses on high-quality ingredients and superb wines. The burrata is a must to try!
Gaijin Sushi is a unique sushi bar and restaurant opened in March 2018 by Polish chef Michal Kubiak. It’s received excellent reviews and was featured in The Guardian in its first month, describing it as ‘an utter delight’. Here you’ll be able to undertake a unique dining experience, sitting with the chef as you watch him create sushi for you.
Karibu is a new independent coffee shop in Digbeth with an African theme. Run by Azmina Mandania and her husband who originally hail from Tanzania, Karibu serves authentic East African delicacies, such as Mandazi (doughnuts) and coffee made from beans grown in Tanzania.
"El B" as it is fondly referred to, is owned by Emma Yufera-Ruiz, originally from Shropshire but with Spanish family ties. Emma and her team are passionate about serving authentic, freshly cooked Spanish food and pride themselves on the quality of their ingredients and the variety of flavours and dishes. They also offer live music and can cater for a variety of group celebrations. What’s more, throughout 2019 they’ll be celebrating Day of the Pig events – keep an eye on their website for more details.
The Karczma is a traditional Polish restaurant, bar and grill, decorated in the style of an old Polish country cottage and serving homely, hearty and rustic Polish classics including Pierogi (stuffed dumplings), Berszcz (Beetroot soup), Pickled Herring, Zurek (Pickled Rye Flour Soup) served from a hollowed-out loaf of bread, as well as a whole host of grilled meats and fish.
Located on Colmore Row, Chung Ying Central is a stylish Chinese bar and restaurant with an array of Dim Sum whilst also fast becoming renowned as a cocktail bar in itself, with the bar’s own innovative Oriental concoctions dubbed as ‘The Zodiac’ cocktails. Chung Ying Central also offers cocktail master classes or if you’re not in the mood for cocktails they offer an array of Oriental beers with which to wash down all that tasty Dim Sum with!
Herman Ze German has recently opened its first restaurant outside London, providing Birmingham with its first German restaurant. Herman Ze German offers four types of sausage - bratwurst made of pork and veal, bockwurst - smoky pork sausage, chilli wurst - smoked beef and even a vegan wurst as well as Herman’s signature Currywurst and other dishes such as chicken and pork schnitzel with fries.
Originating from a family which saw generations of successful street food vendors from the heart of rural Thailand, Buddha Belly brings real Thai food to the streets of the UK. This food is produced from scratch with the best quality ingredients, including free-range meat and the food stays authentic; so packs a serious Muay Thai Kick. Buddha Belly is now permanently in residence at Digbeth Dining Club every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Describing itself as 'Your local, far away coffee house' Damascena serves delicious Middle Eastern cuisine in opulent surroundings on Temple Row. Since it first opened in Moseley in 2014, the popular cafe has expanded into the city centre and Harborne and its popularity continues to grow. The menu includes breakfast, wraps and flatbreads and house specialities such as mixed mezze platters and falafel.
‘Opheem is just me. Unleashed’, so says Aktar Islam, chef and owner of Opheem. Aktar grew up in Aston with his parents humble, hard-working immigrants from Bangladesh and learned to cook in his dad’s restaurant in Solihull. Until 2016 Aktar was part of the Lasan Group, leaving to work on his flagship project, Opheem. There’s a beautiful bar in which to enjoy a pre-dinner drink before you head into the decadent restaurant for a mouthwatering experience.
A fusion of regional classics with spectacular contemporary signature dishes, Asha’s blends street food simplicity with the magnificence of a maharaja’s banquet. It’s been internationally recognised and acclaimed by industry experts and food critics.
Located in a double fronted Georgian building on Hagley Road, Fiesta del Asado was the first Argentine restaurant to open in Birmingham. Since then it has become a firm favourite for the city's carnivores, serving a menu packed full of quality Argentinian beef and wines. As well as the Edgbaston restaurant, a second branch has recently opened in Solihull.
Say aloha to Birmingham’s first Hawaiian restaurant, opening soon in the site formerly occupied by Yorks Bakery on the corner of Great Western Arcade and Colmore Row. The cafe will serve salad bowls known as poké bowls which are much like a sushi salad. Poké has quickly become a healthy fast food trend and the cafe is hoping to attract anyone who fancies being healthier in 2019.
COMING SOON... LEBANON
Promising to bring the authentic flavours of Beirut to Birmingham, Kababji is set to open in Grand Central soon. The brand was created in 1993 and has over 30 restaurants across the Middle East. Kababji will serve grilled meats, mezze and, of course, kebabs.