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Jun 2024

5 Quirky & Independent Restaurants in Birmingham To Book Now

Yes, there’s a reliable comfort in sitting down at a chain restaurant. You know exactly what you'll get no matter which spot you walk into. But if you’re a little bored of the same thing, it might be time to try something a little more indie.

If you’re ready to mix it up (and support small businesses along the way), you’re in the right place! Swap the repetition of chains for an exciting night out at an independent restaurant in Birmingham. 

From family-owned eateries to intimate date night-ready restaurants, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Jump to the best independent and unique restaurants in Birmingham below and impress your friends with these hidden gems next time you catch up. We’re okay with you taking the credit!

1. Tropea

Tropea—named for a tiny town on Italy’s Calabrian coast—is another independent restaurant in Birmingham that all foodies must experience. This Italian eatery is owned and operated by Ben and Kasia, two chefs who met at University College Birmingham in 2010. After a few years of travelling and working, they returned to the city to set up their ode to Italian cuisine. 

Since opening, Tropea has been featured in The Michelin Guide 2023 and won several awards. The menu is ever-changing and ​​focuses on fresh ingredients. However, you can always expect regional specialities, seafood, fresh pasta, and plenty of antipasti places. Delicious! 

2. Cafe Lovelife

Located in Digbeth, Cafe Lovelife is a love letter to the tastes of the Mediterranean. The menu and concept are inspired by the founders’ travels across the Med, and all dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients and authentic techniques. Eating here instantly transports you to a sublime holiday without the stress of packing!

The Cafe Lovelife menu covers a range of cuisines. From a Greek-inspired watermelon and feta salad to a mouth-watering lamb kofte, you can travel from country to country through taste. Other popular options include meze plates, sirloin steaks, sea bream fillets, spinach and pea falafel, and fresh focaccia sandwiches. Plus, dishes are available for all diets, including vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and halal. 

To top it all off, Cafe Lovelife also boasts an open kitchen and a relaxed social dining atmosphere. Ideal for a lowkey night with your beau or a few laughs with your friends. 

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Inside of Cafe Lovelife Birmingham.

3. Zindiya Streatery and Bar

If you're interested in dining at a family-owned Birmingham restaurant, keep your eyes peeled for Zindiya Streatery and Bar. This vibrant restaurant provides an immersive Indian experience and has been a dream for husband and wife duo Ajay and Shivani since they were teenagers. You can taste the team's passion for food in every bite.

Zindiya provides an extensive food menu with chaat street food, Dhaba-style curries, gilled plates, and a la carte dishes. There's also a big vegan menu for plant-based visitors. Another highlight is the "High Chai" menu — Zindiya's own take on afternoon tea. Imagine a relaxed afternoon tea session with curated Indian spices, unique tea blends, and seasonal macarons from Miss Macaroon (another independent Birmingham business). Perfect for all visiting tea lovers. 

Two people eating lunch outside at a restaurant.

4. Tamu Cafe

A meal at an independent restaurant shouldn’t be an evening affair. Birmingham is also home to locally-owned cafes and brunch spots! Tamu Cafe is a brunch, coffee, and cake cafe a 15-minute drive away from the city’s centre. If you’re looking for a quieter cafe where you don’t have to queue or compete with tourists, this is an oasis you should consider. 

Tamu offers generous portions, crafted coffees, and lots of picks for veggies and vegans. Treat yourself to sweet pancake stacks and French toast, or invest in your health with ‘super salads.’ No matter your priorities, Tamu Cafe has picks for every guest. 

Note that Tamu is a walk-in only. Queues are rare, but keep this in mind before you arrive!

5. The Meat Shack 

Hungry after a big day in the city? The Meat Shack is here to satisfy your craving. This independent restaurant in Birmingham puts portion sizes first and doesn’t hold back on the flavours. Get ready to enjoy a burger you won’t forget for years to come. 

The Meat Shack menu focuses on loaded burgers, such as beef, chicken, and veggie burgers. Don’t forget to level up your order with cauli bombs (battered cauliflower pieces) or classic halloumi fries. If you have a sweet tooth, you can complete your meal with a Jammy Dodger or Cheesecake ice cream. Draught beer, wines, spirits, and soft drinks are also available.

Independent Restaurants in Birmingham - The Takeaway

These five independent restaurants aren’t your only options in Birmingham, but they’re a great place to start. From divine Indian spices to fresh Mediterranean meze plates, the indie food scene in this city is unrivalled. But where will you start? 

Bookmark this page so you don’t lose these insider recommendations. Or keep exploring and check out some of our other suggestions.

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