August 25th, 2011 by Jihye Chang
I lived in Montgomery, AL, for about a year (2006 -7 ) and visited quite a few times after moving up north. It’s not a huge city but has enough good restaurants to feed a hungry visitor.
La Jolla – located in the East Chase shopping center. This is a huge restaurant with modern deco and sophisticated menus. Their lunch is better than the dinner. Ahi-Tuna salad with Asian vegetables and seaweed was my favorite, and their dessert is also very good. Whenever you see something “Southern” on the menu, grab that! (6854 East Chase Parkway/ 334-356-2600/ www.lajollamontgomery.com)
City Grill -I ate here only twice, as this is one of the most expensive places to eat in Montgomery (along with the Olive Room and ) but I really liked what I had. It’s a quiet and elegant place. (8147 Vaughn Rd./ 333-244-0960)
Olive Room – located downtown. A huge place with elegant deco, good service, and good menu. Probably a good place to take out-of-towners or first-time-visitors. (121 Montgomery Ave/ 334-262-2763)
Michael’s Table is also cute and nice. Some things are Tapas-inspired, and they use good ingredients. Creative (sometimes a bit pretentious) menu, and friendly staff. Some inconsistency in the dishes, but I think it’s worth a visit.(2960-A Zelda Place/ www.michaelstable.net/ 334-272-2500)
Cafe M at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has a beautiful view and big windows, and their chicken salad is good. It’s a lovely space with lovely staff, if not the best food in town. And I love the Shakespeare park! (One museum road/ 334-240-4338)
Derek’s Fillet and Vine sells fried chicken, vegetable sides, and selection of soup. I love their seafood gumbo, although it’s not made everyday. (431 Cloverdale Road/ www.filletandvine.com/ 334-262-8463)
Oh, and if you have a friend who has a membership to the Wynnlake Country Club, their food is excellent. (Better than the Montgomery Country Club, in my opinion)
Montgomery has quite a few Korean restaurants (thanks to the Hyundai plant), Japanese, Thai and Chinese restaurants and an Indian restaurant plus a Vietnamese restaurant.
Indian Palace is pretty good. I have a friend who lives in Troy, AL (45 minutes drive) who drives frequently to Montgomery just to eat their food! (3007 McGee Road/ 334-281-1200)
Among the Thai places, I think Ala Thai is the safest choice. It has three locations, and my favorite location is the one on the railroad. Good Pad Thai, spicy and tasty Num-Ttok, and spicy basil stir-fry dishes. Some people preferred Lek’s, which also serves sushi items.
Arirang – their kitchen does not seem to be too clean, but this restaurant serves BBQ on the table grills (and the BBQ items are better than other items on the menu). Try the Galbi or Spicy pork. Their dishes tend to be salty, but it’s a little better than the other Korean restaurants in Montgomery. (1633 Eastern Blvd./ 334-215-3251)
There is no good Chinese restaurant in Montgomery, though. Everything is like fast food Chinese or sad buffet. Emperor’s Garden on McGhee Road was the only place I and my husband would go when it was absolutely necessary.
For sushi rolls, I liked Miyako the best. (I would not order any nigiri or anything fancy like Uni in any small cities in America. Just rolls or other cooked Japanese dishes.) I like the Lobster roll (although it has a lot of mayonnaise) and spicy tuna rolls. Miyako also makes “Hoe-Dup-Bap,” if you special-order it! It’s a Korean style sashimi dish with rice that comes with a lot of raw fish, lots of thinly sliced vegetables, and spicy sweet and sour Gochujang. (8173 Vaughn Rd/ 334-215-2275)
Montgomery did not have a good bakery or a coffee shop that served good espresso. Cafe Louisa or Cool Beans downtown are the closest thing you will find. (Their espresso drinks are far from being excellent, but the best in Montgomery.)
Cool Beans – It’s in downtown. A good place for a quick lunch and coffee. I loved their morning orchard muffins! (115 Montgomery Street/ 334-269-6200)
Cafe Louisa – walking distance from the Huntingdon college. This place has nice smoothies (a bit expensive, but made with real fruit and yogurt) and great bread pudding. Their sausage-cheese biscuit is excellent, too. This place uses Higher Ground organic coffee beans, but their beans tend to be a bit over-roasted and give burned flavor. (1034 E. Fairview Ave/ www.cafelouisa.com/ 334-264-4241)
Tomatino next door to the Cafe Louisa has nice pizzas. (www.tomatinos.com/ 334-264-4241)
P.S. I used to like Nancy Paterson’s Bistro, but it appears that they have closed the restaurant. That’s too bad.. I will miss the mocha cake!
P.P.S. I also never ate at any of the BBQ joints or a true Southern places with meat and two..but people seem to like Dreamland. Also there is a popular seafood restaurant called Jubilee in Old Cloverdale. Straight-forward fresh seafood, and fun staff.