The Eastern Shore Guide to eating in Downtown Mobile

So I have had a number of people ask me if I had a list of restaurants I would suggest they try. Apparently I am becoming a bit known for being a bit of a foodie. While I don’t consider myself a foodie, I do like good food.

Here is my short list for eating out downtown. This is not about genre of food but geography of the restaurants. I am bullish on downtown Mobile. I think it is seeing a resurgence of activity and the restauranteurs are leading the way. 

A quick note that I mostly each lunch when I am downtown (Blue Fish is located on Dauphin) and these places typically have a different menu for dinner.

Unlike other articles, this list is in order. Seriously, eat at these places. Tell them where you learned about them. Maybe I’ll get a free dessert or something.

The Noble South is by far one of my favorite places to eat. Chris and his staff are amazing. Let’s just put it this way, I went there the other day and wanted seconds of the brussel sprouts. If you can make brussel sprouts taste good then you know what you are doing. Their lunch menu has a bacon, egg and pimento cheese sandwich on it that is amazing. They also have a build your own plate that is what I usually get. It allows you to pick a meat and then as many sides as you want. I highly suggest the chicken thighs, fried catfish, meatloaf or pork chops. As for sides, they change frequently, but I like the baby turnips, brussel sprouts, sweet potato casserole, and sweet potato fries. They also make a really good burger.

Von’s Bistro is owned by Von and Paul and just recently opened up this past year after years of running other catering, restaurant, food truck, type businesses. Von is a master in the kitchen. She likes to fuse southern and asian together. Sounds weird. Tastes amazing. She has daily specials that run from Pho to 5 cheese lasagna. My oldest son had her shrimp and grits and loved it. I love her Pho as she makes it out of filet. She also has Korean Beef tacos, Fish tacos and other items that are all delicious.

Cotton State BBQ is a little hole in the wall downtown that serves deliciousness one sandwich at a time. I hesitate to tell you all about it as it is already getting crazy busy and I want to be able to get in there for a sandwich every once in awhile. I’ve only ever had their brisket sandwich, but… it is the most amazing BBQ I have ever had. And if you add the bacon it will make your eyes roll. They use Bill E’s Small Batch bacon and it is the best bacon you will ever have.

Loda Bier Garten is a bar. Know that going in. It is loud and boisterous. If you are a fan of beer they have over 100 drafts on tap. But the food is why I go there. It is ridiculously good. And I think they have the best burgers in the area. They do get a bit creative with them too. For instance, if you are into donuts (and who isn’t) they make a sugar rush burger that uses two Sugar Rush glazed donuts as buns. I can neither confirm nor deny whether it is as delicious as it sounds. A few Mondays ago they had a build your own burger special for about $10 with fries or onion rings. Their onion rings are probably the best I have ever had. Also take a look at the Spanish Fort burger. It has avocado , bacon and smoked gouda. 

El Papi is quickly becoming a favorite spot of mine for tacos. They make a mean taco. Make sure to get an Al Pastor taco, and the crispy fish tacos are really good. The ambiance really sets this place apart from all of the other Mexican restaurants in town. This is a place you can go to for a date night and not worry about smelling like fajitas for the rest of the night. Plus they have a cute little patio for outdoor seating when the weather permits. 

Five Bar is owned by the same folks as El Papi and is easily one of my favorite restaurants downtown. Their burger is to die for. They also have a Paneed Chicken that is amazing.  I think they sprinkle crack on the salad that comes with it. I have never felt that way about a salad before. My only sad point with Five is they used to be open for lunch on Fridays but that is no longer. Seriously though, if you have not eaten their burger go this weekend. It is so good.

And since we are on a roll with Cris Eddings’ ventures, this list would not be complete without mentioning Chuck’s Fish. Chuck’s has fish entrees but honestly I have never had one. All I ever eat there is sushi as it is some of the best I have ever had. Easily the best in our area. Always fresh and presented well. If I remember correctly they get a lot of their seafood fresh from the harbor in Destin which is where they got their start. 

One last one and then we’ll wrap up. The Haberdasher has the finest drinks in all of Mobile. This is a place you go to if you like craft cocktails. They really put a lot into each one and are super creative with their drink menu. But... their food is stuuuuupid good too. They have a fish curry that I literally crave. It is so delicious. So if you crave a good drink, a fun atmosphere where you might hear Biggie, and The Cure playing over the speakers, and some amazing food, then hit The Hab. 

There are a number of other places worth mentioning like Southern National, FOY, Roosters, and Bob’s. The ecosystem is downtown is amazing right now.

Anyway, that is my shortlist. If you decide to try one of these places make sure to drop me a line and let me know what you thought. And if you know of another place down here that is good let me know. I’ve tried most of the restaurants downtown but there are a few that I have not. 

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