Birmingham Food Guide

Birmingham's reputation for great food speaks for itself. The city is host to loads of independent traders as well as hundreds of well-known chain restaurants, we love a good food market, and did we mention that we can boast the most Michelin star eateries outside of London? We think we’ve earned our bragging rights, and we're confident that we've plenty to offer you if you’re experiencing our food scene for the first time.

International - Food Guide - Birmingham

1. Covering every corner of the globe

Birmingham is one of the most diverse cities in the UK, which is reflected in the wonderful range of different cuisines we cater for here. Go for a curry in our famous Balti Triangle, enjoy Middle Eastern delights at Damascena, or tuck into a traditional Polish stew at The Karczma. We’ve also got a dedicated Chinese quarter which features a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, and supermarkets.

2. Well-known favourites

If you want to play it safe and go for dinner in a well-known chain restaurant, then the city centre has it all. Just a ten minute walk from our City Centre campus you can find loads of popular UK restaurants that cater to a variety of budgets and dietary needs. If you need inspiration, you can’t go wrong with a wander around Grand Central, New Street or Brindley Place, which all feature some UK favourites. Just a few of the big names here include: Nandos – a Portuguese restaurant known for its chicken dishes, Pizza Express – nice Italian pizza, Wagamama – Japanese cuisine, Byron – for big American Burgers, Yo Sushi – known for sushi and Japanese street food, Bill’s – for nice brunch or all-day dining, Pho – Vietnamese food, and Mowgli – Indian street food.

3. Go independent

As well as big names, we have an impressive range of independent cafes, bars and restaurants. Independent Birmingham celebrates Birmingham’s local culture by offering discounts and rewards at local restaurants bars and cafes when you use an Independent Birmingham Card. Like supporting independent traders too? Visit Digbeth Dining Club, Birmingham’s multi-award-winning street food event which brings a weekly selection of the UKs finest food traders to unique locations around the Midlands.

4. Need food fast?

We’ve got loads of fast food chains dotted across the city if you’re in need of a quick fix on the move. McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Five Guys, and Subway are all popular choices here in the UK.

5. Get your caffeine kick

Coffee lovers unite! You’re never too far away from one of the big franchises such as, Starbucks, Costa, Café Nero or Pret A Manger. There are also some seriously good independent coffee shops in the city, where you can get great coffee and even greater cake. We’ve compiled our list of where to get the best coffee in Birmingham to give you some tips on where to start. If it’s a traditionally British cup of tea you’re after, then we’ve put together our favourite places to get a decent brew in Brum too.

If you’re on campus and need a coffee hit ahead of a long day of lectures, we’ve got you covered. Both of our campuses have on-site Starbucks to help keep you going.

6. Feeling fancy?

If you’ve got something to celebrate or you just fancy a treat, we have 5 Michelin star restaurants dotted around Birmingham to give you a taste of the high life. Opheem is our newest addition, which offers modern Indian cuisine, or there’s longstanding favourite Simpsons which has received a Michelin star for 16 years running. Michelin star restaurants might not be a regular occurrence on a student budget, but if you can put some money aside for that extra-special experience, we can guarantee it will be a meal to remember. 

7. Food shopping in Birmingham

There are plenty of big supermarkets around Birmingham if you’re after a standard weekly shop, we also have specialist supermarkets that stock traditional groceries of different nationalities. We recommend a visit to Chinatown - a destination all of its own – which houses some leading suppliers and retailers of oriental foods.

If you fancy something a little different then you could take a trip to one of our food markets instead. The Bull Ring Open Market offers a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, and with the Indoor Market right next door – where you can shop for fish and meat and other pantry goods – you can get everything you need in once place - handy!

For a guilt free shop we have The Clean Kilo, the UKs largest zero waste grocery store which stocks plastic-free locally sourced products. Take your own containers to stock up on essentials, and you can feel good knowing that you’re doing your bit for the environment.

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