Bottega has been one of Birmingham's top restaurants since it opened 10 years ago, but for some reason we have not been regulars. In fact, we had not been in several years until this spring, although we had been to the more casual Bottega Cafe next door for lunch. With their 10-year anniversary, a new cookbook coming out by chef/owner Frank Stitt, and a recent restaurant makeover, it was prime time for a review.
Bottega is not strictly an Italian restaurant; rather, as their web site says, it is “a little workshop, the implements being the essences, traditions and ingredients of Italy, north Africa and the Mediterranean.” And, we might add, with a little bit of Alabama and some French cooking techniques thrown in for good measure (after all, the south of France IS on the Mediterranean…)
So click here to read about our two visits to Bottega this year, one as spring was transforming into summer, the second as summer was slowly sliding into fall.
(We know, we have been delinquent in publishing new, full-fledged reviews here at Bhamdining.com. Both of us got promotions in our "day jobs" earlier this year, and life has been a bit hectic. Now that things have settled down a bit, we'll try to do a better job. E-mail me if there's a particular restaurant you'd like us to review.)
A little bird in the publishing industry told us he was with Frank Stitt recently when the chef got his first copy of the new cookbook, "Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef's Love Affair with Italian Food." "He was like a kid. So excited," we were told.