7 Fantastic Restaurants To Try In Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, is a city in a state of perpetual transformation. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of its dark past, the city has come a long way and is steadily moving farther into the bright light of vibrancy, diversity, and inclusion. This forward motion can be seen in every aspect of Birmingham life, but perhaps the most surprising is in its food scene. The city has evolved into a haven for innovative American and international cuisines waiting to be discovered.

What follows is a small sampling of the best dining options Birmingham has to offer. They represent creativity, hard work, and above all, the kind of food you’ll savor while enjoying your time in Birmingham. These are the places — in no particular order — my husband and I recommend and long to revisit.

Our Birmingham experience was hosted by the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau. However, all opinions are entirely my own.

Lemon meringue tart (Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages)

1. Helen Restaurant

For Southern fare with a twist, served in a relaxed atmosphere, Helen Restaurant is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. Open since August 2020, Chef Rob McDaniel and his wife, Emily, have turned this century-old building into a modern eatery.

The food at Helen is locally sourced and served in a contemporary Southern style, with a focus on sustainability. A smoker and special grill do the heavy lifting, and the results are outstanding.

Start with an order of Angel Biscuits, topped with whipped cane syrup butter and sea salt. For your entrée, try the thin cut pork chop, or the Catfish a la Plancha, served with house-made tartar sauce. The Okra a la Plancha is garlicky, with sesame seeds to give the texture some crunch. And if you still have room, indulge in the refreshing lemon meringue tart.

Pro Tip: Choosing between Helen’s offerings can be a challenge. Try ordering several items to share.

Heirloom tomato stack at Hot & Hot Fish Club
Heirloom tomato stack (Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages)

2. Hot & Hot Fish Club

A blend of French, Southern, and California cuisines may sound tricky to pull off well, but at Hot & Hot Fish Club, it all comes together as if it was meant to be. That’s because owner, Chef Chris Hastings, has a remarkable way with food, and has received national recognition for his culinary talents. The James Beard Foundation named him Best Chef: South in 2012, Chris then went on to beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay in an episode of Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

A chef’s counter, an open kitchen, exposed brickwork, and Italian marble tabletops give the bright interior a touch of class without feeling cluttered. But when weather permits, the patio is the place to be.

Hot & Hot has a variety of skillfully prepared entrées, such as wood oven-roasted: dayboat scallops, chicken roulade, Asian noodle bowl, with frog legs, and braised short ribs with wild mushrooms on its regular menu, but be sure to check out the specials. My Tile Fish with basmati rice was perfection on a plate. Meanwhile, the Rabbit Roll with charred tomato, lima beans, and charred okra that won Chris the Iron Chef America title was a definite winner for my husband.

If you visit Hot & Hot when tomatoes are in season, the heirloom tomato salad is a must-have. Thick slices of sweet, juicy locally grown tomatoes are layered with fresh corn, field peas, and rounds of crunchy fried okra. Garlicky fresh basil, aioli, and a drizzle of sweet balsamic vinaigrette give the dish a distinctive final touch. The salad comes in two sizes. A single stack and a triple stack. The latter is topped with large succulent shrimp and easily feeds two.

Pro Tip: Hot & Hot is so hot, you’ll want to make a reservation to ensure you get a table.

Eggplant parmesan sandwich at The Essential
Eggplant parmesan sandwich (Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages)

3. The Essential

Located on Morris Avenue, Birmingham’s oldest street, The Essential is a charming neighborhood all-day café offering familiar favorites skillfully elevated to a new level of modern sophistication. The café is the brainchild of owners Kristen Hall, a professional pastry chef, and Chef Victor King. In 2018, the pair transformed Birmingham’s first bank drive-through into a European-style café where patrons can drop in anytime.

Essential’s interior is chic without being pretentious. But when the weather is fine, a table on the patio will give you a perfect view of the comings and goings along the cobbled street in front of the cafe.

My husband and I shared the eggplant parmesan sandwich on outstanding sourdough and the Caesar salad, and both were excellent. Everything, including the pasta, is made onsite, or at the bakery next door that Kristen and Victor also own.

The Texas Special at The Bright Star Restaurant
The Texas Special (Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages)

4. The Bright Star Restaurant

Local history and outstanding food meet at The Bright Star Restaurant in Bessemer, 20 minutes from downtown Birmingham. The oldest restaurant in Alabama, The Bright Star began in 1907 as a tiny café serving 25. Today, the restaurant is bright, spacious, and seats 265. What has remained consistent for more than a century has been the dedication to quality and freshness of the Greek families who have owned it, as well as the outstanding selection of Greek-influenced seafood, steak, and other offerings.

CNN Recognized The Bright Star as one of America’s Best Historic Restaurants, and in 2010, the restaurant was named one of the James Beard Foundation Awards’ America’s Classics honorees.

Mirrors, marble tiles, and hand-painted murals harken back to another time. And the Greek music playing in the background transports you to another place.

I recommend starting with the seafood gumbo. Then choose from a variety of fresh seafood transported daily from the Gulf coast: The Greek style broiled seafood platter, consisting of fillet of snapper, scallops, shrimp, oysters, and lobster and crabmeat au gratin more than fills a seafood lover’s wildest fantasy. Carnivores have several steak options from which to choose, but if you want to have a foot in both camps, try the Texas Special: a generous platter of beef tenderloin, Greek-style snapper, and Lobster & crabmeat au gratin

Pro Tip: The Bright Star has a dual personality. At lunchtime, it’s traditional Southern meat and three comfort foods. After 3 p.m., it transforms into a steak and seafood restaurant.

The menu board at Johnny's Restaurant Homewood
Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages

5. Johnny’s Restaurant Homewood

For Southern food and hospitality Greek style, Johnny’s Restaurant Homewood will feed you body and soul. Located in Birmingham’s Homewood neighborhood, this welcoming diner has been offering its patrons flavorful, freshly made food since 2012. Owner Tim Hontzas, whose family has been in the food business for generations, named the restaurant in honor of his beloved grandfather. And grandpa Johnny would be proud. Not only has Tim created a successful business in a highly competitive market, he was also a James Beard Foundation 2020 Semi-Finalist, Best Chef South.

At Johnny’s, traditional meat and three comfort foods congenially coexist alongside Greek favorites, such as Spanakopita and Souvlaki cheesecake. Make your selections from two chalkboard menus based on seasonal availability, find a table, and wait to be impressed.

The Greek chicken is tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The Greek meatballs are a favorite, for good reason. The crisp grits cakes make a fine accompaniment, and the salads are enticingly fresh. For dessert, try the brownie truffles, balls of rich almost-baked brownie rolled in espresso ganache and served with crème anglaise and strawberry coulis if this decadent creation is on the menu. The banana pudding, which is usually available, is made with mashed bananas and banana moon pies.

Pro Tip: If you have the opportunity to chat with Tim during your meal, encourage him to tell you about his Greek heritage. You’ll find the story inspiring, and Tim tells it so well.

The 1907 roaster at the Alabama Peanut Company
The 1907 roaster at the Alabama Peanut Company (Photo Credit: Simon Lock / MyEclecticImages)

6. Alabama Peanut Company

Although not exactly a restaurant in the true sense of the word, Alabama Peanut Company is an ideal spot to pick up a bag of freshly roasted or boiled peanuts on which to snack. And while you’re there, take a trip into peanut history.

Alabama Peanut Company is one of the last surviving independent peanut sellers in the United States. You can watch peanuts roasting in a 1907 roaster, and learn the difference between boiled and roasted peanuts.

You’ll find approximately 100 different flavors from which to choose. Try the buffalo ranch, Cajun, or pickle. All the flavors are created in house.

Pro Tip: Don’t leave without taking a look at the picture on the wall of Morris Avenue in 1909 when it was a farmers market

Ice cream sandwiches from Big Spoon Creamery
Photo Credit: Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau

7. Big Spoon Creamery

Another snack option is Big Spoon Creamery, an artisan ice cream company specializing in handcrafted frozen treats. From ice cream trike to truck to two Birmingham storefronts, Big Spoon owners Geri-Martha and Ryan O’Hara, have grown their dream into a successful people-pleaser.

The O’Hara’s strive to produce seasonal flavors using locally sourced ingredients, and to offer their customers innovative takes on ice cream classics. Try the Valrhona 66 percent dark chocolate, goat cheese caramel apple crisp, or brown butter ice cream. Big Spoon also serves sammies (ice cream and cookie sandwiches), sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes, malts, and floats.

Pro Tip: Big Spoon has vegan options, and allergens are listed after each flavor.

Birmingham’s tourism attractions are as unique as its food scene:

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Order Up: What’s Next For Restaurants?

The restaurant industry has faced problems for decades. Wage theft and tip skimming are common complaints for front- and back-of-house staff. Aspiring kitchen staff will often have to work for free, in unpaid internships or “stages”, at the beginning of their careers. Although farm-to-table dining is trendy now, not every chef is so fastidious about sourcing ingredients, relying on underpaid farm labor. The issues go on and on. 

While it’s true these issues have plagued restaurants for years, it’s also true that the pandemic exacerbated and magnified many of them. From navigating outdoor dining to adapting menus so dishes can travel well in takeaway containers, not to mention policing mask mandates to keep both staff and guests healthy, the ways that restaurants run has changed drastically in the last two years—that is, if a restaurant survived the pandemic at all.  

But, as Corey Mintz points out in his new book, The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After, there’s a better future out there for restaurants, which are more than just places to eat and drink and socialize with your community. To get to that brighter future will require a little bit of work, says Mintz, both at an individual level and as a cultural shift.

As someone who has worked in the restaurant industry in all capacities, he’s uniquely positioned to tackle the topic. Mintz started his career in culinary school, then worked in restaurant kitchens and for catering companies before the drudgery of kitchen life took its toll. The long hours and the measly wages, combined with systemic restaurant issues such as  casual sexism, lead him to pivot to a new career as a food writer. In the late 2000s, Mintz became a reviewer and restaurant critic before branching out to speak about the industry and culture of restaurants at large. Through his long-running “Fed” column in the Toronto Star, Mintz has hosted hundreds of people for dinner parties at his home. Politicians, artists, chefs, criminals and—according to his website—at least one monkey have all graced his table. 

In the book, he delves into the array of issues restaurants are facing today—the very same issues that once drove him from the kitchen—and provides a few possible solutions. Mintz traces the recent history of restaurants, drops in some fascinating tid-bits (did you know that pizza was the first physical object sold online?) and helpfully gives advice on how we can rebuild the culture of restaurants from the ground up.

Delivery apps such as Grubhub and Uber Eats are some of the biggest issues restaurants face today. While they have magnified convenience for the consumer, they’re generally dismissed as a necessary evil by restaurant owners. Many dishes don’t taste the same after 30 minutes of travel, which degrades the product they provide. But, more importantly, delivery apps take huge fees from participating restaurants, while paying drivers subminimum wages. As Mintz details in the book, large restaurants are often able to negotiate better rates with the apps because of high demand for their products. While delivery apps often take a commission of 20 to 30 percent per order from restaurants, some major restaurant chains manage to negotiate a much lower rate—or no fee at all. “The apps need major brands, but don’t make any money from them,” Mintz writes. “So it’s the independents that pay the cost; your local ramen shop subsidizing a delivery service for McDonald’s.” 

Despite the huge fees, restaurants keep using the delivery apps, because their competitors do. If they want to keep customers, they need to be available to them. “They are converting the customer into being delivery customers,” Mintz says. “They’re changing the nature by which people decide to go eat versus have food delivered, because they made it so convenient.” In the early days of COVID-19-related lockdowns, use of delivery apps more than doubled. Now, consumers expect that degree of convenience. So restaurants have to adapt. 

Mintz also touches upon the ways in which consumers have become further disconnected from their food. At the beginning of the last century, he notes, close to half of the population was involved with agricultural work. By 2017, only 1.3 percent of Americans were involved in farming or ranching. Meanwhile, Mintz notes, a growing portion of household budgets goes to food prepared outside of the home.

Although diners might talk about the importance of farm-to-table dining or nose-to-tail preparations, that doesn’t mean they have any more knowledge of their food—or who picks it. In the book, Mintz describes a typical tomato farm in Florida. Tomatoes have to be picked while dry, so crews have to wait out the morning dew. But in order to get chosen for that day’s shift, willing workers have to show up around dawn just to wait. That time is unpaid, of course. Instead, workers get paid by each bucket of tomatoes they pick. A bucket weighs about 32 pounds; Mintz notes the average pay per bucket is about 45 cents. 

“At every stage in our food system, there’s tension between what food actually costs to make, and what people are willing to pay for it,” Mintz writes. He goes on to say that when a meal is cheap, “it costs us somewhere else,” such as with our health, at the exploitation of workers or the environment or both.

But not all hope is lost, says Mintz, who ends each of the book’s chapters with tips and concrete actions that everyone can take. For instance, tip your delivery drivers in cash or find restaurants that use their own delivery service. Find out from where your favorite place sources its ingredients. If you feel disconnected from your food, Mintz suggests a quick step to change your world view. On your search engine, type in the name of your state and the words “farm worker” or “justice” or “advocacy” or any similar terms. “You’ll find, inevitably, a grassroots group that is advocating for change within the local farming industry,” says Mintz. Start following those groups on social media and stay up-to-date on their causes. Having that exposure to local farming groups will make you a better-informed consumer. “Just invite those people and the work they’re doing into your social media feed.”

The tips aren’t just platitudes either, a balm at the end of each reality-check chapter. Mintz does believe that there is a real social will to change things for restaurants and restaurant workers now. While the pandemic exacerbated many issues, it also made conditions ripe for revolution. Ongoing staffing shortages have allowed restaurant staff and servers to demand better hours, better wages and more respect for a job deemed “essential” by the government.

“When they were furloughed [during the early coronavirus pandemic, so many people] had time on their hands for the first moment in a decade for many of them. Some of them were not shy about voicing their opinions about things that they always considered unfair, but previously, were afraid of losing their job. And now they were like, ‘what job do I have to lose?’” Mintz says. “There’s an opportunity for people to work together to advocate for bigger changes within their workplaces and within the industry.”

As many places transition out of the worst of the pandemic, Mintz is hopeful that more of the problems he addresses in The Next Supper might finally get resolved.

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Travel news: Get engaged at an iconic landmark, find Canada’s best restaurants, raise a glass at Toronto’s historic hotel bar – GuelphMercury.com

Travel news: Get engaged at an iconic landmark, find Canada’s best restaurants, raise a glass at Toronto’s historic hotel bar  GuelphMercury.com

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New Santa Barbara Restaurants, Hotels & More Worth Visiting

With a new crop of hotels, restaurants, and outdoor adventures, this sunshiny, food-loving city—nicknamed the American Riviera—has grown even headier.

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The last time I visited Santa Barbara was in those halcyonic Before Times. The oceanside city—a little less than two hours north of L.A. and five hours south of my home in the Bay Area—has always been a haven for folks who crave a mix of adventure and culture with a side of Spanish Colonial style architecture, beach time, (and now, Meghan and Harry). But its mix of moderate climate (the temperature rarely dips below 50°F) and outdoor living meant that Santa Barbara was, let’s say, uniquely suited to offer the things we’ve all sought during the pandemic: nature and the ability to gather in the fresh air.  

In fact, in May 2021, the city—after years of discussion—transformed 10 blocks of its main drag, State Street, into a pedestrian promenade that could rival Europe’s best. Beginning four blocks from the waterfront, travelers and locals alike can stroll or cycle block after block, now packed with parklets and outdoor patios. 

I spent a weekend exploring all that’s new and pleasurable—here’s how you can, too.

New hotels to check into

Palihouse felt like a home away from home—well, the posh, impeccably decorated home of my dreams. Opened in March 2021, the 24-room boutique hotel is located on a quiet stretch of Garden Street, three blocks from State Street. Rooms are spacious and outfitted with colorful vintage and new furniture, quirky art, Smeg fridges, and an awfully tempting selection of mini-bar snacks. There’s a pool for day-time lounging, an intimate pink-chandeliered bar for nighttime boozing, and a plant-filled courtyard where you can order breakfast and lunch. Bonus: You’re right around the corner from the head-spinningly beautiful Alessia Patisserie, opened in July 2021 by pastry chef, and Santa Barabra native, Alessia Guehr. (You can’t go wrong, but my partner and I gobbled up a rum-accented monkey bread and a flaky ham-filled croissant—and vowed to return for the chocolate bombé, filled with liquid chocolate.)

For those looking for an ocean view, book a room at Mar Monte. The 90-year-old hotel, a local icon, is fresh off a remodel that maintained the Spanish revival bones (check out the painted beams in the lobby) but modernized all 200 of its rooms with poppy new furniture and diving-inspired art, as well the main gathering spaces. Don’t miss a meal at the new on-site restaurant Costa Kitchen & Bar, where you can linger over cocktails at the patio bar while watching the sun sink beyond the Pacific. Then enjoy Mediterranean-inflected dishes (branzino with olive salsa verde, lamb with charred feta) on the restaurant’s patio, also overlooking the beach. 

Restaurants to plan a trip around

Run, don’t walk, to Bibi Ji for butter chicken and perfectly charred naan.

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There’s a clutch of new—or newsy—places to eat well in this food-loving city, starting with the three latest additions to the California Michelin guide: Loquita (a Spanish restaurant with stellar tapas, which got a Bib Gourmand designation), Caruso’s (California-style dining at the Rosewood in Montecito, just north of the city), and Bibi Ji. At the outdoor patio at Bibi Ji, I had the best Indian food—paired with glasses of natural wine—I’ve had in years, including a butter chicken I still think about, fiery fried cauliflower, and a dreamy, paneer-stuffed kulcha, a type of flatbread. Don’t skip the sauce section of the menu—the okra raita was out of this world (and I never like okra). 

Beyond the Michelin guide, there’s plenty to eat. La Paloma, which opened in November 2020, honors the restaurant of the same name that ran in the same place for 37 years. At the spacious outdoor patio, spoon up homey pozole verde and a Santa Maria Wagyu tri-tip that’s criminally good: sliced thin with a mouth-watering char on the outside and paired with a ranchero salsa.  

For lunch—or dinner—you can’t go wrong with Secret Bao, a casual restaurant that opened in March 2021 and traffics in seriously good bao buns: spicy Korean Fried Chicken, tender octopus, or even PB&J folded, taco-style, into pillowy bao. (Cap things off with the donut bao, a fried concoction topped with vanilla ice cream.) Korean fried chicken is also on the menu at Bossie’s Kitchen—named for the sculpted cow that once sat atop the Art Deco building, formerly a dairy—this time sandwiched between a bun and topped with sesame slaw and gochujang sauce. The hearty dishes, homemade brioche donuts, and quiet outdoor patio draw people from all corners of the city. 

Round out your day 

When the program is complete, BCycle will have 250 electric bikes—and 500 docking stations—throughout the city.

You’ve got to find some way to pass the hours between meals, right? In January 2021, Trek Bikes—whose CEO, John Burke, lives locally part of the year—rolled out BCycle, an e-bike sharing program in downtown Santa Barbara. Just download the app and off you go. The 4.5-mile beachfront trail is a given, but I liked pedaling up into the hills, toward the Old Mission—and with the e-bike, you won’t even break a sweat. 

Or you can stroll up the State Street Promenade and pop into the newly renovated Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The six-year, $50 million remodel—completed in August 2021—added a contemporary art gallery and one devoted to photography, among many other changes. Sundays are free to the public. In 2022, watch for the exhibit “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources,” which will feature 20 works from the artist and Van Gogh–inspired partnerships with the opera, symphony, and other institutions. 

Drink up, morning, noon, and night

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Greet the day at Dart Coffee in the Funk Zone, a food-and-art filled district near the waterfront. Yes, there may be a line but that’s OK because a) you’ll be outside where you can admire the hot pink market lights and two expansive seating areas (one a plant-filled garden space across the street) and b) expertly made coffees and quite possibly the city’s best empanadas await. I’m a fan of the sweet corn-and-onion with a churro latte on the side. Too impatient? Try Golden Line Coffee on Anacapa Street. We stumbled on this pop-up one morning while wandering around, post-farmers’ market. It occupies the Villa Wine Bar on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, serving specialty teas and coffees, like flavored cacao chai lattes and single-origin pour-overs.

You can’t throw a cork without hitting a tasting room or wine bar in Santa Barbara, including newcomers Sevtap and Venus in Furs, which has a vegan pop-up. But right off the main drag there’s a little light-strung place called La Arcada Plaza, where you’ll find spots to eat, shop, and wine-taste, including at Barbieri & Kempe Wines. The European-feeling tasting room (check out the cheese case!), opened in late 2020, shares wines under two labels from husband-and-wife duo Paolo Barbieri and Erin Kempe. We couldn’t help but bring home a bottle of a Rhône-style grenache from the Barbieri label and the full-bodied Kempe Bianco, a viognier blend. 

The Accident in Paradise at Pearl Social, a mix of tequila, pineapple, cilantro, and cucumber that you can convince yourself counts as a health tonic.

After a day of eating well and playing in the sun, there’s nothing like settling down with a well-mixed drink. Located in the Funk Zone and run by the same group that owns the neighboring Lucky Penny, Lark, and Helena Avenue Bakery (all delicious), Pearl Social has a swanky interior and a small patio—and cocktails so good we returned the next night. Ask Chris to mix you a Martin & Gina, a concoction made with gin and amaro. Just blocks from the beach, at  Santo Mezcal, you’ll find the city’s most extensive list of tequila and the restaurant’s namesake spirit. Order an Oaxacan Daiquiri (a world away from its overly sweet, resort-drink cousin) and savor the sounds of people living the good life. 

Watch before you come 

Julia, the just-released HBO documentary about the life of Julia Child, who retired to Montecito in 2002. While Santa Barbara isn’t the focus of the doc, it’s still fun to watch and then take a Julia-inspired whirl around the city, stopping at favorites like the Saturday farmers’ market, the Sicilian Olio e Limone, and of course, La Super-Rica Taqueria for bistec tacos. 

Coming in 2022

Take the kiddos down under: In January 2022, the Santa Barbara Zoo will unveil the Australian Walkabout, an immersive exhibit that will allow explorers to wander among resident wallabies, emus, and more. In spring 2022, watch for the new Drift Santa Barbara, a tech-focused hotel on State Street, and the renovated Waterman, a Moxy hotel in the Funk Zone. 

COVID changes

As of November 2021, Santa Barbara has no travel advisories in effect. Travelers age 2 and older are still required to wear masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Roughly 72 percent of eligible Santa Barbara residents are vaccinated. For more information, see this dashboard.

>>Next: The Santa Barbara Travel Guide

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Best International Restaurants in Los Angeles

One of the things that makes LA truly great is that, as a city full of transplants, it has no shortage of restaurants and bars that offer truly transportive experiences. In a time when travel has been drastically limited and we’ve stretched the boundaries of what it means to make the best of being at home, that aspect of the city has never been more valuable. We’ve got endless options that can make us feel like we’re across the country, across the pond, across the seven seas, or across the universe. Here are 9 culinary experiences that will make you feel like you’re exploring the world while staying close to home.

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Travel expert shares ‘biggest tip’ to ‘save thousands’ on hotels and restaurants | Travel News | Travel

Travel expert shares ‘biggest tip’ to ‘save thousands’ on hotels and restaurants | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix

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Travel expert shares ‘biggest tip’ to ‘save thousands’ on hotels and restaurants | Travel News | Travel

From hotels to food and even tourist attractions, Express.co.uk spoke to Travel Writer, Shebs Alom aka Shebs The Wanderer, who shared his tips and travel advice on how to save money when travelling abroad.

Booking.com has been his go-to for the past 10 years.

Shebs’ loyalty to the app has quite literally paid off as he automatically receives 15 percent off every time he books a hotel.

If you’re lucky, the hotel will throw in an upgrade and a perk such as free breakfast which can be beneficial as breakfast can sometimes add £10 extra to your bill each day.

A clever trick is to book just one or two days on the app then book more days once you arrive at the hotel.


In Shebs’ experience, when the accommodation has been cheaper on a third-party website compared to the hotels website it has become an opportunity to “negotiate a deal” with the hotel.

He boasted saving £300 on his villa during his recent trip to Santorini in Greece.

Hoppers, Agoda and even Hostelworld are apps that also “give fantastic deals”.

Shebs said: “A lot of people think that Hostelworld only features hostels but there are hotels on there too.”

Shebs advised buying water and snacks in supermarkets to avoid “extortionate prices” at tourist attractions.

The days of bureau de change are long gone. Shebs disclosed: “My biggest tip is that I don’t ever carry cash with me”. It’s best to use a bank card but make sure to choose local currency in order to avoid exchange rates and save those bucks.

Shebs suggested making the most out of a Hop-On Hop-Off ticket. After all the sights have been seen, the ticket usually lasts for the entire day therefore it can double up as the mode of transport. 

Speaking of tourist attractions, always speak to a local or someone who has previously visited the destination. They will guide you on the best tours to take so that no money is wasted.

Last but not least, don’t be shy to haggle. Especially when shopping.

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Travel center would bring restaurants, store to Greenville’s east edge | Local News

A proposed travel center is expected to bring two new restaurants to the east edge of Greenville.

The Greenville City Council is scheduled to consider whether to approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the project during the regular session agenda, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Fletcher Warren Civic Center 5501 Highway 69 South. A work session is also scheduled starting at 5 p.m.

A public hearing is scheduled Tuesday prior to the council’s final vote on whether to approve the conditional use permit for the travel center/truck stop.

In a memo to the council, Community Development Director Steve Methven said the business would be built at 3000 Interstate 30 East.

“The applicant met with City Staff several weeks ago and stated he wanted to build a new Roadster Travel Center,” Methven said.

The new center would require the tearing down of an existing business, but Methven said the CUP shouldn’t affect the few houses in the area as they are several hundred feet away from the location and across the four-lane interstate highway.

The business would include a convenience store in the middle, a new International House of Pancakes (IHOP) on one side and a new Sonic Drive-In at the other end.

“These would all be contained in one single building,” Methven said. “There will be fuel pumps in the front for travelers and the truck pumps will be in the rear along with truck scales and a rest area.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed CUP Oct. 18 and voted unanimously to recommend approval to the council.

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