Best Bites

This isn’t just any ol’ list.

These independent restauranteurs and talented chefs have created exceptional establishments with specialty dishes you won’t find anywhere else. And they have to earn their way onto these pages: selected for our visitors and by our visitors, these are our GOATs, our tried and true, those that have achieved a superior and unparalleled level of yumminess!

Among these pages, you’ll find something suitable for every taste and budget - whether it’s a downtown student haunt or a white tablecloth dining room with a 300-bottle wine list. From Iron Chef and the James Beard Foundation to Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and Wine Spectator, the whole world is figuring out what we already know. The Auburn-Opelika culinary scene is lit! Pick your fave and share it with us.

1856 - Culinary Residence

  • 205 S College Street

A culinary residence that sits at the corner of campus and community. The Auburn University fine-dining restaurant 1856 – Culinary Residence has been named the best new restaurant in Alabama in Southern Living magazine's list of The Best New Restaurant in Every Southern State 2024. A roof-to-table experience, 1856 – Culinary Residence’s menu is…

Acre

  • 210 E. Glenn Avenue

Acre celebrates Southern hospitality and the fresh harvest provided by the local community. With sophisticated charm, repurposed architectural details, and a menu of stylishly modern food with roots deep in Southern soil, it's a delightful anachronism. Good traditions for good people, a neighborhood place perfect for conducting business, relaxing with…

Amsterdam Cafe

  • 410 S Gay Street Auburn, AL 36830

Alive with conversation, music, and cool servers, Amsterdam will make you feel welcomed and comfortable in a relaxed and stylish setting. An Auburn tradition, the eatery features special event space and two full bars. Amsterdam Cafe's menu offers a plate for every palate and consists of soul-pleasing selections that include family favorites, seasonal…

Ariccia Cucina Trattoria

  • 241 S College Street Auburn, AL 36830

Inspired by a hilltop town of palaces, vineyards, and poets, Ariccia Cucina is a modern Italian escape located in the heart of Auburn. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner 365 days a year, as well as Saturday and Sunday brunch, Ariccia has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Guests can enjoy authentic Italian fare in our intimate dining room…

Auburn Plaza Bar & Lounge

  • 800 Main Street

Auburn Plaza Bar and Lounge is a restaurant located in Midtown. They serve burgers, late-night food, cocktails, and more. It is a fun place to hang out with friends and enjoy good food and drinks. They also recently started serving brunch as well on Saturday and Sundays. The Plaza serves up delicious meals and even better deals. Stop by to get a drink and…

Bow and Arrow

  • 1977 E. Samford Ave.

From the talented chef-owner who brought us Acre, Bow & Arrow is where South Texas barbecue meets Alabama potluck. Casual and authentic, Bow & Arrow serves up an assortment of smoked meats cooked over a live-fire Kudu grill, a selection of Southern sides, including hashbrown casserole, collard greens, and brisket beans; and an extensive selection of real…

Byron's Smokehouse

  • 436 Opelika Rd.

Byron's Smokehouse has been serving up barbecue since 1989. They have BBQ, breakfast, and Brunswick stew. Byron's is an Auburn landmark that visitors remember and locals love. The family feel, old-school atmosphere, and friendly faces bring everyone together for some good food and fun times! Visit Byron's for a taste of Auburn that everyone is sure to enjoy…

Cafe 123

  • 123 South 8th Street

A fine dining restaurant serving Southern and continental cuisine with a hip, vintage atmosphere in the heart of historic downtown Opelika. Located in the historic Hayne's Drugstore building, the ambiance and charm of this authentic 50s soda fountain and hangout remains but has been updated with original artwork, white linens, and funky fixtures. The cafe's…

Corner Office

  • 540 Devall Drive

From the hearts and minds of those who created The Hound & The Depot, Corner Office is an eclectic breakfast and lunch cafe. It's the ideal spot for a refreshing lunch break, a productive study session, or successful work meeting. The atmosphere is carefully curated to provide a cozy and welcoming environment, offering you the perfect opportunity to pause…

The Depot

  • 124 Mitcham Avenue

Auburn's finest and freshest seafood! The Depot is a gulf-coastal brasserie with a globally inspired menu where sea meets land. First built in 1847, this fabled train depot rests in the heart of downtown Auburn. With a prominent role in the history of the city, the time-worn tracks of The Depot have seen the face of war and abandonment. Now over 150 years…

Hamilton's

  • 174 E. Magnolia Ave.

Hamilton's is an intimate and casual atmosphere making it a favorite destination in historic downtown Auburn for over a decade. Their menu consists of diverse contemporary American selections that include beef, pork, fish, and chicken of the finest quality. The chef's entrees are prepared daily and creatively presented. Appetizers, salads, and sandwiches are…

The Hound

  • 124 Tichenor Avenue

The Hound is a family-owned restaurant and bar featuring over-the-top American classics, top-shelf bourbon, and 28 craft beers on tap. They offer bacon from heritage breed pork as well as other organic and humanely raised meats. The atmosphere was designed to be warm and welcoming: think hunting lodge or an antler-pronged barn setting. Owners Matt & Jana…

The Irritable Bao

  • 127 E. Magnolia Ave

The Irritable Bao is located in downtown Auburn, just steps from Toomer's Corner. They serve authentic Chinese dumplings, bao, and more. The bao come in a variety of new flavors every day from classics such as pork and cabbage to fresh fusion flavors including Philly cheesesteak and buffalo chicken. The store has become increasingly popular among people from…

Lucy's

  • 2300 Moores Mill Road

Awarded by diners as the #1 restaurant in Auburn, AL by Trip Advisor, Lucy's is a modern American eatery offering an fresh, approachable spin on the classics. A light and bright California-style restaurant, its menu is ever-changing and filled with fresh seafood, locally-farmed meat and produce. Lucy's is all about shared plates, award-winning cocktails, and…

Mrs. Story's Dairy Bar

  • 1900 Pepperell Parkway

An Auburn-Opelika tradition since 1952, the secret recipe for Mrs. Story's famous homemade chili dogs reminds us that, thankfully, some things never change. Still in its original location on Pepperell Parkway, the owners of this 50s-style walk-up are the third generation of the Story family to serve the freshest “fast” food in the area. Mrs. Story's Dairy…

Pannie-George's Kitchen

  • 2328 S College Street

Pannie-George’s selection of meats and vegetables encompass the rich tastes and textures of Southern-style cooking. Named after their grandparents, the owners and operators of this casual, cafeteria-style restaurant have created an establishment where customers are “welcomed and treated like a respected member of Pannie-George’s family,” and it has quickly…

The Waverly Local

  • 1465 Patrick St.

Southern fine dining in beautiful Waverly, Alabama. Where the locals gather, and travelers feel at home. The Waverly Local has been described as “seasonally inspired, simple southern fare amidst mid-century modern decor in a beautifully repurposed garage setting.” They currently have a revolving beer list featuring various local craft brews, wine by the…

Zazu Gastropub

  • 112 S. 8th Street

Housed in what was a vacant commercial building in downtown Opelika, Zazu Gastropub is now a stunning five-level restaurant striking in character with sandy, old bricks, wide-plank flooring, flickering gas lanterns, and repurposed wooden beams from the Old Mill in Opelika. Zazu Gastropub focuses on fresh local ingredients to create fine dining cuisine in a…