12 Best Restaurants in Phenix City, Alabama

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Phenix City is a small city located on the Alabama-Georgia border, right across the Chattahoochee River from much larger Columbus, Georgia. With a population of just over 32,000 people, Phenix City offers a surprisingly vibrant and diverse food scene. From classic Southern comfort food to international cuisines, there are many excellent restaurants to discover in Phenix City.

RestaurantCuisineSpecial Features
Brickyard CafeAmericanClassic breakfast and brunch, signature dishes
La CasaMexicanAuthentic entrees, tableside guacamole
Shrimp BasketSeafoodRegional chain, variety of seafood dishes
Depot Bar and GrillSouthernHearty homemade favorites, historic setting
Pho Lee VietnameseVietnameseExclusive Vietnamese cuisine, diverse Asian dishes
Primo’s Italian SteakhouseItalian/SteakhouseUpscale dining, prime steaks, Italian dishes
Wiley’s Wagon WheelDinerClassic diner fare, nostalgic atmosphere
Chattahoochee GrillAmericanDiverse menu, scenic riverfront views
Tip Top CafeComfort FoodHomestyle cooking, longstanding local favorite
UnanimousModern FusionCreative cuisine, stylish setting
Cream & Sugar CafeCafeFocus on vegetarian/vegan options, cozy ambiance
Mare SolLatin FusionBold flavors, unique Latin-inspired dishes

In this article, we will highlight 12 of the best restaurants that Phenix City has to offer. We have selected these restaurants based on high ratings and reviews plus local recommendations.

We cover all types of cuisine from American to Italian, providing options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whether you’re a tourist exploring the city or a local searching for hidden gems, these restaurants are sure to satisfy and exceed expectations. Let’s dive in to learn more about the tasty dining choices in Phenix City!

Brickyard Cafe

Name and Location: Brickyard Cafe in Phenix City, AL

History and Significance: Popular local cafe since 2005 known for signature gourmet brick oven pizza, wings and classic American comfort fare. Housed in a converted 1920s era brick building near Idle Hour Park giving it historic charm and character. Frequented by locals and area workers alike.

What to Expect: Counter order casual dining with indoor and patio seating. Specialties include brick oven pizzas, juicy burgers, chicken wings and homemade meatloaf and pot roast entrees. Full bar featuring local and mainstream brews.

Visitor Information: Opens 11am daily, late night kitchen hours on weekends. Catering menu available. Free parking lot adjacent.

Located in a renovated historical building on 14th Street, the Brickyard Cafe has been a Phenix City staple for breakfast and brunch for decades. Open daily from 7 AM to 2 PM, Brickyard Cafe serves up classic American breakfast options like fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon, made-to-order omelets, and the signature Eggs Brickyard with spinach, ham, mushrooms, and Monterey Jack cheese.

While traditional favorites dominate the menu, there are several inventive dishes as well. Many praise the Coffee Braised Pot Roast Omelet stuffed with tender chuck roast and melty cheese or the Whole Hawaiian with ham, pineapple, green onions, and Swiss cheese baked inside a muffin.

The carefully restored brick walls and vintage decor provide a sense of nostalgia. Popular menu items and the welcoming atmosphere make the Brickyard Cafe one the best spots for a homestyle breakfast or weekend brunch in Phenix City.

La Casa

Name and Location: La Casa Mexican Restaurant in Columbus, GA

History and Significance: Authentic family-owned Mexican eatery since 1982 bringing signature recipes to Columbus straight from Guadalajara Mexico. Frequently voted best Mexican fare in the city for traditional dishes prepared fresh daily. Room decor pays homage to Mexican culture.

What to Expect: Large menu with all your favorites like burritos, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and combination platters served with rice, beans and made in-house chips and salsa. Don’t miss the table-side guacamole or homemade flan for dessert. Value priced deliciousness.

Visitor Information: Open for lunch and dinner daily. Party room perfect for large groups and celebrations. Kids welcome.

La Casa bills itself as an authentic Mexican restaurant and delivers on that promise with a variety of traditional south-of-the-border entrees and street food inspired bites. Highlights of the appetizer selection include fresh guacamole prepared tableside and elote featuring fire roasted corn slathered in rich aioli, queso fresco, and chili powder.

Of course, the full list of tacos and burritos deserves exploration as well with fillings ranging from carne asada to al pastor to spicy chorizo. The single taco order allows sampling of different options. The Jumbo Chimichanga and Burrito Mojado please with bursts of flavor from an abundance of fillings like fajita chicken or steak.

The specialty drink menu doesn’t disappoint either with numerous Margarita choices and multiple non-alcoholic Jarritos Mexican soda flavors. The colorful setting and mariachi music finish off the festive La Casa atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or enjoy a bit of Mexico without leaving Phenix City.

Shrimp Basket

Name and Location: Shrimp Basket in Phenix City AL

History and Significance: Florida based restaurant chain bringing fresh from the Gulf wonderfully crispy seafood baskets and plates to this East Alabama location since 2008. Family favorite spot for heaping fried or grilled baskets of shrimp, oysters, fish and chicken tenders paired with hush puppies, slaw, fries or Cheese Grits.

What to Expect: Casual counter service setup where you choose fried or grilled seafood specialty baskets or create your own combination plates. Dine in the nautical themed interior or patio spaces. Receive table delivery of piping hot seafood goodness ready for your own tartar and cocktail sauces. So tasty!

Visitor Information: Opens for lunch daily 11am. Closes 10pm weekdays, 11pm weekends. Online ordering available.

When a craving for tasty seafood strikes, get ready to dive into the Shrimp Basket. Part of a regional chain with its corporate headquarters in Phenix City, this casual restaurant specializes in the eponymous shrimp plus other fried fish and seafood offerings.

Fried shrimp comes served up by the basket, as part of a plate combo entrée like Frogmore Stew brimming with potatoes, sausage, corn, and shrimp in a tomato broth, or piled atop salads. Guests praise the lightly breaded, crispy fried shrimp and accompanying hushpuppies. Those who don’t care for shrimp won’t be disappointed by fried selections of oysters, grouper, flounder, catfish, and lobster.

The kids’ menu even features bite-sized fried shrimp for the little ones. With its affordable price points, creative takes on seafood dishes, focus on freshness, and signature spicy, sweet, or garlic flavored sauces for dipping, the Shrimp Basket satisfies all cravings.

Depot Bar and Grill

Name and Location: Depot Bar and Grill in Columbus, Georgia

History and Significance: Housed in a restored historic railway station originally built-in 1860, this classic pub brings modern gastropub cuisine paired with extensive craft beer selections in a casual fine dining environment. Frequented by locals, business crowd and event goers at adjacent Civic Center.

What to Expect: Creative takes on comfort foods like lobster tacos, duck confit sliders, shrimp and grits, seared diver scallops joining staples burgers and flatbreads. Refined yet unpretentious dining room with gorgeous mahogany bar. Monthly beer dinner pairings quite popular.

Visitor Information: Lunch, Dinner Daily – Reservations accepted for parties 6 or more. Extensive gluten-free and children’s menu available. $5 valet service and private event spaces.

Located in a historic red brick building that once housed the Central of Georgia Railway depot, the Depot Bar and Grill has proudly served Phenix City since 2014. Embracing its location and history, the Depot Bar and Grill focuses on hearty, homemade favorites of Southern food with flair.

Start your meal with marvelously messy, decadently fried green tomatoes served with Creole remoulade sauce for dipping. Other Southern appetizers shine as well like the Baked Pimento Cheese dip baked until gooey and topped with bacon.

However, Depot Bar and Grill is arguably best well known for the immense portions and from scratch preparation of its entrées. The Chicken and Waffle creation starts with an oversized crispy deep fried chicken breast resting atop a giant Belgian waffle blanketed in sausage gravy. The signature Chicken Salad plate arrives as nearly a full chicken worth of savory pulled roasted meat atop a bed of salad greens.

Daily specials, creative sandwiches, Southern sides and a full bar including Alabama craft beers also entice visitors. The Depot Bar and Grill checks all the boxes for flavorful down-home cooking in a unique setting.

Pho Lee Vietnamese Restaurant

Name and Location: Pho Lee Vietnamese Restaurant in Phenix City, AL

History and Significance: Humble strip mall eatery bringing fast, fresh traditional Vietnamese noodle soups and dishes to East Alabama since 2015. Quickly became renowned in the community for authentic pho, bahn mi and rice platters priced with everyday value in mind.

What to Expect: Simple counter service setup where you order signature Vietnamese noodle soup pho in rich oxtail or chicken broth brimming with meat, rice noodles and herb garnish. Also popular are Bahn Mi Vietnamese sandwiches, vermicelli bowls and rice plates with grilled pork, shrimp or chicken.

Visitor Information: Open everyday 11am to 9pm. Cash only payments. Call ahead for large orders or catering.

The only Vietnamese restaurant in Phenix City, Pho Lee offers a delicious introduction to this popular Asian cuisine. The lengthy menu traverses multiple Vietnamese staples along with several Chinese and Thai dishes. However, the pho noodle soups take center stage.

These fragrant broth based dishes come loaded with noodles, herbs, vegetables and a choice of meat ranging from chicken or beef to seafood or tofu. The huge bowls filled with rice noodles, thinly sliced raw meat, bean sprouts and aromatic Thai basil make for a wonderfully interactive meal as all ingredients get added and stirred together before eating. The classic Pho Ga chicken Pho or the rare beef Pho Tai make great starting points for newbies.

Beyond pho, the shaken beef tenderloin tumbles in a garlic-pepper sauce, Bún bò Huế noodle soup brings on the spice, while spring rolls and Banh Mi sandwiches also please. The colorful, casually elegant atmosphere along with prompt, friendly service enhance the enjoyability of this exotic cuisine new to many Phenix City area residents.

Primo’s Italian Steakhouse

Name and Location: Primo’s Italian Steakhouse, Columbus GA

History and Significance: High-end Italian Steakhouse since 1999 featuring exclusive certified Angus Beef expertly aged and hand cut daily in house. Zagat rated fine dining blending old world techniques with modern inspired additions like tableside food preparations. Award winning wine list with over 200 selections.

What to Expect: Classic elegance with pianist serenading amidst dark wood decor accentuated with deep red fabrics. Attentive service guiding you through the Italian Steakhouse menu showcasing pasta, seafood, veal chops and USDA Prime steaks served with signature zip sauce. Save room for made-from-scratch desserts.

Visitor Information: Reservations strongly recommended. Business formal attire. Valet parking available.

For an upscale dinner out in Phenix City, make a reservation at the elegant Primo’s Italian Steakhouse. Decorated in rich hues of red and wood accents, with intimate lighting and linen covered tables, Primo’s ambiance sets the scene for a sophisticated dining experience.

The menu focuses on expertly prepared cuts of meat, seafood and pasta featuring both Italian influenced options along with traditional steakhouse fare. USDA Prime steaks make up the center of attention including a 16-ounce ribeye and dry aged bone-in ribeye served with a choice of housemade sauces like savory porcini mushroom or zippy horseradish.

Italian selections also shine with dishes like veal parmesan in marinara sauce and pappardelle noodles tossed with wild boar ragout. Nightly specials, an extensive wine list mostly sourced from Italy and a dessert tray of Italian treats like tiramisu and cannoli round out meals nicely. With its classic atmosphere, stellar service and scrumptious upscale offerings, Primo’s provides a special night out for Italian food aficionados.

Wiley’s Wagon Wheel

Name and Location: Wiley’s Wagon Wheel Steakhouse. Phenix City, AL

History and Significance: Local favorite steakhouse since 1975 housed in rustic barn-style building featuring genuine cowboy decor. Known for perfectly seared Angus cuts chargrilled over open fire paired with made-from-scratch sides in generous portions. Live music in the Wheelhouse Lounge nightly.

What to Expect: Hearty steakhouse fare in a casual festive wild west atmosphere with cowboy murals, wagon wheels, lassos, checker tablecloths and friendly service. Hand cut steaks, BBQ ribs, chicken fried steak among guest favorites. Join locals line dancing in the lounge after dinner.

Visitor Information: Opens 4pm daily. Closed Sundays. Reservations for parties 6 or more.

Since 1972, Wiley’s Wagon Wheel has been serving smiles and classic all-American diner fare perfect for hungry kids and adults alike. The checkered floor and red leatherette booths ooze nostalgic appeal. However, the hearty portions of comforting eats take top billing.

For breakfast, Wiley’s delivers fluffy biscuits blanketed in creamy sausage gravy along with two-egg combos loaded up with bacon, ham or sausage paired with hashbrowns or grits and toast. Pancakes and French toast provide sweet variety. Egg sandwiches and gigantic 10-ounce charbroiled burgers headline the lunch offerings.

Hidden gems await on the appetizer selection like the Boudin Balls which get rave reviews for the Cajun spiced pork and rice filling. Daily blue plate specials keep the menu seasonal and affordable. Leave room for homemade pies and decadent milkshakes. Open 6 AM to 8 PM daily, Wiley’s reliably satisfies any diner cravings.

Chattahoochee Grill

Name and Location: Chattahoochee Grill in Columbus, GA

History and Significance: Popular special occasion restaurant since 1995 renowned for its exquisite new American cuisine served in an elegant yet relaxed riverside setting. Seasonal menu guided by first-rate culinary team presents artful interpretations of classic dishes utilizing fresh regional ingredients.

What to Expect: Understated sophistication with rich woods, marble, and romantic fireplaces framing views of the Chattahoochee River. Attentive service guiding you through Chef’s latest seasonal creations and an extensive award winning wine list spanning the globe. Save room for the heavenly coconut cake.

Visitor Information: Open for dinner Tues-Sat. Reservations strongly recommended especially weekends. Proper evening attire required. Valet parking available.

Nestled along the riverfront overlooking the Chattahoochee River, the Chattahoochee Grill provides not only tasty eats but also picturesque views. Floor to ceiling windows allow uninterrupted vistas of the waterway, Phenix City skyline and the Russell County Bridge.

The varied menu travels from hearty pub grub like colossal loaded nachos to more elegant fare like grilled salmon topped with lemon dill sauce. Shareable appetizers please crowds with choices like fried pickle chips, quesadilla rangoon wraps, and chicken lettuce cups. Salads and sandwiches also hit the spot.

Of course, the scenic setting encourages leisurely outdoor dining on the patio. Listen to live music with a cold drink in hand as the sun sets over the calm waters. It makes for a relaxing ambiance any night of the week under the market style string lighting. With great views, food and entertainment, the Chattahoochee Grill offers full experience riverfront dining.

Tip Top Cafe

Name and Location: Tip Top Cafe in Columbus Historic District

History and Significance: Quaint petite cafe housed in an original 1890s building in heart of historic downtown Columbus. Well-loved breakfast and lunch establishment since 2014 dishing out fantastic omelets, hearty sandwiches and homemade baked treats in cozy retro surroundings.

What to Expect: Crave worthy daily breakfast and lunch specials scribbled on chalkboard menus that might include dishes like Pimento Cheese omelets, shrimp and grit bowls, grilled Cuban sandwiches, tomato basil bisque and macaroni and cheese. Save room for sticky bun bread pudding!

Visitor Information: Opens 7am to 3pm Tuesday thru Sunday. Limited indoor counter seating plus outdoor bistro tables. Street parking available.

Ask any Phenix City local where to find good comfort food and the resounding response names Tip Top Cafe. This cozy, cash only restaurant has attracted devoted regulars for its homemade cooking and personable charm since opening in 1962. Known for big breakfasts and even bigger lunch plates, the Tip Top Cafe delivers traditional Southern fare from scratch.

Fluffy buttermilk biscuits, golden waffles and pancakes, cheddar cheese omelets and corned beef hash fill up morning diners. Lunchtime stars include golden fried chicken served up with sweet baked beans, candied yams, greens and cornbread. Pot roast simmers for hours before getting paired with mashed potatoes. Slice into the tender, fall-off-the-bone meatloaf or the sweet and tangy pulled barbecued pork.

Daily specials like smothered cubed steak keep things interesting while scratch-made banana pudding and lemon icebox pie end meals sweetly. Order peach tea or straight-up coffee and leave room for dessert at this beloved small town cafe.

Unanimous

Name and Location: Unanimous Food Truck Park in Columbus GA

History and Significance: Opened in 2021, this vibrant space brings a rotating lineup of the city’s best food trucks and carts together along with craft beer, games and entertainment creating a casual hangout spot for locals. conceived by the owners of Wildwood Spirits urban distillery next door.

What to Expect: Outdoor area with strings lights overhead featuring various food trucks daily offering everything from tacos, ramen burgers, bbq, po boys to Hawaiian shaved ice. Chill space with live music, craft beers and lawn games like ping pong, cornhole and giant jenga. Various themed events.

Visitor Information: Usually open evenings Wed thru Sunday – Hours vary by season. Family and pet friendly outdoor space with some covered and heated seating areas.

While fairly new on the Phenix City dining scene, Unanimous has made an immediate impact and developed devotees. The hip industrial interior with exposed ductwork provides a lively backdrop for the creative cuisine conceptualized by executive chef and owner Quang Tran.

A centerpiece square bar allows visitors to watch the mixologists concocting crafty cocktails with homemade syrups and infusions. The menu offers shareable small plates and entrees featuring unexpected flavor combinations. Starters like the Hitsavory Pastrami Egg Rolls or General Umami Fried Rice Balls topped with Japanese kewpie mayo astound taste buds.

Seared duck gets paired with a sweet and savory bluishberry gastrique while the Miso Bronzed Cod entrée balances the strong fermented bean paste with jasmine rice and bok choy. Save room for the Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie served over vanilla bean ice cream.

The adventurous menu, handcrafted drinks and energetic ambiance keep locals returning again and again to see what delicious surprises await next from Chef Tran.

Cream & Sugar Cafe

Name and Location: Cream & Sugar Cafe in Columbus, Georgia

History and Significance: Lovingly from scratch baked sweets and pastries offered in this quaint cafe opened in 2014 by husband wife team inspired by their global dessert travels. Known for European high tea service, specialty layer cakes and seasonal baked items that delight the senses.

What to Expect: Sweet aromatic setting with display cases beckoning you to the days freshest croissants, macarons, cupcakes, tortes and artisan breads and sandwiches for takeaway or sit down tea service. The strawberries and cream layer cake is sheer bliss.

Visitor Information: Open Tues to Sat 8am to 5pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Call ahead for custom dessert orders. Street parking available.

For a cozy cafe offering breakfast and lunch with an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan options, visit Cream & Sugar. The bright interior with exposed brick walls and bold artworks fosters a laid-back vibe. Yet the lengthy, creative menu reveals serious attention to detail and flavor combinations.

Hearty oatmeal bowls arrive overflowing with fresh and dried fruit along with seeds and nuts. Breakfast tacos get stuffed full of tofu chorizo or smoky tempeh bacon. Lunch showcases sandwiches like the Jackfruit Carnita Wrap with guacamole, black bean salsa and pickled red onion or the Smoked Gouda BLAT made with coconut bacon.

Salads shine with choices like the protein loaded Ancient Grains Bowl or fiber rich Roasted Beet and Quinoa salad. Smoothies, coffee drinks and small batch baked goods round out the offerings. Friendly counter service and ample seating make Cream & Sugar a favorite for relaxed mornings or lunch meetings.

Mare Sol

Name and Location: Mare Sol Restaurant, fine Latin dining in Columbus GA

History and Significance: Opened in 2018, this upscale nouveau Latin restaurant quickly earned acclaim for artfully infused Pan-Latin cuisine blended with local ingredients and Georgia flavors. The brainchild of native Columbian chef-owner Andres Cuero, dishes reflect technique driven interpretations of Cuban, Peruvian and Brazilian fare.

What to Expect: Thriving downtown locale with golden hued interiors reflective of Latin sunset. Dishes like Peruvian ceviche, Brazilian churrasco skewers, ropa vieja steak Cubanos and slow braised cabrito join diverse Tapas selections. Handcrafted cocktails shine using South American spirits.

Visitor Information: Dinner daily 5pm to 10pm. Encouraged reservations. Valet parking available. Craft cocktail bar open late night.

The vibrant purple exterior hints at the bold flavors awaiting inside Mare Sol Latin Kitchen and Bar. Intimate indoor dining areas plus a plant filled outdoor patio set an inviting scene. However, creativity reigns supreme on the Latin fusion focused menu courtesy of Chef Luis.

Share plates allow sampling smaller dishes like empanadas or chipotle chicken lettuce wraps across the table. Steak skewers get paired with tart goat cheese arepas while tequila salmon brushed with ginger garlic glaze shares space on the table with yuca fries. Pepper crusted tuna cubes showcase Latin flair next to jalapeño bacon mac and cheese bites.

Of course, handcrafted cocktails like the spicy Serrano Melon Margarita deserve their own attention. An extensive rum list also begs exploration. Blurring the lines between traditional cuisine and fusion while focusing on shareable bites makes Mare Sol a one-of-a-kind dining destination in the heart of Phenix City.

Conclusion

The dining landscape across Phenix City offers depth and diversity from comforting Southern flavors to exotic Vietnamese fare and everything in between. Seafood shacks, small town institution cafes and chef-driven upscale establishments all make their mark. Homestyle breakfast gems, weekend brunch requisite and destinations for dinner with a view get included in the mix as well.

These 12 restaurants highlight the very best options, must-try hidden gems and affordable favorites to suit any occasion or craving. From morning fuel at Brickyard Cafe to an evening out at Primo’s or family dinner at Wiley’s Wagon Wheel, Phenix City satisfies all appetites. Hopefully this list inspires locals and visitors alike to explore the tasty dining scene thriving in this unexpectedly culinary rich Alabama town.

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