Ten SPOTS: For Spicy Food

by Jason Horn

Sitar Indian Cuisine

Sitar Indian Cuisine

You can specify the heat level of anything you order at this Southside spot. But make one of the already spicy dishes, like chicken vindaloo or lamb madras, “Indian hot” and you’re in for a tongue-searing treat. Or come in for lunch and try a range of heat levels on the buffet. 729 20th St. S.; 205-323-6500. sitarbirmingham.com

Wings Around the Clock

What makes this place different is its unique combination flavors. Try the cold pepper, which pairs a basic hot sauce with tangy lemon pepper; the honey lime, which is much more fiery than it sounds; or the cheese-and-chile hot Parmesan. There are also locations on Southside, in Bessemer, and in McCalla.

Various locations;


Saigon Noodle House

The Vietnamese dishes at this Highway 280 joint don’t come out of the kitchen overly spiced, but every table has its own jar of chile paste, and every bowl of pho comes with a plate of jalapeños so you can adjust the heat to your own liking. If you overdo it, order a sweet-and-creamy French–drip iced coffee to cool the burn.

4606 Highway 280; 205-408-1800

Silver Coin Indian Grill

Indo-Chinese dishes, which combine the subcontinent’s spices and sauces with its neighbor’s noodles and cooking methods, are the specialty at this Lorna Road establishment. Those come in mild or hot, but real spice lovers should try the achari gosht, a fiery-and-sour lamb dish. 3321 Lorna Rd., Suite 13, Hoover; 205-823-9070;


Taste of Thailand

In the same shopping center as Silver Coin, Taste of Thailand offers scorching dishes from a bit further east. If you order anything “Thai hot,” especially any of the flavorful curries, expect an eye-watering blast of heat that’ll stick with you.

3321 Lorna Rd., Suite 3, Hoover;


Sol y Luna

Cocktails might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of spicy food, but the Sol y Luna Margarita at this elegant Lakeview Mexican spot pairs fine tequila and Grand Marnier with a special house-made, chile-laced sangrita. It’s a unique drink you won’t find anywhere else in town.

2811 7th Ave. S.; 205-322-1186;


The Bottletree

If you’ve only been for an indie-rock show, you’re missing half the appeal of Birmingham’s best music venue and (mostly) vegetarian restaurant. Non-meat-eaters will love the Barker’s Buffalo Wrap, crisp-fried tofu soaked in hot sauce and folded in a tortilla.

3719 3rd Ave. S.; 205-533-6288; thebottletree.com


Ginza is two fiery-food opportunities in one: Sit at the sushi bar and order the delicious spicy tuna, spicy salmon  or volcano rolls, or grab a Korean-barbecue table and pair kimchi and hot pickled veggies with cook-your-own spicy gal-bi short ribs.

5291 Valleydale Rd., Suite 101,

Hoover; 205-981-1616;


Dave’s Pizza

(Hot Chick pizza)

Hot sauce as pizza sauce? The longtime Homewood favorite does it with the Hot Chick, a pie also topped with garlic butter, grilled chicken, and blue cheese. The indulgent treat is not for the faint of heart. If you’re really crazy, you can even add jalapeños.

1819 29th Ave. S., Homewood;

205-871-3283; davesontheweb.com


This Highland Avenue Mexican-American joint will top anything on the menu with habanero purée. You just have to ask for it. (And it’s free.) You can also order spicy ranch sauce—basically a combo of hot sauce and creamy dressing—which goes great with any of the quesadillas.

2921 Highland Ave. S.;



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