Vino, in the charming English Village of Mountain Brook, may have been voted most romantic restaurant in a Birmingham readers’ poll in 2012, but it’s also a great spot for gathering with friends, and the zen-like patio is the perfect perch for taking in the sunset and letting night fall as you dine in fine, casual style amongst the softly lit trees. Beyond the ambience, you’ll enjoy an extensive wine list (no worries if you are unsure what to order as the attentive servers are very knowledgeable!) and an array of palate-pleasing, seasonal entrees and small bites.

The patio addition was completed in 2012. Photo credit: honeysucklelife.com

The patio addition was completed in the spring of 2012. Photo credit: honeysucklelife.com

Owner Al Rabiee offers his native Mediterranean cuisine, simply prepared and locally sourced where possible. The restaurant is open for dinner only and has a sleek, modern, sophisticated white-on-white décor similar to the art gallery, Gallery 1930, which occupies the adjoining space. The menu contains health conscious fare with an abundance of choices — shareable appetizers (like the antipasta plate or shrimp and crab fritters), soups, salads, pasta dishes and a variety of main courses. Well-portioned entrees like the fork-tender braised lamb shanks or the pan-seared grouper, served with organic seasonal vegetables, rice or couscous will leave you satisfied, but not feeling as though your jeans have become too tight. If you still have room for dessert, try the apple fritters!

Ahi Tuna skewers.

Ahi Tuna skewers are served with an assortment of dipping sauces alongside citrus rice and baby spinach greens.

Antipasta

Antipasta of assorted cheese, dry-cured meats and hummus is perfect for sharing.

Kale, pine nuts and hummus

Kale, feta, pine nuts and hummus bruschetta is a chef’s special not on the menu.

Salmon Latkes

Salmon Latkes with dill mascarpone and naan.

Panzanella salad

Panzanella salad is bursting with Mediterranean flavor.

As the name suggests, Vino has an extensive wine list with vintages from California, Oregon, France, New Zealand, Australia, South America and of course, Italy. But if wine is not your thing, the restaurant also serves up some seriously good specialty cocktails like the strawberry martini.

Summertime beckons us outside and is a time to enjoy gathering with friends to share some laughter, delicious food and linger over a bottle of wine. Vino is located at 1930 Cahaba Road and open Monday through Saturday from 4 – 11 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are available. Consider Vino the next time you plan to go out for a nice dinner or drinks with shareable small bites. You’ll be glad you did!

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