The Side by Side Restaurant

3.7
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365 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Southern
Our restaurant takes a modern approach to blending Southern, French, and California-styles of cooking, set against the backdrop of downtown Tuscaloosa. The airy dining room and connecting bar offer ever-changing dishes and cocktails executed by Chef Chris Hastings and his team and are inspired by Alabama, the local farmer’s harvest, and other artisans of every kind. Relax and enjoy an intimate supper with us at the chef’s counter with front row views of the open kitchen, in the main dining room, the Rotunda, or with satisfying snacks and cocktails at the bar.
What 365 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.5
food
3.7
service
3.8
ambience
3.3
value
Noise · Moderate
77% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KR
Birmingham
17 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service were great!!!

KR
Birmingham
17 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So good! Food was good. Service was good.

B
Birmingham
4 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Food was delicious. Seated right on time and table was good. Service was pretty slow, however. Even though I definitely like not feeling rushed, we waited a long time before our waiter came and in between servings. Only other thing I think that could be improved upon is being in a sports town, their cable channels at the bar were very very very limited (only about 5 total channels according to bartenders).

s
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Brunch was ok had crab cake Benedict. The eggs were over cooked. Crab cakes were delicious. My guest had steak and eggs the steak while good was also over cooked. I've had dinner there before and it was very good so maybe just not their best day.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Dinner with a friend

LM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great, late day lunch with college son and friends

OT
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was quite delicious and inventive. The chocolate soufflé with a cardamon sauce and sour cream flavored whip cream was the best. We shared one and then had to order another right afterwards. The chicken brined in sweet tea was also the best I’ve had. The restaurant must have been slammed pretty hard this move in weekend. They ran out of several dishes, but what they had left, the food was amazing. The closest to a Union Square Cafe experience you can get outside of NYC! Not quite 5 stars though because of the quirky service.

WO
Minneapolis
6 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 3

Likely the worst food I’ve had in a long time. They were out of everything I wanted to order due to the move in weekend. My food was cold and under cooked. I was almost the only person in the restaurant and was originally turned away. I was told that only reservations were accepted tonight. (Party of 1) big disappointment

DP
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Everything was great. Disappointed that some items on the menu were not available.

OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The hostess needs some coaching. My son and I arrived early, 5:30, to basically empty restaurant. We did not have a reservation. The hostess told us we needed to see if there was an open table so to go to open table and

OT
Birmingham
3 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch was amazing. New York Strip and eggs was the best I’ve ever had!

OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 1

Hoping they were just having a bad day, but when we walked in someone told us not avoid the back of the restaurant because someone had gotten sick in the bathroom and people had stepped in it. We immediately lost our appetite. The food wasn’t that great.

JS
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

They were out of the fresh catch, Red Snapper, they brought out cold scallops and said nothing. Management blamed the waiter, waiter blamed the kitchen, we left hungry and unhappy.

EP
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We love the food and ambience at Sidebar when dining in Tuscaloosa.

B
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

This restaurant has a lot of potential! I love the concept of it and what it could be. The Main menu food is great, the Happy Hour appetizers where a disappointment. They had NO GLASSWARE to handle the business! A Bar should have a minimum of 2 1/2 the times of their average business in glassware. They were going to the hotel next door to get five glasses here and there. Mind you there was probably 15 to 20 guest when this was happening. I would have liked to see the panic that probably ensued at their peak period that night. Service was horrible at the bar. I understood they were all worried about what they were going to put drinks in and that was valid. That was the fault of management alone for not providing the proper tools to do the job! But we the guest suffered with 5 people at the bar and three bartenders you had to flag them down to be noticed. No one was rude, they all were kind, but had no idea about guest satisfaction, up selling or creating an experience. However, again I must blame this on management for failure to train a bar staff on the number one most important thing at their bar...the guest. I almost had to laugh at the young man who either was a lead, bar manager or felt he had some sort of authority over the other two bartenders. He barked out demands, did ABSOLUTELY nothing except excuse himself to use his cell phone. He had zero perception of what drives sales or repeat business. As a matter of fact he is a contributing factor as he creates a negative energy with the other staff. His lack of knowledge and understanding of guest satisfaction would get him fired if it was my business. The business is in a great location so close to the amphitheater. Answers? Supplying the team and removing the obstacles that prevent them from doing their job. Establish an expectation for what the “ Guest Experience “ should look like, train your staff and then hold them accountable. Then let me know and I would love to come back and try your restaurant again.

KT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

UA graduation.

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l
Western NC
2 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 2

It was totally empty but we were seated in the rotunda part - was weird being alone in a restaurant- food was ok not great

b
New Orleans
4 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Always great in the past but weak service and food tonight. Not that busy but waiter disappeared. Food had no flavor. Meat was tough. Disappointing.

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mother’s Day

VB
Atlanta
9 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great for a before the show drink and dinner.

MC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the food, the atmosphere, and the service. Also, loved the fact that i could make a reservation for our large party!

JM
St. Louis
8 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

Graduation lunch - limited menu and they screwed up 2 orders out of 4. Charged double for the drinks. Not a great experience.

M
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 4

I normally don't write reviews but this experience was so terrible that guests should be aware. We had the worst service with the waitress - asked her what her favorite meal was and she said "nothing on this menu." She also told us that our steak could only be cooked rare or well done, despite the entree being $40. The waitress then served everyone their meal except one and then forgot about the last dish. The steak came out cold and was sent back. The last dish, salmon, came out when everyone had finished but it was rare. So it was sent back as well but came out 30 min later. The waitress also told us that the bottle of wine we ordered wasn't available but brought another one - with a major mark up from the first but did not tell us before the check came out. The waitress at this point said the apps, salmon and salads were going to be compensated by the restaurant. However, they were not taken off when the final check came. Overall, since this was a graduation weekend, it was embarrassing and frustrating to have to deal with this and the waitress did not even apologize. Very, very frustrating.

TP
Jacksonville
35 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Service was a bit slow getting started, waited awhile to be acknowledged salads were interesting & delicious. Southern comfort food with a twist! Excellent!

OT
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

4/21/19. Easter brunch. Average service, shrimp and grits not up to usual standards. Disappointed

SD
San Diego
40 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food was delicious, wine list limited but worthy ...
Server was pleasant but restricted on her knowledge of wines. Seemed a bit unsure of herself .

OT
Birmingham
3 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Award weekend at University of Alabama

R
Raleigh
20 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Great location at the Embassy Suites (where we were staying). Nice ambience, and very good service. The food was just mediocre, and so this was disappointing. There are so few nice restaurants in Tuscaloosa, and they have an opportunity to capitalize on the great location and nice ambience.

CM
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Service was very good and the ambiance fine. I had salmon which was delicious!! Mine was one average sized piece of fish with scant veggies. My husband had the rabbit...he didn't like it much. He also had a salad that was "just ok". Lunch might be a better value, but I don't think the dinner is.

l
Miami
26 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Side by Side is always a good choice. Food is always good and they are always accommodating on busy weekends.

OT
Nashville
2 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great experience. Our waiter, Andrew, was outstanding and so nice!

MM
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

It wasn’t busy so I cannot explain the quality of the food.
We will try it again.

SS
Birmingham
12 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere. We were there for a late lunch following a University of Alabama Basketball game. It was not crowded and very quite. Evidently the game crowd doesn't flock here which is good to know.

BM
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food at Side by Side was amazing! Our waiter was great, and we got our food very quickly. However, we did have a reservation and it was for brunch. I have had friends wait over 2 hours to get their food. We ordered the brunch burger, Club sandwhich, and chicen and waffles. They also let you choose from the brunch and the lunch menu. The food was very good and all at reasonable pries!

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

This restaurant is one of the more upscale restaurants in Tuscaloosa but the servers aren’t properly trained to be working in this environment. The evening started out with a parking issue, there wasn’t any available. Was told there was no valet or hotel parking available that we had to self park offsite and it was pouring rain. We ordered a bottle of champagne and our server brought us wine glasses rather than champagne flutes for it to be served in. Our cocktails (12 ea) weren’t served together, came out one or two at a time and was told that the bar was backed up. Our appetizers came out and the fried oysters that we ordered ($25) actually had fried lemons and fennel unannounced to us so you can imagine the shock when you ate a fried slice of lemon rather than an oyster. The entrees took about an hour to be served and we were “compensated” with a burnt order of cornbread on the house. Very disappointing evening. I would give 2.5 stars if I could. I will not be returning.

MS
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The food was not impressive, especially after having been to other Hastings restaurants. We went for Valentines Day and ordered the couples special. The fried green tomatoes were amazing, but the lobster risotto was crunchy. It has nuts in it, which didn’t feel right. At first we thought our risotto was just under cooked. Then we got the “bottle” of champagne add on. It was a miniature bottle. Not the best advertisement, and we felt completely jipped. We would have been better off just ordering separate drinks. The steaks were cooked wonderfully. The dessert was a pear and apple crostata. It was borderline cold and the waiter gave us spoons?? We had to use a knife and spoon to eat them. Definitely not what I expected for a $110 dinner. I had been so excited to finally come here and was extremely let down.

OT
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very romantic and great atmosphere. Perfect for Valentines’s Day. Service was outstanding. Only complaint I have is about the serving size on the Valentine’s Day menu.

The Side by Side Restaurant
Responded on February 18, 2019

Thank you for your review! We are happy to have hosted you for Valentine's Day!

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CW
Tallahassee
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Side by side does not disappoint. It is in Embassy Suites Hotel but not associated with them as I understand. Busy Valentines evening came off without a hitch. Getting to choose from the regular menu or the Valentine special was an added treat.

The Side by Side Restaurant
Responded on February 18, 2019

Thank you for your outstanding review! We are happy to have hosted you for Valentine's Day!

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c
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The food was good, the menu a little odd; not too many choices. Check it out before you decide to go. We were seated on time and fine with a reservation. Even though they didn’t seem full, the service was slow. We waited quite a while for food, drinks etc, the server apologized for our wait and mentioned they were slammed but it didn’t look that way. Maybe they were short in the kitchen area.

DP
New Orleans
4 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We love Side-by-Side and the food is always very good. The fish of the day was great. The desserts were good. The only negative we had was the butter lettuce salad. When it was brought out, it was literally lettuce and vinaigrette. There were none of the other listed ingredients. Our waitress never returned so that we could ask about it. Overall, it was another good night out at Side-by-Side but could have been great if the salad had been completely prepared.

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