The city of Birmingham has been declared the 19th most desirable destination for travel according to the New York Times’ top ‘45 Places to Go in 2012‘ list, with much of its praise lauded on the city’s notorious reputation as a haven for food lovers.
Described as having a “rich dining scene”, England’s second city’s inclusion in the list comes largely off the back of the BBC food magazine’s announcement last year that Birmingham was the United Kingdom’s “foodiest town,” ahead of London and Edinburgh.
The piece by writer Alexander Lobrano cited the annual 10-day Birmingham Food Fest as one of the reasons behind the city’s culinary revolution, but paid due tribute to Birmingham’s food heritage and the long-term development of its dining industry.
Establishments mentioned by name were Opus and Edwards Restaurant while city Michelin-starred chefs Glynn Purnell (Purnell’s), Andreas Antona, Luke Tipping, Adam Bennett (all of Simpsons Restaurant) and Richard Turner of Turners of Harbourne were also recognised.
Also highlighted was chef Aktar Islam’s Lasan Restaurant, which in 2010 picked up the prestigious title of Best Local Restaurant following celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s nationwide search as part of The F Word. The eatery, based in St Paul’s Square, took the title after beating off competition from British restaurant The Pheasant; a year after being awarded Men’s Health magazine’s ‘Healthiest Restaurant Award’.
Lasan also participated in the sixth series of BBC’s Great British Menu 2011, winning the accolade of representing the central region in the competition finals.
Birmingham’s reputation for creating the Balti dish was also noted with special mention of the city’s Balti Triangle, located in the areas of Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Balsall Heath. Lobrano describes the inner city hub as an “area of town that is home to a beloved Pakistani-Kashmiri curry dish invented here”.
Birmingham - which sits in the listing just below Moganshan in China but surprisingly above the exploration of Space – is the only English city included outside of London, which is placed at number 4 for the ”Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Queen’s 60th year” as well as the 200th birthday of author Charles Dickens amongst other notable calendar events.
Other UK destinations featured in the top 45 places to visit this year are Wales and Glasgow in Scotland. Portovenere in Italy was featured at number 45 while topping the list at number 1 is Panama in Central America.
You can read the full review listing here.