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“Good food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Thyme. by the bay

Thyme. by the bay
151 South Mobile Street, Fairhope, AL
(251) 990-5635
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Ranked #10 of 92 Restaurants in Fairhope
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Moultrie, Georgia
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Good food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Small and good food. Come early for lunch for great outside dining overlooking the bay. Great flavor combinations

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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98 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    62
    25
    8
    3
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fairhope
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Quite Disappointing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

Decor of the hot dog/frozen yogurt spot it used to be. No charm. Server was incompetent. Food was mediocre. Flatbread was ok. Salmon had a nice concept, emphasis on concept, of kimchi in a sweet sauce. Grouper was better. Presentation lacking on both. Wine list was well below average. Based on the website and tripadvisor reviews, I was really hoping for a special, locavore-focused chef-owned restaurant along the lines of Camellia Cafe (before it was moved to Fairhope and sold out to the yuppy scene). My hopes were dashed. I'm sure that the view helps distract from the meal, if you arrive before sunset.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairhope, Alabama
1 review
“Excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Extremely good. The owner puts everything into the cooking and it shows. It is the best restaurant in Fairhope and that says a lot given the number of restaurants.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairhope, Alabama
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“My Favorite”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

I have dined here for every "special" dinner for the last 2 years. This is a dining experience like no others in the area. Fine dining menu in a casual setting. Sit on the deck and watch the sun set over the bay.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairhope, Alabama
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“A Very Special Little Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013 via mobile

I've just had my second dinner at Thyme by the Bay - both times with my wife and in-laws. On each occasion, I left feeling like I had dined at a place with very special food and a nice quaint atmosphere. Indoors, there are only 5 or 6 tables, plus a lunch-style counter (a relic of past restaurants in the building, no doubt). So tip #1: call ahead and reserve a space. There are also a handful of outdoor tables on the deck in front of the restaurant, with great views of Mobile Bay and Fairhope's bay park.

Dinner at Thyme by the Bay is a fine dining experience. I can best describe it as gourmet food in the chef's private serving room, similar to a chef's table in a fine dining establishment.

The menu is limited - as required by the small number of tables - but changes regularly. On this evening, the menu offered a few starters, 2 salads, 2 soups, 5 entrees (crispy duck, filet mignon, lamb, redfish and a pasta), and 1 desert. Amongst us 4 diners, we had Caesar salad, roasted beet salad, white bean soup, crispy duck and lamb. The only dish that was simple was the Caesar salad. The other dishes were each complex, with an alluring blend of ingredients that actuated various portions of one's palette. The wine list offers a nice variety of selections that should satisfy just about anyone.

My selections offer a good example of the complexity of the food. The white bean soup contained a white bean purée (no whole beans or pieces), with muscles (shelled), tomato, a drizzled herbed oil, and other spices. It really brought out the taste buds at the very back of my palette. I didn't realize I had taste buds that far back! The crispy duck must have been fried to get its crispy exterior and was served under a complicated tangy sauce. It was on top of a blend of sweet potato chunks, spinach, herbs and spices, and more sauce. The duck hit a second portion of my palette, and the accompaniments hit a third. I had a Cabernet that was a great match for the meal.

My father-in-law's lamb was similarly complex, with lentils and various other ingredients blended with mint.

This is a place where you discover your palette. Tip #2: At dinner, it's not a place for children, except for those with unusually mature dining tastes.

Tip #3: This is a great place for a romantic dinner date, anniversary celebration dinner, or other special occasion. But call ahead and reserve a space!

Unfortunately, I cannot comment on lunch at Thyme on the Bay. I anticipate it's simpler, but still delicious - but that's just a guess. There are usually plenty of vehicles there at lunch time.

Hats off to the chef!

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