Birmingham, MI

Walk into Wonderland at the Mad Hatter Bistro - Birmingham, Michigan

Heather Raulerson

The Mad Hatter Bistro is a great place to fall out of reality for a bit and enjoy lunch, brunch, tea, or dinner in Birmingham, Michigan. The outside of the building looks like an old vaudeville theater entrance. Whereas once you walk inside, you immediately get the impression of landing right in the middle of Alice in Wonderland. Are you ready to step into Wonderland at the Mad Hatter Bistro?

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

Alice in Wonderland Details

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The entire two-story restaurant has little touches of whimsy throughout the building. Everywhere you look at the walls, ceilings, stairs and even the chairs have an Alice in Wonderland theme to them. On the outside, there are the classic doorknobs from the story. You can almost imagine them coming to life and moving their mouths to greet you. Hello! How are Youuu?

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Once you enter and are waiting for a seat, there are several more cute decorations, from the dressed rabbits to the set of silver keys hanging on the coat hooks. The main floor is decorated from the Queen of Heart's perspective with a rich, luxurious feel in the decor. From chandeliers, candles, and velvet picture frames. Even the walls are painted like the card soldiers in the Queen’s guard. When I recently stepped into Wonderland at the Mad Hatter Bistro, I sat over in the checkered area and kept trying to figure out the riddle “Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?”

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The stairs leading to the downstairs seating area are decorated with cards, quotes, and more clocks. Although with all the clocks in the restaurant you would think one would have the right time. “I’m late. I’m late for a very important date!”

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Downstairs Eating Area

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The downstairs eating area has more of the Mad Hatter Tea Party theme. The green walls give you an outdoor feel, and the upside-down lamps are totally something the Mad Hatter will do. This is a great area to have a group afternoon tea party, in which you have to make reservations 24 hours in advance.

Cocktails

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Besides the decor, the cocktails make the place fabulous! You have to see the teacup and spoon chandelier in the corner of the bar. Very unique! The drink menu takes a little time to decipher. There are small graphics down in the corner that help you navigate the menu (sweet, sour, bitter, etc.). My friend Nathalie and I tried the Pom and Circumstance and Thyme Loves Hero. My drink came with a Swedish Fish on it as a decoration. Drinks come in crazy bent glasses, which add to the crazy atmosphere.

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Food

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Yummy! That about sums up the food choices here. Prices are reasonable for an upscale bistro in Birmingham. We tried a couple of appetizers and entrees to see how everything tasted. The Tuna Wonton Tacos are a surprise, soft on the inside and crunchy wonton on the outside. Nice flavoring inside the tacos. The Mac and Cheese with Cavatappi noodles have the right blend of creaminess and cheesy flavor that will warm you up on a dreary, cold day.

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The main entrees' choices range from seafood, pasta, burgers, steaks, and even rabbit. We tried the Shrimp and Grits and The Mad Hatter Burger. The Shrimp and Grits was another surprise taste. It consists of Stoney Croft Farms grits, cheddar, poblano, black beans, and roasted corn. The dish is very hot when served, so before you burn your tongue, make sure to let it cool down a bit. The Mad Hatter Burger is made from Farm Field Table beef. It is a great classic burger, and the hand-cut fries are a nice touch.

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The Mad Hatter Bistro has one small flaw in that it is in a small building, which affects the number of reservations they can accept and how many walk-ins they can let in. Your best bet is to try and make a reservation. We tried to do a walk-in and were told they had no more openings for several hours. We ended up walking around Birmingham, which was just as much fun. Then we called back and made dinner reservations for the first seating at 5 pm. We had no problems the second time. Knowing this ahead of time will help you avoid being disappointed if you can’t get in when you want to.

The Mad Hatter Bistro should definitely be on your list of things to do in Birmingham. This restaurant has been here since 2014, and I just heard about it by chance recently. I hope you can take some time to check it out. You won’t be disappointed to step back into Wonderland at the Mad Hatter Bistro.

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Freelance travel writer and photographer who loves sharing her adventures from around the world. It is never too late to pursue your dream!

Rochester Hills, MI
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