Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Louisville Right Now

Published On 09/26/2017 Published On 09/26/2017
NATHAN PEDIGRO/ GALAXIE BAR
Josh Miller

Butchertown Grocery

Butchertown

Butchertown Grocery, the newest project of Bobby Benjamin (of The Oakroom and La Coop fame), was one of the biggest, most talked-about restaurant debuts in 2015, and we’re happy to report it has lived up to expectations. Local Louisville lawyer Jon Salomon and My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan are partners in the multifaceted endeavor, which, in addition to the main dining room and a chef’s table, boasts a late-night bar and performance venue, where acts picked by Hallahan keep the party going well past dinner.

Above Bellagrace Photography

Galaxie

NuLu

Can we eat every meal at Galaxie? This NuLu haunt gives off a casual neighborhood bar vibe, but foregoes the typical pub fare like nachos and wings for absolutely addictive dishes, like the Across the Universe platter, with house-made bread and an abundance of dips, including hummus, spinach saag, roasted tomato harissa, whipped feta, and cucumber labneh. Everything just happens to pair perfectly with margaritas (go for the spicy), and makes for an ideal late-night snack after taking in a show in the adjoining event space, aptly named OUTERspace, where local bands and DJ’s often play.

La Chasse

La Chasse

The Highlands

The only thing missing from the Highlands’ varied food scene was a refined French bistro, and La Chasse filled that void upon opening just one year ago, breathing life back into the space vacated by Palermo Viejo. Classic dishes like steak frites are given a decadent spin: wagyu flank steak dressed in brown sugar and cumin, and served with herbed Reggiano french fries. Let us be the first to say happy birthday, La Chasse!

Ryan Hyslop

Royals Hot Chicken

NuLu

Chicken is somewhat of an obsession for Ryan Rogers, chef and owner of Royals Hot Chicken. His NuLu restaurant has perfected the craft of dousing a perfectly crisped piece of chicken in a fiery house-made sauce, something locals have obviously taken notice of, as the wait time rivals that of a few other fine Louisville establishments. But of course, this place takes it up a notch, adding Champagne, pimento cheese grits, and both vanilla & chocolate soft serve to the menu, which only ensures that it's a perfect fit for Louisville’s hippest dining row.

Courtesy of The Hub 

The Hub

Crescent Hill

Less than a year old, The Hub is settling in to the Frankfort Avenue dining scene quite well, boasting a large bar, formal dining room, pool tables, and a patio ideal for brunching. A dinner menu of small plates offers some creative dishes, such as quail saltimbocca, fried crab claws, and pimento cheese with bacon pudding. After dinner, the space transitions to more of a club-like vibe, and Saturday nights just got cooler with the addition of The Pit, the restaurant’s new dance floor. Add to that some expertly crafted cocktails, curated by master bartender and co-owner Eric Wentworth, and you've got a great newcomer to the Avenue.

Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

Migo

The Highlands

The same culinary crew behind two of Louisville's beloved restaurants, Hammerheads and Game, have opened the latest (and perhaps greatest) dining establishment in the Douglass Loop corridor of the Highlands. The build-your-own tacos are the name of the game at Migo, but don’t expect the same old toppings. Divided into turf, surf, and vegetarian, diners select their preferred meat of choice (think: tongue, wagyu chorizo, and fried lobster) and one of five taco styles ranging from BBQ to Korean to Mexican. Don’t miss out on the small plates, especially the yucca tots. And one more thing: You are not to leave without dessert. The churros are simply out of this world.

Nerissa Sparkman

Wiltshire At The Speed

University

There are a lot of things the newly redesigned Speed got right, and enlisting acclaimed Louisville restaurateur Susan Hershberg to head the food and beverage program is at the top of the list. Susan recruited the incredibly talented Coby Ming (formerly of Harvest) to craft the menu for the lunch café, with local and seasonal ingredients a menu priority, as it is with each Wiltshire restaurant. Make sure you visit the museum on an empty stomach because the mushroom bisque is just as worthy of your attention as the art.

Edis Celik

Noosh Nosh

Northfield

Given the beautiful, red tile-adorned wood-fired oven, and the rainbow of pastel pizza peels decorating one full wall of the restaurant, it's hard to miss the fact that pizza is Noosh Nosh’s specialty. However the menu of veteran Louisville chef Anoosh Shariat’s newest restaurant doesn’t stop there. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Noosh Nosh offers an eclectic mix of sandwiches, flatbreads (we like the braised brisket with goat cheese), salads, and pasta, all served in a casual environment which is proving to be a perfect addition to the Brownsboro Rd area.

Pho Ba Luu

Pho Ba Luu

Butchertown

The opening of Pho Ba Luu was highly anticipated, and it is proving to be a welcome addition to the increasingly popular Butchertown neighborhood. This fast-casual spot specializes in the street food of Saigon, like banh mi sandwiches, noodle bowls, and piping-hot pho. A full bar is on offer as well, standing just adjacent to the back patio -- a cozy spot to enjoy your noodles when the weather permits.

Red Barn Kitchen

Red Barn Kitchen

Lyndon

Louisville’s newest BBQ joint, located in Lyndon, comes to us courtesy of the Olé Restaurant Group, the same culinary minds behind Guaca Mole, Artesano, Mussel and Burger Bar, and Mercato Italiano. The mac & cheese hand pies, bourbon-glazed ribs, and country ham-wrapped pork chop are early favorites, though the yard bird, Red Barn Kitchen’s take on fried chicken, is the big winner on the menu.

Courtesy of The Oakroom at The Seelbach

The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton

Downtown

The Oakroom, located at the Seelbach Hotel, has long been considered one of the city’s finest restaurants, the gilded dining room a place visited on the most celebratory occasions. In an effort to keep up with Louisville’s current culinary landscape, The Oakroom closed over the summer, taking time to revamp both the dining room and the menu, which now features a variety of small plates like pastrami spiced bison tartare and Kentucky silver carp sashimi in addition to highbrow classics like rack of lamb and prime beef filet. While still upscale, the small plates range from $10-$20, making The Oakroom more accessible than ever before.

Germantown Craft House

Crescent Hill Craft House

Crescent Hill

Craft House debuted its Crescent Hill location in 2014 and quickly became a popular spot in the neighborhood. Hopes are high that Germantown locals will feel the same about the restaurant’s recently opened second location. The odds are good -- after all, this place features 40 local brews, a menu highlighted by local ingredients, and a beautiful dining space, including an airy outdoor patio. We’re particularly fond of the beer-battered cheese curds and the craft house burger, which is anchored by a Marksbury Farm ground steak patty.

Seafood Lady - 502 210-9381

Seafood Lady

Old Louisville

The Seafood Lady is one of those hidden-gem restaurants that locals find and can’t wait to spread the word about, while simultaneously wanting to keep it a secret, for fear of ruining the magic. Like it or not, the word is out on the Seafood Lady, a tiny Old Louisville restaurant specializing in -- you guessed it -- seafood. Snow crab, peel-and-eat shrimp, fried filets, and lobster tails are just a handful of the spiced seafood cooked to order by the Seafood Lady. It's only open three days a week -- Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 11am-9pm -- so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a line stretching out the door. However, the overwhelming consensus is that the Seafood Lady’s fish is well worth the wait.

SuperChefs

SuperChefs

Highlands

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a story quite as inspiring as Darnell Ferguson’s. He’s overcome addiction, homelessness and, most recently, a tragic fire that destroyed his restaurant, SuperChefs. His spirit proves to be unbreakable, however, and he reopened his breakfast and brunch hotspot in the Highlands over the summer. Along with the new location comes the addition of dinner service and a full bar, and the over-the-top breakfast favorites remain, like the triple threat strawberry waffles with strawberry compote and fresh strawberries.

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1. Butchertown Grocery 1076 E Washington St, Louisville, KY 40206

This industrial-chic and proudly Kentuckian spot backed by the unlikely pairing of a local Louisville lawyer and My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan serves American fare with down-home charm. Come in for stylish takes on American classics, like the country pate and bourbon-spiked fries, or the oysters with bourbon mignonette. When you're finished eating, head to the secret late-night bar and performance venue upstairs, Lola, where acts hand-picked by Mr. Hallahan himself keep the party going into the wee hours of the night.

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2. galaxie 732 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202

This interplanetary themed cocktail bar in NuLu is known for their herbaceous cocktails and "wakataka" flatbread tacos. Also worth checking out are Galaxie's signature spicy margaritas; garnished with Lunazul tequila, citrus and pepper flakes, they're a great bright and refreshing summer time drink. A small plates menu of Mexican street food options accents the hip space and neon decor.

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3. La Chasse 1359 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204

La Chasse is a cool, brick-walled eatery and cocktail bar in the Highlands serving contemporary takes on French fare. Shareable plates like lobster artichoke gratin and chicken livers wrapped in bacon are perfect for tucking into while sidled up to the long oak bar, with one of La Chasse's barrel-aged Boulevardier's in hand. This local favorite spot also regularly hosts special wine dinners.

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4. Royals Hot Chicken 736 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202

This NuLu restaurant has perfected the Nashville craft of dousing a perfectly crisped piece of chicken in a fiery house-made sauce, as the wait time here rivals that of a few other fine Louisville establishments. But of course, this place takes it up a notch, tailoring each brined order to the customer's spice preference, and complementing its carnivorous offerings with a generous menu of sides and desserts.

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5. The Hub 2235 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

Boasting a large bar, a formal dining room, pool tables, and a soon-to-be-open patio, the Hub offers a dining experience that delivers beyond the eats. Not that the eats leave anything to be desired: southern-inspired small plates, like pimento cheese with bacon pudding, are the savory shareable offerings du jour here, while drinks come in the form of creatively and gorgeously spun cocktails like a pastel pink gin Flame Dame prepared with egg white. After dinner, the lights are lowered and the music is turned up a bit, giving the restaurant a club-like vibe (open until 2am) without ever losing its casual ambiance.

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6. Migo 2222 Dundee Rd, Louisville, KY 40205

The build-your-own tacos are the name of the game at Migo, but don’t expect the same old toppings. Divided into turf, surf, and vegetarian, diners select their preferred meat of choice and one of five taco styles ranging from BBQ to Korean to Hawaiian. The space is low-key and minimally decorated, but don't worry: tacos, a chimichurri potato salad, and a generous list of beers, sodas, and cocktails will sufficiently occupy your attention.

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7. Wiltshire At The Speed 2035 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY 40208

There are a lot of things the newly redesigned Speed got right, and enlisting acclaimed Louisville Restaurateur Susan Hershberg to head the food and beverage program is at the top of the list. Susan recruited the incredibly talented Coby Ming (formerly of Harvest) to craft the menu for the lunch café, with local and seasonal ingredients a menu priority, as it is with each Wiltshire restaurant. Make sure you visit the museum on an empty stomach because the mushroom bisque is just as worthy of your attention as the art.

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8. Noosh Nosh 4816 Brownsboro Ctr, Louisville, KY 40207

Given the beautiful, red tile-adorned wood-fired oven, and the rainbow of pastel pizza peels decorating one full wall of the restaurant, it's hard to miss the fact that pizza is Noosh Nosh’s specialty. However the menu of veteran Louisville Chef Anoosh Shariat’s newest restaurant doesn’t stop there. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Noosh Nosh offers an eclectic mix of sandwiches, flatbreads (we like the braised brisket with goat cheese), salads, and pasta, all served in a casual environment which is proving to be a perfect addition to the Brownsboro Road area.

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9. Pho Ba Luu 1019 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40206

Seemingly all of Butchertown lines up to chow down at Pho Ba Luu, which, besides being fun to say, is a trendier-than-your-average-Asian-takeout-joint Vietnamese counter-serve restaurant. Pho Ba Luu traverses culinary regions of Vietnam on its menu; Saigon street food favorite banh mi sandwiches with beef, chicken, or tofu, are served side-by-side northern Vietnamese pho and crunchy spring rolls. The indoor industrial space allows light in through garage doors, while the outdoor patio is a sunny spot flanked with picnic tables.

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10. Red Barn Kitchen 8131 New La Grange Rd, Lyndon, KY 40222

Red Barn Kitchen barbecues up authentic southern food in a kitschy, red-roofed, single-floored space plastered with white exterior siding, surrounded by an outdoor patio. The modern rustic feel of Red Barn smells like home, especially with the aroma of smoky BBQ wafting throughout the restaurant. Starters, salads, BBQ, entrees, and chicken-and-waffles comprise the decadent menu; try the homemade cheddar-bacon biscuits with seasonal jams, cinnamon butter, and honey, or the sinful peppercorn rub brisket with pickled onions on a potato bun, garnished with a side, like herb parmesan fries served with Carolina mustard BBQ sauce or buttered grits.

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11. The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton 500 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202

Opened in 1907, The Oakroom has grown to become a beacon of fine dining in Downtown Kentucky, housed within the stately Seelbach Hotel, which has played host to eight U.S. presidents ranging from Taft to Clinton. Traditional American cuisine is the focus, with spoonfish caviar from Kentucky waters and Kentucky-raised rack of lamb illustrating the emphasis on homegrown ingredients. Originally a billiards room, the venue epitomizes the old boys’ club aesthetic, with oak wall paneling, upholstered armchairs, and “secret” doors that serve as passageways out of the hotel. The staff here know their stuff, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find that a third-generation Oakroom bartender is pouring your bourbon.

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12. Crescent Hill Craft House 2636 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

This rustic-chic Crescent Hill bar and restaurant boasts plenty of local brews by West Sixth, Falls City, and Against the Grain, along with an impressive selection of bourbons, and a menu that features Southern-inspired dishes like charred chicken wings served with green mango slaw, pimento ranch, and hot sauce syrup; mussels with pork belly; and, of course, Kentucky's favorite spicy stew, burgoo.

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13. Seafood Lady 617 W Oak St, Louisville, KY 40203

Though this tiny Old Louisville hole-in-the-wall isn't much to look at, its loyal fanbase swears that the cooked-to-order seafood here is the best in town -- from snow crab legs and peel-and-eat shrimp to fried filets and lobster tails. It's only open three days a week (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday), but you better believe locals have them marked on their calendar: there's always a line stretched out the door for Seafood Lady's fresh, heaping portions.

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14. SuperChefs 1702 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY

Much like the superhero theme of SuperChefs' decor and menu, owner Darnell Ferguson's story is a heroic one: he's not only overcome addiction and homelessness, but also a tragic fire that destroyed the restaurant's former space on St. Matthews. Thanks to his relentless determination, he reopened his fan-favorite breakfast hotspot in the Highlands, where souped-up morning goodies like red velvet pancakes and the Juggernaut sandwich (fried chicken, egg, pepper jack cheese, and honey sandwiched between red waffles) still reign supreme. There's a Southern-inspired dinner menu and a full bar in the reincarnated restaurant, too.