Where to Eat in Louisville Right Now
To say 2020 has fallen short of expectations is kind of like saying the canned tuna you just fed your cat isn’t sushi grade. But even in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic replete with quarantines and entertainment lockdowns, Louisville is still producing some great restaurants that are serving all types of cuisine in all sorts of settings. Let’s face it, these folks need us now more than ever, so even if you aren’t ready to venture out for a masked-up, distanced dining experience, you can still get carry-out to take home or to a local park for a pandemic picnic.
The gist: The Ole Restaurant Group strikes again with this Cuban concept that features a huge rum selection, a cigar bar, and authentic Cuban cuisine.
The food: The menu features traditional Cuban dishes like Arroz con Pollo a la Chorerra, a Cuban comfort food dish consisting of big chunks of chicken and yellow rice simmered with beer, sofrito, peas, green olives, and roasted peppers. There’s a substantial apps menu (shrimp ceviche or pork tamales, anyone?), entrees, sandwiches, sides and, of course, desserts such as flan and tres leches cake.
The cost: Appetizers are $7.99-$11.99, sandwiches are $11.99-$13.99, and entrees range from $13.99 to $18.99.
How to order: Call 502-690-5016 for carryout orders 5-10pm.
Agave & Rye
The gist: Upscale Mexican concept with a bar focus on tequila and bourbon. Check out the massive patio area and the funky decor.
The food: The tagline says it all: “Epic tacos.” From the Mac Daddy to the Hell Yea, there’s a mega-taco for pretty much everyone, not to mention rice bowls, tortas, apps, and more.
The cost: Tacos are $4-$11.50, “Munchies” are $5-$15, and “Not Tacos” come in between $11 and $17.
How to order: order online for curbside pickup, 11am-9pm, or order from GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates.
Jake and Elwood's
The gist: Chicago-themed pizza joint with signature pies, sandwiches, and sausages, not to mention plenty of “The Blues Brothers” references.
The food: Locals rave about the massive deep-dish pies, but don’t sleep on the signature dogs and the Italian beef sandwiches. At lunchtime, thin-crust pizza is available by the slice. For a local flavor, check out the Dibs menu for some Kentucky poutine.
The cost: Deep-dish pizzas start at $15.99, dogs start at $2.50, sandwiches are $8.99-$12.99, signature salads are $4.99-$12.99, thin-crust pizza by the slice starts at $3.25 each, and apps/sides range from $2.50-$7.99.
How to order: Call 502-690-2167 for carry-out service.
Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
The gist: Japanese fusion with a variety of Asian influences meets a modern sushi bar in an upscale atmosphere.
The food: The signature rolls at Tokyo are unlike any you’ll find at a standard sushi bar; meanwhile, the hibachi features everything from swordfish to lobster tail and entrees include classics such as bibimbap and ton katsu.
The cost: Basic rolls start at $5.50, while signature rolls are $8-$18, entrees are $14-$18, and hibachi dinners range from $15-$27.
How to order: Call (502) 339-7171 for carry-out.
Noche Mexican Bbq
The gist: Mexican-style barbecue joint set in a former church that features one of the more unique dining experiences in the city, complete with open-air kitchen and a ceiling mural designed to look like a night sky.
The food: It’s smoked meats, Mexican style at Noche. Chicken tinga becomes smoked chicken tinga, and when you order brisket, it comes in a taco shell with avocado, cilantro, smoked onions, and salsa. Pair your meal with one of seven signature salsas.
The cost: Sharable botanas are $7-$16, taco dinners run $12-$15, while barbecue and entrees start at $14.
How to order: Call 502-467-8015 for curbside or order online.
El Mundo In The Highlands
The gist: A longtime Louisville favorite now has a sister restaurant in a spacious location in the busy Highlands, featuring a unique take on Latin fare and some of the best margaritas in town.
The food: Pick your favorite filling -- chicken, pork, bison, black beans, or vegan chorizo -- then stuff it inside a grande burrito, chile relleno, tacos, or another house special. Or just save everyone the decision-making and get the delicious fish tacos. Also? The poblano mole on those enchiladas is so tasty it should be illegal.
The cost: Apps are $2.25-$7.95, while entrees come in from $11.95-$15.95.
How to order: Order online for carry-out, make reservations online for dine-in service.
Limón Y Sal
The gist: A modern Mexican restaurant with an expansive menu of traditional fare in a clean, bright environment.
The food: You can chill out with street tacos or go full-bore and order one of the house specials, like Molcajete Azteca. Whatever you choose, the decision won’t be easy thanks to a robust selection of tortas, enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas and much more. Pro tip: The carnitas will make your week.
The cost: Apps are $3.25-$9.99, Mexican classics range from a $3.25 taco to a $17.99 mar y tierra (surf and turf) platter, and house specials are $9.99-$18.99.
How to order: Call 502-423-4604 for carry-out or delivery, or order from GrubHub.
Pier 17 Cajun Seafood & Bar
The gist: Cajun-style seafood, both fried and boiled, with po-boys and low boil-style dinners a focal point. It’s all served up in an over-the-top nautical-themed space. (Hint: There are sharks hanging from the ceiling.)
The food: Some people like their seafood battered and fried, and those folks can fill up on fried shrimp, oysters, frog legs, and more. For those who like to get their hands dirty, a variety of boils with potatoes and corn are in play, with your choice of shrimp, crab legs, crawfish, mussels, and plenty more, served up in a bag.
The cost: Apps are $5-$9, fried seafood baskets are $10-$12, po-boys are $8-$16, and boils start at $7 and build from there (check out the $450 Pier 17 feast combo).
How to order: Order online or call 502-409-9857 for carry-out.
Pints And Union
The gist: A European-style pub with a focus on small plates, craft cocktails, a diverse beer list, and conversation. Quirky décor with a loft and a built-in library space.
The food: Think pub grub with flair, from scotch eggs to wings to an “Adult Lunchable” consisting of pickled veggies, cheese, and bread. If you’re hungrier, try one of the signature burgers, fish and chips, or the enticing Tikka Masala Burrito.
The cost: Shareables are $7-$15, while entrees are $8-$13.
How to order: Order online or call 812-913-4647 or carry-out.
The gist: It’s Southern charm meets chef’s flair at Biscuit Belly, the place that took Louisville by surprise with its biscuit-centric menu and cocktail program. It’s already grown from its NuLu roots to locations in J-town and at historical Colonial Gardens.
The food: If it will fit on a big country biscuit, Biscuit Belly will probably try it out. Check out house favorites like Rockwell (topped with gravy and a chicken breast), the Fire in Your Belly (fried chicken thigh and spicy aioli), the Brisket Biscuit (brisket and slaw with Alabama white sauce), or the Belly Buster (chicken, sausage, bacon, house smoked brisket, cheddar, mushroom gravy, over easy egg).
The cost: Apps are $7-$9, while biscuits range from $8-$18.
How to order: Order online or call 502-409-5729 for carry-out, or order from GrubHub.
The gist: A Scandinavian-themed bar and restaurant where everything is a slider or a taco, and Hamm’s beer and aquavit are served up the bar.
The food: It’s all a la carte, so you can build your own meal. Try the Minnesota fish fry, the pot roast slider, venison sausage, smoked halloumi, or the smoked pork belly. Mix and match, add a side of fries or kale salad, and don’t forget the signature sauces.
The cost: Everything on the menu is priced between $2 and $4.
How to order: Order online for carry-out.
Matt Winn’s Steakhouse
The gist: An upscale steakhouse located at historic Churchill Downs named for racing legend Matt Winn, featuring upscale environs and old-school service and amenities.
The food: The menu is seafood meets hearty steaks, with the option to kick off a meal with lump crab cakes, oysters on the halfshell or Alaskan king crab and come into the homestretch with a 10-ounce filet or rack of lamb.
The cost: Starters are $14-$44, while entrees start at $25 and top out at the $142 40-ounce porterhouse steak.
How to order: Call 502-636-4888 for reservations or make a reservation online.
Barcelona Bistro Bar
The gist: Authentic Spanish cuisine in a cozy concept by a voice-actor-turned-chef who hails from Barcelona, Spain.
The food: An array of Mediterranean tapas and entrees fill the menu, from charcuterie to paella to Spanish sausage and a fish and shrimp cake. Perfect for sharing. (Note that the menu may be limited due to the pandemic.)
The cost: Appetizers start at $6, while plates and entrees range from $13-$33.
How to order: Order online for carry-out service.
That's My Dog
The gist: Basic American fare -- hot dogs and more hot dogs -- are served up in a chill, pet-friendly environment.
The food: No, this isn’t a typical ketchup-on-a-grocery-store-wiener proposition, That’s My Dog is purveyor of a dozen signature sausages plus a rotating dog of the month (example: the apple chicken dog). Staples include everything from a classic Chicago dog to The Porky, a frank topped with pork belly and house sauce. Snacks and combos are also available.
The cost: Dogs are $4.79-$9.79, while snacks and sides are $2.99-$6.99.
How to order: Walk-in service or call 812-725-8242 to order carry-out.
Moya’s American Kitchen
The gist: Classic American tavern and restaurant that blends a cozy atmosphere with hearty food and a side of entertainment.
The food: Burgers, sandwiches, apps, and home-style entrees abound, from a meatloaf sammy to a bourbon BBQ bacon burger, it comes wrapped in a bun or on a plate, such as a catfish dinner, beef stroganoff, or chicken and dumplings. And hey, you gotta like a place that offers tater tots.
The cost: Apps are $5.99-$11.95, burgers and sandwiches are $9.99-$13.99, and entrees are $11.99-$14.99.
How to order: Call 502-496-6692 for reservations or carry-out. Reservations taken online as well.
The gist: A Germantown hole-in-the-wall favorite expands to another location on the Dundee Loop, bringing its smoked goodness along for the ride.
The food: From smoked meat sandwiches to duck tacos to the elusive and delicious lamb ribs, there’s plenty to crave on the Hammerheads menu. Maybe try the PBLT (a glorified BLT with pork belly) and a side of Grippo’s fries to get the true experience.
The cost: Apps are $4-$8, sandwiches are $7-$13, burgers are $8-$12, taco plates are $8-$12, and the signature ribs are $10-$22.
How to order: Call 502-452-9385 for carry-out.