Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Louisville Right Now

Updated On 07/17/2019 at 04:38PM EST Updated On 07/17/2019 at 04:38PM EST
The Mayan Cafe
Whiskey Dry | The Mayan Cafe

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Michael Moore, Eats With Michael

Biscuit Belly

NuLu

Everything you’d ever want -- piled onto a biscuit
NuLu got another all-star with Biscuit Belly, the all-biscuits-all-the-time joint that consistently sees lines spilling out the front door. There’s a lot of fun to be had on Biscuit Belly’s menu, from pancake hot dogs to loaded breakfast tots, but the biscuits are what will fill your belly. Check out the Rockwell, which puts fried chicken, Cheddar cheese and goetta gravy on a huge biscuit (the supreme version adds bacon and a fried egg) or the Biscuit Brisket, which is a fluffy biscuit crammed full of house-made brisket, Alabama white barbecue sauce, bourbon jus, caramelized onions and cabbage slaw. A crowd favorite is Fire in Your Belly, which kicks it up with Nashville-style hot chicken, Cheddar, and pickles.

Steak & Bourbon.

Steak & Bourbon

Graymoor/Devondale

Big-time dining for big-time appetites
Steak & Bourbon is exactly that. The menu focuses on big, hearty rib-eyes, New York strips and filets, served alongside a choice from around 70 bourbons in a modern yet welcoming environment. A bone-in cowboy cut steak with a pour of Russell’s Reserve Rye? It doesn’t get much better. Steak & Bourbon also has some other entrees, from seafood to chicken, if you’re not ready for the beef. There’s even a separate section of the menu just for the potatoes.

The Standard - New Albany

The Standard Plate & Pour

New Albany

Americana fare in cozy confines
Exposed brick and original tin ceilings, accented by carefully curated architectural salvage, set the stage for Americana dining that can range from family-friendly --  $10 burger called the Juicy Lucy with fries -- to high-end, from grilled salmon over basmati rice to a rib-eye prepared with house-made Worcestershire. Classic cocktails, craft beer, and wine by the glass or bottle await at the bar, while the back patio screams fun (the centerpiece being a vintage Airstream that has been converted into a bar).

Diamond Street Grub & Hops

Diamond Street Grub & Hops

St. Matthews

Small plates, big flavors, and a whole lot of fun
It isn’t often one finds a menu as diverse as the menu at Diamond Street Grub & Hops. The street food theme takes it, quite literally, all over the map, from Canadian-style poutine to Mexican street corn. Whatever the case, the portions border on eye-popping -- seriously, check out the gi-normous signature Street Grub Burger -- and many of the dishes are designed for sharing. With plenty of flatscreen TVs, 40 taps pouring craft beer, and even shuffleboard and gaming, there’s a little something for everyone. Or a big something, depending on what you order.

shaharcafe

Shahar Café

Highlands

Russian/Asian fusion
Shahar Café brings an unexpected blend of Russian, European, and Asian fare to the neighborhood. Staples include items like beef kabobs, Russian piroshki and samosas -- there’s even poutine -- while plenty of desserts fill up the back end of the menu, from Russian honey cakes to Napoleons. The muted colors in the small café get a nice splash of color from a collage of comic books just inside the entrance, and if you drop by on the right day, you might run across rotating specials like shashlik (kind of like shish kebab), pelmeni (Russian-style dumplings) and borscht. Oh, and the vegan burger is a house favorite.

Boomtown Kitchen

New Albany

Quality family fare with an eye toward value
Set in a space that once housed the beloved neighborhood favorite South Side Inn, this new kid on the block looks to deliver quality American fare at a family-friendly price. Think burgers, including a rotating wild game option (“If it moves, we can cook it,” the menu assures), steaks, sandwiches (check out the hoagie), chops and seafood. Burgers come with a side and top out at $9.99, while most entrees, which come with two sides, hover around the $11-$15 range, the 12-ounce rib-eye topping things out at $20.99.

Palatucci's Italian American Ristorante

Palatucci’s Italian-American Ristorante

Irish Hill

Elegant Italian dining with a historic twist
When Gary’s on Spring shuttered last year it took a little life away from the neighborhood. But Palatucci’s Italian-American Ristorante swooped in to take its place. Part of the restaurant is set aside for reservations-only fine dining, while a sub-concept, Palatucci’s Taverna, is a more laid-back lounge modeled after New York-style neighborhood bars where Italian immigrants used to congregate. The restaurant menu is packed with antipasti dishes; plenty of pasta entrees, and mains such as upscale Italian spins on grilled lamb chops, sauteed sea bass and seared scallops, while the tavern area dials it back with shareable appetizers -- from meatballs to calamari -- and a selection of Roman-style pizzas.

Ramen House Louisville

Ramen House

Highlands

A reimagining of a Highlands pho favorite
For a short time, a number of locals bemoaned the passing of a tiny ramen house called Ramen Inochi. But it was a temporary setback, as the owners doubled down and took over an old taco joint a few blocks away to open Ramen Inochi, a larger version. There’s still all the ramen and miso dishes you could wish for, not to mention bánh mì, bao and other favorites. Don’t sleep on the wings, either.

BEST OF THE BEST

Chris Witzke

English Grill

Est. 1923 | Downtown

Louisville's most elegant dining
And they don’t call it “Louisville’s most elegant dining” for nothing. The historic signature restaurant at the Brown Hotel, the English Grill may sound like it’s anglo-focused, but it’s classic American-style fine dining, with a southern twist in a setting that feels like a private club. Whether it’s a simple family dinner or one of the restaurant’s ballyhooed "Chef’s Table" experiences, the English Grill is going to fill you up with dishes like rack of lamb, verlasso salmon, and crispy skin duck, not to mention a Kentucky classic that was created at the hotel in 1926: the Hot Brown.

Steve Gustafson/Jack Fry's

Jack Fry's

Est. 1933 | Highlands

One of the oldest, jazziest, and most delicious restaurants in town
Originally opened in 1933, Jack Fry’s transformed from neighborhood tavern to culinary destination, evolving throughout the 1990s to win multiple awards for southern-inspired fare like the shrimp and grits, spicy oysters, and filet mignon. The restaurant remains true to its roots, with vintage photos of sports and the establishment’s original owners decorating every wall. Live jazz serenades you as you dine, and be sure to save time and room for a selection from the dessert menu. The extra calories will be worth it.

Seviche

Seviche

Est. 2005 | Highlands

Latin flavors + southern inspired dishes = one hell of a success rate with diners
Esquire once said, “If you have time for one meal in Louisville, make it Seviche." And although that was around 8 years ago, chef Anthony Lamas is still killin' it. He marries Latin flavors with southern-inspired dishes to create a unique fusion experience that focuses on seafood but veers into many categories. From the popular crab “cigars” (you'll have to trust us) to the Tuna Old Fashioned -- made with local soy sauce, Kentucky bourbon, and pineapple -- the menu is a wonderland for the taste buds. And don’t leave without getting the legendary Avocado for dessert, with avocado ice cream, chocolate shell, and a bourbon truffle “pit.”

Vincenzo's

Est. 1986 | Downtown

You want upscale Italian? You've found it.
A classic, upscale Italian restaurant that has been a dining destination for countless out-of-town celebrities, and Vincenzo’s continues to impress. The gorgeous restaurant screams fine dining, yet its approachable atmosphere welcomes everyone for a selection of some of the finest pasta and antipasti in the city. Of course, if it’s not noodles you’ve got a hankering for, Vincenzo’s serves a delicious filet mignon and a tempting scallops Rockefeller. Check out chef Agostino Gabriele’s special, five-course dinner, which includes a glass of Santa Margherita Prosecco and dessert.

Courtesy of Mayan Cafe

Mayan Café

Est. 2007 | NuLu

The best Mexican food in Louisville
Chef Bruce Ucán grew up in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and the food at his restaurant showcases the traditions and flavors of the region. Ucán manages to make magic out of lima beans and turns traditional dishes on their heads with creations like the delicious vegetarian burrito and chilaquiles topped with ingredients ranging from eggplant to cactus. The atmosphere is upscale yet approachable, and when it’s all said and done, it’s safe to say you’ve never experienced Latin cuisine quite like this.

Pat's Steak House

Pat’s Steakhouse

Est. 1958 | Clifton

An Irish classic for family gatherings
While this classic, Irish-themed, restaurant underwent a name change in the 1970s, little else has been altered over its six decades in business. Originally named Min’s Steakhouse, it changed in the mid-1970s when the original owner’s son, Pat Francis, took over. The oak-filled, family-friendly space is housed in a former coach inn and travelers' oasis that dates back to 1860. Old-fashioned table service -- waiters wear matching green blazers -- pair with hearty steaks and seafood. Get there early and grab a drink at Mike’s Bar, named after Pat’s grandfather. Oh, and try the frog legs.

Impellizzeri's Pizza

Impellizzeri’s Pizza

Est. 1979 | Highlands

A Louisville original, right down to the meatballs
Benny Impellizzeri began making pizza in the late 1960s, but it wasn’t until his father opened a butcher shop in the Highlands that he could do it his own way -- and only then because the previous tenant left behind a pizza oven. Impellizzeri’s is often credited for creating Louisville-style pizza, a thick pie with double cheese, and the truth is one slice could make a meal. The original restaurant closed in 2005 but soon reopened in a new Highlands location, where it remains a mainstay in family dining. The original pie is your best bet, but the restaurant also serves thin crust pizzas and super-thick Sicilian-style pies. Don’t sleep on the homemade meatballs, either.

VINCENZo'S

Vincenzo’s

Est. 1986 | Downtown

You want upscale Italian? You've found it.
A classic, upscale Italian restaurant that has been a dining destination for countless out-of-town celebrities, and Vincenzo’s continues to impress. The gorgeous restaurant screams fine dining, yet its approachable atmosphere welcomes everyone for a selection of some of the finest pasta and antipasti in the city. Of course, if it’s not noodles you’ve got a hankering for, Vincenzo’s serves a delicious filet mignon and a tempting scallops Rockefeller. Check out chef Agostino Gabriele’s special, five-course dinner, which includes a glass of Santa Margherita Prosecco and dessert.

Buck’s Restaurant & Bar

Est. 1992 | Old Louisville

An Old Louisville gem with tradition
For old school elegance, it’s tough to top Buck’s, located in the historic Mayflower Apartments building, circa 1926. Founder Hensel “Buck” Heath was an admirer of “moon gardens.” The tradition with moon gardens is that if you plant your garden with all white flowers, you get to enjoy it day and night because of the glow of the moon. So, every woman who comes to Buck’s leaves with a white Star of Bethlehem flower as a memento. While there, diners can enjoy fine dining and classic cocktails, with long-running signature items like the filet mignon and the legendary Crispy Fish, cod served over jasmine rice with sautéed peppers and onions and a sweet-hot Thai chili sauce.