The Best Louisville Restaurant for Every Cuisine
Louisville's restaurant scene may be exploding, but sometimes it's nice to take a moment and just look at the debris... which in the case of this metaphor, is the top tier of dining spots from virtually every category. So whether you find yourself craving a plate of pasta or a bowl pho, here's where to go...
Italian: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/volare" target="_blank">Volare
Volare has long answered the call for Louisvillians when that nagging need for pasta strikes. Nestled in the heart of Crescent Hill, it offers a menu packed with Italian faves, including salsiccia, an antipasto of grilled Italian rope sausage with peppers, white wine, and oregano. With a Chef serving up ingredients grown at his very own farm and half-price bottles of wine on offer every Wednesday, Volare is our vote for Louisville’s best Italian.
French: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/bistro-le-relais" target="_blank">Bistro Le Relais
Louisville’s very best French fare just happens to be served up in a historic airplane terminal. Located on the grounds of Bowman Field, you can sip Champagne and nibble on escargot while watching small private planes land on the adjacent runway. With a menu boasting all of the French classics, we love anything served with pomme frites, the steak au poivre, especially.
Mexican: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/louisville/bar/el-mundo" target="_blank">El Mundo
With margaritas served straight up -- tequila, cointreau, and lime only -- and locally raised Kentucky bison available as an addition to pretty much every dish on the menu, El Mundo hits a high mark when it comes to Mexican cuisine in Louisville.
Vietnamese: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/vietnam-kitchen" target="_blank">Vietnam Kitchen
Everyone has their favorite number, their go-to order. For us it’s the K8, a pipping-hot bowl of rice noodles with spicy saté sauce, bean sprouts, broccoli, lemongrass, and your choice of meat.
Indian: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/bombay-grill" target="_blank">Bombay Grill
The title of "best Indian food in Louisville" has long been hotly debated, as we as Louisvillians are especially opinionated when it comes to our favorite place to indulge our craving for chili-laden cuisine. Bombay Grill takes the cake in our book, with a menu offering traditional dishes of both the North and South, the deft use of spice is especially delicious across the board. The Chicken 65 is a great way to kick off any meal, with slices of chicken cooked until crispy with fried curry leaves, yogurt, and spices.
Chinese: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/oriental-house" target="_blank">Oriental House
It’s nearly impossible to miss the colorful home of Oriental House when driving down Shelbyville Road. A St. Matthews mainstay since the ’60s, Oriental House has all of the beloved Americanized favorites, like sesame chicken and General Tso’s, while also offering an extensive menu of authentic Chinese creations such as the tofu hot pot with seafood and a lengthy dim sum list. Don’t miss the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone with an order of the chicken feet with black bean or the tofu-skin roll with pork. Your taste buds will thank you.
Japanese: <a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/louisville/restaurants/hiko-a-mon" target="_blank">hiko-A-mon
Downtown & Westport Village
Upscale, modern accents and an ample menu of hand-rolled sushi, noodle bowls, and traditional bento boxes make hiko-A-mon the ‘Ville’s go-to for Japanese cuisine.
American: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/jack-frys" target="_blank">Jack Fry’s
You don’t get more classic Louisville than Jack Fry’s. Serving up the ‘Ville’s version of American cuisine -- Southern touch not overlooked -- it’s impossible to resist the cozy, almost-too-noisy dining room at Jack Fry’s, where old race forms and horse-racing paraphernalia paper the walls. We’re particularly fond of the lamb chops, always cooked to a perfect med-rare and served with a decadent shiitake mushroom potato au gratin.
Ethiopian: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venues/queen-of-sheba-40205" target="_blank">Queen of Sheba
Talk about a hands-on dining experience. Louisvillians have been crowding the cozy dining room of Queen of Sheba for years, anxious to fill up on injera and the various vegetarian and meat wots on offer. We suggest ordering a platter for two and snagging one of the mesobs, basket tables, in the back; it makes for a truly authentic and intimate date night.
Korean: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/charim-korean-restaurant" target="_blank">Charim Korean Restaurant
Charim is one of those restaurants that seems to hide in plain site. But there it is, tucked amongst a small strip of stores, sitting just off of Shelbyville Road. Anyone who has already discovered this gem knows full well that it is one of Louisville’s best-kept secrets, and it's serving up steaming hot-stone bowls with crispy rice, veggies, and egg on a daily basis. All entrees are offered with a variety of banchan, traditional side dishes, including kimchi, cubed radish, and mung bean sprouts.
Food Truck: <a href="https://admin.thrillist.com/admin/pinnacle/preview/bm9kZS80MTM0NTM4" target="_blank">Holy Molé
Holy Molé was an early favorite when the Louisville taco truck scene began to take off, thanks to its freshly made tacos highlighted by the use of locally sourced ingredients. It changes up its offerings regularly with certain longtime favorites making an appearance from time to time. Keep your eye out for the deliciously spicy chorizo taco, made with locally raised grass-fed beef. And don’t forget to top things off with the house (truck?)-made salsas!
Mediterranean: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/zad" target="_blank">Zäd Modern Mediterranean
This casual Highlands eatery is a relatively new addition to the Louisville dining scene and has delighted vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. Classic favorites like the Greek salad (we recommend adding avocado), baba ghanoush, and gyros are in ample supply along with Mediterranean tacos and our favorite, the avocado wrap.
Vegetarian: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/roots" target="_blank">Roots
The veggie game is so strong at Roots that it is easy to forget meat of any kind is left off the menu. Even better yet, the menu is constructed of small plates, perfect for sharing and sampling. We’re particularly fond of the forbidden rice risotto, cooked slowly with baby spinach, black cherries, goat cheese, and candied walnuts. An impressive tea menu is available as well, featuring loose-leaf teas from around the world. In a rush? The neighboring Heart & Soy is Root’s answer to quick, healthy, and delicious take-away, seven days a week.
Burger joint: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/grind-burger-kitchen" target="_blank">Grind Burger Kitchen
There’s a reason Grind keeps making all of the "best of" burger-related lists. It's just that good.
Seafood: <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/louisville/restaurants/seviche-restaurant" target="_blank">Seviche, A Latin Restaurant
Anthony Lamas has made a name for himself as one of Louisville’s top chefs and his star is quickly on the rise nationally, with several James Beard nominations under his belt. You simply will not find fresher seafood than what is on offer at Seviche, with the menu changing regularly, local ingredients incorporated to highlight the delicate fish, and the Latin flair of Lamas’ roots. His passion for Kentucky is evident throughout the menu as well, with selections like Kentucky bison empanadas and his classic tuna "old fashioned" seviche.
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