28 of Our Favorite Restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky

From bourbon to hot browns, here are the best restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky: The Brown Hotel
Louisville, KentuckyA Louisville landmark since the 1920s, the brown is famous for inventing the Kentucky Hot Brown, but there are so many other reasons to stay here: the gorgeous Lobby Bar, sumptuous English Grill, and proximity to downtown attractions like the Brown Theatre right across the street.brownhotel.com. Photo: Courtesy of The Brown Hotel

Bourbon, barbeque, and hot browns—Louisville, Kentucky, has more than horse racing to celebrate, as its food scene has some of the best Southern staples in the region. This city has something for everyone between old-fashion, historical sites featuring local produce and unique culinary creations highlighting international foods.

Home of the Hot Brown, a Lousiville sandwich must-try is roasted turkey, crispy bacon, and tomatoes, all piled on Texas Toast. You can expect to find some excellent dishes with delicious inventions such as this. Whether you are an early riser looking for a freshly roasted cup of coffee or want to top off your night with a dessert and a classic tasting of Kentucky bourbon, you can find many local and visitor's favorite restaurants in Lousiville.

Breakfast

Blue Dog Bakery and Café

You smell the bread before you even walk in the door of this friendly neighborhood bistro. Try the poached free-range eggs on toasted levain with prosciutto for a proper breakfast treat. Levain, their perfectly textured sourdough, is made in a wood-fired oven in addition to cranberry walnut and yummy baguettes from which to choose.

2868 Frankfort Avenue; bluedogbakeryandcafe.com.

Butchertown Grocery Bakery

Get here early for the made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits served with Apple Butter. This shop contains locally-sourced bread, wines, and elegant selections of Kentucky bourbon.

743 E Main Street; toasttab.com/butchertown.

Heine Brothers' Coffee

An institution since the 90s, Heine Brothers' Coffee boasts 18 locations in the Louisville area, touting fair trade organically grown beans. The owners take pride in their essential blends, lattes, and cappuccinos. Unique drinks include the Beekeeper, which adds local honey and cinnamon into a latte, and the Iceberg, a coffee-milkshake combination.

1250 Bardstown Road; www.heinebroscoffee.com.

Wagner's Pharmacy

Walk over to Wagner's Pharmacy, where trainers and jockeys eat. The drugstore/diner, open since 1910, also features a tack shop. Order a fried egg sandwich, and look at all the photos of famous horses and jockeys.

3113 S. 4th Street; wagnerspharmacy.com.

Wild Eggs

For the ultimate breakfast, brunch, and lunch location, check out Wild Eggs. In addition to award-winning and best-voted egg dishes, the House-Made Cinnamon Roll make in a cast-iron skillet is breakfast perfection. Try the Carolina Casserole for a Southern taste of home fries, ham, bacon, peppers, and cheese.

121 South Floyd Street; wildeggs.com.

Lunch

80/20 @ Kaelin's Restaurant

A culinary delight, Kaelin's still claims to have invented the cheeseburger. Enjoy the miniature version or the full-size cheeseburger with fries and slaw. There are plenty of options for dessert ranging from milkshakes to NY Cheesecake.

1801 Newburg Road; 8020atkaelins.com.

Holy Smokes Bar-B-Que & Catering

Come in for a sandwich platter and choose from pulled pork, beef brisket, or smoked bologna for instant Southern barbeque satisfaction. Sample the famous Brown Sugar Wings, requiring three-hour lead times for large orders, and are slow-cooked to perfection. Barnyard specials, The Holy Hog and The Holy Cow, also make great lunches, served on Texas Toast.

7508 Preston Highway; holysmokesbbq.us.

J. Graham's Café

If it's a casual lunch you have in mind, check out this terrific restaurant in The Brown Hotel: J. Graham's, home of the Hot Brown. Never had one? You must. It's toast, turkey, cheese sauce, and bacon, all cooked in an unbelievably tasty dish.

335 West Broadway, The Brown Hotel; brownhotel.com/dining.

Mussel & Burger Bar

Enjoy an upscale version of your favorite pub favorites. This hybrid fancy and casual restaurant serve unique dishes alongside local beers. Burger meat, created in-house daily, is used for all burgers and locally-made artisan bread accompanies the mussels.

113 S. 7th Street; mussel-burger-bar.com

Safier Mediterranean Deli

You can eat here for lunch and experience new specials each day as it rotates daily. Select from authentic shawarma, tabbouleh, falafel, and hummus. Choose four of the options between grape leaves, hummus, falafel, mutabal, rice, tabbouleh, mujadara, and a spinach pie to enjoy the Vegetarian Platter.

641 S 4th St #2403; safierdeli.com.

Taco Luchador Taqueria

Tacos, tortas, and house-made salsa is our version of a Triple Crown. Besides freshly made guacamole and queso, there is a perfect side for every dish and chef-crafted entree.

938 Baxter Avenue; el-taco-luchador.com.

Yummy Pollo

Enjoy the charcoal-grilled Peruvian chicken that's slowly roasted. Choose from classic Southern sides and add a dessert to complete the meal.

4222-B Bishop Lane; yummypollo.com.

Dinner

610 Magnolia

Chef and owner Edward Lee's emphasis is natural, from the region, fresh, and diverse. His tempura-battered okra, cornbread sweetened with caramelized parsnips and onions, bison raised just a half-hour away, Tennessee bacon for the dainty BLTs in his selection of starters, and Farmer's Basket salads combining rich produce from the local fields.

610 Magnolia Avenue; www.610magnolia.com.

Bristol Bar & Grille

Enjoy rotating seasonal craft cocktails alongside daily specials. Staff includes Certified Bourbon Stewards who can recommend the best Kentucky bourbon to fit your tastes. The Bristol Burger has fresh Kentucky Proud Berry Beef dry-aged ground beef.

1321 Bardstown Road; bristolbarandgrille.com.

Buck's Restaurant & Bar

Established in 1992, Buck's is a fine-dining experience great spot for special occasions. Unique to its restaurant, a "moon garden" describes the establishment's decor as it is filled with white flowers and has dark green walls and twinkling candles to resemble the stars.

425 W. Ormsby Avenue; buckslou.com.

Copper & Kings

Make an adventure out of mealtime by touring the Copper & Kings American Brandy Company. Authentic to its name, Copper & Kings distills its brandy in American copper pot stills and matures it in bourbon barrels. The Rooftop Bar & Restaurant has small plates and dishes to complement your beverage choice perfectly.

1121 E Washington Street; copperandkings.com.

English Grill

The menu includes American cuisine with a Kentucky flair, celebrating the Bluegrass State's agriculture using local produce. The extensive wine list and homemade entrees set the stage for an excellent meal, but the signature Chocolate Striptease dessert takes the cake.

335 West Broadway, The Brown Hotel; brownhotel.com/dining.

Equus & Jack's Bourbon Restaurant

A Louisville favorite, this venerable spot offers more than 75 varieties of bourbon, a wide-ranging wine list, and uses the finest regional produce in its fabulous cuisine.

122 Sears Avenue; www.equusrestaurant.com.

J. Gumbo's

Order a big bowl of gumbo, jambalaya, or red beans and rice. Another popular dish is Drunken Chicken: shredded chicken marinated in Cajun spices, olive oil, stewed tomatoes, and beer. This comfortable spot filled with beads, lively Cajun music, and warm service will make you think you've stumbled into a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade.

2109 Frankfort Avenue; www.jgumbos.com.

Jack Fry's

Jack Fry's is a dark and friendly restaurant with easy-to-slide-into booths. The folks here create an outstanding burger. The Jack's Burger comes with caramelized onions, a choice of cheese, bacon, and fries on the side—the onions make the difference. The atmosphere made the meal even better. Best side dish: tomato-artichoke soup. Best dessert: creme caramel with strawberries.

1007 Bardstown Road; jackfrys.com.

La Bodeguita de Mima

Find authentic Cuban food without leaving Louisville. Traditional Cuban rice dishes, including Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera and Arroz Imperial, highlight the restaurant's authentic cuisine. You can also find seafood served with yellow rice and plantains.

725 East Market Street; labodeguitademima.com.

Napa River Grill

A gorgeous bar piled high with California wines adds to the Napa theme. Begin with a Warm Goat Cheese with seasonal jams, and then try the Glazed Pork or Seared Salmon. End with the Bourbon Creme Brulee, a late harvest wine, a pot of French press coffee, or, better yet, all three.

1211 Herr Lane; napariverlouisville.com.

Dessert

The Comfy Cow

Founded in Louisville, this award-winning ice cream offers authentic flavors and sticks to its Southern roots. The ice cream, smoothies, cookies, and even dog treats are available using locally sourced ingredients. Try the award-winning Bourbon Ball featuring Old Forester ice cream, bourbon ball candy pieces (made in-house), and chocolate chips, or the Brown Butter Peanut Brittle, which includes brown butter ice cream, peanut brittle pieces, and sea salt.

1301 Herr Lane #118; thecomfycow.com.

Desserts by Helen

Just step inside this sweet spot for an olfactory delight. Take a whiff, though, and you won't be able to resist a piece of the Chocolate Truffle Torte and the Chocolate Raspberry Cake. Enjoy a minor sugar fix by munching on a chocolate chip cookie, dessert bar, or scone. For an eat-at-home treat, pick up a Cinnamon Pecan Custard Coffee Cake with a custard ribbon.

3500 Frankfort Avenue; www.dessertsbyhelen.com.

Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen

Enjoy old-fashion pie or specialty baked goods, including buckeyes or four-layer cakes. All the cakes are homemade from scratch. There are seasonal ice cream flavors served as traditional favorites like milkshakes, sundaes, or in a cone.

2525 Bardstown Road; piekitchen.com.

Proof on Main

Stop by Proof on Main for a dessert and cocktail pairing. This restaurant, open for brunch and dinner, features contemporary art on-site that rotates regularly so each experience can be new. Try the Gelati and Sorbet Tastings paired with a curated dessert wine.

702 West Main Street; proofonmain.com.

Rawnaissance

Want to feel a little healthier about your choice of dessert? This hand-crafted, raw, vegan, and organic dessert shop has a variety of sweets to meet your needs. Peruse the chalkboard menu of house specials or try a signature cake or pie.

1759 Bardstown Road; rawd2go.com.

Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe

You'll want to return time and time as the menu is constantly evolving based on the baker's creative whims. It's the perfect spot to enjoy cake by the slice—you can even try a few if you want. Try the Belgian Chocolate Cake, the signature dessert with various filling and icing options.

1804 Frankfort Avenue; sweetsurrenderdessertcafe.com.

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