29 Louisville, Kentucky, Restaurants To Try On Your Next Visit

From bourbon to hot browns, here are some of 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, from neighborhood bistros and barbeque joints to whiskey bars and upscale dining. Enjoy iconic dishes, locally sourced food, and international flavor.

Louisville is home of the Hot Brown, a must-try sandwich that combines roasted turkey, crispy bacon, creamy sauce, and tomatoes, all piled on Texas toast. You can expect to find some excellent dishes and delicious inventions. 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 visitors' favorite restaurants in Louisville.

Where to Eat 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 grilled Levain with heritage ham for a proper breakfast treat. Levain, their perfectly textured sourdough, is also available in a cranberry walnut option.

2868 Frankfort Avenue; bluedogbakeryandcafe.com.

Butchertown Grocery Bakery

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

743 E. Main Street; facebook.com/butchertowngrocery.

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 1922, 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 made 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.

Porch Kitchen & Bar

Whether you are craving sweet cinnamon rolls or something with crunch, you’ll find something to start your mornings at Porch Kitchen & Bar. Try the healthy Quinoa Veggie Scramble or Loaded Breakfast Nachos, topped with bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, and fixins. Or get a traditional breakfast with eggs your way. Porch serves lunch and dinner too.

280 W. Jefferson Street; porch.com.

Where to Eat Lunch

80/20 @ Kaelin's Restaurant

A culinary delight, Kaelin's still claims to have invented the cheeseburger. Enjoy the smaller, single 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, which are slow-cooked to perfection and require three-hour lead times for large orders. Barnyard specials like The Holy Hog with shaved, smoked ham and The Holy Cow with sliced beef brisket 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 serves unique dishes alongside local beers. Burger meat, ground 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 experience new lunch entrees daily since their specials rotate. Select from authentic dishes like shawarma, chicken tikka masala, and lamb biryani. Choose from grape leaves, hummus, falafel, mutabal, rice, tabbouleh, mujadara, and a spinach pie to create a four-dish vegetarian platter.

641 S. 4th Street, #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.

Feast BBQ

Along with slow-cooked, smoked meats, diners at Feast BBQ will find from-scratch sides like collard greens and tater tots. Order pork cakes and mac and cheese balls for the table. With vegetarian, soy-free, and gluten-free options, you can fill your plate, bun, or tacos with pulled pork, chopped chicken, brisket, or even crispy, smoked tofu.

909 E. Market Street, Suite 100; feastbbq.com.

Where to Eat Dinner

610 Magnolia

Chef and owner Edward Lee's emphasis is natural, regional, fresh, and diverse. Southern dishes get a modern twist with a weekly tasting menu that may feature chanterelle hummus and trout roe to start, a duck breast or ribeye main, and a fig tart as a sweet finish.

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 features dry-aged Kentucky Proud Berry Beef for full, beefy flavor.

1321 Bardstown Road; bristolbarandgrille.com.

Buck's Restaurant & Bar

Established in 1992, Buck's is a fine-dining experience that's perfect for special occasions. The restaurant's unique "moon garden" decor uses white flowers, dark green walls, and twinkling candles to set an elegant tone.

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.

Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant

Settle in for a taste experience at this casual downtown whiskey bar. Start with the Masa Fried Cheese Curds served with ranch dressing. Choose from pork, chicken, beef, or seafood open-faced tacos, and add a side of beer-stewed borracho beans.

321 W. Main Street; downonebourbonbar.com.

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, 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 friendly restaurant that retains its original 1930s charm with spacious booths and its original bar. The Jack's Burger comes on a brioche bun with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, a choice of cheese, and fries on the side—the onions make the difference. Order the Creme Caramel for dessert.

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 E. Market Street; labodeguitademima.com.

Napa River Grill

A gorgeous bar piled high with California wines adds to the Napa theme. Begin with Ahi Tuna Crudo, 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.

Where to Eat Dessert

The Comfy Cow

Founded in Louisville, this award-winning ice cream offers authentic flavors and sticks to its Southern roots. 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 that are 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.

Louisville Cream

This ice-cream parlor has standard favorites like chocolate and vanilla, but don’t miss innovative flavors like Bourbon Smoked Pecan and Lavender Vanilla Honey. Try the homemade torched marshmallow atop the small-batch ice creams, floats, milkshakes, and sundaes.

632 E. Market Street, Suite 101; louisvillecream.com.

Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen

Enjoy old-fashioned pie or specialty baked goods, including buckeyes and layer cakes. All the cakes are made from scratch. Choose from seasonal ice cream flavors to customize traditional favorites like milkshakes, sundaes, or cones.

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 sorbet tastings paired with a curated dessert wine.

702 W. Main Street; proofonmain.com.


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.

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