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Best Restaurant in the State of Kentucky....

What is the best restaurant in the entire state?It could be fine dining in Lexington...a cheeseburger palace in Louisville or some off the beaten path barbecue joint in Owensboro...I just need to know what the best is....

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  1. I don't know if these are the best in KY...
    But my two favorites here in Bowling Green, KY are the Brickyard Cafe and Mandolin.
    Both are located in downtown BG on Chestnut Street.
    They serve Mediterranean & Italian cuisines.
    If you were to ask most anyone in BG where they go for that "special" dinner.... these two locations are the first mentioned.

    9 Replies
    1. re: kelomaki

      Thanks for the response.You're the only person on the vast Chowhound board who had the wherewithall to reply.I know food in Kentucky doesn't get a lot of attention[one of the reasons I left 4 days after I graduated highschool].I'll note your spots and hope to make it to one of your choices in August.Which is better and what is their specialty?

      1. re: scrumptiouschef

        My first choice would be The Brickyard..... everything on the menu is great!
        Italian cuisine is the specialty.... all the pasta's and fish are good, as well as the pizza's.
        Here's a link to their "out of date" website:

        1. re: StevenF

          Snarkiness aside, perhaps I should have phrased my query differently.When I said best I really meant "favorite".To me the best runs the gamut from Dudleys in Lexington to Burger Boy in London.I was merely trying to stimulate a variety of responses from around the state....some cities may not have a Nobu-style contender but they have great chili dogs.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            Sorry if the tone of my reply irked. I'd like a good conversation, too; but I think you're more likely to get interesting talk if the quesiton is more specific.
            But to keep the conversation going I'll vote for Vietnam Kitchen in Louisville as my favorite restaurant. Great bang for the buck, a seemingly inexhaustible menu, and exciting flavors that you don't get everyday.

            1. re: StevenF

              I'll be in Louisville in August and I LOVE Vietnamese food.I look forward to trying your recommendation and turning my father,who farms in Knox county,onto some great food

        2. re: kelomaki

          I went to WKU back in the day. Is 440 Main still on the square?

          1. re: qrkid

            Hey grkid......GO TOPS! ...I'm a WKU alum.
            Yeap... 440 is still going strong downtown.
            They recently tried their hand with micro-brew in the basement that was a total flop!
            I was so looking forward to BG's first micro.... and they blew it!
            But, the restaurant and Miki's bar are still a hot spot.

            1. re: kelomaki

              Although it may have been the first Bowling Green micro-brew that you were aware of, it certainly was not the first in town.

              BTW, anyone interested in restaurants and stuff located on Fountain Square in Downtown Bowling Green, KY -- http://downtownbg.com/

              1. re: hilltopper

                You may be correct hilltopper.... However, having lived in BG for over 40+ years, I don't recall another micro-brew being made in BG during my time here. Unless you are talking about the local breweries and bottling plants that where here before the prohibition days. Oh... and the Brewing Company to the best of my knowledge has never made a drop of ale. Please enlighten me..... :-)
                And the link you listed is about half dead.... better info here:

        3. Le Relais at Bowman Field in Louisville.

            1. I grew up in Lexington and went to UK for college, and I would have to say that I think the best restaurant in Lexington is A La Lucie. Lucy Meyer's and her now ex-husband Roy pretty much ruled the food scene for 10 years, though Lucie's is the only (and best) remaining. They specialize in French fusion cusine and are located in historic downtown at 159 N Limestone
              Lexington, KY 40507
              (859) 252-5277

              Here are some reviews:

              1. We love Lily's in Louisville and Lynn's Paradise Cafe. The real jewel is in Shelbyville, The Science Hill Inn it boasts a CIA trained chef doing real real good true southern cooking. I think I could crawl for her biscuit bread pudding with bourbon sauce. The dining room at the Brown in Louisville and their chef are very fine too.

                1. Jonathan's in Lexington...can be stuffy, but seating in bar is quite cozy. Had the best meal that I've ever had in Lexington/Louisville.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: adhow

                    You've whetted my curiosity. What did you have, adhow?

                    1. re: StevenF

                      I think it was the combination of a great atmosphere, good food, and good wine. We sat in the bar near the fireplace on a cold winter night so it was very cozy! I had the beef medallions with asparagus and mashed potatoes, and my husband had the filet (wrapped in Maker's Mark smoked bacon). Nothing too out of the ordinary, but they were cooked to perfection and paired with a great bottle of wine! I've had many great meals in KY from dives to fine dining, but this definitely topped them all.

                  2. My favorite is probably Jonathans at Gratz Park...second is Malones.
                    My favorite bar food is at Madison Gardens in Richmond...They have excellent wings.We make the drive sometimes just for those wings and a hot brown!
                    Another place I make a trek to every once in a while is Cliff Hagens In Hazard....delish steaks...worth the couple hour drive!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: LaLa

                      More about Cliff Hagens, please?

                      1. re: shallots

                        Not that I've been to them all, but right now my favorite restaurant in KY is Jack Fry's in Louisville. Second favorite is Jonathan in Lexington.

                        Has anybody been to the Merrick Inn in Lexington??

                        1. re: HickTownBarnaby

                          Merrick Inn is a favorite, especially after a day at Keeneland. Never been disappointed and I love eating in the bar.
                          a la Lucie is also an old favorite. I don't know if they still do the beef medalions with lobster mashed potatoes, but they were great. They also have the best server I've ever had anywhere, Louis (pron'd Loo-ee) Z. Bickett.
                          My favorite in Louisville (haven't tried some of the big names like the Oakroom at the Seelbach or Proof on Main) could be an unimposing little neighborhood bar called Flabby's Schnitzelberg in the Germantown section of Louisville. It's been around over half a century and everything they have is good. Start with an app. of limburger and braunzweiger (sp?) with hot mustard. Don't stop until you've had the Rolled Oyster, a uniquely Louisville specialty, and the schnitzel. Warsteiner on tap is mandatory. You'll like this unassuming joint.

                          1. re: bluesontap

                            I wish I'd known about the Germantown place when I lived near there; it sounds great. I've never heard of a rolled oyster, though: what is it?

                          2. re: HickTownBarnaby

                            Let me add something to what I've already written:
                            I am particularly fond of a place in Bardstown called Kreso's. It's run by a couple from Bosnia and all their food is homemade. The service is slow, but attentive enough. It's located in an old movie theater downtown. The auditorium is available for parties and such.

                          3. re: shallots

                            Cliff Hagan’s Rib Eye is in Hazard Ky.They have all different kinds of regional fare..hot browns, frog legs, etc...but the steaks is why I go.It is so good it melts in your mouth! They also have great starters so it is a wonderful place for a couple of drinks and appetizers.I like the fried cheese balls the best but have never tried anything I didn't like.
                            FYI:Cliff Hagen was a huge basketball star for UK and was in the pros.He came back to UK as a beloved athletic director.

                            1. re: LaLa

                              Thanks for putting the why and who into the picture.

                              1. re: LaLa

                                Having just stayed for one week in Hazard desperate for something other than Applebees - I ventured up the hill to Cliff Hagan's. I do have to say I was extremely disappointed. The salad bar had iceberg lettuce with more brown than green and the place was so smoky I felt like I had smoked half a pack by the time I was done. I ordered a steak - and it was ghastly - made me think they had gone across the street to the Ponderosa to get it. After speaking with a few locals - they seem to think this place has gone downhill of late. Just my experience.

                                I did however have passable Mexican food at a little place called El Azul Grande. The hot sauce there was really unique - made with 6 different fresh hot peppers. Other than that - it was mostly fast food to be found.

                                1. re: debinithaca

                                  Cliff Hagans has since burned down.

                                  El Azul has since went from an excellent Mexican restaurant to barely sub-par. It used to be one of my favorite places to eat, now its medicore to bad.

                                  No good eats around here. Lexington is an hour and a half drive and the only non-fast food we have!

                                  There is a restaurant in Whitesburg called Pine Mountain Grill that is immensely popular. I haven't eaten there in years, but the parking lot is always packed.

                                  Pine Mountain Grill
                                  45 Highway 119 S, Whitesburg, KY 41858

                                  1. re: ShainaN

                                    Cliff Hagens burning down was a huge loss for Hazard in my opinion.

                          4. I haven't been in a few years, because I no longer live in Lexington and haven't visited lately, but I used to love The Holly Hill Inn in Midway. The chef, Ouita, is a former student of my father's and she'd usually come out to say hi and make recommendations. None of her recs was ever disappointing, and some of her menus were quite adventurous for central KY, land of bacon in everything. The first time I ever had catfish larb was in her restaurant, as an apetizer, I think, and it was delish. She even gave me a reference for the recipe, and I've been making it at home thanks to her.

                            1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/411458

                              Not the best restaurant in the state but a great slice of Kentuckiana.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                About two weeks ago I had lunch at Proof on Main in Louisville. The atmosphere and the food were perfect. The squid appetizer...superb, I could have licked the plate. The bison burger--perfectly cooked medium rare, topped with smoky marvelous bacon and real tillamook cheese, served with crispy fries. The whole thing was intensely flavorful. And dessert: a double dip serving of gelati: sea salt carmel and chocolate malt, oh my. A goodly pour of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay accompanied; it's rare to see this incredible wine on any menu.

                                Proof on Main is a DO NOT MISS. Website: www.proofonmain.com.

                                Breakfast a couple of days later at Lynn's Paradise Cafe was excellent.

                                I've been to the Vietnam Kitchen and wasn't very impressed, but I cut my teeth on Vietnamese food in San Diego. San Diego is a tough act to follow.

                                1. re: cristina

                                  I discovered Heirloom in Midway KY this weekend. Loved it.

                                  I had dinner at Proof on Main not long after they opened and wasn't impressed. Maybe I'll give them another chance after reading your comments, cristina.

                                2. re: scrumptiouschef

                                  I would argue that there's plenty to be said for The Rootbeer Stand! The homemade secret sauce and homemade rootbeer are both absolutely divine. For a crazy dive, it's got a lot going on. Again, definitely not the -best-, but a real treasure!

                                3. oh please! the lighthouse in sulphur well
                                  moonlite bbq owensboro
                                  whistlestop in glendale
                                  backhome in elizabethtown
                                  mike linnings louisville
                                  vince staten's bbq louisville
                                  the best restaurant insimpsonville
                                  all for REAL food not fancy! just really good

                                  our favorites in ga are yoders in montezuma and bj's in calhoun
                                  best dishes and happy meals

                                  1. Northern Ky has some great restaurants. Walt's Hitching post has the best BBQ Chicken I have ever had. The Ribs, Hash Browns w Onions and rye bread aren't to bad either. Jo Ann in Hebron has great Sushi. You will not find a better steak than at the Waterfront in Covington.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: lks to eat

                                      Ikes, I went looking for Jo Ann a few weeks ago and could not find it. Even with a map. Is it out there in that industrial park area??

                                    2. I have been to most of the best restaurants in Louisville and Lexington. Heirloom Restaurant in Midway is the best I've experienced and it isn't really close. It is delicious.

                                      1. You mentioned wanting an "off the beaten path bbq joint". How bout Pig City BBQ in Middletown KY? Just outside louisville. It's the only place in louisville to get KC Style burnt ends and the best pulled pork and brisket i've found when i'm there.
                                        not a hole in the wall by any means, but really good stuff.

                                        1. I'll offer up two suggestions.

                                          The Old Talbot Inn, in Bardstown

                                          The Whistlestop Restaurant in Glendale


                                          1. My one experience with Proof on Main in Louisville was that the food was great but the hosting staff were a-holes. Granted, I was there during Thunder Over Louisville though, so they were pretty busy... still, no reason to be rude to people that just asked if you have a table for two. Our waiter was nice though, and the food was tasty.

                                            Lynn's Paradise Cafe is a great place for breakfast (I'd assume other meals too, but I've only ever had breakfast there). Usually extremely busy though.

                                            Metropol in Lexington is one of the "hidden gems" of the city. A lot of people seem to not know about it (which kinda shocks me really), but the food is always great and the staff is always extremely nice.

                                            Papa Leno's in Berea has some amazing pizza. Pazzo's and Joe Bologna's in Lexington are also great for pizza.

                                            Sal's (just a few doors down from the Lansdowne Malone's) in Lexington is also very good if you want Italian food.

                                            Finally, Atomic Cafe in Lexington is great for Caribbean food (mmm... Eggplant Caviar).

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: verticalQ

                                              Is Papa Leno's the ancient pizza joint in downtown Berea?

                                            2. LEXINGTON / MIDWAY / VERSAILLES
                                              Holly Hill Inn (always enjoyable and great ingredients. can be busy around holidays - quality drops drastically. not use to pressure? kitchen doesn't have that kind of rhythm and timing? I have no idea why this happens)

                                              Jonathan/Gratz Park (people seem to dislike this place, but it always lives up to the hype as being the most "haute" in central ky. sure, that ain't sayin' much... but you'll find your Gourmet covers and Saveur fads here)

                                              Spaldings Donuts (why can't I find donuts like this anywhere else that I have lived?)

                                              Heirloom (best quality in lexington. someone who actually knows what they are doing is cooking back there...)

                                              Metropol (menu won't impress, but superb quality with the food)

                                              Tolly Ho (sometimes you need that greasey burger with tartar sauce)

                                              Stellas (thank god.)

                                              Stanley Js (just try that pimento cheese spread)

                                              Wallace Station (best sandwiches "in" town.. well, before stellas came on the scene)

                                              Ramsey's (about the only place my entire family can agree upon. fits the bill with the older folks as well as the younger)

                                              Jozos (holy crap that's suprisingly good jumbalaya)

                                              Bourbon & Toulouse (same as jozos)

                                              Afalfas (on a good day)

                                              Horse & Barrel (for your afternoon bourbon "flights" )

                                              Indie's (for hot chicken and wedges)

                                              and really, the ONLY reason to go to Atomic Cafe is for the sweet potato chips (bangin') - other than that, overpriced for no reason.

                                              Sam's Truck Stop (arterie clogging gravy and pretty damn good burgers. by the third visit, they'll know your name)

                                              Rick's White Lightning (the man has a degree from the CIA, used to be a top-shelf chef, and what does he choose to do? make the best damn food in kentucky in a diner - serving various creole concoctions and... white lightning burgers (white castle style)?!? DAMN!)

                                              Ken-Tex (just off the hwy ramp twix Loo'ville and Lex'town. best brisket in knob country)

                                              The Anchor Grill. OK, so you don't go for the food (just get the grilled cheese, fries, and a beer - stay safe) - but if ambiance isn't worth the visit.. near the space ship house, if you're on your way in to the 'nati - see if you can spot it.

                                              Lynn's Paradise is dearly overrated - it disheartens me to see all the attention it/she gets. I can't really recommend anything in Louisville, since I'm from Lexington - and well, we don't really care about that place over here since the whole Pitino incident.

                                              looks like i gotta try this whistlestop place, as well as take a western ky bbq tour. been meanin' to...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: brerbridge

                                                I have to disagree on Rick's White Light Diner. The food was good but it just didn't get us. We've had many better meals in the state.
                                                Don't get me wrong, the food was good but just didn't WOW.


                                                White Light Diner
                                                114 Bridge St, Frankfort, KY 40601

                                              2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mandolin and go when I get back to BG. I grew up on Rafferty's Hot Bacon Honey Mustard dressing and it does hold fond memories. I also still have my sister send/bring me tea cookies from Riley's Bakery whenever possible! The Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen have delish pies in Louisville. The beer cheese at Hall's on the River in Winchester is pretty darn addicting. I miss Kentucky!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Mattkn

                                                  oh that dressing is to die for

                                                2. The Mayan Cafe on Market Street in Louisville.

                                                  1. For fine dining, I really haven't had anything even close to the quality of my worst meal at Holly Hill as a best meal at anywhere else. It's in a different class from Johnathan's, A La Lucie, Metropol etc. in my opinion.
                                                    Stella's in Lexington does a great job with soup almost always (especially the Tomato bisque with artichoke hearts and the mushroom with truffle oil) and both the lamb burger and the apples and blue cheese are to die for, the latter especially with the optional bacon.
                                                    Wallace Station's sandwiches are a bit saucy for my taste, but I'll forever have a soft spot in my heart for any place that introduces me to ice cream as good as Valentine's, which they serve parlor style there (made in Lexington, in Zandale center on Nicholasville Rd.) Absolutely the best ice cream I've ever tasted in my life.
                                                    If you want a real hidden gem (unless you're in the outdoors crowd, where it's well known) try Miguel's Pizza in Slade, KY, exit 33 off of the mountain parkway. Huge variety of toppings, really great atmosphere, and pizza that's almost as delicious as it is addictive. Spend a full day at the Gorge first, and it'll taste even better.
                                                    Another great Slade spot is Mark's BBQ at Torrent Falls. Again, spend a day outdoors and it gets twice as good.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: itmeansgod

                                                      1. Heirloom Restaurant, Midway, KY.
                                                      2. Limestone Restaurant, Louisville, KY
                                                      3. Proof on Main, Louisville, KY
                                                      4. Jonathan's, Lexington, KY
                                                      5. Metropol, Lexington, KY
                                                      6. Portofino, Lexington, KY
                                                      7. Jack Fry's, Louisville, KY
                                                      8. Jeff Ruby's, Louisville, KY
                                                      9. Malone's, Lexington, KY
                                                      10. Merrick Inn and Murray's, Lexington, KY

                                                      For comfort food:

                                                      1. Winchell's, Lexington, KY
                                                      2. Ramseys, Lexington, KY

                                                    2. Proof on Main in Louisville!
                                                      Had a great dinner there last week!
                                                      photoeats.com -search louisville

                                                      1. I have traveled for 20+ years. I've had the luxury of eating in many restaurants, and therefore being able to compare them with each other (especially in certain KY cities). Louisville is a fantasic restaurant town - a secret gem in KY. Here are a few of my "favorites", my personal favorites based on the types of food that I like, by city - these are the places that I continue to return to time and again. I have not eaten in EVERY restaurant in every town. Also, my favorites are due to a mix of elements, including but not limited to quality of food, service, menu variety, location, atmosphere, easy parking, a signature dish that I must have, speed of servcie, wait times, user friendliness, so it's not ALL about the food, as there are other factors that figure into the equation in making them my faves. On my favorite list, I noted the negatives that I perceive that the restaurant has from MY perpsective, as well as any outstanding positive attributes that I like. Things that make it stand out from the rest of the crowd in the same town:

                                                        BG KY: The Cellar (exc food and service, nice atmosphere, white tablecloth place, quiet and warm, inviting), The Bistro (bad Russellville Rd location just got remedied with move to the old EVO bldg downtown), Brickyard Cafe (limited parking, nice private dining rooms). Old favorite Mariahs and new addition Buckhead Cafe (a tad noisy at times). Judys Castle and Murrays for breakfast (too smoky but good cheap food). I lament the absence of any memorable or standout asian food in BG and lack of great local BBQ in the Bowl is puzzling.

                                                        Elizabethtown: Green Bamboo for chinese food lovers.

                                                        Louisville KY: Cafe Metro (limited parking, food and pastry chefs fantastic, friendly - for less frills but still nice, go to Uptown Cafe across street), Lilly's (same problem with parking and small DR, exceptional food and desserts, had a rather snobbish waiter here my last visit), Napa River Grill, Cheddar Box (lunch and catering), L&N Wine Bar (very nice atmosphere, great service, exc food as well), Volare (pricey vs. similar eateries in the 'Ville, but free valet parking, nice private DR), Rivue, Desserts by Helen, Club Grotto (fab molten choc lava cake as good as Mortons, quiet, very nice private DR), Le Relais, Proof on Main, Z's, Jack Fry's (limited parking, reservations usually needed or long wait), Bistro 301 (lunch), Corner Cafe (lunch, or casual dinner), Cafe Lou Lou, Cafe Fraiche (lunch catering), Mike Linnigs (fish sandwich), Stans Fish Sandwich, Lynns Paradise Cafe (bkfst and lunch, VERY noisy, SLOW, SLOW, SLOW service when busy - don't go if in a hurry or on the clock), Mastersons (for very reasonably priced catering with excellent service for private events at their 3rd St bldg), Cake Flour (desserts, pastries).

                                                        Lexington: Merrick Inn, Dudleys, a la Lucie, Malones, Murrays, Nadines

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. Used to travel on the behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Ky and I never missed a chance to go the Brickyard in Bowling Green,KY. I was never disappointed. I am not much for desserts but they have the best Tiramisu I have had to date. If I remember the chef is from Eastern Europe but where ever he can surely cook.

                                                          I am a totally in love with Vietnamese food and the Vietnam Kitchen in Louisville and the Pho Bc in Lexington are excellent. I have flank steak pho once a week or I am not well. Live in Lex. and not have been too stunned so far. Do like the Istanbul Palace on Waller Ave very well fro all homemade Mediterranean food. The chef is Turkish and even makes his own yogurt. The Silver Platter is a great sample of all that is good there which is all good.

                                                          1. Been spending considerable time lately in Lexington. I agree with those that love the Vietnam Kitchen but I have found a restaurant in Lex. I like as well. Pho BC. The pho there is wonderful and I eat it every Friday. I have even visited the kitchen. I like pho well enough to have even made my own.
                                                            I have had three very great experiences at Azur. Never had a bad meal there and there is much creativity there and the use of local and fresh food is wonderful. It is a bit pricey but fresh good quality food usually is. Near there in Beaumont Center is a very good Mediterranean restaurant that has wonderful baked chicken and swarma to die for. All the salads are fresh and again, I have never been disappointed.

                                                            Some Thai folks have bought the Fusion Cafe on Winchester Road. It was at one time strictly Vietnamese. They do both Thai and Vietnamese and as you expect the Thai is excellent and the pho is adequate. Their use of the wok and the ability to get that wonderful smoky flavor into the Phad Thai. I find myself at Winchells, a good local restaurant with a lovely fish taco. They do fried oysters well and I do love their jalapeno cheese grits. I can find wonderful things to eat in Lex. but right now my favorite is Osaka off Boston Road. Sushi is very fresh and so well prepared. You are always greeted by the chef and I hope you will try the Roseanna roll. I get it every time. I have cooked since 1972 and have made everything in the book and I'm not kidding. I usually cook for myself but i can survive here when I go out. I never go wrong at the Good Foods Coop Cafe. All fresh, mostly organic.

                                                            Vietnam Kitchen
                                                            5339 Mitscher Ave, Louisville, KY 40214

                                                            3070 Lakecrest Cir Ste 550, Lexington, KY 40513

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: eclectick6n2

                                                              You mentioned several of my favorite restaurants!! I just had dinner at Azur & had the fabulous pork tenderloin with mushrooms & gnocchi. We also had the appetizer meatball, my faviorite menu item right now!

                                                              I also love Osaka and Good Foods Co-op! You should try School off of Richmond Road which has great Japanese & French food!

                                                              3070 Lakecrest Cir Ste 550, Lexington, KY 40513

                                                              1. re: Roadpony

                                                                I agree about School. I tried the sweet meats there and they were addictive. Have you tried the Grey Goose or Tulip? I went to the Black Tulip in Midway all the time and I have heard it's the same folks. I have tried Casanova? It was a groupon offer and I really enjoyed it. It is really a real Italian and the food was very good. We tried scallops and they were great. It's our test of just about any rest. that makes seafood. We like the Banana Leaf and Marsala for Indian. As you can see, I love food. I have lost 50 pounds in Weight Watchers so I have to eat the heavier stuff on a measured basis. So many good restaurants and few extra points.

                                                                Banana Leaf
                                                                319 S Limestone Ste 101, Lexington, KY 40508

                                                                1. re: eclectick6n2

                                                                  Good to know about Casanova, I am always weary about the restaurants that come into that location, but it is on my Try list now. I have not tried Grey Goose or Tulip, so I will also try those. I love Heirloom in Midway!

                                                                  Also I have heard good things about Table 310 downtown, so I must get over there too!

                                                                  1. re: Roadpony

                                                                    I too love Heirloom. It was the 1st time I had had French fries with truffle oil on them. So many good restaurants and so little time. Going to try 610 Magnolia in Louisville onJuly 2. Chef Lee won on Iron Chef America. I,m very anxious to try it.

                                                                    610 Magnolia
                                                                    610 W Magnolia Ave, Louisville, KY 40208

                                                                    Iron Chef
                                                                    3090 Old Todds Rd Ste 130, Lexington, KY 40509

                                                                    1. re: eclectick6n2

                                                                      Please report back! I've heard good things about him & saw they have a tasting menu that I would like to try. Have a great meal!

                                                                2. re: Roadpony

                                                                  By all means try School. Hands down one of best in Lex. The chef always comes out maybe because we are regulars but this place is fabulous both for food an service.

                                                              2. As not from the area, l would pick something very local. Old Hickory in Owensboro for mutton BBQ is my choice for local. At least every few years, either drive or fly down from the NE of America for this precious resource. Also hit Moonlite BBQ, but seems not to be as wonderful as it used to be. Next trip hope it has regained it's excellence

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                  There are actually two restaurants here that know how to barbecue. Billy's in Chevy Chase and Wild Hawg. Forget the Hawg's sides. It is on High Street, just out of town going toward Versailles on the left. It just has a canvas banner sign right now. .
                                                                  I have been to old Hickory and loved it. I do like Moonlite's minced mutton though. I press out the fat and use it to make "Cornish Pasties". Believe it or not, try the Whole Food's Cafe for a slice of pizza. They use a whole milk mozzarella that makes them very good. Only available at lunch and after 5:00.

                                                                  1. re: eclectick6n2

                                                                    I also like th brisket at Butt Rub BBQ on Southland and I think the new Red State BBQ is good on Georgetown Road. Billy's is one of my fav since it leans more towards the Eastern Carolina BBQ & I am from SC!

                                                                    1. re: Roadpony

                                                                      Too good. South Carolina BBQ sauce is my favorite. I like the tang of the mustard. Usually, I smoke my own pork. I like a big Boston Butt. I use hickory and do about 120 minutes to the pound. I do brisket with mesquite. I will try the brisket at the Butt Rub. I didn't like their sauce much. I want my spare ribs to have no sauce, and maybe a nice peppy dry rub. I have a Groupon for the Triangle Grill in one of the big hotels downtown. We'll see about that one. Looking forward to my weekly pho fix at the end of the week.

                                                                      Cried when P.F. Chang took lemon scallops off the menu. We went for those so often, they comped is for the last time we had them. I'm soon going to NYC and Canada. Lobsters and seafood here I come.

                                                                2. Our favs are definitely Holly Hill Inn in Midway and their satellites--Wallace Station on Old Frankfort Pike in Midway and Windy Corners over toward Paris. Holly Hill is white tablecloth, other two are much more informal sandwich. Windy Corners makes the best oyster po'boy!

                                                                  Holly Hill Inn
                                                                  426 N Winter St, Midway, KY 40347

                                                                  1. No one has mentioned any restaurants in far west Kentucky. (I'm sorry but the state does go a couple hours west of WKU and Owensboro.) Downtown Paducah has some great restaurants. Kirchoff's is a great bakery down an old brick side road. Cynthia's Ristorante is a great restaurant too. I've had many more great meals at Cynthia's than I ever have at places like Proof On Main, Jack Fry's and the AAA 4 Diamond English Grill. If you ever find yourself in Paducah, stop by Cynthia's. You won't regret it. One of my favorite Thai restaurants that I've ever been to is also in Paducah. Jasmine Thai and Sushi is great! I have had business friends from across the country come to town and they always want to eat at Jasmine because they claim it's the best Thai food around.

                                                                    Jack Fry's
                                                                    1007 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: agreen10

                                                                      Jog my memory please. I used to travel the entire state for a living and remember an exception smoked barbecue place in Paducah and there was also a place that everyone ate breakfast . The name Sterns is wandering around in my head. Help me out here. There was also a killer breakfast place in Mayfield as well, but it has been a time since I've been to either.

                                                                    2. I have had the experience of eating here about three times. My food was way above average but the owner is an acquired Taste.He is the sort that is the world's foremost authority, and rides roughshod over anything anyone else has to say. He one tried to force me to taste raw garlic and continued to relate to me the benefits of doing so. No amount of telling him that I was well aware of it's benefits and that eating it raw was not my main means of ingestion would deter him.
                                                                      I've been cooking longer than he has and when I eat out, it is for an experience I cannot have at home. The food was good but the arrogance was annoying. If you like a character to go with very good food, it's unique, I will say that.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: eclectick6n2

                                                                        You gonna pass along the name of the place??


                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          I filled out a header with Rick's White Light Cafe. He was featured once on Diner's Drive Ins and Dives. I've seen him on CNN when he was featuring hemp burgers. I can't say I k ow him or like or dislike him. I can say he can really cook and develop favors. You just get extra entertainment. Some find him intriguing. I say go and see.

                                                                      2. Note, all of these are in Louisville:

                                                                        I saw some older mentions of Jack Fry's and I had to chime in - Jack Fry's has really, really gone downhill. We ate there about 6 months ago and it was hands down the worst meal we had in Louisville. (Repeat as needed for emphasis). This was not a matter of it being overhyped. It was legitimately bad.

                                                                        I concur with the people who (vehemently) recommended that people try Proof on Main. I am from Los Angeles and I have to say that Proof is my favorite restaurant, of all time, anywhere. Be prepared to order several of their artisan cocktails or harder to get bourbons (our bill was usually 80% booze, 20% food). When my husband and I lived at Fort Knox we would argue over who was DD and make the 45 minute drive to eat there at least once a month. Our last meal there before we moved, I had the sous vide short ribs. That amazing meal will haunt my dreams forever.

                                                                        We also liked 732 Social, but more for the cocktails and less so for the food.

                                                                        Seviche is great if you like fish and mojitos. They fly their fish in (thank you, UPS world hub in Louisville) and it is as fresh as you would find on either of the coasts.

                                                                        Jeff Ruby's is also good, they have the best wine list in the area (and the mark up is only 2x, versus the 3x that I am used to). I will say that their steaks are incredibly overseasoned and you will not be able to taste whether or not your meat was dry aged. Also, every time I ordered medium rare it came out cold (not cool) in the center. Which was actually ok for me since I only order MR and not Rare because my husband gets grossed out when my ribeye is still mooing.

                                                                        1. What are you in the mood for? Cheap, hole-in-the-wall Korean food? Try Autumn Gardens in Radclff:-) (Don't go for the decor). Nicer Korean food? Perhaps Koreana in Louisville. (I've had both and used to live in Korea). German food? I've heard good things about Caroline's Alpine Haus (once the Schnitzel Barn) near Radcliff/Elizabethtown, but didn't get to try it yet. Likewise, I've heard nice things about Queen of Sheba (Ethiopian restaurant) in Louisville, but haven't made it there yet (I live in Los Angeles, but my family's in Kentucky). Best coffee? Tim Horton's on Fort Knox, The Bear Claw in Radcliff, Heine Brothers/Java all seem nice. Almost a decade ago, I loved brunch at Ditto's on Bardstown Rd in Louisville and the spring roll salad at Cafe Mimosa, both fairly cheap. Best burgers were Ollie's Trolley and Dizzy Whiz (not healthiest burgers, though) in Louisville.

                                                                          Hands down my favorite restaurant in Central Kentucky is the Whistlestop in Glendale, though:-) I'm afraid I'm a graduate student and can't tell you about anything "higher end" than that.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Laura R

                                                                            Have recently moved to Lexington altough I came all the way from Frankfort. Now that I live here, I make it weekly to Pho BC, Sahara, Osaka for sushi, and Marsala in Beaumont Center. We have a new contender in Lexington for fine dining. Casanova is run by real Italians who serve real bread, fresh seafood and cheeses they have made. The lobster raviolis are fabulous. We had a wonderful anti pasto with two home made cheeses, olives of course, and a very nice salami. My house salad was tossed with a perfectly balanced viniagrette, and then the lobster ravioli's arrived. I have been here twice and I will be there again. The owners are so friendly as are the servers. On Friday nice there was a nice piano accompanyment. I was full and so happy.

                                                                            1. I have enjoyed reading this thread. I am not from KY, but get to L'ville a few times a year. I love 610 Magnolia (glad Ed Lee got some press on Top Chef, but enjoyed the place long before that) and consider it to be among the best in the South. Looking forward to trying some of the others mentioned.

                                                                              1. Sad news: Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville has closed down. Apparently some ugly accusations from employees about management abuse. One of my favorite places to dine.

                                                                                But...in Owensboro, I can recommend several places.
                                                                                For BBQ, Old Hickory BBQ is much better than Moonlight if you're looking for real pit barbecue. Moonlight has a huge buffet with lots of extras if that's what you're looking for.
                                                                                Lunch: Downtown on Second Street-Definitely The Bistro Fabulous Sandwiches as well as dinner entrees.
                                                                                Great lunch in soups, salads and sandwiches is Great Harvest Bread on Frederica.
                                                                                Another good restaurant located on Highway 54 is Old South Barbecue. New management has improved the food and service.