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Mar 12, 2010 08:10 PM

Louisville---without a car

hello chowhounders. i will be in lousiville for a few days for a conference at the Marriott. My first trip to that fair city. Will not have a car though so my travel ability is somewhat limited. Please don't tell me I'll be stuck with chain restaurants! I'm looking for casual and tasty. Nothing too fancy or expensive. Looked on the boards but nothing seems terribly current. Thanks.

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    You should have no trouble finding good, local restaurants!

    1. I have some friends who work at the Marriott. The hospitality/housekeeping manager is a really good guy, and some of my broke student friends work at the Starbucks in the lobby, and are fantastic people. Tell 'em I said hey! :)

      Here's a link to a google map of the area around the Marriott, with the restaurants marked with little pink dots. Most of those have reviews. Combine this list with mamaciita's suggestion of the excellent Louisville Hot Bytes site and you should be in business! :)

      My specific advice that I always give to first-time visitors is to steer clear of 4th Street Live. Very "meh." If you can make it to Toast on Market for breakfast or brunch, do!

      1 Reply
      1. re: LauraGrace

        thanks to you both for your replies. I will definitely say hey to your friends at the Marriott :)

        I'm studying Louisville Hot bytes very closely and have already made plans to try Toast.

      2. A cab ride to Lynn's Paradise Cafe would be worth it if you want to experience something completely unique. Maybe a few of you at the conference could split a cab ride. probably would only be a couple dollars for the trip if you are staying at the Marriott downtown.

        4 Replies
        1. re: j0di

          Well, to each his own, but while Lynn's is a fun place and definitely very unique, I don't find the food anywhere near as good as some of the other breakfast places in town.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            Funny, that's twice in the last 2 weeks you have tried to steer people away from there. Even funnier, last time you tried to do it, you talked about how much you love her French toast.
            To each his own?

            1. re: j0di

              I do LOVE that bourbon ball french toast...

              I don't have anything against Lynn's, I swear! :) I just think that some of the other breakfast/brunch places in Louisville have better food overall, and better service than what I've experienced there, for less money. I definitely want people to support local businesses and business owners. I just also want them to come away with a positive experience, and I think sometimes the quirkiness of Lynn's takes precedence over the food. Sorry if I came across as snooty about it! :) No offense, I hope.


              1. re: LauraGrace

                Yeah, I'm with LG on this one.Lynn's is not a bad place, but definitely feel that you pay (a higher price than what its worth) for the legs coming out of the walls rather than really great food.

        2. I was just there this weekend w/o a car...though I did use a cab a couple of times. I had some SUPERB recommendations I got from local folks and here is what I can share...
          MAYAN CAFE -you must go here. 9 of us LOVED this place, and we loved the leftovers later too. 5 local L'vlle folks said this is their FAV place in town. It's consistant...and they all told me to get the lima beans...and they weren't kidding. Also the scallops on black bean cakes are great. Ok, truly everything is amazing. You cannot go wrong. Just go there! The chef is from the Yucitan so he actually knows what he's doing. It's about 1 mile from your hotel so totally walkable, or a quick jaunt in a cab.

          This area of L'ville is where a lot of great spots are...732 Social is about a block closer to your hotel on the other side of the street. Toast (for brunch) is next to that...but it was not my fav...and I was told to go to Lynn's Paradise but my group had already picked I will suggest going to Lynn's for brunch as it seems to be the place that locals know and love the best. Also there is Wiltshire on Main about a block close to you than 732 Social. All these places are local farm-table types. And if you do walk to this area from your hotel, stay on the R side of the road...there is a hommade candy shop brimming with the most fabulous easter must try one of their caramel dipped eggs.

          Another spot our group enjoys each year is Intermezzo, which is the restaurant in the lower part of the Actor's Theater. We were there for Humanna (if you like plays, check out the festival while you're in town) but I would be happy to go to Intermezzo regardless of whether I was seeing a show or not...and this is a very short walk from your hotel, 5 min maybe. Honestly, it's got to be the most underrated restaurant around...though I did find it a bit salty this year...but that is chefs for you...they love salt and butter.

          Other places suggested to me include Proof, which has been a favorite of mine for years. Check out the adjacent 21C Museum Hotel for a totally different kind of hotel-art experience. Basa, Zen Garden, La Relias (at an airport so planes fly over while you dine...but that is further away and more $$$) and Havanna Rhumba (I'm told the local Cuban-L'villians love it so it must be good!)

          Hope this helps one out-of-towner from another!

          Zen Garden
          2240 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

          Basa Restaurant
          2244 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

          Lynn's Paradise Cafe
          984 Barret Ave, Louisville, KY 40204

          3 Replies
          1. re: EatPayLeave

            In case the OP wants to look it up, it's Le Relais. Havana Rumba and Zen Garden are both fantastic too!! Mmmmm! :)

            Zen Garden
            2240 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

            Le Relais Restaurant
            2817 Taylorsville Rd, Louisville, KY 40205

            Havana Rumba
            4115 Oechsli Ave, Louisville, KY 40207

            1. re: LauraGrace

              Thanks for correcting my bad spelling...we would not want her to miss out on these options and I should know better!...and very good to hear you love them too.

              1. re: EatPayLeave

                If you find yourself at Mayan Cafe, ask about the Chilaquile--I doin't think it's on the menu right now, but they'll usually make it.

                It's my single favorite restaurant dish!

                Also nearby is White Oak--locally sourced, delicious!

          2. Don't worry you will be able to get to a lot of good restaurants on Bardstown Road by taking a short cab ride or even the bus from downtown. As long as it isn't too late at night I think you would be comfortable on the bus.

            The Louisvillehoybytes website is a good source ( as long as you ignore the occasional silly rants from the host about politics and his former employer, the local newspaper).