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BEST LOUISVILLE EATS - HIGH END, MODERATE, LOCAL

Hi,

We will be in Louisville for 2-3 days in August and would love to explore the best eats. Planning on one gourmand dinner, but also inexpensive local fare suggestions would be terrific. Would love to know local favorites.

Thanks,

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  1. Do you like BBQ or Country Food. What about Italian. In the south Italian is prominent. Of course BBQ and Soul Food is also.
    Jack Fry's is a Louisville favorite for many years serving lunch and dinner daily with live jazz music at night. They have an outstanding bar and JF's is a lot of fun. It's probably a 10 minute cab ride SE of The Galt about 2 miles away.
    Jack Fry's @ 1007 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 502 - 452 - 9244.
    http://www.jackfrys.com/
    Lilly's is a casual restaurant about 2 miles from The Galt or a 10 minute cab ride near Jack Fry's serving lunch and dinner. The bar is very nice and the menu is very complete with a nice Tapas menu also.
    Lilly's @ 1147 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 502 - 451 - 0447. I64/EXIT8.
    http://www.lillyslapeche.com/
    Lynn's Paradise Cafe is less than 2 miles away and less than a 10 minute cab ride but it's a great fun place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    Lynn's Paradise Cafe @ 984 Barret Ave., Louisville, KY 502 - 583 - 3447.
    http://www.lynnsparadisecafe.com/
    North End Cafe is an outstanding restaurant serving local raised ingredients in a casual atmosphere with a fun bar, music and outdoor seating open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's 2 miles from The Galt and less than a 10 minute cab ride. 3 ladies in back and the leader in the front with the driver.
    North End Cafe @ 1722 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 502 - 896 - 8770.
    http://www.northendcafe.com/
    Bistro 301 is a nice casual place for lunch or dinner with outside seating that's a block from The Galt.
    Bistro 301 @ 301 West Market St., Louisville, KY 502 - 584 - 8337.
    http://www.bistro301.com/
    Rivue is one of Louisville's top fine dining restaurants on top of The Galt. There music and a revolving floor with great views. I know you are used to great dining in NYC but do they have a revolving floor in a great restaurant with a pianist playing in NYC. Have you been to Eleven Madison Park?
    Rivue @ 140 North 4th Street, Louisville, KY 502 - 568 - 4239.
    http://www.rivue.com/
    Proof on Main is 2 blocks from The Galt and serves a mix of Italian and Southern cuisine for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There's also bar dining which might be nice for the 4 ladies before a performance.
    Proof on Main @ 702 West Main St., Louisville, KY 502 - 217 - 6360.
    http://www.proofonmain.com/proof/defa...
    Here's a link to the Actor's Theater website which is across the street from The Galt and their restaurant guide for the area.
    http://www.actorstheatre.org/visit_re...
    Mark's Feed Store is the best BBQ in Louisville. They have 3 locations but one is about 4 miles from The Galt headed SE past Jacky Fry's and about a 10 minute cab ride. It's very good BBQ.
    Mark's Feed Store BBQ @ 1514 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY. 502 - 458 - 1570.
    http://www.marksfeedstore.com/

    3 Replies
    1. re: Littleman

      Thanks so . It's funny that you mention the Actors Theater, since that is the reason we are heading for Louisville. Our son will be starting a 9 month stage management internship and we are driving him down. We do love BBQ, especially outside of NYC, so definitely will try some. I thought we also would celebrate my husband's birthday and wondering what you thing of the James Beard Group: 610 Magnolia, Sevice, and Harvest.

      1. re: matika

        I actually live in Nashville, so while I know the Nashville food scene better than Louisville's, but I did a ton of research on food in Louisville before heading up (my wife says too much, but she'll be the first to admit she benefited), and ate at some restaurants you mentioned, so I'll give my 2 cents.

        Didn't get to 610 Magnolia, though that and Jack Fry's are probably probably top on my list for next time I'm in the area. We ate one dinner at Harvest and one at Seviche (also one at Basa, which was a JBF Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2008, actually). We each loved both dinners. Harvest very much has the look of the "farm to table" thing, which we both like a lot, with the farmhouse tables and pictures of farmers along the walls. The food was outstanding. I had a crispy pork confit with with pickled jalapeno bacon grits, bourbon glazed carrots, and sweet onion jus that was easily one of the best things I've eaten yet this year. I've been to two of the 2012 JBF Best New Restaurant semifinalists this year (the other being Park Tavern in SF), and while I loved both, Harvest was my favorite.

        Seviche, also excellent. The striped bass and spicy crab "cigar" was well cooked, interesting, and well balanced in flavors. I wasn't a huge fan of the ceviche itself, but I'm not a big ceviche person in most instances anyway. It was by far the best seafood meal I've had down South. I'd be hard pressed to choose between this and Harvest. I'd recommend both highly, but you probably will spend more money at Seviche than Harvest, so you can keep that in mind if you're only choosing one of them. And for what it's worth, Basa was fine, but the meal didn't match up to either of those. Harvest is on East Market, close to downtown, while Seviche is a bit farther down Bardstown from Jack Fry's.

        We also ate breakfast/brunch/lunch at Wild Eggs (which is a drive from downtown), Mayan Cafe (a little farther down East Market from Harvest), and Hillbilly Tea (right downtown, but in sort of an odd location). Preferred the latter two. Mayan Cafe for lunch was great, especially the Huevos Motulenos. Favorite was actually probably Hillbilly Tea (which you can read a little about in the New York Times 36 Hours in Louisville article). Some interesting teas, a nice, very open space, and good food. The pork belly with corn pone, arugula, and sunny egg dish was something I was still thinking about a week later.

        A couple friends went to Jack Fry's when they were up there and loved it. Even though I only spent a few days in Louisville, it seems to me to be an incredibly underrated food city. I can't offer much besides the above, but I think it'll be tough to go wrong selecting a couple restaurants that you hear a lot about.

      2. re: Littleman

        Don't go to Mark's Feed. Cross into New Albany and trey Feast BBQ. It recently made USA Today's list of hot BBQ joints. It is excellent - try the cucumber kolsch!

      3. Some others to consider:
        HIgh end: Corbett's
        Moderate to high: Bistra La Coop, Decca, Doc Crow's, Garage Bar
        Inexpensive: Hammerheads, Taco punk

        1 Reply
        1. re: etonian

          I love Taco Punk. We always hit it up for lunch.

        2. Thanks so much - we actually never made it to Louisville because our son decided to fly down. However, we are going the end of January and made reservations at 61 Magnolia, Serviche for my son's birthday dinner (he is only off on Monday nights) and Harvest for lunch, Thought we also would check out Hillbilly Tea and see if there is a way to work in Jack Fry's. Proof on Main looks like it might be a good post theater place to have a drink and light meal.

          Will send comments after we return

          4 Replies
          1. re: matika

            >> Thought we also would check out Hillbilly Tea and see if there is a way to work in Jack Fry's.

            Just a word of caution - Jack Fry's does a big business and it's iffy to arrive without a reservation. When I was there a few months ago, we did so at 6:15 on a Monday and they couldn't give us a table until 8:00. (Fortunately, they had two seats open at the bar.)

            We absolutely loved Jack Fry's, and have heard plenty of good things about 610 Magnolia. I don't think you can go wrong either way, and if you can hit both, great!

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Thanks for all of the recommendations. One last question. Any opinions as to Decca or Basa

              1. re: matika

                Decca is wonderful...can't say anything about Basa because I haven't been there yet..

              2. re: nsxtasy

                I enjoy Hill Billy Tea as well.

            2. If you are a fan of pork, The Blind Pig is excellent! I second Hammerheads and Hillbilly Tea - 610 Magnolia is excellent but book far in advance - at least a few weeks!

              1. Some good recs. below! Lynn's has closed and it was mostly a tourist trap anyway.
                Very good and inexpensive Mexican and Latino: Mayan Café (local ingredients, creative), Mojitos (very good tapas for the price), Havana Rumba (more sandwiches than Mojitos, also very good). For more expensive and more elegant Latino dining, go to Seviche on Bardstown Rd.

                Jack Fry's is still excellent and you need reservations even for lunch (most days). Jack's/Equus in St. Matthews is casual but still excellent and creative food; the owner also has Corbett's further east (very elegant, expensive, quite good). Lily's is still good but can be very noisy around some tables since the bar is in the middle of one dining room. Proof is still good although there is a new chef. Relish is a wonderful value for lunch and dinner and run by the previous owner of Jack Fry's (it's close to downtown on River Rd.). Clover Lane in St. Matthews has fine (meaning the food is very good and also elegantly served) dining, great service, and you can actually hear what other people at your table are saying. For cheap but very good Asian, consider Vietnamese Kitchen, Nam-Nam, and Simply Thai. No very good Chinese or Indian, sad to say. Coal's has the best pizza imho and also very good salads.

                Woops . . . almost forgot Lee's Magnolia and his new Milkwood at Actor's Theatre. Magnolia will be a little precious for some, and others say it's not as first-rate as it used to be; still, it's one of the best restaurants in this part of the South.