Chances are you have covered every aspect of your event and the details surrounding it. You have guests coming from out of town to share time with you and participate in the activities you have planned, but they may arrive a day or two early and would like some good restaurant suggestions.
My husband, Jeff, and I dine out frequently; it is our way of catching up when he returns from his business trips, before the music and event- filled weekends begin and the cycle repeats itself. We have narrowed it down to a consistent short list of our often-visited eateries. Hopefully, these recommendations will be a good resource to point your friends and loved ones in the right direction.
If your guests are staying in any of the hotels on or off of Hurstbourne Parkway, the next two are easy to navigate to:
The Village Anchor: 1507 Park Rd, Louisville, KY 40223 (502) 708-1850
My Favorite go-to restaurant, any season. The decor is absolutely charming, and they have a large covered lanai for outdoor dining. The menu is excellent- not too adventurous, so everyone in the group will find the perfect meal. They put just the right amount of spin of some traditional favorites. Listen to the server when they bring up the daily specials, they are always well thought-out and worth it. They are also no stranger to a fine cocktail!
Bonefish Grill: 657 S Hurstbourne Parkway, Louisville, KY 40222 (502) 412-4666
Before anyone jumps to any conclusions about there being a “chain” restaurant on my list, hear me out: I am all about quality and consistency; Bonefish keeps it real. Furthermore, to the argument that they are not “local”, I challenge you to consider the folks who work there and where they come from. The fantastic staff who work there are local, and they are more than worthy of my money, thank you very much.
So, with my two cents out of the way, I’ll explain why I like Bonefish so much. Their kitchen is open a little later than other places, which is a huge benefit to travelers. They are primarily a fish restaurant, but they do have options for non-fish lovers, (even the meat-potato-vegetable folks) and they also have a gluten-free menu. This restaurant is one of the few places where you can totally customize your meal if you wanted to because the menu is so clear. The floor plan is quite welcoming. You can have a seat at the bar to eat, sit in the bar area at a large share-able table, or in the dining room.
For more adventurous guests, my Bardstown Road picks:
El Camino: 1314 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (502) 454-5417
This place is doing it right. If you like amazing hand-made tortillas, fresh, local-minded and conscious eating, all wrapped up with hand-crafted cocktails- then this is your kind of place. I love to come here when I am in the mood for something fresh, and it is delightful after a day of travel! The SoCal menu is really well-planned, and the vibe is totally charming and laid-back. You can get a variety of specialty tacos, a gorgeous salad, a salmon dinner, and even spaghetti squash. Naturally, they have all the standards such as guacamole, queso and salsa, all with their homemade chips. One of Louisville’s hidden gems.
Ramsi’s Cafe on The World: 1293 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (502) 451-0700
Ramsi’s has so many great qualities, their long hours are an added bonus. Late diners: here is your place!! Sometimes it is impossible to get into town at a “reasonable” hour to find a decent place to eat. Working long hours at Diamond Cut Entertainment, we often find ourselves here after an event. We are really lucky to have this restaurant in town. First of all, the menu is extensive; this is ideal when you are with a big group or have finicky eaters. Additionally, they have their own farm, Raising Hope Organic Farm, where the eggs, lettuces, and many other foods are sourced. I have had many things on their menu. The salads are substantial, and the entrees are well-portioned. There are plenty of exotic choices, such as the delicious “Egyptian Kitchen” and samosas. Vegans, vegetarians, and pescetarians will have no problems, nor will dairy-free and GF diners. Don’t worry, because there are plenty of delicious meat options. Jeff often has their lamb chops. You will always find live performers here on Fridays and Saturdays, and the music is welcoming.
Milkwood: 316 W Main St. Louisville, KY 40202 (502) 584-6455
Charming and hip, Milkwood is nestled downstairs at the Actor’s Theater of Louisville. They have one of the more exciting menus in town, offering a multi-culti approach to some classics, such as Brisket with mole and Octopus Bacon (don’t let the “octopus” part scare you away from this BACON- it is amazing.) Embrace their non-standard flare, because the dining experience is great for everyone. The offerings are diverse, ranging from burgers to ramen, and on Sundays they offer dim sum! The creations here are wonderful and comforting. The chefs here have unequivocally mastered the art of flavor profile. On the website, they have summed it up perfectly: “Milkwood = Southern Inspiration + Asian Flavors + Bourbon Cocktails”. Bam! there you have it! Reservations are recommended, and couldn’t be easier to make- just go to their home page.
Safier Mediterranean Deli: 641 South 4th St. Louisville, KY 40202 (502) 585-1125
Sometimes, when we are traveling, I like to grab some great food and take it to the hotel room and relax & watch a movie.
Perhaps you find yourself in downtown Louisville while doing some tourist activities and want a quick bite. Either way, this place has seriously delicious food. I am a huge hummus fan, and I have never had better. NEVER. The first time I ate theirs, I was thinking about it for a week straight. I will have to go get some after I get finished writing this! I’ve had a variety of their menu items, and it is always amazing. So fresh, and they obviously use top-quality ingredients. I cannot recommend it enough!
Frankfort Avenue, Clifton:
Varanese: 2016 Frankfort Ave. Louisville, KY 40206 (502) 899-9904
Every time we dine at Varanese, we ask ourselves why we waited so long to return! We have actually visited multiple times in a week, for good reason. The food and wine selection is ever-evolving. Chef John Varanese has planned the menu to be absolutely flawless. This is an inviting place where you can just chill at the bar by yourself and have a salad or sandwich and enjoy the live jazz or bring your whole family for a feast. Aside from the amazing food, what I love about Varanese is the fact that folks of all ages, occupations, lifestyles, and dietary restrictions find themselves in this inviting and relaxed atmosphere.