Many people travel to Louisville to watch the Kentucky Derby or sip bourbon on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. But did you know that Louisville makes an amazing spot for a food tour? In 2012, Louisville was the only city in the US to make Zagat’s list of “8 Awesome Foodie Getaways Around the World.” Tim and I spent four days eating our way through Louisville (and drinking our way down the Bourbon Trail). Here are some the best Louisville restaurants to try.
And no, KFC did not make the list.
Best Eats in Louisville
Toast on Market
Toast on Market is where our food tour of Louisville began. This restaurant is one of Louisville’s best spots for breakfast or brunch. They serve french toast and pancakes with a creative twist, offering things like Lemon Soufflé pancakes and Monte Cristo french toast. Tim and I dined on french toast served with fresh berries and whipped cream, which was delicious, but the granola was our favorite.
Toast on Market advertises that they serve breakfast all day, but please note that they close at 2 pm. They also serve lunch fare as well.
Where: 620 E Market Street, Downtown Louisville (see it on Google)
This place is just pure fun. I have no photos of Havana Rumba because Tim and I were having way too much fun drinking the margaritas!
Havana Rumba is the place in Louisville to get a taste of authentic Cuban food. For the best experience, grab a seat at the bar, order your margaritas or mojitos, and pick dishes off of the tapas menu to sample some of Havana Rumba’s best food. We loved the guacamole served with plaintain chips and the chicken and ham croquets.
Havana Rumba has three locations in Louisville: the Highlands, St. Matthew’s, and Middleton. We ate at the Havana Rumba on Bardstown Road in the Highlands (see it on Google).
Ramsi’s Cafe on the World
For international cuisine, put Ramsi’s Cafe on your list. This is another place with a very creative menu. They serve seafood, raw food, vegetarian food, and even have a gluten-free menu. Want Moroccan, Jamaican, Indian, or Vietnamese? This is your place. If you are traveling with a group of people, there is something for everyone at this restaurant.
The restaurant is decorated with souvenirs from around the world. Tim and I loved flipping through the old editions of “National Geographic,” some dating back to the 1940’s.
Where: 1293 Bardstown Road, Highlands, Louisville (see it on Google)
Mussel & Burger Bar
If Tim and I lived in Louisville, we would keep coming back to this restaurant until we tried everything on the menu. OMG…the burgers are amazing. And so are the mussels!
Tim and I were here at midday, just hungry enough for a midday snack. We split the sliders (which are tiny versions of the C.E.O. burger), pommes frites, and the Meunière Mussels. Everything was delicious.
Tim and I considered coming back to this restaurant again during our four days in Louisville, but then we could not have tried something new!
Where: 113 S 7th Street, Downtown Louisville (see it on Google)
El Taco Luchador
Great tacos and cheap prices, what’s not to love? For a quick eat, this is a great spot to try. These are some of the best tacos we have ever eaten. It’s a tiny place with just a few tables. We arrived just before opening time on Sunday and it did not take long for a line to form. This is a popular spot in Louisville for very good reason.
Where: 938 Baxter Avenue, Highlands, Louisville (see it on Google)
This was our best meal in Louisville. Jack Fry’s is a great spot to try if you want a gourmet meal. Dinner for two can be expensive here, but it is worth it!
This is a restaurant with an old world atmosphere, great menu and wine list. At dinnertime, the restaurant is dark and it can be loud, but the food more than makes up for that. Plus, the service here is phenomenal. I’m fairly certain that our waiter could read our minds, always appearing with perfect timing.
Reservations for Jack Fry’s are highly recommended! Plus, parking can be hard to find. To get here, we used Uber which helped avoid the parking issues.
Where: 1007 Bardstown Road, Highlands, Louisville (see it on Google)
Mayan Cafe serves excellent Central American food. The chef, Bruce Ucán, grew up on the Yucatan Peninsula. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes are the lima beans. Yes, you heard me right. I am not a fan of lima beans, but these were soooo good. Our favorite dish were the Yucatec Salbutes, two corn tortillas topped with the daily special.
Reservations are strongly recommended, as is ordering the lima beans.
Where: 813 E Market Street, downtown Louisville (see it on Google)
Mark’s Feed Store BBQ
I will admit it, we picked this restaurant just because it has a cool name. And the fact that many people rave about the barbecue here.
To share, we ordered the fried pickles and the World’s Largest Bar-B-Q Sandwich. Fried pickles were a new thing for me and they were so good!! The Bar-B-Q sandwich, not so much. It fell apart instantly, creating a huge mess of meat and mangled bread on our plate. Not the best experience.
Maybe we are not BBQ people or maybe we just did not order the “right” thing at this restaurant. We were not fans of the sandwich but I do recommend the fried pickles!
Where: 1514 Bardstown Road, Highlands, Louisville (see it on Google)
Brown Hotel Lobby Bar
The Brown Hotel is a historic spot in Louisville. Stop by for a Hot Brown sandwich (it has its origins here) and a cocktail. Listen to live piano music and be transported back in time to the 1920’s. This is an essential Louisville experience.
Where: 355 W Broadway, downtown Louisville (see it on Google)
Troll Pub Under the Bridge
Tim and I liked this spot simply because it is a cool place to hang out. It’s a huge sports bar located near the KFC Yum! Center (this is a sports arena, not a restaurant). If you are going to one of the events at the KFC Yum! Center, stop by Troll Pub for a drink or for dinner. While we were here, we ordered the strangest thing we could find on the menu, the fried chicken and waffle sandwich.
Where: 150 West Washington Street, Downtown Louisville (see it on Google)
Two More Spots to Try
By the time we boarded our flight home, there were still several restaurants on our list to try. Both of these restaurants get stellar reviews on travel blogs and Trip Advisor. Even though we never got a chance to eat at these restaurants, they should still make your list of places to eat in Louisville.
Proof on Main
This is an upscale restaurant with a gourmet menu. The bar has received numerous accolades, mostly notably from Wine Spectator Magazine and GQ Magazine. People rave about the bourbon flights and the eclectic menu. If you want an upscale experience while in Louisville, consider Proof on Main.
You know you are in the right spot when you see the giant, golden statue of David that stands right out front of Proof on Main.
If a line out the front door and down the street tells you anything, you might want to add Feast BBQ to your list. The first time we drove past Feast BBQ, we were on our way out of town and onto the Bourbon Trail. We saw the line and added Feast BBQ onto our list of Louisville restaurants to try. Tim and I went back to Feast BBQ on a Sunday only to learn that they are closed on Sundays. We were so disappointed!
Numerous reviewers on Trip Advisor claim that this is the best spot in Louisville for barbecue. Just be aware that they are closed Sunday and Monday.
Best Eats in Louisville on Google Maps
This concludes our food tour of Louisville. Happy eating! If you go to Feast BBQ, let us know how it is!
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