Across the Ohio River from Louisville, Indiana’s New Albany hosts a smorgasbord of restaurants serving diverse cuisine, from barbecue and brewpub eats to Chinese cuisine and gourmet Mexican. Here’s our top ten favorite.
Since opening its doors in downtown New Albany in 2010, Habana Blues has been one of the city’s most consistently raved-about restaurants. Get a taste for the cuisines of Cuba and Spain with a selection of small dishes like boniato frito (sweet potato fries served with smoked honey) and albondigas (Spanish meatballs cooked with a Creole-style tomato and red wine sauce). Wash down Habana Blue’s tasty fare with a margarita, sangria, or mojito.
Located in a historic, Italianate style building dating back to 1875, The Exchange Pub + Kitchen is a New Albany take on a neighborhood gastropub. Executive chef Matt Weirich designs rotating New American seasonal menus crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Standout dishes include double bone-in pork chop with succotash and a herb velouté or California scallops with avocado purée, pickled cucumbers and daikon, sticky rice, and a soy ginger glaze. The Exchange’s drinks list is equally artisan in character, offering boutique wines, handcrafted cocktails, and rotating craft beer selections.
New Albanian Brewing Company Pizzeria & Public House
When the New Albanian Brewing Company officially set up shop in town in 2002, it was the first working commercial brewery the city had seen in almost 70 years. Its Pizzeria & Public House is the perfect place to sample its craft brews alongside tasty, casual eats. Start with small bites like salted pretzels with beer cheese sauce followed by one of New Albanian’s delicious pizzas. Choose from a variety of crust, sauce, and topping options or opt for a signature pie like The Carnivore, topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon bits, and beef.
The Onion Restaurant & Tea House has been serving its signature mix of classic and contemporary Chinese and Japanese cuisine in New Albany for over a decade. Opt for familiar Chinese dishes like chow mein and egg fu young or udon noodle soups and Japanese-style hotpots. Or go for one of Onion’s house specialties, like the deep-fried shrimp with pineapple, yellow onion, green peppers, and chef’s special sauce. The Onion Restaurant & Tea House’s name wouldn’t ring true without a good tea menu. Choose from traditional blends like oolong and genmai or specialty varieties like the passionfruit flower tea.
Shawn Pitts was inspired to open Shawn’s Southern BBQ in 2015 by the southern-style barbecue he ate in Tennessee as a youngster and the soul food restaurant his dad owned in Louisville in the 1970s. He’s by no means a novice though, winning various awards at local events, including the Smokin’ on the River State BBQ Competition in neighboring Jeffersonville. His talents are evident in his restaurant’s brisket, rib tips, and pulled pork.
Opened in May 2009 in one of New Albany’s most iconic structures, the former Baer Building, River City Winery is a boutique winery and restaurant with a menu featuring creative New American eats. Executive chef Nicholas Davis crafts casual lunchtime sandwiches and wraps alongside tempting brick oven pizzas and mouthwatering entrées. Try the Crawfish po’boy on sourdough hoagie with remoulade, baby arugula and sweet potato fries or lasagna made with mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, Italian sausage, and marinara sauce.
For deliciously authentic Mexican cuisine that’s a cut above the rest, Israel’s Delicias de Mexico Gourmet is a New Albany standout. Alongside an array of familiar Mexican fare like carne asada, ceviche, and shrimp a la diabla, guests will find plenty of more adventurous, epicurean-edged Mexican eats. Try the chicken with shrimp, chorizo, spinach, and mushrooms in a spicy, sweet Mayan-style achiote sauce or chimichanga topped with fresh greens and beets, cheese, onions and kiwi.
An independent, locally owned organic market and café, Seeds and Greens Natural Market & Deli is the place to go in New Albany for your fix of healthy, nutritious eats. Established in downtown New Albany in late 2014, the market is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while its onsite café serves a delectable range of hot and cold sandwiches. Think hearty horseradish roast beef paninis and vegetarian black bean burgers (available gluten-free and vegan, too) alongside salads and fruit smoothies. Guests hoping to recreate Seeds and Greens’s healthy meals at home can pick up ingredients and tips in the adjoining market.
A family owned and operated eatery, Aladdin’s Café serves some of the best Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare in all of southern Indiana. Order the restaurant’s mazza plate (featuring a variety of appetizers like falafel, baba ghanoush and tzatziki sauce) to start for the perfect introduction to the cuisine before hearty mains like gyros and chicken shawarma. Traditional, homemade baklava is served daily as dessert and perfect paired with the café’s specialty beverage Turkish coffee with cardamom.
Sometimes nothing other than a hearty, homey bowl of pasta will suffice, and when that urge arises, Bella Roma Italiana Cuisine is the place to head in New Albany. Go for lunch when Italian-American sandwiches are served. Or opt for dinner at Bella Roma when traditional dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, lobster ravioli, and eggplant Parmesan are on the menu, followed by desserts like tiramisu and New York-style cheesecake.