Kentucky’s third biggest city, Bowling Green offers dining with characteristic Southern charm. From traditional barbecue restaurants and characterful local delis, we list the ten best places to eat in the area for a taste of the state.
Bistro, European, $
Located in a restored late 19th century house, The Bistro offers a small but perfectly-formed European menu just two blocks away from the beautiful Fountain Square in central Bowling Green. Its warm and intimate atmosphere makes it a perfect choice for a date, enjoyed over a few of its signature martinis.You are guaranteed a delectable dinner with great food from France, Spain and Italy, as well as perfectly mixed drinks.
Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, Pub Grub, American, $$
Two bar-restaurants in one, which one you choose depends on what mood you find yourself in. Micki’s is a more casual, relaxed bar and grill, whilst 440 Main is an upscale dining restaurant that benefits greatly from the fun vibe of its neighbor. Nicki’s offers burgers, beers and a taste of the Bayou, whereas 440 main offers the best of New American cuisine, while also offering fancier versions of Bayou favourites like jambalaya. Try one or the other, or better yet, try both to truly get a taste of the many aspects of Bowling Green.
Smokey Pig BBQ
Bar, Restaurant, American
One of Bowling Green’s best barbecue venues since the early 1970s, Smokey Pig offers an idiosyncratic take on grilled meats. Perfected in Monroe County, this technique is mostly pork-based (hence the restaurant’s name), and sees the meat smoked without any additional spices, and then served with a spicy vinegar-based barbecue sauce. Smokey Pig also offers chicken, but pork is the winning dish, with shoulders, chops, ribs and a great shredded styles on offer, along with a selection of sides. All this, and fantastic value for money, makes this a must for barbecue fans everywhere.
Bar, Restaurant, American, $
Named after the owner’s two labradors Bo and Chancey, who rule over the restaurant, Double Dogs is the perfect place to ‘sit and stay’, where great service and wings, chicken fingers, pizza, salad, and burgers are the order of the day. An upscale sports bar, Double Dogs has a number of fun canine-inspired flourishes (such as its takeout section called ‘Fetch and Go’) that give some impression of the atmosphere in the restaurant. Offering a tasty menu, it is definitely one of the top dogs on the Bowling Green barbecue scene.
Cambridge Market and Cafe
Cafe, Market, Sandwich Shop, American, Dessert, $
The best deli in Bowling Green and the favorite of many of its residents, Cambridge Market and Cafe has regularly been voted as the top local choice. Put simply, if you are new to the area, the Cambridge is the essential first visit to get an idea of the local flavor. They sell meats, cheeses and salads alongside an ever-changing specials board that is constantly full of surprises, and always use quality ingredients from local providers to make their signature dishes and desserts.
Home Cafe and Marketplace
Restaurant, American, $
Home Cafe and Marketplace is a rare thing; a full-service cafe staffed entirely by classically-trained chefs and restaurant veterans. This pedigree comes with a commitment to gourmet ingredients, fine dining touches on even the simplest of meals and the finest customer service. This cafe takes everyday meals such as sandwiches, pizzas and salads and produces them to the highest standards, with locally sourced ingredients to match its local clientele.
A must visit for everybody looking for quality, affordable Mexican food in the area. With three separate locations in Bowling Green, El Mazatlan is the last word for Mexican in the town. Its menu is varied and many deals offer the real spice kick that you want from the cuisine yet so many restaurants and cantinas do not deliver. The service is speedy and friendly, the portions are ample and the food is authentic.
Milk and Honey Bakery
Bakery, Deli, American
A family owned and operated bakery and deli, Milk and Honey has been providing residents with their daily bread and so much more for years. They offer tasty variations of long-held family recipes, and a selection of hot and cold meals that make them a great choice for a quiet and relaxed lunch after a day exploring the historic areas of the city. They even offer authentic country breakfasts to set you up for a day of exploring the city in full.
Contained in Bowling Green’s shopping and entertainment mall the Hitcents Park Plaza, 643 is a sports bar featuring a full menu, two bars and a regular line-up of bands and performers. Its menu is classic sports bar and grill fare done well, with a large menu of wings, sliders, burgers and entrées perfect for football-loving foodies. A great place to visit to take a break from bargain hunting in the mall over a few beers.
Located in the Hitcents Park Plaza’s Mariah’s was a town institution previously found in Bowling Green’s historic district. A varied, mostly New American, menu awaits those who visit Mariah’s, featuring wood fired pizzas, southern-inspired entrées and local favourites which have only improved with the move. Although mostly New American, the menu also offers selections from America, South and Central America and Europe, which makes for a diverse menu worth returning to over and over again to explore further dishes and courses.
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