Works by local artists adorn the walls and talented musicians keep guests entertained at locals’ favourite downtown restaurant, Decca. Situated within a 19th century historic building, the restaurant comes complete with an underground drinks lounge creating a speakeasy vibe to the place. Food-wise, the cuisine is contemporary American with a few innovative twists thrown in for good measure by renowned chef Annie Pettry. Green tomatoes are fried with parmesan, cucumber and mint creating a delightfully light starter and pork chops are served wood-grilled with polenta and vidalia onions as a delicious main course. For dessert look no further than the devil’s chocolate food cake accompanied by a scoop of chocolate mousse and another of coffee ice cream for a sweet ending to the meal.
Decca, 812 East Market Street, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 749 8128
Situated amongst an array of restaurants, art galleries and bars on Bardstown Road, Jack Fry’s is a great place to go for contemporary American fare. Open daily for both lunch and dinner, dishes to look out for include the salt-roasted beef salad, coq au vin blanc, veal tenderloin and Jack’s signature burger topped with caramelised onions and served in a brioche bun. Jack’s was around back when Al Capone often visited the city and the atmosphere inside the restaurant still has that sense of times gone by and long-forgotten secrets.
Jack Fry’s, 1007 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 452 9244
The English Grill
The restaurant where the Kentucky staple of hot brown was first created, The English Grill prides itself on setting the standard for Louisville’s fine dining eateries. Elaborately decorated with stained glass windows, equestrian paintings and carved columns, the restaurant represents an era gone by, when all of the city’s restaurants would have appeared this grand. For an elegant gourmet meal, begin with the chef’s daily potage before enjoying a foie gras duo appetiser. The main course of choice must be the infamous hot brown (roasted turkey breast and toast points covered with Mornay sauce and baked with pecorino, bacon and tomatoes), while for dessert you should try the soufflé of the day with crème anglaise.
They don’t accept reservations at this gem of a meaty restaurant, so be sure to show up early for dinner to avoid a long wait for a table. Hammerheads serves delicious burgers, tacos and sandwiches as well as a few special entrées. Start with the medley of crispy shiitake and portobello mushrooms served with a sun-dried tomato aioli dip, before tucking into a juicy elk burger topped with brie cheese presented in a pretzel bun and enjoyed with a side of truffle fries. Or go for a whole rack of BBQ lamb ribs with a seasonal salad as a great sharing dish between two.
Hammerheads, 921 Swan Street, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 365 1112
By far one of the finest dining institutes in the city, 610 Magnolia is nestled in the heart of Old Louisville. As it only opens three evenings a week on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays just for one dinner sitting, reservations are compulsory. The farm-to-table seasonal menu changes weekly to incorporate the best organic ingredients available locally at the time of creation. Dishes here are simply exquisite and are presented like colourful works of precision art. Think beef cheek tagliatelle, crudo of Vermilion snapper and veal with bone marrow potatoes to be awarded a glimpse into the innovative flavour combinations at 610.
610 Magnolia, 610 W Magnolia Avenue, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 636 0783
Fusing traditional Mayan cooking methods and flavours with seasonally available local produce, the chef at Mayan Café excels in creating the most wonderful of dishes. Having grown up with a farm-to-table style of eating, he continues this way of cooking in his restaurant kitchen too. Alongside the regular menu, each month there is an additional themed feature menu with a few brand new, innovative dishes to ensure that locals always have something new to try. No visit to the Mayan Café is complete without sampling the delectably authentic cochinita pibil, and the creatively made chilaquiles and tok-sel lima beans.
Mayan Café, 813 E Market Street, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 566 0651
Proof on Main
Located within the 21C Museum Hotel, Proof on Main is part-art gallery, part-bar and part-upscale restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this makes for an ideal spot for a sophisticated lunch with friends who enjoy a cultured lifestyle. Patrons can muse over the contemporary exhibits as they sip one of the 50 bourbons on offer or devour a luxurious three-course meal with a bottle of fine wine. For dinner indulge in a charred octopus appetiser; a Hungarian salami, duck pâté and goat’s cheese charcuterie board; an entrée of Verlasso salmon with spaghetti squash; a side order of Weisenberger grits; and a delicious dessert of buttermilk panna cotta and a glass of port.
Proof on Main, 702 West Main Street, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 217 6360
Seviche: A Latin Restaurant
Run by highly praised chef Anthony Lamas, Seviche: A Latin Restaurant is the destination of choice for South American dining in Louisville. As the name suggests, seafood is the star attraction at Seviche but there are plenty of vegetarian and a couple of meaty dishes on the menu too. With so many luxurious starters to choose from, it’s a good idea to order two or three to share with your dinner companion. The steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, East Coast oysters and blistered shishito peppers are all great choices. For main course, the crawfish seviche, the pickled shrimp seviche and the halibut and crab ‘cigar’ are all unmissable picks.
Toast on Market
Serving delicious breakfasts and lunches six days a week (closed Mondays), Toast on Market specialises in simple, satisfying and tasty dishes perfect for a low-key meal. Breakfast options include a range of French toast, eggs, pancakes and omelette varieties as well as the heartier Manhattan breakfast of pot roast and gravy on a bed of buttermilk pancakes. At lunchtime the menu is primarily sandwiches, grilled cheese and salads, although breakfast is served until close too. For a healthy and delicious lunch, try the pan bagnat – a ciabatta filled with premium albacore tuna, Mediterranean vegetables, basil and hard-boiled egg slices.
Toast on Market, 620 East Market Street, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 569 4099
Jazzing up traditional breakfast and lunch dishes, Wild Eggs is an award-winning restaurant located in Louisville downtown. Serving all of the usual breakfast-orientated fare but with extra special touches to make them stand out; the menu at Wild Eggs features an array of stuffed sourdough French toast, homemade crepes, breakfast nachos and build-your-own omelettes. A particular favourite for a lazy brunch is the eggs Bennie comprising of two poached eggs atop an English breakfast muffin with Canadian bacon, fresh hollandaise sauce, smoked paprika and skillet potatoes.
Wild Eggs, 121 South Floyd Street, Louisville, KY, USA, +1 502 690 5925