The Top 10 Restaurants To Try In Lexington, Kentucky

Photo of Marcelina Morfin
9 February 2017

Lexington, Kentucky is brimming with culinary adventures and summer, a time of flavorful, abundant produce and warm temperatures is a good time to try them out. Here is a list of some of the restaurants offering visitors unique experiences for the summer.

Donamire Farm, Lexington, Kentucky | © David Ohmer/Flickr

AZUR Restaurant & Patio

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, $$$
Map View
Established in 2004, AZUR Restaurant and Patio is a locally owned restaurant specializing in New American cuisine. Featuring a chic European inspired interior, complete with bold colors and curvy lines, the restaurant also has a covered, brick patio that is perfect for a relaxing summer evening out. Wonderful, live music often permeates the air on Friday and Saturday nights while guests drink and dine on delicious, fresh food made with local ingredients. The menu offers many seasonal selections with the bourbon fried chicken accompanied by bourbon mashed potatoes, Southern green beans, and cream gravy being one outstanding option. AZUR is open seven days a week.

Bella Notte

A friendly, family-owned eatery, Bella Notte specializes in delectable Italian cuisine the entire family will enjoy. This trattoria is a wonderful place to sample seasonal fare, including some tasty summer options. Within a rustic interior, complete with a live tree, or outside on the charming patio, guests can feast upon several summer delicacies, including the gnocchi with white beans, lemon, young kale, wood-fired grilled sweet and spicy peppers, plus parmesan and the roasted chicken with late summer squash, grilled okra, potatoes, and pickled shallots with fig-balsamic glaze. To complement the meal, seasonal cocktails and a summer wine list are also available.

Bella Notte, 3715 Nicholasville Rd., Lexington, KY, USA, +1 859 245 1789

Coles 735 Main

While the atmosphere is casual, the experience is a fine dining one at Coles 735 Main. Located inside a historic landmark, Coles serves American cuisine with a twist or more specifically, local fare combined with global flavors. It features not only an airy interior brimming with charm but also the perfect summertime seating, an outside gazebo. The pale blue structure, complete with hanging baskets draped in colorful flowers, is a lovely spot to sit back with friends and enjoy tasty eats, such as the bourbon-maple glazed Scottish salmon with house-made gnocchi, carrots, daikon, and citrus-fennel vinaigrette. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner..

Coles 735 Main, 735 E. Main St., Lexington, KY, USA, +1 859 266 9000

Dudley's on Short

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan
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Variety of signature dishes at Enoteca
Variety of signature dishes at Enoteca | Courtesy of Enoteca
Part of Lexington’s culinary scene since 1981, Dudley’s on Short is a lovely venue featuring creative American cuisine. Located in the heart of downtown and nestled inside a charming 1889 historic building, the restaurant features a two story interior plus a rooftop garden patio. Adorned with greenery, tables and chairs, plus comfortable couches where friends can converse, the outdoor space is a great spot for enjoying the warm summer air and a host of delectable food. One highlight from the menu is the seared tuna with port wine miso, black rice, and wasabi.


Open every evening, Enoteca is a chic gathering spot for people looking to sample a host of wines, bourbon, craft brews, along with Spanish-inspired delicacies. Wonderful for a night out with friends or a more intimate outing, Enoteca is a hot spot during the summer and entices visitors again and again with not only a patio adorned with soft lighting but also an upstairs deck. While breathing in fresh air, guests can sample an array of tasty edibles, including patatas bravas with aioli, Brussels sprouts with manchego cheese, chorizo puffs with mustard sauce, beef tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce, and bread pudding with Willet Bourbon sauce to name but a few.

Enoteca, 191 Jefferson St., Lexington, KY, USA, +1 859 687 0346

Ethereal Brewing

Looking for a laid back venue to hang out with friends and enjoy a beer or two? Then look no further than Ethereal Brewing, a vibrant venue located on the Pepper Distillery Campus. Opened in 2014, this brewery offers guests a large, outdoor space, complete with ample seating, concrete planters, plus a view of the nearby creek, perfect for mingling with people and sipping a variety of handcrafted creations from staple brews to limited edition options. Some of the craft beers guests might find on tap include the Lambda Oatmeal Stout, Anomaly Saison, and White Ale Witbier. For those visitors looking for something to eat, Ethereal often hosts food trucks. They are open every day.

Ethereal Brewing, 1224 Manchester St., Lexington, KY, USA, +1 859 309 1254

Merrick Inn

Family owned and operated for approximately 40 years, Merrick Inn is a must-visit for anyone visiting Kentucky during the summer. Between the delicious Southern cuisine and the beautiful location, a manor house with lush landscape, this venue is a delight to visit during the warm season. The outdoor brick patio features a pool and is surrounded by verdant flora making the space a relaxing environment. One must try highlight from the menu is the Merrick hot brown, which is country ham and fresh turkey on toast points under mornay sauce with tomato, bacon, and parmesan. Merrick Inn offers dinner Monday through Saturday.

Merrick Inn, 1074 Merrick Dr., Lexington, KY, USA, +1 859 269 5417


Restaurant, Beer, Wine, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Map View
Billed as a casual, fine dining venue, Sabio is a welcoming spot tucked in the historic Dudley Square, in downtown. An inviting place to dine any time of the year, the summer is a particularly special time to visit as Sabio offers al fresco dining on the ‘Courtyard Patio Oasis.’ The brick patio features an array of colorful umbrellas to keep guests shaded while they dine. Headed by Chef Javier Lanza, the culinary team creates a host of delicious farm to table dishes with one highlight being the crispy duck breast with sweet potato and goat cheese purée, haricot vert, juniper berry, and port wine reduction. Try this and more every day.

The Sage Rabbit

Deli, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Stella's Kentucky Deli
Stella's Kentucky Deli | ©Stella's Kentucky Deli
The Sage Rabbit specializes in local and seasonal fare within a friendly ambiance. Opening their doors at the end of July 2015, this chef owned establishment could not have picked a more perfect time to greet their first guests. With an abundance of summer produce plus a cozy, shaded outdoor patio, complete with hanging flower baskets, The Sage Rabbit offers a memorable summer experience. Serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, the menu has many fresh options, including the house made linguini with shrimp and summer herb pesto and the seared beef tenderloin with sauce moutarde, smoked garlic mashed potatoes, plus wilted spinach. Tantalizing desserts are also offered.

Stella’s Kentucky Deli

Tucked inside a renovated, colorful Victorian home, Stella’s Kentucky Deli is a delightful restaurant offering guests a taste of the Bluegrass State. Featuring a warm, inviting interior space, the deli also gives guests the option of dining and drinking, try a refreshing cocktail, on the brick patio, which is shaded by vibrant umbrellas, during the warmer months. Focusing on fresh, local ingredients, the menu offers comforting dishes, such as shrimp and grits with smoked ham and tomato Creole and the slow-roasted, local pork shoulder with Wiesenberger cheese grits, spicy greens, balsamic reduction, plus bourbon BBQ sauce. Stella’s welcomes visitors every day.

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