Traveling through Kentucky? These are the restaurants worth planning a stop for.
From high-end to historic, these restaurants define Kentucky’s dining scene, offering a tempting blend of local influences, regional traditions and exotic flavors.
Reserve at this cozy-yet-sleek Louisville spot to taste how Edward Lee fuses influences from Asia and the American South (imagine pork belly with red miso, or duck with golden Kabocha squash). In 2015, Chef Lee received his fifth nomination for Best Chef Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.
Anthony Lamas, a three-time James Beard Foundation nominee for Best Chef Southeast, helms Seviche in Louisville. Here, he experiments with the Latin flavors he grew up with — try his empanadas filled with Kentucky bison or his Tuna Old Fashioned, a dish of tuna ceviche accented with Kentucky bourbon and soy sauce.
Ahi tuna tacos at Seviche
At this Lexington must-eat, inquire into special “chef series dinners” that highlight trending ingredients (past dinners have featured everything from local craft beer to country ham). The regular menu is sophisticated with plenty of local flavors — try salmon brushed with bourbon-infused barbecue sauce, served with sweet corn fritters and salsa of cucumber and sweet pepper.
Holly Hill Inn
The restaurant at this historic inn, located just outside Lexington, is a longstanding Kentucky dining destination. Inquire into the popular “dinner club” series of themed meals, or make reservations for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch, when the Bluegrass Red-Eye Benedict layers poached local eggs with country ham on a cake of fried grits.
Scallops paired with grits and tomatoes at Holly Hill Inn
A historic staple on Louisville’s “Restaurant Row” in the Highlands neighborhood, Jack Fry’s has roots dating back to 1933 as evidenced by the antique photos lining the walls. Locals know it as a special occasion spot thanks to its refined take on Southern cuisine, live jazz music and vintage, upscale ambience.
Bank 253 Restaurant & Nightlife
Don’t be fooled by Bank 253’s festive atmosphere. This Pikeville haunt treats both food and fun seriously. Take a seat on the breezy patio or watch a game with locals at the bar, and choose from a robust menu of elevated bar fare featuring everything from shareable bites to loaded burgers.