Mayan Cafe, as its name suggests, reflects the culinary heritage of the Mayan culture. Chef Bruce Ucán, with Mayan Indian roots himself, showcases a unique style of cooking backed by the ethos of sustainability. This downtown restaurant in the East Market Gallery District offers authentic dishes prepared with farm-to-fork, locavore ingredients. Some of the specialties include Sikil Pak (pumpkin seed dip) and the Yucatec Salbutes which are tiny corn tortillas topped with turkey, chicken, pork, shredded cabbage and/or other various eclectic toppings.
Louisville has some really great neighborhoods, from the West Main Historic District to Old Louisville and Portland, the Germantown area is just another addition to this town. One of the best restaurants in the neighborhood is definitely Eiderdown. Here the kitchen serves innovative plates with creative names like the Mayor of Milk Street which is the grass-fed strip loin, a duck confit and pumpkin risotto masterpiece. The drink and draft beer menus change consistently as well, and though many might consider this spot as a German restaurant because of the Spätzel, pretzels and wurst, it definitely transcends that label.
Louisville isn't synonymous with culinary capitals around the country like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco, yet this town can hold its own when it comes to innovative, cutting-edge restaurants. And though Decca may be housed in an old building from 1870, it uses fresh, farm-to-table goods like duck liver terrine or free-range chicken. Other highlights include live music in a limestone cellar, an outdoor courtyard and an excellent wine list. Overall, a nice addition to 'New Louisville' or known more affectionately (or not) as NuLu in the East Market District of Louisville.
Located in the heart of downtown Louisville on the ground floor of the 21c Museum Hotel, Proof on Main has captured the hearts, minds and palates of diners throughout the city. Inside the blend is modern and chic, but upon first glance it looks like an ersatz safari scene, with large sculpted faux animals such as tigers and zebras on the walls. The white tablecloths and elegant, light wooden fixtures and chairs only add to the eclectic mix. The food is just as varied, and though most would classify it as New American, the kitchen tries to transcend any compartmentalization or label. And with dishes such as diver scallops on rice grits or traditional Italian campanelle made with local lamb, it's easy to understand why.
Emerging from the alcoholic waves of post-Prohibition activity, Jack Fry's tavern opened up way back in 1933. Mr. Fry closed the original incarnation of the restaurant in 1972 and it changed hands for a few years until it re-opened with the same moniker in 1987. The new owner (a former waitress at old Jack's) still pays homage to the man with his old horse racing pictures and other sports memorabilia hanging on the walls. The menu features a slate of elegant classics such as veal tenderloin and foie gras; it's open for lunch and dinner.
Holy Grale is a beer-lover's paradise housed in a former Unitarian church, however now the gospel is according to King Gambrinus (an old European beer hero) as opposed to those out of the Good Book. Here, the beer flows happily through ever-changing taps and bottles. The food menu features small bites on their pickle, charcuterie and cheese plates, yet some larger, more filling options are on there as well. On tap there are more than 20 distinct brews that keep the seasonally-drawn menu good company, in fact, the staff will recommend the perfect beer-pairing with your meal(s).
If you plan to catch a performance at the Louisville Palace, the Marketplace makes for a great pre-show stop. The cuisine on offer is Italian-inspired Southern fare, and there is even a lounge with great drinks and live jazz for your entertainment. The food is absolutely delicious, and dishes like garlic beef tenderloin, balsamic-marinated NY strip and roasted spaghetti and lamb bolognese will definitely leave you wanting more. The patio features a dessert counter where you can enjoy numerous sweet treats.
If you are looking for a taste of the Mediterranean then visit the Safier Mediterranean Deli in Louisville. The eatery specializes in Persian and Lebanese style cuisines and one can enjoy a variety of dishes, the popular ones being hummos, falafel, shawarma and kabob sandwiches, variety of salads like Tabouleh, Fatoush with toasted bits of pita. They serve a few Indian cuisines too and vegetarian food lovers will be happy with the tasty and healthy options offered. Vegan options are also available. After a hearty meal try some creamy masala tea or sweet Baklava.
8UP is a restaurant and bar offering one of the best rooftop views, paired with a unique dining and drinking experience which will satisfy your palate. Being located just a few blocks away from The Mercury Ballroom and the Louisville Palace Theater, this is a good place to visit either before or after a concert. The seasonal contemporary menu is coupled with a creative cocktail list and promises a dining experience to remember. Savor dishes like the duck confit with pinenuts and sherry vinaigrette; mussels steamed in beer with bourbon butter and green chilies; and flounder with fennel, watercress, and hazelnuts while soaking in views of the Ohio river through the all-glass walls.
One of the most popular restaurants in town, bar Vetti is a fabulous place to dine with family and friends. The elevated cuisine is dynamic but features pizzas, pastas and mains. Beef Tartares, Spaghetti Carbonara and Four Cheese Pizzas is a must try. You can be sure of delicious goodness at this cozy and minimalist restaurant. Complement your meal with wine or cocktail. Expect a memorable dining experience in bar Vetti.
Winner of the coveted AAA five-diamond award, the Seelbach Hilton's Oakroom provides its guests the same service F. Scott Fitzgerald and John F. Kennedy enjoyed during their visits. The menu draws its inspiration from the local traditions of Kentucky and it aims to preserve the native dishes unique to this region. The restaurant highlights entrees that have Kentucky bourbon, local foie gras, Denham Farm's mountain ham and other seasonal delights. Of course, the bar has an extensive selection of classic bourbon labels as well as more unknown 'small batch' ones.