We have all stopped by a restaurant only to be told there is a 2-hour wait, or to see people lined up out the door. If you wait, often times your stomach starts to eat itself before you are seated. A reservation can be your best option to beat the crowd at some of the most renowned restaurants in Kentucky.
11. Sister’s Tea Parlor at 4765 Fox Run Road in Buckner
Though this is located in a strip mall, the environment is that of a luxurious private gathering. The tea pots are considered bottomless, so you can experience unique flavors and not worry about breaking the budget. The food can be a little more costly, but the flavors and homemade goodness makes it well worth the visit. They have even been known to cater to specific specialty needs, such as vegan.
10. The Smith House at 1640 State Hwy 22 in Owenton
This family restaurant may be a little out of the way, but it is worth the visit. If you love pork tenderloin, the one served here is surprisingly delicious. One normally doesn’t expect food of this caliber in a small family establishment. The wait can be lengthy for a table on a busy day, but once you have a taste of what they offer, you will understand.
9. Wallace Station at 3854 Old Frankfort Pike in Versailles
Though this is just a deli style diner, sometimes the line will wrap clear around the side of the building. A reservation cannot really save you here. Once you try delights like the Inside Out Hot Brown or one of many breakfast Paninis, you will gladly stand in line a while. The Monday night fried chicken and Friday night fish fry specials are pretty good too.
8. Seviche at 1538 Bardstown Road in Louisville
The weekends are the busiest here but the staff is always considerate, providing excellent service. It is both the friendly service and the food keeps people coming back for more. The appetizers here are unique and the desserts, like avocado ice cream, are interesting and not overly sweet. Some of the local favorites served are the Flank steak chimichurri, ribeye, Halibut, California tri tip, etc. Pretty much anything seafood on the menu is going to be good. The Forest Mushroom enchiladas are out of this world if you are a fungi fan.
7. Science Hill at 525 Washington Street in Shelbyville
This is southern cooking at its finest from the Country Ham to the fried chicken to the Deviled Crab. Since they’ve been serving up food over a century, they’ve became quite the perfectionists. This is the kind of place with an allure that draws you back time after time, which is why there can often be a bit of a wait. The hot water cornbread and sweet tea are a delight too, as long as you don’t need to watch your sugar.
6. Rodney’s On Broadway at 222 N Broadway Street in Georgetown
Steak is a specialty here. No matter the cut or the preferred preparation, it will be immaculate and mouthwatering. The Yukon Gold potatoes are also quite tasty. Chef Rodney tries to put something special in every meal for his patrons, which makes it a very popular place for locals and visitors. Reservations are recommended.
5. Holly Hill at 426 N. Winter Street in Midway
The building dates back to the mid 1800s, but it has been a restaurant since the 1970s. They serve specialties like Deviled Crab and Colonel Tso’s Chicken Livers alongside fresh greens and farm fresh carrots and peas. The shrimp, chicken and dumplings and steak are all highly recommended as well. It is also recommended you make a reservation at Holly Hill. If not, you might find yourself waiting a very long time. The food and service is just that good.
4. Beaumont Inn at 638 Beaumont Inn Drive in Harrodsburg.
Karen P. Hackett, TMP, CTA
Karen P. Hackett, TMP, CTA
The restaurant has been serving up fine southern cuisine since 1919. Anyone who has eaten the 2-year-old country ham agrees, it is to die for… not literally, but it is the perfect combination of sweet, smoky and salty while maintaining juiciness. Some hams can be like flavored cardboard, but not here. This is a historic restaurant that has been around long enough to perfect every dish they prepare. On weekends it is best to make a reservation.
Weekends can be very busy, so don’t be surprised by a wait. However, you will find the reason Bella Notte is crowded is the fire cooked cuisine and fresh made bread. Everything is fresh and cooked to perfection. The salads are fresh with homemade croutons, and the flavorful Parmesan and fresh cracked pepper make it all come together perfectly.
3. Bella Notte at 3715 Nicholasville Road in Lexington
2. August Moon at 2269 Lexington Road in Louisville
If you love Chinese food with flair, you will want to eat here. The renowned chefs create combinations with strong and subtle flavors, melding into culinary perfection. This is a very popular place due to its unique way of preparing foods with both Malaysian and Chinese spice and herbs. The signature dishes are divine, like the Snapper , but other foods and appetizers are equally delicious. The Ahi Tuna, Goat Cheese Wonton, Lamb in Thai Red Curry, Hot and Sour Soup, calamari, chicken in garlic or peanut sauce and Malaysia Curry Beef ALL come highly recommended. Bland and flavorless does not appear anywhere on the menu here. Everything is delicious.
1. Boone Tavern at 100 Main Street in Berea
This historic Boone Tavern has been in operation since 1909 and some of the same treats served then are still served today. The classic dishes and unique modern foods served are continuing Boone’s tradition of being one of the best places to get a good meal in Berea. If you are in the area, you will want to make a reservation, or hope you come on a slow day. Eating within such historic walls just adds to the ambiance of the meal.
We all have our favorite places to eat, even if there is a wait. These 11 renowned restaurants in Kentucky offer some of the best food in the state. I can’t vouch for everything on the menus, but I know some of the items mentioned are out of this world delicious. When you see a long line at a restaurant, you can rest assured, the food is tasty. What restaurant in Kentucky do you feel is worth the wait?