Kentucky is known for our friendly, laid back nature, along with restaurants serving fantastic food and southern style cooking. Good cooking doesn’t just apply to the mom and pop places and local diners. There are some restaurants scattered across the state that have traditional down home cooking, while others utilize a well-trained chef. Depending on your tastes, both can be absolutely divine to dine at, and a few should be considered must-visit Kentucky restaurants.
11. Beumont Inn at 638 Beumont Inn Drive in Harrodsburg
This B&B has been filling bellies with fantastic food since 1918. It is the longest family owned and operated bed and breakfast in Kentucky, and some of the elders recipes have been handed down. You will find their Yellow Legged Fried Chicken, Two Year Old Country Ham and the Corn Pudding all to be worth the journey. Some people get a little concerned over the age of the ham… but once you taste it, all thoughts other than, “Yum!” cease to exist.
10. Bill’s Restaurant at 420 Frederica Street in Owensboro
For southern cooking at its best with an amazing little twist, you will want to see Bill. The food is always made perfect to order, the service friendly and prompt, and the plate arrangement a work of art. When you eat at Bill’s, you know you’ve eaten somewhere where a little bit of soul goes into every dish.
9. Blue Raven Restaurant and Club at 211 Main Street in Pikeville
The chef here puts a new twist on classic dishes, and creates a few masterpieces of his/her own. The Kentucky Yaki Salmon has a tasty bourbon glaze. The crab cakes, bison meatball sliders, chicken mac and cheese, Hot Brown, Dijon Crusted lamb chops and hand cut fries are all delicious.
8. Alfalfa at 141 E Main in Lexington
If it's Vegan cuisine you crave, look no further than Alfalfa. They are dedicated to providing their patrons with fresh, delicious food with every visit and every dish. They do serve meat cuisine, which is equally delicious, so don’t feel that their menu is limited. The Mushroom Ragout, Alfalfa Avocado Grill, Hopping John and Italian Cream Cake are mouthwatering.
7. Bon Ton Mini Mart at 2032 Madison Street in Henderson
If you think KFC is the king of chicken in Kentucky, think again. This humble little venue isn’t much to look at, but once you have their chicken, no other recipe will be up to par. It is rumored that people drive from a few counties away just to pick some up. Personally, I wish they delivered to Louisville.
6. Boone Tavern on 100 Main Street in Berea
This 105-year-old historic establishment has been in business that long for a very good reason… the food is to die for. Many of the ingredients used come directly from the farm at Berea College---so they are fresh and flavorful. It is also a LEED Gold Green hotel and restaurant, meaning they go about things in the most natural and sustainable way possible. They even have a pastry chef specifically for their list of melt in the mouth desserts. You can come for a weekend stay, or an individual meal, but either way… you should come.
5. Harper House at 914 S. Main Street in Hopkinsville
This fine establishment offers all the classics such as steaks, burgers, shrimp and grits, real mac and cheese and country vegetables. It is slightly on the high end side, but the food itself is well worth the journey.
4. Wunderbar at 1132 Lee Street in Covington.
If you like German cuisine, this is the must go to place for that type of food. Anyone who has experienced German cooking will tell you, this is authentic at its best. They can even make you enjoy Brussels sprouts.
3. Smoketown Barbecue at 1153 Logan Street in Louisville.
If you enjoy a good slab of barbecue meat with all the fixings, you will want to visit this restaurant. The greens and green beans have the perfect mix of flavor and aren’t greasy at all. That is a hard task, but the cooks here have it down. The baked beans are a glorious explosion of sweet and tangy, and the bread is always soft and tastes fresh. The meat… no words can describe the delicious, flavorful smoked taste of the meats---and the sauce is barbecue perfection. If you want to experience BBQ that you won’t ever forget (in a positive way), go to Smoketown.
2. Stella’s Kentucky Deli at 143 Jefferson Street in Lexington.
If you ever lived on a farm and enjoyed fresh farm to table meals, you know there is no substitute. The good people at Stella’s know this too, and that is exactly how they feed their customers. Every meal is fresh, flavorful and grown or raised with love and nurturing hands. You may not believe this if you never experienced it, but you can truly taste the difference. Their house made speciality sodas, such as Mint Ginger Ale, are incredible---and you won’t want to drink regular coke again. The salads and fresh made dressings are out of this world also. To be honest, there is nothing that tastes bad at Stella’s, from their fried green tomato grilled cheese to their specialties.
1. Asiatique Restaurant at 1767 Bardstown Road in Louisville.
Chefs Looi and Sarah at this establishment put a bit of heart in their culinary art, making every meal a perfect blend of savory flavors. Asiatique is known as an Asian fusion establishment, but they go far beyond what any labels describe. We have tried multiple dishes here, including calamari, tea eggs, crab stuffed spring rolls, ribs and Shoshone and we've NEVER left disappointed. Not to mention, they have a fabulous bourbon selection and the bartender, Heather, is a mixologist extraordinaire. Late night patrons will find happy hour pricing after 11 p.m. and live music on the first Friday of each month.
These must-visit Kentucky restaurants all offer a delicious variety of cuisine. We have so many wonderful dining establishments spread across the state; it was difficult to decide who to feature. This combination offers different types of food to appeal to a variety of palettes. Have you ever been to any of the above? If not, what restaurant in Kentucky would you most like to dine at during your lifetime?