Many Frankfort Ave. restaurants have been awarded Louisville Magazine Best of Louisville and LEO Weekly Reader's Choice awards. These 10 Frankfort Ave. restaurants showcase the best food that Clifton and Crescent Hill have to offer.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and occasionally for dinner, Blue Dog is always bustling. Their breads are stellar which is the basis for their satisfying sandwiches and pizzas. With fresh ingredients and classic combinations, their meals are all worth the trip to Frankfort Ave.
El Mundo is a Clifton Mexican restaurant known around town for having amazing food and fantastic margaritas. One common complaint about El Mundo is that the service (somewhat like self-service) can be poor and the ambiance is less like a restaurant and more like a bar. However, if you love authentic Mexican food, you'll be able to ignore the restaurant's faults and focus on the amazing flavors of Mexico you can find at El Mundo.
Caterers that also serve lunch, Crave is a great spot to stop for lunch. There is outdoor seating when the weather is nice and the feel indoors is laid back and friendly. There are salads and sandwiches, both pair well with their homemade soups. The soup is why many stop in more than once.
Grape Leaf is a much-loved local Mediterranean restaurant known for their fabulous gyros. Some can find the menu at Grape Leaf daunting, especially if unfamiliar with common Mediterranean dishes, but the servers are always more than willing to offer a detailed explanation of the dishes to those who ask. Everything at Grape Leaf is made fresh, so don't arrive starving or you may get impatient. The wait is definitely worth it when your entree arrives at your table.
Many people argue that Pat's Steakhouse is the best steakhouse in town, and they may be right. Pat's puts chain restaurants like Longhorn and Buckhead's to shame with its perfectly-seasoned melt-in-your-mouth steaks and some of the best cocktails in town. The service is usually terrific, but the cost can be a bit hard to swallow if you're not expecting to pay fine dining prices. Still, if you're looking to splurge for what might be the best steak you've had in your life, Pat's Steakhouse is a good place to go all in.
In comparison to the number of Asian and Mexican restaurants in Louisville, we're sort of lacking in Italian food choices. However, Porcini makes up for the few local Italian dining choices with their delicious, traditional Italian fare. For original and unique menu items and just a slightly higher price, Porcini should win out over Olive Garden every time. If your family loves Olive Garden, try Porcini sometime – you'll definitely leave satisfied.
The Irish Rover
The Irish Rover in Louisville is a small, crowded restaurant with an atmosphere that suits its name. The outside of the establishment sports a dining deck and is crowded with greenery; the inside is decorated with wood tables, booths, and floors as well as blown-up black and white photographs. The tables are crowded together and not large, so sometimes finding a place for everything is akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle. But, the overall experience is what I would imagine a meal in a real Irish diner would be.
For unique, light fare, Varanese is the place to go on Frankfort Avenue. Varanese is operated by Chef John Varanese who you'll usually catch preparing food and visiting with customers during a visit to the restaurant. Occasionally, a quiet band will play, adding to the casual ambiance of the restaurant. There are also plenty of menu options to please local vegetarians. If you're not a vegetarian, definitely try the mahi mahi and ahi tuna entrée choices.
Note: Jessica Elliott's article was edited by a current expert in March, 2016.