trendy and hip: Alfalfa
Great variety of food, great atmosphere with an eclectic style. This restaurant is unique to Lexington and has been around for almost 40 years!
Favorite Dish: Huevos Rancheros
Two poached eggs over rice with rancheros sauce, diced onion, chopped green pepper and white cheddar cheese. Served with toast. Only about $8. Great for brunch paired with a mimosa!
- Gay and Lesbian
- Food and Dining
Jonathan's: Jonathan's at Gratz Park
Had been meaning to try this place for awhile now and finally had the opportunity to have brunch there not long ago. I love the Gratz Park neighborhood in Lexington. It's one of my favorites-full of old houses and quiet streets and a hop away from some great restaurants like the Atomic Cafe and a la lucie's. In the evenings they sometimes have horse and carriage rides and it reminds me a lot of Washington Square in New York City. But I digress. The Gratz Park Inn is on the list of historical hotels and it's a quiet little place right off the square. Jonathan's isn't your typical hotel restaurant and is a notch above many of the area restaurants that seem to cater to college students and the young yuppie crowds. It's quietly elegant and subdued and upon entering the dining room you feel as if you have stepped back in time. It's a little pricer than most, but on par with a la lucie's and Bellini's and Metropol.
Favorite Dish: I was there for Sunday brunch and therefore had a different menu than what I would have had for dinner or lunch. I ordered the omlette filled to the brim with brie, mushrooms, and sweet onions. It had a little too many onions for my taste, but it wasn't bad. It came accompanied by homefries and my only complaint with them was that I didn't have enough of them. For a starter course I had the fruit and yogurt parfait that was absolutely wonderful. My dining partner had the dried apple and cinnamon oatmeal for a starter and the Kentucky hot brown (the biggest I have ever seen in my life) for a main course. For dessert we shared a slice of apple spice cake topped with slivers of green apples and smothered in caramel sauce. It was divine. The cost for two for brunch was $48, not including a tip.
De Sha's: Good Regional Food
This is a great place for regional food in a beautiful, Victorian setting. My mom likes the Kentucky Hot Brown and claims that it's the ebst to be found. I personally like the shrimp. For brunch you can have a great Hawaiian chicken salad, complete with little banana nut bread muffins.
Favorite Dish: The famous Kentucky Hot Brown (what my mom always orders):
A Kentucky tradition. A lunch portion of sliced breast of turkey smothered in a rich cream sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, crisp bacon and tomatoes broiled to a golden brown. It's rich, so be warned!!
Strips of chicken in a coconut breading, served with honey mustard sauce for dipping. NOt really comparable to Atomic Cafe's coconut shrimp though.
Golden Fried Shrimp:
Select shrimp, butterflied and lightly breaded then deep fried. Served with cocktail sauce and steak fries. This is pretty good. Had it a couple of times. My friend Bobbie Sue claims it's the best she's ever had.
Sampler includes potato skins, stuffed banana peppers, and coconut chicken. I'd go for this if you weren't sure what you wanted. The stuffed banana peppers are pretty good, too.
Cerified Angus Beef tenderloin filet char-grilled in a garlic butter with sauteed mushrooms and a Cabernet bordelaise. But then again, I love filet mignon so I am a little biased.
Also noteworthy: the stuffed mushrooms.
FURLONGS: Great cajun in Kentuck?
This is a restaurang I've tried to visit but friends tell me it is one of the best in Kentucky!! I WILL get there!. Furlongs, creator Tommy Walters hails from Lafayette, Louisiana, where he grew up cooking alongside his father, noted Cajun chef Roland Walters.
Favorite Dish: In addition to wonderful cajun food, my friends tell me that the selection of America's National Spirit -- Bourbon whiskey -- is wonderful here.
Dudleys/ Merrick Inn/ Cheapside Bar and Grill: Several Choices for Good Patio outdoor dining
I've listed several local favorites for eating outdoors: Dudley's has a bricked in patio. This restaurant is located in an old school building built about 1884 on Maxwell street between Mill and Upper, near UK. Chefs usually have interesting selections.
The Merrick Inn located on Tates Creek Road (3380 Tates Creek Rd.) just off New Circle Road is in an old restored house in a complex of apartments. Casual, yet upscale food. (though some critics might find atmosphere stuffy). This is a favorite of racing fans that come to Lexington during Keeneland's spring and fall meets. Reservations highly recommended at that time.
The Cheapside Bar and Grill, located at 131 Cheapside next to the old court house on Main street is a good place to mingle with Lexington's young single professionals after work downtown and have a drink while listening to a local band.
Favorite Dish: These three restaurants have stayed in business for many years because they have consistently good food and service. If you like dining outdoors (in good weather), you can't go wrong with any of these. Dudelys and Merrick Inn are more upscale. Cheapside would appeal more to the single crowd.
Keeneland Race Track restaurant!: Burgoo
Ever had that Kentucky classic, burgoo? What about a mile-high corned beef sandwich? How about bread pudding with Keeneland's very own Maker's Mark bourbon sauce? If you haven't sampled some of these delectables, then you don't know what you're missing.
Keeneland is almost as well-known for its great food as it is for its great racing.
Equestrian Room is located on the ground floor of the grandstand adjacent to the finish line, this casual dining room offers an a-la-carte menu with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and light entrees. Sandwiches and entrees range from $7.95 to $10.95. Individual and small groups are welcome.
EVEN THE CONCESSIONS STANDS offer Burgoo and Bread Pudding!!
Favorite Dish: Burgoo!! Burgoo is a savory stew made from a varying array of ingredients. The meats could include any or all of the following meats: mutton (sheep/lamb), beef, pork, chicken, veal or opossum. You will also find some combination of these vegetables: potatoes, corn, lima beans, tomatoes, or okra. Of course there are also many spices to choose from as well
A bit of a conglomerate restaurant “complex” in a “strip mall” at the corner of Lyon and Harrodsburg Road almost at Man O’War, Malone’s is an excellent place to find steak or seafood. The “strip mall” location is a bit deceiving as the place seems to be crowded all the time. Reservations are most definitely recommended but same day reservations are not uncommon. At 1:00 PM we had options of 5:00PM or 8:00PM and beyond. We chose 8:00PM and found a packed house when we arrived.
The wait staff was very attentive, knowledgeable and ready to get you whatever you needed. The steaks are (from our experience) done to your order, but beware when ordering rare as it may be done correctly when it leaves the broiler but might cool a bit on the 30+ foot walk to the table. The wine list is good; not extensive, but it has a bit of everything from local Kentucky wines to high end California wines (you will not however like the price of the CA wines).
Prices for the entrees are high but well within the realm of what you are getting. Instead of a Prime cut, a Choice filet will be significantly less and for my money tastes just as good if not better.
The King Crab was wonderful. Done to perfection and the candle lit / heated butter dish was just the right touch to ensure your butter dip did not get cold.
Favorite Dish: Steak and King Crab! Outstanding.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Beef O'Brady's: Beef O'Brady's
While shopping at the local supermarket we spyed a sign that said FREE WIFI. Since we needed a wireless Internet connection to get four computers going all at the same time, this became our lunch stop.
Located in the Palomar Center "strip mall" at the intersection of Lyon and Harrodsburg Road we found a very comfortable "local" establishment.
The owner, Tom O Brien, noticed that we were part of the horse crowd in town for the World Equestrian Games was quick to stop by our table and welcome us to town. I suspect that even if the games were not being held, he'd stop by anyway just to say hello and greet people.
Favorite Dish: Burgers.....Burgers....Burgers....Ok, and beer. If we lived in Lexington, this could become my favorite haunt. Although it's technically a "chain" each are individually owned. This one has friendly people and good food. It's nothing fancy but everything was done to perfection. We even got our fries extra crispy on the first try.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Giuseppe's Restorante Italiano: Giuseppe's Restorante Italiano
On a recommendation from a local store owner we attempted to dine at Giuseppe’s one night only to find that not only were there no parking places in the parking lot or within a ¼ mile of the restaurant there was at least a 2 hour wait for the occasional “walk-in” patron. That said we grabbed a business card and called for a reservation a few days in the future.
Located on a hard to see side road just off of Nicholasville Road about a mile past the Fayette Mall we arrived to find an unpretentious but comfortable looking building with a bar on the right side and a nicely appointed dining room on the left. Booths ran around the outer area of the dining room while a raised floor with tables was in the center. The menu was not overly extensive but carried 6-8 items for most every category one would want from an Italian restaurant.
The wine list too was not extensive but the 6-8 (5x7) pages carried an impressive list. Wines ranged from ordinary Italian and US “table wines” to bottles one would expect to find in only 5* venues (Jordon, Opus, Quintessa). The best part was the price. A bottle of Quintessa or Opus that retails for well over $125 at the winery was priced at only $170-200. The food was just as good. Entrees were priced from $12-24 and were prepared perfectly.
Favorite Dish: I had the Chicken Marsala and it was excellent. Comments from others that had Lasagna, Pasta Bolognese were similar.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Located on Short Street just two blocks off of Broadway (one of the main roads through town) this boisterous bar is definitely designed for those out for drinks and munchies and not an older “dinner crowd.” There is an extensive outside bar area that does a great business. There is even a bar on the sidewalk to ensure you are never without while waiting. The specialty drink menu is almost as large as the food menu.
Since the town was over crowded due to the World Equestrian Games, there was a long wait for entrees so we ordered an appetizer; The spinach dip was excellent. We were warned the wait for the entrees would be long due to the crowds; the wait was not as bad as anticipated, but some of the entrees were not “up to par.” The Black Bean soup was quite bland and the salad rather wilted. The Chicken l’orange on the other hand was taste, even if quite over cooked.
It was obvious the place was more of a bar and was quite overwhelmed by the crowded. Our young student waiter was quite polite and very attentive. We did have to teach him a bit about serving wine as he brought our California Red in an ice bucket; an omission he continued to apologize profusely about.
- Road Trip
Ramsey's: Road House Home Cooked
Ramsey’s – There are now multiple locations, but we went to the one located on the outskirts of Lexington on Harrodsburg Road (actually near “Old Harrodsburg Road”). Looking like it had been located in the area for many years and perhaps saved only by history when the “new road” was built.
The menu is not very extensive but has all the basics including “Hot Brown,” a local favorite (normally enough for 4 on one plate). The portions are typically large for the price. The menu consists of a list of meats and a list of vegetables. Most meals consist of choosing one meat and up to three vegetables.
Upon first glance, I noted that any restaurant that considered “Mac and Cheese” a vegetable, had to be good.
Favorite Dish: The meatloaf was excellent. Not too “mushy” as some commercial products tend to be; just the right seasoning and lots of it. The creamed corn was excellent (and I don’t typically like creamed corn). The beans were only “so, so” but all in our group tend to like beans with a bit of flavor; these were rather bland, which may be the style in the area. The “small side” salads were huge; in addition to lettuce, they add tomatoes, eggs, and cheese in amounts equal to the lettuce making for a large plate.
- Road Trip
Jonathan: Jonathan at Gratz Park
Considered one of the top restaurants in Lexington, and recommended by an acquaintance, we called to see if reservations were available while walking around town. After being put on hold a couple times we were told that a table had opened which could accommodate the four of us. The restaurant is beautifully appointed in “old school” oak and brass with subdued lighting. The menu was quite good but the service was “snooty” and slow; not “elegantly slow” as most top ranked restaurants.
The food turned out to be only slightly better than the service which was unfortunate as the price was in the stratosphere. As we were leaving the hostess informed us “if you plan on dining with us again during the WEG you should call a few days ahead.” She needn’t worry as we will definitely not be back. Hopefully we just hit them on a really bad day, but I got the idea that they tended to cater to the more affluent and “known names” of Lexington.
Lunch Mon-Sat 11:00 AM-2:00PM
Dinner Mon-Sun 5:30PM-10:00PM;
Sunday Brunch 11:00AM-2:00PM.
Favorite Dish: None of our entrees were anything we'd try again.
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
- Luxury Travel
de Sha's: de Sha's
Located in Victorian Square at the corner of Main and Broadway this is a great place to grab a quick bite or spend a relaxing afternoon to escape from the shopping in Victorian Square.
It is open Sun-Thurs. 11:00AM-10:00PM; Fri-Sat 11:00AM-12:00AM. It spans all three floors of a renovated building at the corner of The Square. The menu has something for most everyone. The chicken salad sandwich was quite good with large chunks of chicken. The onion soup was good, but not as thick and tangy as I tend to prefer. The hamburgers were very tasty and cooked to order.
Favorite Dish: The chicken salad sandwich was quite good with large chunks of chicken. The onion soup was good, but not as thick and tangy as I tend to prefer. The hamburgers were very tasty and cooked to order.
- Business Travel
- Historical Travel
Keeneland Kitchen: Breakfast at the track
The best place for breakfast in Lexington just might be the track kitchen at Keeneland. It is open to the the public seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Breakfast at the track kitchen is a step into the flavor of the Bluegrass. Horsemen mingle with the general public and track employees actively help non-raceing customers understand the lore of horse racing.
The country breakfast served buffet style. Eggs cooked to order, grits, biscuits, bacon, sausage, potatos, and gravy, and more. Seating for up to 200 in two dining rooms.
The track kitchen is located near the barn area just follow the signs.
- Family Travel
Burgers and Shakes: The burgers really are 84 cents!
Classic just like an old drive in diner! The food and drinks even stayed the same price. You get a huge real beef patty burger for only 84 cents!!! The french fries are the best around. You can't beat the prices or the food. The only downside is they only take cash. No credit or debit accepted.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
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