Subway: Limited Parking
I had a detailed map of the town which had eating places on it, so we first tried to find a place there near the Un of KY, but there was no place to park. We finally spotted a Subway in a little shopping center which had very little parking.
Favorite Dish: One of the bad things about Subway is their lack of desserts. They DO have a very good chocolate chip cookie.
I had a cheese steak sub and two chocolate chip cookies. Bob had tuna salad and chips.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Gumbo Ya-Ya: UK area cult favorite!
Many years ago when I went to UK, there was a restored train station called South Hill Station that housed all manner of restaurants and stores. One such restaurant was a yummy Cajun restaurant called Yat's. Well, unfortunately Joe moved out of town, closing Yat's and selling off his other restaurants, Jozo's (also Cajun restaurants). For years, I sadly contemplated never again having Maque Choux.
But then, one of the former employees tracked Joe down and must have begged permission to use his recipes. Because lo and behold, Yat's has been recreated again, now in TWO locations! The South Broadway location is so authentic to the original Yat's that customers were exclaiming in surprise while we were there during the first opening weeks. And for all of you that frequented Yat's regularly during your college days, I can assure you that the food is still excellent.
The Maque Choux sauce is exactly as I remembered it, although the peanut sauce was a bit spicier than I remembered. My husband's favorite, the Yat-wich, is still on the menu. And the new owner has added many more selections, all of which are listed on their website, www.gumboyayaky.com . The portions are huge, and the prices are reasonable: $5 for a small plate, $6 for a large plate. You go up to the counter and pick the sauce, and whether you want it over rice or pasta. And if you're new to the experience, or unsure, they'll let you taste-test a spoonful of as many sauces as you like so that you can try before you buy.
If you've saved room for dessert, don't forget to try a piece of the Elvis pie. It's worth all the extra calories! And get a couple pralines to go so you can savor the experience later. PS. If you show up on Mardi Gras, they usually give out free slices of King Cake and beads, of course.
Favorite Dish: The Maque Choux is my favorite, a little less spicy than some of their other sauces.
La Gormet Pizza: Surprisingly good pizza
This place definitely qualifies as a "hole-in-the-wall" kind of pizza joint but their pizza is really quite tasty. We were looking for something light so stopped for a small salad and some pizza. I was impressed when I saw that they were tossing the dough and placing ingredients on it as I was afraid they might be pulling it out of the freezer. Nothing fancy here but a very edible light meal. It is nicely located just near Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center. They also have on-line order capability.
Bruster's: REAL Ice Cream
Bruster's advertises its product as "real ice cream" and having tasted it, I find it hard to argue with them. We made a mid afternoon stop for a pick me up and I found my favorite flavor of ice cream - black walnut. The portions are huge so be prepared to eat a lot. Our granddaughter had a sunday with gummy worms - yuk! but she found it wonderful. I also like the waffle cones which they bake on the premises (though I am sure the mix is shipped from somewhere else) and you can get your sundae in an edible waffle bowl as well.
- Family Travel
The Black Tulip: Excellent steaks
Midway is just a wide spot in the road but the word seems to be out about this restaurant. Our innkeeper recommended and made reservations for us and the place was full, and with good reason. While it is a bit on the pricey side, the food is outstanding, they have a good wine selection and there is a lovely terrace in the front. The whole front of the restaurant opens onto the terrace in good weather and it gives it a very pleasant open feeling.
The tab was about !50 including everything including tax and tip. It is a little more than most places, but well worth it for a very nice meal.
Favorite Dish: My wife had crab and scallops accompanied by corn fritters which you don't see much these days. I had the steak entre cote which is a nice ribeye with buerre de Paris - a nice combination of butter and dijon mustard melting on the top of it and pommes frite. No diet food this evening! We each also had a class of nice Castle Rock cabernet. Our 11 year old granddaughter is a more sophisticated eater than some kids so had the filet mignon with fried red tomatoes and an herbed angel hair pasta. She did have a chocolate milkshake for dessert and my wife and I shared a creamy and rich grand marnier chocolate mousse topped with stawberries and blueberries.
We found all the food excellent and the surroundings and staff most pleasant.
Malone's Hamburg: Best Restaurant in Lexington by far!
When visiting Lexington, everyone must eat at Malone's steakhouse. It has been voted the #9 Steakhouse in the country as of 2007, and offers superb service. The meals are pricy, however, they have three restaurants in one and you can order food from Harry's (pub food) or from the Aqua sushi bar. When you go, be sure you talk to John Mcnamara, he is the Managing Partner at Malone's and let him know how much you love the food, he is a cool guy. They have two locations, one in Landsdowne, the original, and one in Hamburg which seems to be more popular and more modern.
Favorite Dish: Kobe Filet Steak, $50. mported from Austrailia, add a Crab leg to it.
Cheddars Casual Cafe: Cheddars Casual Cafe
Great Food, Low Prices, Nice environment! They have a large aquarium inside that is nice to look at and a huge fan in the middle that is very indian looking/vaulted ceilings. Spacious.
Favorite Dish: I really enjoy the Butter Crosiants and the Broccoli casserole. Iv tried many of their other dishes. They have a large variety.
Natasha's: An enchanting evening
While visiting Kentucky for the Derby, we made the short trip over to Lexington to tour some of the incredible horse farms. What a beautiful countryside they have! In the evening we headed downtown to dinner for a change of pace-- and lucky for us-- our daughter spotted the colorful umbrellas outside Natasha's. We were immediately drawn in by the worldly charm of this enchanting bistro! The ambiance is both rustic and elegant-- surroundings of art and decor rich in culture and history. Reminds one of urban lofts found in larger metropolitan areas.
The eclectic menu was impressive-- with delicious selections from around the world-- including Mediterranean, Eastern European, Asian, and even some local favorites. The kids each tried one of the homemade pizzas-- smiles all around-- no small feat with teenagers!. My husband was quite happy with his pesto pasta (loaded with flavor), and I couldn't have been more satisfied with my greek salad and sweet chili stir-fry dish. We topped off the meal with some fine Turkish coffee. A thoroughly enjoyable experience in every way.
Adjacent to the restaurant is their boutique-- offering many unique gift selections-- such as the Moroccan lanterns and other artifacts seen in the restaurant, gorgeous jewelry, Chinese shoes, beautiful Russian scarves, and so much more. A must see! They also offer live music and theatre on a regular basis. We do hope to return to Lexington soon for the beautiful scenery, and another fabulous enchanting evening at Natasha's!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Theater Travel
Natasha's Cafe: Natasha's Cafe: Ambience, But Little Else to Savor
Natasha's Cafe has an eclectic menu, trending toward Middle Eastern. This claim, however, is not backed up by authenticity. The ambience is inviting and intimate, and there is an outdoor dining area which would be pleasant when the weather permits. But the food is generally a disappointment to a demanding diner. The ratatouille wrap contained a pile of mushy vegetables that in no way resembled ratatouille. The entire meal was virtually flavorless and my friend's meal which I sampled was equally bland and unexciting. The coffee was weak, transparent and full of grinds. The service was less than attentive and the restaurant was almost empty at the time of my visit. When I registered my disappointment with the waitress about the food, no offer was made to reduce charges or give me a coupon for something off on a future visit. That sort of settlement is standard in other cities.
Le Deauville: Not all it's cracked up to be...
We recently went to le Deauville’s to celebrate a birthday. I didn’t know much about the restaurant before going, but after eating there and talking to other people our dining experience seemed to make more sense. To begin with, although we were dressed up it started to rain right before we got there and we got a little wet on the walk to the restaurant. I thought they weren’t going to let us in there for a minute. The waiter was fairly pleasant at first, but service got lax after the initial ordering and my drink was never re-filled. The tables all around us seemed to be taken care of well, but nobody ever really bothered to check on us. It took our food a little over an hour to arrive and I thought they had forgotten about us. After eating, it took the waiter even longer to come back and take our dishes and to check to see if we wanted dessert. We both ordered it, but the person dining with me ordered an apple pie that was definitely NOT apple when it arrived. It was rhubarb. I knew this and they knew it because neither one of us like it. After a bit it was clearly decided that it wasn’t apple and since rhubarb was on the menu it seemed logical that it had been mistakenly sent to us instead. When we told the waiter about it he took it back into the kitchen, only to return a few minutes later saying that he had talked to the chef and that the chef “definitely said it’s apple.” It was a weird experience. Later, I talked to some other people who had eaten there and they said the same thing had happened to them. Only it was with an entrée and not dessert. As a matter of fact, I haven’t spoken to a single person that has had a god experience at the restaurant.
Favorite Dish: However, the food was pretty good. I had some excellent trout and my dining partner had really good salmon. But it’s way too hoity toity for Lexington and there are far too many good places to eat downtown. I would skip it and try out Bellini’s or Metropol if you want something fancy.
Bella Notte's: Beautiful Night
There are many good things to be said of Bella Notte’s. I am a huge lover of Italian food and honestly am really hard to please when it comes to eating it. That’s because I’ve eaten a lot of it and had the real thing in Italy and Croatia and tend to know what I like and how I like it. But Bella Notte’s almost always gets it right. Although it’s located on one of the busiest streets in Lexington and looks like an average chain restaurant from the outside, the quality of the food is always top notch. The minute you walk in the doors the aroma of freshly baked bread, light marinara sauce, and oregano hits you like a sledge hammer. If you’re not hungry when you go there, you will be as soon as your senses take over. The decorations are whimsy and tasteful, the service good, and the menu extensive and reasonably priced.
Favorite Dish: One of my favorite things is the free bread that comes with the meals. I usually end up taking an extra loaf home with me. It’s a little hard on the outside and really soft on the inside and I’ve never had a loaf that wasn’t warm. For main dishes I tend to either go with the pizza margherita or penne arrabiata. The arrabiata is too spicy for some people, but if you like a little kick to your pasta it will definitely add something. Sometimes I order plain penne pasta covered in tomato basil sauce which is a little like a mixture of alfredo and marinara. It’s only listed on the lunch menu, but if you ask for it they’ll fix it anytime of the day. The tiramisu is really good for dessert.
Anna Belle's: Anna Belle's
It’s nice to see the continuation of the revitalization of downtown Lexington. I enjoy the downtown area and like to support the local businesses-especially when they are not chains. Anytime a new restaurant opens up I always make an effort to check it out, even when the reviews are not entirely favorable. This is what happened with Annabelle’s. The first review I read on it wasn’t exactly in praising of it. The food was said to be mediocre and the atmosphere more of a place to “see and be seen” as opposed to a comfortable dining experience. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not true in my dining experience. It is a fashionable restaurant and there were many young people dining, but they appeared to be more of the young professional set than the young college kids type. I actually found the restaurant (which has dining both upstairs, downstairs, and outdoors) fairly European in décor and menu.
Favorite Dish: We ate there for lunch and split a caprese, one of my favorite dishes. It is difficult to find a Lexington restaurant that can make it adeptly but in this case it turned out great. The mozzarella wasn’t rubbery, which happens a lot, and the tomatoes were fresh. I also had an order of the chicken quesadilla stuffed with salsa and cream cheese. It was very good and not too heavy. For dessert we ordered a sampler of crème brulee. It came with coconut, vanilla, and chocolate varieties and was excellent. A problem I have with creme brulee is that sometimes the top layer can be overcooked and too sugary. This one was near perfect.
Although we ate there at lunchtime on a Saturday the restaurant got a little crowded. It has a lively bar in the downstairs area and I have seen it overflowing on the weekends. It is definitely a place well worth checking out.
Nadine's: Sister to a la Lucie
If you want the quality, but not the price, of a la Lucie, then this is the way to go. Until recently it was owned by the same people, but with a totally different atmosphere. The inside looks like an old diner-albeit an upscale one. We've always had good service there and the food has been terrific. Don't let the fact that it is located in a strip mall throw you off.
Favorite Dish: Some of my faves:
White Lasagna layers of noodles and cheese, with chicken and mushrooms. It is very, very rich so eat slowly. The only bad thing is that sometimes there isn't room left for dessert.
Angel Hair Pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, and a touch of garlic, topped with parmesan cheese. This one is good, too, and a little lighter.
Thai Cobb coconut shrimp with avocado, cucumber,mango, rice noodles, and a green curry dressing over mixed greens.
I’m usually not up for chain restaurants, but Chili’s is typically my exception. I really have a thing for their southwestern egg rolls and their garden burgers aren’t bad either. Usually, the only time we end up eating there is after we’ve been to a concert or late movie showing in downtown Lexington and most other places have started closing. Let’s face it, Lexington has no shortage of good restaurants and we like to frequent them as much as possible. But for a late night eatery, I have never gone wrong at the Chili’s on Richmond Road. Consistency says something.
Favorite Dish: The last time I ate there I had a tomato basil penne pasta dish with grilled chicken strips. It was wonderful. I was there during happy hour so my guest and I both had strawberry margaritas. For dessert we split a chocolate volcano type of cake. In Austria it would be called a “mohr imd.” I love them. Everything was really good and we left so full we could barely walk.
Atomic Cafe: My Favorite
I LOVE this place. It's Carribean food at its best. Although the service is a little slow, and the food pricey, the taste all makes up for it. You should definitely go in the summer when you can sit outside on the patio. They usually have live reggae bands on the weekends.
Favorite Dish: Let's see...the coconut shrimp? Or the chicken breast stuffed with shrimp and spinach? The black beans and rice? Or the maccaroni and cheese? No, no, the rum berry cake. Oh, heck. It's all good. PS- try the B-52 as a shot fave. Not made with absinthe like in Czech, but still pretty darn good.
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