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.
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.
Natasha's: My Second Favorite
Oooh, oohhh, ohhh. This is the place that you eat at when you want to forget that you're in Kentucky. VERY European. Could have something to do with the fact that the owner is Russian. Check out the gift shop with lots of international stuff.
Favorite Dish: Baked Brie & Fruit Chutney
Little Italy SB--Fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, basil with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Hungarian Goulash--Traditional braised beef, tomatoes, peppers, paprika (also served as a wrap)
Gypsy Stew--Colorful stew of chicken, beef, and lamb, with mushrooms, olives, peppers, squashes, tomatoes, and herbs on a bed of brown lentils.
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.
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.
For a chain restaurant, you can't beat Carraba's-especially since I've figured out that there is a secret to it. In the beginning it was hard for me to find something to eat there because the dishes were so huge that I could barely get through a third of it before I was full, much less get to the dessert. All of the dishes were really detailed, too, and sometimes I just like a nice plate of pasta with plain marinara sauce. Then, after about three or four visits I figured out that they do SIDE portions of all of their pasta. You would think that a side item wouldn't hardly be bigger than a small ice cream dish, but it's not. It's about the size of a normal dish of pasta from any other restaurant-and it's only $3.95. You can still order a side salad or a (huge) bowl of soup if that's not enough.
Favorite Dish: They have the best dessert ever-the Dessert Rosa. It's wonderful. Layers of soft yellow cake, strawberries, cream, pineapple, bananas...all topped with a chocolate covered strawberry. Wonderful...
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.
a la Lucie: Fine Dining in the City
This is the place that you used to go to whenever you wanted to impress someone. mostly because it is expensive. Since we've had a lot of other nice ones go in during the past few years, they've had to punch up their game a bit. It's still a very elegant dining experience.
Favorite Dish: Some of my favorites:
Artichoke and parmesan souffle $6.75
Fried lump crab cake taco
with avocado, sour cream, and chile sauce $9.95
Sauteed escargot and wild mushrooms
in a garlic red wine sauce on pastry $9.95
Steamed mussels in tomato and white wine broth $7.95
Lobster cocktail with drawn butter
and cocktail sauce $15.00
Barbecue shrimp and jalapeno chiles
served with creamy polenta $9.95
French Onion en croute $4.25
Fresh arugula, strawberries and goat cheese
tossed in a hazelnut dressing $6.50
Sliced fresh mozzarella and tomatoes
drizzled with balsamic syrup $5.95
Pan Roasted Veal Chop
with morel mushroom sauce, sauteed spinach and bleu cheese noodle cake $28.95
Boneless Chicken Breast
stuffed with basil, brie and sun dried tomatoes, baked in pastry and served with hollandaise $17.95
Filet of Beef Tenderloin
served with lobster mashed potatoes, red wine sauce and garnished with onion crisps $25.95
Buttermilk Fried Quail
served with corn mashed potatoes and cream gravy $22.95
Fried Lump Crab Cakes
served on a bed of dirty rice with New Orleans Creole sauce $20.95
lobster, shrimp, sea scallops and mussels baked in a rich mornay sauce $20.95
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
TheDish: Just okay....
We had passed by here a million times and was always curious about it. We decided to give it a try on Valentines Day. The waiters were very nice and helpful. The service exceeded expectations. It was romantic as they had candles and fresh cut roses on each table. Our food did not take long to get but for the portion size you do not get a lot for your money. I have been to many places in Lexington and got much better food for less. I would not say that I would not try it again. They have a very nice patio area that was to cold to use at this time. So if you are looking for drinks this might be a good place to come. Parking also seems limited and might require driving around a few times.
Favorite Dish: I had the zucchini and potato casserole and my boyfriend had the steak and potatoes. Neither of us was very impressed with our meals. It looked much better than it tasted.
- Food and Dining
- Business Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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.
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