Of course, you have to be a member in order to eat here, unless you have a friend who belongs. It's definitely the swankiest place place in town and belongs the to university. I prefer eating in the main dining room because it's more formal, but some people like the ratskeller for the exact opposite reason. At Christmas it's a great place to be because they go all out with the decorations.
Favorite Dish: My faves...For dinner I like the pasta dishes, mostly with marinara sauce. I also like their salmon and shrimp. They have wonderful desserts, too. The one I'm stuck on right now is a strawberry dish made of fresg strawberries, brandied cream, and whipped topping. They also have a fried apple pie that's popular, as well as precan rolls. (Vanilla ice cream rolled in pecans, topped with caramel, butterscotch, or chocolate sauce.) You can't really go wrong.
A new thing they have started in Pasta Night on Tuesday evenings. They have a pasta bar and cook everything right there in front of you. You can pick your pasta, sauces, and mix-ins. It's really good.
Of course, most people are familar with Applebees. I only add it because there aren't that many restaurants to begin with in Richmond and since this is one of the most popular it needed to be included. I very rarely eat here because I'm not hugely impressed on the quality of Applebees food in general and at night it can be taken over by large groups of college students. Read: loud. When I do go, I tend to go after 10:00 pm when the appetizers are half priced. That way, you're paying about what the quality of food is worth. They do, however, have some good drinks such as the mudslide and grasshopper. We tend to eat here only if nothing else sounds better and it wins by default. But, at least the food is consistent.
I am a much bigger fan of Casa Cafe than I am of it's twin, Casa Fiesta. I know way too many people who work at Casa Fiesta and have given me a heads up about the cleanliness level and there's no way I can return. Anyway, I have always thought that the food was better at Casa Cafe to begin with. It's a festive atmosphere on a smaller scale and on some nights they have live mariachi bands.
Favorite Dish: I really like their tostadas and enchiladas. They also do a mean fried ice cream and soapapillas, which also come with ice cream. For drinks, they make a good black and white Russian. Drink specials all week. Extremely reasonable in price.
NO longer Nicholas' Donuts, but now park of Parke Bistro. Nicholas’ Donuts has been around for a long time. When I was young I used to walk there from our apartment everyday in the summer and get two chocolate donuts with my best friend. Oh, to have that metabolism back again! I like to support downtown restaurants and although this one is open at odd hours (they mostly close before noon) it is THE best place to get donuts in town. They’re all homemade and they have several different types. They also make bread and cakes to order. Since becoming part of the new place you can now order breakfast and lunch there as well.
I always hate it that O'Charleys is touted as "Irish food" when it resembles nothing close to what I have eaten at in Ireland. I rank it a little bit above Applebees, although it is still never my first choice. The best times to eat here are Sunday morning when they do their Sunday morning brunch and on Thursdays when they have chicken harvest soup as their soup of the day. It really is good. This is one of those places that I tend to eat at when I don't want anything heavy because I can always get a bowl of soup and a basket of bread and be satisified.
Favorite Dish: Definitely the chicken harvest soup. For dessert, the caramel chocolate chip pie is pretty decent, too.
Red Lobster was a welcomed addition to Richmond when it was first built. It is still the only place within the city limits to get good seafood. A part of me always wants to rebel because it’s a chain, but it’s still one of the better places to eat in town. It can get really crowded on Friday and Saturday nights and at graduation time it’s almost impossible to get a seat. They have managed to keep the food quality consistent, though, and the service has always been good.
Favorite Dish: My favorite things to eat are the lobster fondue, the stuffed mushrooms, and the lobster feast. I also like the really big margarita’s. If you’re not familiar with Red Lobster, the rolls are garlicky and cheesy and really good. The meals (especially the feasts) can sometimes be split between two people.
Note: Say hello to my cousin Lucas if you get him as a waiter!
My friend Jose owns this restaurant that has only been open for a couple of weeks. He used to have another restaurant called Pranza Dimorare that served both Mexican and Italian, but they moved to another (better) location and now serve only Italian. The new place is better because since it is located on the Bypass it gets more traffic and is busier. It is also not on the dry part of town so he is able to serve wine and beer.
Favorite Dish: Jose makes his own pasta so right away it's a little different from your average Olive Garden. He mostly only has spaghetti, unless you order the lasagne or ravioli. I reccommend the lasagne myself. The homemade marinara sauce is wonderful with just the slightest hint of sugar. (The Italians yell at him for the sugar bit, but it takes too long to make it without it.) For $3.95 you can get lasagne, a salad, and a piece of homemade bread. If you want to order off of the lunch menu for dinner (the portions are smaller) they will add $1 extra to the tab.
His dessert menu has expanded considerably and includes chocolate and cheese chimichangas, as well as Banana Alaska and other light fares.
Although technically not in Richmond but in Winchester, this restaurant is right over the county line on the other side of the river. It’s been around for a long time. I used to think that I was a jinx to it because every time I ate there something bad would happen to it the next day-it got flooded, caught on fire…Anyway, it has a nice location on the Kentucky River (hence the name) and you can get good views of it from the terrace and certain windows.
Halls is famous for their beer cheese although I think Bananas on the River down the road has better. The shrimp has always been good and they have great baked potatoes. (I judge restaurants on the quality and size of baked potatoes. Is that weird?) We've also tried the snowcrab legs and they were tasty as well.
They have places for dining al fresco if you’re into that (we are) and they have a room where you can listen to bands on the weekend. In the basement there’s a good size room that you can reserve for meetings, birthdays, reunions, or whatever you need it for. In the summertime on the weekends it can get packed and you can actually have a long wait so it pays to call ahead. I was down there the other night and I think the wait was over an hour.
This is not to be confused with the other Bananas on the bypass in Richmond. This one is far more superior to that one and they have very little in common. Bananas on the River is quieter than Halls and doesn’t get the same recognition despite having good food, great views, attentive staff, and a fun environment. Their bar is well stocked and they also have live music on occasion. There are many things on the menu that I like, including their beer cheese, shrimp, and cheeseburgers. (Although generally not all at the same time.) They have a good selection of seafood, home-style food, and steaks so there’s something for everybody. For dessert they have an array of pies and cakes.
Hall's has always been a favorite of mine. It's located on the Kentucky River and actually looks out over it. It's kind of hidden, technically located in Winchester, but worth the find. It's also very near Boonesborough State Park so not a bad place for lunch or dinner after spending some time there at the fort or swimming or putt-putt golfing at the park. It's got alot of personality and the feel of an old tavern. I read that it is actually built on the site of a tavern that was there in the 1700's.
Great ambience with wood walls and 2 levels. There's an outside deck and a bar with live music on many nights. Hall's is also the home of Hall's Beer Cheese. Absolutely yummy! I've learned since moving from Kentucky that Beer Cheese isn't a well-known product. Who knew. You can buy it at the grocery stores in Kentucky.
They do some delicious food from seafood, steaks, and chicken, to a good ole' country hot brown. Their Fried Banana Peppers are also delicious as an appetizer!
It's a good place for groups, and they do take reservations.
I’m not so sure that I can do an unbiased review of Ryan’s since I have a phobia of buffets. I’m sure there are other people out there like me. Or maybe not. But anyway, I am very very picky about cleanliness and even though I know logically that when I order something and the person at the next table orders the same thing it’s going to come out of the same dish, I just don’t want to actually see the dish. Then I have to worry about if people are washing their hands, does the sneeze guard really work, etc.
However, if I was going to eat at a buffet then Ryan’s is definitely the best. You can also order off the menu but I think they probably get it from the buffet so there’s no point. It’s all country soul food so you’ll find green beans, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, fried chicken, and so on. The quality of the food is really good and it’s reasonably priced if you’re a big eater. If you only get one plateful of food, like I usually do, it doesn’t quite work out to be a bargain. Also note that on Sunday afternoon after church it can get really crowded.
Bob Evans or Cracker Barrell…choices, choices. I like Bob Evans’ biscuits, but I like Cracker Barrell’s potato casserole and fried apples. Well, we have both here in Richmond. Bother are also right off the interstate so they stay pretty crowded. Still, if you’re in the mood for breakfast at 6:00 pm or have a hankering for biscuits and gravy then this is the place to be. The service is average but the food quality is consistent. I like their chicken fruit salad that they have in the spring and summer. It comes with chicken salad, but also has huge pieces of watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, pineapples, and strawberries. Their apple bread is also very good. Once again, after Sunday church services this is another place that can get crowded.
Note: Photo taken by me
So everybody knows that Taylor’s has good burgers, fries, and other made to order fast food. BUT, a little known fact is that it inspired author Walter Tevis to write the book “The Hustler” which was later turned into a movie and starred Paul Newman. The author himself in buried in the Richmond Cemetery. Taylor’s is basically a little hole in the wall, but the burgers really are good. If you’re sensitive to smoke, however, it can get a little stuffy. When we go downtown to the bars we typically make a stop at Taylor’s before we do any drinking. The food can fill you up.
Note: photo taken by me
There are actually quite a few Chinese restaurants in the area. Tsing Tao is my favorite for a couple of reasons. For one, obviously, the food is really good. I mostly stick with the lemon chicken which is served with pineapples and vegetables. Other people that I have dined with have raved over the sesame chicken and the sweet and sour pork. It’s never greasy or tastes like it has been setting all day like some of the Chinese food you can get here in town. The prices are reasonable and the service friendly. I also like it because it’s small and intimate and sometimes I don’t like to be in really loud and noisy places. The other reason I like it is because it’s located downtown on Main Street and I am always one for encouraging people to patronize downtown businesses. They also deliver if you don’t want to venture out for supper.
Note: photo taken by me
I love steak and aside from Ryan's this seems to be the only steakhouse in Richmond. My boyfriend and I went here a couple of nights ago and I was very impressed. The service was good, the food delicious, and we were there early enough in the evening so that there wasn't a huge crowd. I usually shy away from chain restaurants, but there don't seem to be many non-chains here in Richmond and I will have to break that rule.
Favorite Dish: For starters we had the blooming onion. The crispiness was just right and the onion taste not overpowering. (I don't care for onion rings but somehow this was a little different.) THen we both had house salads, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the meal. Yes, the lettuce was Iceberg and it was a typical garden salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and grated cheese, but the freshness of it was wonderful. I had to force myself to push it aside before I had eaten all of it as I was afraid I wouldn't have room for my meal. For an entree I ordered the prime rib 10oz steak with a basked potato. The meat was perfectly cooked and juicy and virtually no fat. My boyfriend really enjoyed his baked sweet potato.
I added a link below if you want to look at the menu for the Richmond branch.