Where the Locals Eat

Merle's Whiskey Kitchen

This feature lists true “locals only” recommendations.  We asked more than 50 local Louisvillians for their favorite date night restaurant, and we also accepted online nominations on Instagram @BeLocalEastEndLouisville.  Below are the top twenty recommendations. To add your favorite to the list, please use the QR code to nominate.
Barn 8 Farm Restaurant & Bourbon Bar
10500 W Hwy 42, Goshen
(502) 398-9289
Barn8 is located on the grounds of historic Hermitage Farm. Enjoy a new menu of seasonal selections created from produce grown on their farm, as well as other locally sourced and farm-raised products. The Bourbon Bar & Lounge is located inside Barn8 Restaurant and offers bourbons from many distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, plus exceptional small-batch selections and an assortment of pours from unique craft distilleries.
Black Rabbit
122 Sears Avenue, Louisville
(502) 897-9721
A hidden gem in the heart of St. Matthews, guests choose their unique dining or bar experience choosing from various hidden rooms or a speakeasy. Truly a night out like no other!
Brendon’s Catch 23
505 S 4th St, Louisville
(502) 909-0053
Not your grandfather’s typical surf and turf spot, this chef-driving upscale seafood restaurant features prime seafood, steak, shellfish, and low country cuisine in a hip, modern and sophisticated fine dining venue.
Captain’s Quarters Riverside Grill
5700 Captains Quarters Rd, Prospect
(502) 228-1651
A premiere indoor and outdoor dining experience that offers dockside service if you arrive in your boat.  Nestled along the scenic banks of the Ohio River, CQ offers delicious seafood dishes, international cuisine and an array of refined American fare – all served in a picturesque atmosphere. Choose elegant indoor dining, dockside service or enjoy the breeze and let your mind drift while you enjoy in the breathtaking river view from their expansive patios or lawn area.
1201 Payne St, Louisville
(502) 690-3532
An authentic Italian restaurant, their menu reflects a dining experience at the Italian shore, with a concentration on Classic Italian and Mediterranean-style cuisine.  They use fresh, local ingredients.
Guaca Mole Modern Mexican
900 E Market St, Louisville
(502) 212-8225
The indulgent tastes of Mexican cuisine in their exciting interior transports you to Mexico featuring influences from Oaxaca, Puebla, Riviera Maya, Tulum, and the Yucatan Peninsula.
Havana Rumba
12003 Shelbyville Rd, Louisville
(502) 244-5375
Authentic Cuban cuisine with generous portions, outstanding service and great prices.
Le Moo Fine Steak House
2300 Lexington Rd, Louisville
(502) 458-8888
Boasting the most eclectic steak menu in Louisville, Le Moo offers a cut for every palate as you dine in an extraordinarily decorated space of rustic meets luxurious.
LouVino Douglass Hills Restaurant & Wine Bar
11400 Main St, Louisville
(502) 742-1426
LouVino simply aspires to be a place you could enjoy a nice glass of wine with amazing food in a hip yet relaxed atmosphere without a pretentious feel. 
Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen
122 W Main St, Louisville
(502) 290-8888
A toe-tappin classic whiskey hall located in Downtown Louisville on Whiskey Row. Featuring an award-winning menu of Southern/American cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails, they host live music from local, regional, as well as national artists.
3608 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville
(502) 632-4421
Mesh blends contemporary elegance and comfort with innovative cuisine and excellent service. The original menu and unique décor make Mesh an ideal setting for business meetings, romantic evenings, or a night out with friends.
Milantoni Italian Restaurant
1600 S Hurstbourne Pkwy, Louisville
(502) 742-8210
They offer a unique dining experience featuring authentic Italian cuisine at affordable prices in a warm and inviting atmosphere that is perfect for any occasion.
Porcini Restaurant
2730 Frankfort Ave, Louisville
(502) 894-8686
Established in 1992, Porcini is an independent, award-winning restaurant located in the Historic Crescent Hill neighborhood. Specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, excellent service and an intimate Tuscan-style atmosphere, they also have an extensive selection of fine wines, bourbons and signature cocktails.
Repeal Oak-Fired Steakhouse
101 W Main St #101, Louisville
(502) 716-7372
Known as an homage to Louisville history, Repeal is housed in the heart of Whiskey Row in the former sit of J.T.S. Brown and Son’s wholesale warehouse and bottling operations.
The Brown Hotel’s English Grill and J. Graham’s Cafe
335 W Broadway, Louisville
(888) 888-5252
While every meal at The Brown Hotel is memorable, you must try the world-famous “Hot Brown.” Indeed, it’s a culinary requisite on any visit to Louisville! "The Hot Brown" is a world-famous dish invented at The Brown Hotel in 1926. It has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and dozens of other media outlets (and cookbook pages) since its baked-to-perfection debut.
The Café
731 Brent Street, Louisville
(502) 589-9191
Located in the newly revitalized Louisville arts and entertainment district of Paristown, The Café serves up fresh, home-cooked food with a Southern accent.
Varanese Restaurant
2106 Frankfort Ave, Louisville
(502) 899-9904
Varanese is known for culinary creativity as well as dedication to local farmers who provide the freshest local products as showcased in many of their signature dishes.
The Village Anchor
11507 Park Rd, Louisville
(502) 708-1850
A unique environment bringing stone, red leathers, rich worn velvets, wrought iron, dark woods, Italian appointments, Carrera marble, and the original crimson red beer taps from Churchill Down’s Silks Bar, this restaurant is a must-try in the heart of Anchorage. It offers an upscale casual, fun environment with an inimitable European flavor and exotic French flair.
150 S 5th St, Louisville
(502) 580-1350
Vincenzo's is a gourmet, fine-dining restaurant in downtown Louisville using the finest ingredients and providing a true Italian experience.
Volare Italian Ristorante
2300 Frankfort Ave, Louisville
(502) 894-4446
One of the great locally owned and operated treasures amongst Louisville’s bustling restaurant scene, they are known for a menu that changes seasonally based on locally sourced farm fresh items and house-made products.