St. Matthews and Highlands Restaurants Square Off

The battle has raged for years. For Louisville Home owners that prefer an area that offers older homes with classic architecture should it be St. Matthews or the Highlands.  They both have beautiful old homes featuring diverse architecture on tree-lined streets. They both provide easy access to parks, the expressways, and downtown. And they are both home to some of Louisville’s best eateries and shops. Comparing these legendary neighborhoods point by point would take volumes, so let’s take a look at just one criterion for measuring the charm and appeal of a neighborhood – its restaurants. Which neighborhood do Louisville home owners prefer when it comes to dining out?

In one corner, we have St. Matthews, with its young professional vibe and eclectic ethnic cuisine. Simply Thai lets gue sts order the exact spiciness of their dishes on a scale of 1-5, and Mojitos take tapas to new levels of fun and sophistication. Café Lou Lou provides its clever mix of Italian and Cajun dishes, and Der Gasthaus offers classic Old World German dishes including everything from Wiener Schnitzel to potato pancakes. NamNam Café serves great Vietnamese fare in its tiny eatery, Sakura Blue fits the bill when you are in the mood for shushi, and Havana Rumba provides a delicious taste of Cuban cuisine.

Of course, less global, more American fare is all the rage in St. Matthews too. Equus continues to provide an amazing fine dining experience, and its sister restaurant/bar, Jack’s Lounge, right next door, is an ideal place to unwind after work. For the meat and potatoes lover, nothing is more classic than a steak from Del Frisco’s, and 60 West Bistro and Martini Bar provides locals with upscale casual dining in a fun atmosphere. Cafes are another unique feature of the St. Matthews dining scene. If quaint and cozy appeal to you, then the Kayrouz Café and Meridian Café are the places to be.

In the opposite corner, we have the Highlands, with its award-winning chefs and contemporary hipster vibe. Bardstown Road restaurants have an eclectic flair with even more history than some of their St. Matthew’s counterparts. Ramsi’s boasts a menu of international dishes so long it practically needs chapters, and Palermo Viejo is the only Argentinian restaurant within three states. Lee’s Korean restaurant and Kashmir Indian restaurant add some spice to the mix.

Fine dining is easy to find in the Highlands. Bistro Les Relais has inventive dishes set against the backdrop of Bowman Field, Winston’s showcases the best work of Sullivan’s Culinary School chefs, Lilly’s continues to get national attention, and Jack Fry’s becomes a perennial favorite of anyone who has ever visited. But even less highbrow dining has a unique flavor in the Highlands. Louisville “originals” like the Bristol Bar and Grille, the Uptown Café, and Ditto’s are consistent winners with locals and visitors alike.

In the tightly contested Louisville restaurant wars, who comes out on top? St. Matthews? The Highlands? Or maybe the real winner is any Louisville home owner smart enough to make the most out of living in a city with such a great dining culture.

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