Local Dish: The Lexington, KY List

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Even though I’m settling into PA and loving every bit of my life here, I want to take one last look back at Lexington, KY.  This week’s Local Dish is The Lexington List, a roundup of my happy places for eating & drinking in the city.  Laura came up for a few days to help finish off the list and engage in some high-quality Table shenanigans.  Lots of things have changed since we were in high school in Lex, so it was fun to revisit some old favorites and show her some places I’d more recently discovered.

Without further adieu, we present (in alphabetical order),

The Lexington List

A Cup of Common Wealth – Yeah, I’ve mentioned them before, but their coffee is so good, the Pay It Forward board is so cool, and the baristas are so fabulous that they had to make the list. Definitely one of the best places in town for getting a high five and an afternoon’s work knocked out.

Alfalfa – An old Lexington staple with dang good food, Alfalfa is a little bit funky and very good . Laura and I stopped by for lunch on a freakishly cool day earlier this summer, and they had pasta (from the Lexington Pasta Company) with chunky marinara sauce on the menu.  We both ordered it (Laura added meatballs). And it was very, very good.

Al’s Bar – In the NoLi (North Lime) corridor, Al’s Bar has some of the best burgers in town – and one of the coolest murals to boot.

Athenian Grill – This food-truck-turned-Greek-restaurant is a little gem.  And I do mean little.  It’s tucked away at the back of a bank parking lot and not very visible from the road.  But the gyros, hummus, spanakopita, roasted veggies, and moussaka are wonderful, so please go find it. (PS. There’s an upstairs room that you can reserve for a family-style meal. It’s the best way to try a little bit of everything!)

Bella Notte – “This is the night, it’s a beautiful night, and they call it bella notte. Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes, on this lovely bella notte.” Even if you aren’t Lady sharing a plate of spaghetti with your lovable Tramp, any night you have dinner at Bella Notte is bound to be fantastic. This place has been one of our favorites since high school.

County Club – This place makes smoked meats into an art form. It’s also one of the few places in KY that you can get poutine. The menu is small but mighty good.

Dad’s Favorites – Remember that awesome asiago sun dried tomato cheese spread that I wrote about a while back? The people who developed it opened a deli in the Gardenside area a while ago, and they’ve just added a second location downtown. There’s usually line because everything is so great. But the line moves fast and it’s worth the wait.

Nat Thai Restaurant – Another tiny treasure, Nat has some of the best Thai in the city. It’s just a kitchen, so plan to take your food next door to McCarthy’s Irish Bar and enjoy it with a pint, or just take it home. When Laura & I stopped in, the chef (Nat) taught us about peppers so hot that they make your sweat sting – while he was making our food. We asked him to please leave those out of our lunches! I recommend the yellow curry and the ginger chicken. I’m sure everything else on the menu is great, too, but I like these so much that I haven’t ventured beyond.

North Lime Coffee and Doughnuts – A fun place in the NoLi corridor with great coffee and fabulously creative doughnuts. The gingerbread porter are my favorite. The day we stopped in, they had a version with pulled pork. Not sure about that one, but they have different specials every day!

Sav’s Grill & West African Cuisine – The only West African restaurant that I know of in Lexington, Sav’s offers a selection of stews served over rice. Grilled chicken and ribs and salads round out the menu. The best part of the restaurant is the perpetually cheerful and talented Sav, who is usually around.

West Sixth Brewing Company & Smithtown Seafood – West Sixth makes good beer. The lemongrass wheat and Elkhorn kriek are my favorites, and they pair well with a meal from Smithtown. which is connected to the brewery. The fish sandwiches are gigantic, the Salad Sahara is delightful, and the hush puppies are terrific!