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1. Orchids at Palm Court
When it comes down to sheer wow factor, Orchids is still impossible to outshine.
2. Jean-Robert's Table
Jean-Robert de Cavel’s kitchen brigade turns out fiercely personal dishes with an unmistakable sense of place, whether it’s embracing the classic saucy splendor of his French heritage or celebrating a bounty of local produce.
Nicola’s is so fluently on the mark that other Italian restaurants on American soil can sometimes feel contrived.
Ever since it began dishing out its lo-fi eats three years ago, Chef Dan Wright’s gastropub has been operating at a velocity few can match.
5. Abigail Street
Where its sibling and next-door neighbor Senate runs a little hotter, Abigail Street downshifts to a slower flow with an inspired original menu featuring small-ish plates of a Mediterranean disposition.
Despite the cheeky tone and hairpin turns on the menu, it takes real talent and confidence to be this playful. Owen Maass breathes life into timeworn classics that result in deeply flavorful and soothing food.
7. Via Vite
On the short list of downtown restaurants that operate seven days a week, 12 or more hours per day, Via Vite vibrates with an energetic customer base of expense account lunches, late-night revelers, and hotel guests.
8. Dutch's Larder
The Larder is an extension of Dutch’s Bar and Bottle Shop, a neighborhood fixture that was transformed from pony keg to beer and wine arsenal—700 varieties of beer, 200 of wine; eight rotating taps—six years ago.
If Kentucky is the new California, Chef Stephen Williams is the new Alice Waters (sorry, chef) whose cozy neighborhood bistro has one fork planted firmly in the canon of Kentucky-proud, the other in classic French.
10. Eli's Barbecue
A proper little ’cue shack along the river, with ribs that are speaking-in-tongues good, some of the zazziest jalapeño cheese grits north of the Mason-Dixon line, and browned mashed potatoes that would make any short order cook diner-proud.
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