In my world, appetizers are kind of a huge deal. Sometimes my dinner consists of a sampling of appetizers instead of just one entree. Sometimes I like to take an “appetizer crawl”, stopping at a few different places and eating a small bite at each location. Whatever your technique involves, Louisville restaurants have some fine and creative appetizers. Some of these are Louisville legends and others are brand new to the scene, but one thing’s for certain: these are some of the best appetizers in Louisville!
Green Chili Wontons | Bristol Bar & Grille
Bristol‘s Green Chili Wontons are something that all Louisville residents know about. Old Faithful. My “go to” appetizer. They’re not fancy, they’re simple, but the flavors are right. These wontons are stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and green chilis, and served with a house-made guacamole sauce (which may contain crack). Wow, these are good.
Deano’s Ultimate Nachos | Jack’s Lounge
Do you love nachos, but hate the mess? Sometimes it’s tough to eat a huge pile of chips loaded with toppings. Jack’s Lounge doesn’t overload you. They work hard to make each individual tortilla chip its own individual nacho. So when you eat these phenomenal bites, you can eat them one at a time without the mess, and the flavor is consistent with each bite. This Louisville appetizer is a must!
Ham Tasting Platter | Garage Bar
Garage loves local / regional ingredients. One of the best things they serve is amazing country ham from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. They typically have 4 or 5 different hams to choose from, which is why I love to get the tasting platter. It’s a sample from each of the different hams they have at that time, paired with a couple sauces. If you love salty, delicious ham, then this sampler is your appetizer!
Short Rib Nachos | Mussel and Burger Bar
If you haven’t had a short rib dish created by Fernando Martinez, then it should be the next thing on the list for you to do. It cannot be beaten. Seriously, you could put his short rib on anything. For now you can get that amazing short rib in a taco at El Taco Luchador, OR you can get that short rib over house made potato chips and loaded with guacamole, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, Monterey Jack cheese, and sour cream at Mussel and Burger Bar. Oh my goodness, it’s appetizer love.
Blue Cheese Polenta | Cafe Lou Lou
“The Lou” is famous for a lot of delicious menu items. Their Blue Cheese Polenta is one of those items. It’s a large square polenta cake topped with grilled asparagus, portobello mushrooms, red onions, and Cafe Lou Lou‘s signature roasted red pepper sauce. It’s great to share or just get it for lunch! This awesome Louisville appetizer packs huge flavor!
House-Smoked Duck Slider | Hammerheads
The name pretty much says it all. This is ridiculously delicious smoked duck topped with pico and served on a soft bun. On a side note, there’s a lot of good food at all of these restaurants. Hammerheads in particular is a small joint, so get there early. Otherwise, don’t complain when you try to call ahead for seating and get denied. You may have to wait. It’s worth it.
Smoked Gouda and Tomatillo Queso | Uptown Cafe
This is not generic Mexican cheese dip. You need to know that Uptown Cafe‘s queso appetizer is far from ordinary. To me it’s more like a tomatillo salsa dip with hints of smoked gouda in it. The cheese part of the appetizer is not overwhelming or heavy. This is one of the least heavy appetizers you can find and the flavors are absolutely perfect. It’s served in a martini glass for fun!
Pretzel and Beer Cheese | Holy Grale
A place that’s known for its ever-rotating delicious beer offerings should also be known for their beer cheese. The Holy Grale is no exception. They have an amazing, fresh-baked, buttery soft pretzel bun that comes with spicy cheddar beer cheese for dipping. That’s right I said “dipping”. This is not a cold spread, which in my eyes makes it better than most.
Focaccia | Ramsi’s Cafe on the World
Holy cow these guys can make a soft, bouncy focaccia loaf. This beauty is herb-heavy and topped with feta, parmesan, tomatoes, and pesto. You can get it in two sizes, but the small appetizer is plenty for four people as it can fill you up quickly.
D’s Fried Balls | Diorio’s Pizza and Pub
This Louisville appetizer has a funny name, but what else would you call fresh, homemade pizza dough rolled into bite-sized balls and deep fried? Once these golden brown morsels come out of the frier they are seasoned and topped with parmesan and romano cheeses, and served with a side of Diorio’s pizza sauce for dipping. Awesome!
Mejillones al Sofrito | Mojito Tapas Restaurant
Mojito‘s Sofrito Mussels are my favorite mussels in town, and the perfect starter. These blue mussels are sautéed in olive oil, white wine, garlic, onions, and tomatoes, finished with cilantro and served with local Blue Dog Bread. Wow, these are delicious!
Louisville’s best appetizers is a list that contains far greater than eleven dishes, however these are some of my favorites! Enjoy!
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