Varanese
Varanese

Varanese

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.varanese.com/
  • Phone: (502) 899-9904
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: John Varanese
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Catering is offered depending on Chef Varanese's availability. Call to inquire.
  • Private Party Facilities: With the addition of two new private dining room spaces, Varanese can accommodate groups of up to 80 people. Minimum sales requirement for each room applies. Call 502-899-9904 or email letsdine@varanese.com to inquire.
  • Private Party Contact: John Varanese 5028999904x
  • Entertainment: Live jazz seven nights from the Jeff Sherman band 6-10pm.
  • Special Events: Sunday is Service Industry Night. Enjoy 1/2 price appetizers and drink specials starting at 8:30.
    Every Monday, enjoy a free Flambé Dessert with the purchase of any entrée.
    Wine Down Wednesday – Half price bottles of wine all night. Choose from our extensive wine list.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Vernon
  • Public Transit: Varanese has a TARC stop in front along with a Frankfort Ave. Trolly Hop Stop.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Varanese provides on-premise parking along with additional parking across the street at Nancy's Bagel Grounds along with street parking.
A word from Varanese
Varanese settled in Louisville because of its successful independent dining scene, and he believes that the people of Louisville will appreciate fresh ingredients, prepared with a creative flair and a culturally diverse menu. Varanese’s eclectic menu boasts an array of options from stuffed grape leaves, and fried green tomato salad, to new signature entrées: the seared boneless pork chop, and caramelized orange salmon. Finish with a fried banana accompanied by a house-made oatmeal cookie dough ice cream dessert. This New American style restaurant will comfortably seat 150 guests between its bar, dining room and four seasons patio. The four seasons patio of Varanese is an addition to the building, which has a dramatic 20-foot slate water wall. The space is enclosed by a serpentine of glass doors, which retract to offer an outdoor dining experience. Varanese is located at 2106 Frankfort Ave. in the Historic Clifton neighborhood
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Varanese reviews from OpenTable diners
238 reviews since July 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.6
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelModerate
98% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (161)fit for foodies (155)neighborhood gem (152)romantic (125)great for outdoor dining (93)notable wine list (86)good for groups (82)hot spot (59)vibrant bar scene (23)late-night find (23)scenic view (10)great for lunch (4)great for brunch (2)kid-friendly (2)Show More
  • Fine dining experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/17/2014
    The decor with the waterfall impression is most attractive. Our server was excellent. This was an intergenerational gathering and we all enjoyed it. Thank you.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Girl's Night Out-standing
    GirlsNightOutstanding
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    We've been sampling restaurants during our monthly Girl's Night Out dinners. Our dinner at Varanese was the most outstanding in terms of food and service, and yet was more reasonably priced. Loved it and will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Inconsistent
    SWJJ
    Dined on 11/12/2014
    I have eaten at this restaurant and raved about both the food and service, unfortunately that was not the case this week. Our waiter rarely visited our table. He took forever to take our order and didn't check back in a timely manner after the food was served. While two of the entrees were wonderful the other two were at the opposite end of the spectrum, being dry and tasteless. I had suggested this restaurant to celebrate a friends birthday but was sorely disappointed at our experience this time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Dinner
    Anessa06
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    It was amazing. The food tasted so good, we had a full meal with appetizers, meal, and dessert. Everything was delicious. We had the cheese spheres, which were just perfect. For dinner I had the mushroom ravioli and it was my favorite that I have ever had. Very unique.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Swimming
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Great service. Extremely loud restaurant in need of some noise reduction. As for the food. Either my taste buds are over sensitive or the food is geared toward those without them. Salty food, swimming in sauce, both of our entrees.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • never fails
    Bigpa
    Dined on 11/4/2014
    we've probably dined at Varanese 20 times, and the experience has always been 5 star ... food and service are outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Louisville Favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    I have eaten at Varanese on several occasions. The food is always fantastic and the specialty drink list contains several wonderful and unique cocktails. The service is always friendly and efficient even when we have had a large group. I highly recommend Varanese for your next special occasion or date night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Romantic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    A friend suggested Varanese. We were not disappointed. The place was very soothing and I felt like the restaurant added to the experience of romance I was wanting to go for. The cascading waterfall wall the live music. It was beautiful and my wife loved it. The waiter was knowledgeable, friendly and knew exactly when to come see us. She brought out the food at the right times and we were really able to enjoy each other. The food itself was nothing but perfect. I had the Seasonal Walleye and it was amazing. Just as the waiter described in flavor and taste. My wife had the Rock shrimp and Lobster Ravioli which she loved. We will be back without a question!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not-so-scary Halloween
    gingerprincess
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    My husband and I dressed up in our lame Halloween costumes and braved the scary weather to enjoy another meal at Varanese. We are always glad to visit our neighborhood place that very quickly became our "go to" celebration restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Treasure!
    cathyk39
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    Varanese is an excellent dining experience from beginning to end. The service is impeccable, the ambiance lively and the food is wonderful. We went on a recent evening to celebrate the birthday of a friend. We were seated at a table just slightly out of the way, scattered with rose petals. Service was attentive without being intrusive. After a wonderful meal we were surprised with medley of desserts and a candle. A festive end to a wonderful evening. This is a terrific restaurant that is a true treasure, I highly recommend it for both special occasions and anytime you are looking for good food, good service and a dining experience that satisfies on every level.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Special service prior to Concert
    Tomcat88VIP
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    Another great dinner at Varanese with friends!! On this occasion we had friends in from Cincinnati and only had two hours time prior to the Paul McCartney concert at YUM Center. We called ahead to alert the restaurant of our schedule. We could not have been treated better upon arrival, as we were immediately seated and cocktails served within 5 minutes and appetizers a few minutes later. Plenty of time was provided to digest the menu and review that evening's "specials". All of our meals were excellent. The coordination was perfect! We were left with adequate time to enjoy dessert and coffee, plus travel to the concert without concern. My compliments to John Varanese and his entire staff for making us feel special!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • They exceed my expectations
    Foodie71
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    Your establishment exceeds my expectation in Value/Price, Customer Focus, Reliability, Information, and most importantly, Food Quality! Thank you for being the innovative Service that you are.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome Food!!
    Spicy4me
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    The food was Awesome, the waiter was great and the Chef (John) came out to check with us as well which was great. We all tried different dishes and had the appetizer combo, which delighted all of us. Since I like spicy food I requested some spice and they brought me some and it was fantastic. We would recommend this place to people hands down and know we did the next day at the office.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Varanese was a great find!
    5star
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    I was treating my mother to a birthday dinner. Made the reservations ahead of time, and she was seated at the best dressed table in the house. She loved the house fudge, ice cream and chocolate for dessert, and she blew out the candle. Loved the water wall! :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for an anniversary dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Went here with my husband for our anniversary. We were very happy with the experience. The only complaint - many of the specials were gone by the time we got there at 6:30 pm.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Excellent,as always! We ordered the potato chips for our appetizer. Yum! Beef tortellini, excellent. Salmon, nothing left on plate. White fish (don't remember name), out of this world! I've never had a bad meal here. It was definitely a treat for us 3 sisters!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Rich and another couple
    Ofteneatsout1
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Good food. Good service. Good sized portions and appetizers. Good wine list. We were first table of the evening and they put us at front in all guest traffic; that was poor.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never dissapointed!
    favfordinner
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    Back Again! Varanese is one restaurant that we are never disappointed with our food. My favorite restaurant!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great meal
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    First time we've visited since Mother's Day - we were very pleased - great meal from start to finish, our server was first rate. Really no complaints, everything was fantastic and I found the price rage reasonable for what we got, and the whole experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Service
    Icook2
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Busy night but we were seated promptly. Great attention to detail. Very welcoming. Chef visits to table are so nice. Very personal touch. You feel like your views matter.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect food, service and ambiance!
    Kate
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    Thank you for a lovely evening! Really enjoyed the flat iron steak and lentil soup, but everything was perfect.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Our Favorite Joint
    SamK
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    We love coming to Varanese. This is a great place to eat, enjoy and relax. John is a great person and your Chef is super. We love you guys!!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wow!
    add1more
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    One of the best restaurant's in town, enough said.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nicely done!
    Ple83
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Making the reservations through open table is convenient and easy. I was running a bit late due to traffic and called to let them know of my late arrival. They were very pleasant and accommodating. I had requested a table close to the jazz performance that evening and one that was warm. We did indeed have that table. :). The service was quick and the server friendly, knowledgable . Dinner was delicious and visually pleasing. It was a great experience. I will return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Melanie
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Everything was outstanding. Three of our party ordered the specials and everyone raved about their choice. This is probably my favorite resturant in the city....it never disappoints.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, kid-friendly, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • May be the Best in Louisville
    Drvill1
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Yes, there are a lot of great restaurants in Louisville, but Varanese could possibly be the best of the best. The food is excellent - we had a great salad and the Bourbon Pork Chop. Good drink selections too. The prices are reasonable and the portions are just right. The atmosphere is great too. It feels high-energy without looking like it is trying to hard to be a hot spot. It also feels upscale without being stuffy. The jazz band is fun, and if the weather is nice, the front doors are open to the sidewalk patio. To top off the great experience, Mr. Varanese (the owner and chef) came out and checked on us and many of the other parties throughout the evening. I really don't think you can get any better than this!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pc1029VIP
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    We shared calamari with a soy-type sauce & marinara, & I had the special tomato, mozzarella salad for my dinner. Very nice. Others had fried green tomatoes, flat iron steak, & salmon, always a treat! We also shared a creme brûlée. Nice evening with jazz music entertainment as well.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Visiting Louisville St. James Ct.
    GlassGirl
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    I was in town for the weekend for the St. James Court Art Fair, and because it was my first trip to Louisville I wanted to find a local Mom & Pop dining option. I chose to come to Varanese because of the good reviews and the proximity to my hotel downtown. We ordered a pistachio encrusted goat cheese spinach salad, stuffed grape leaves, baked brie, and another salad. All of the food was delicious, and not only tasted good but was presented beautifully as well. Ambiance was good with live music, (bass, guitar, sax) lighting was nice, fresh flowers on the table. It was a wonderful experience. Service could have been a little better as we waited a long time for our check but other than that it was a lovely place to eat.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    It was very good but compared to other places on Frankfort Ave, it wasn't the best. We try to pick a different place when we go out for a nice meal. THe band was a very nice touch!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely Evening
    BandR88
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Celebrating birthdays, my husband and I wanted someplace special and new to us. I found Varanese through Louisville Restaurants. Then my friend recommended Varanese. We are so glad we chose you. Lovely evening, top notch waiter and fabulous food. What more could you want.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • chufin
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    The food was wonderful and service was outstanding. We had a very enjoyable evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just fantastic!
    MaximusForealius
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    My wife and I decided to celebrate our 21st anniversary here and we were well-pleased with our choice! We initially made our choice due to the live jazz trio, but were very impressed with our dining options. My wife shared her mushroom risotto with me and I became an instant fan, but I did not have much room due to my superb pork chop (that resembled no other pork chop I have ever had!) and artisan side of potatoes Au-gratin. We finished the night by splitting bread-pudding which was one of the few things that could follow the excellence of the main course. Have dinner here, you will not be disappointed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Simply excellent!
    tuttleman2
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    This is now one of my favorite restaurants in Louisville, great food, excellent service! I don't have very many favorites in Louisville but I will be back Varanese! My complements to the Chef! Excellent wild boar and crab stuffed avacado was one of the best I have ever had. Thank you!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great ambience but read on..,
    Jmccall
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    We had a great experience for a birthday with kids but as a seasoned home chef, I'd love to give some pointers.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrific
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Joey was an excellent waiter. He had a wide knowledge if the menu. Offered some very nice bourbon selections. The mussels appetizer, pork chop and beef tip tortellini for dinner was tasty and filling. If you are ever in Louisville you must go.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • enjoyable
    Foodie
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    i've always enjoyed Varanese. good food, service and atmosphere. a favorite for a fun and festive night!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • High Quality Throughout
    AllAboutFood
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Chef John combines a great menu with fantastic special offerings that will please everyone. The food is always excellent. That combined with the personable staff, the live music and the character of the place, results in Varanese being one of the best dining experiences in Louisville, a city becoming known for its food culture.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Menu
    eddieemailVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Nice menu with some interesting choices that you don't see every day.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect night out
    willys47
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    This was our first experience here and it was wonderful. Food was awesome very well prepared and delicious. Atmosphere was great live music while we dined but not to load to carry on our conversation. Will be back again.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another Great Experience
    JRSREALTOR
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    This is our second time within a month to dine at Varanese. We again had Kristy as our server and she is so attentive and on top of things, but never hovering. Just when you need something she is there to deliver whatever it may be. This evening they had the doors open so it was as if you were dining outside, but still covered from any potential elements. Great place to go whenever, seeing as this was our fifth anniversary and it couldn't have been made any better.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic