Varanese
Varanese

Varanese

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.varanese.com/
  • Phone: 5028999904x
  • 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
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Varanese reviews from OpenTable diners
230 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.6
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (154)special occasion (151)fit for foodies (144)great for outdoor dining (125)romantic (117)notable wine list (70)good for groups (59)hot spot (50)late-night find (27)vibrant bar scene (22)scenic view (13)great for brunch (6)great for lunch (4)kid-friendly (3)Show More
  • 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
  • Veranese
    maturediner
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    The food is excellent, the atmosphere cozy, and the service very attentive but not intrusive. Overall a great experience that I plan to encounter many more times.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • noname
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Have always enjoyed so much in past. Chef is very personable and like the fact that he always greets guests. But the last 2 times we have gone the food just has not been as good. Best parts of meal were salad, bread and coffee. The complimentary amuse bouche was soggy and uneatable and everything else seemed to be missing a beat. Hate this..but we won't be returning.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • special experience
    dinesalot
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Great food and dining experience. Menu items were upscale and entrees that you will not find at "normal" restaurants. All 4 of us had different entrees an all were superb. The jazz 3 piece combo that played the whole night was great, but if you were in the same room, they were a little loud for normal conversation. I would certainly dine there again.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best in Louisville
    LocalinLouisville
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    I love Varanese. I have been there more than a handful of times in the last 2 years and each dining experience was near perfect. The jazz music accompanied by the dim lit dining area is very romantic, yet you can go with a group as well and get an awesome experience as well. Louisville is filled with wonderful restaurants and great chefs, but Varanese is the best in my opinion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Cream cheese grits!
    HollyS
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Yes, cream cheese grits. They are the most amazing, creamy grits ever and anywhere. And the salmon that came on top of them was melt-in-the-mouth citrus-y good. This is the place to go for a wonderful "patio" area and with some live jazz music to go along with your meal. The music is never too loud for conversation. The avocado appetizer is amazingly good...we also enjoyed cups of the menu special Shrimp Bisque and wanted more. One member nearly ordered a second helping until we reminded him of the bread pudding dessert he could have. Another enjoyed a special braised leg of lamb that was a plentiful serving and so we all felt good about demanding a taste. Yummy! Varanese NEVER disappoints!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience!
    HoosierVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    It's our new go-to dinner spot. Great food awesome jazz trio and a great time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent
    BridgetMo
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    My husband and I chose Varanese upon the recommendation of a friend. The food was amazing, our table was romantic, and the outdoor seating set the mood. We are looking forward to our next visit!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Nice Evening
    SenorRex
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Service was very special, despite a large wine tasting group the same evening. Food was very good as well. Touring the Mid-West in search of fine eateries. Visiting from Berkeley, CA's Gourmet Ghetto...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Varanese
    Lougirl
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Enjoyed the outdoor seating. Sometimes while jazz band plays, it's so loud you can barely converse. Food was very good. Service was very good as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • LouisvilleBob
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Food was excellent. Service was attentive but not overbearing. The owner takes the time to visit each table. One of the better restaurants in Louisville.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Glad we came
    Bostonfoodie
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    From the moment we walked in the door, we were greeted & seated by friendly staff. Our waiter was attentive & informative about the menu. We had the crab/cream cheese stuffed squash blossoms as an appetizer & they were excellent. My entree of corvina had a nice pecan coating & the veggies that came with it were fresh & not over cooked. Looking forward to trying other things on the menu on future visits.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Favorite Louisville Restaurant
    KirkVIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    This place is consistently awesome! Great food, cool location, and quality service. John the owner has also said hello at our dinners here. Very reasonable on price for great food. A little slow on speed of service but why hurry a terrific dinner?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always a winner!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Varanese is one of our favorite restaurants. Elegant atmosphere with live music and consistently tasty food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still a go-To
    Prplehaze
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Varanese has long been one of my go-to restaurants for taking out of town guests or observing birthdays or the like. This time, it was both and as usual, the folks at the restaurant mostly came through for us. The food was outstanding. Among the three of us were two salmons and one Covina and each piece of fish came out cooked exactly as ordered arranged beautifully on a plate of grits (salmon) or honeyed mashed sweet potatoes (Covina) each of which was superb. I also had the fried Brussels sprouts which I could easily eat once or twice a week and not tire of. Service,was fine, once our server arrived after a 20 minute wait to have our orders taken.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place for dinner
    SandyleeVIP
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Great service wonderful food and they are always friendly
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Spears
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    It's nice to have several favorite entrees that are always on the menu as well as 2 or 3 special entrees and a couple of salads or appetizers that offer unique choices, unusual preparation and ingredients all at reasonable prices. The butter-fish special was the favorite choice that night and everyone loved it. Even with a group of 7 people, the service was excellent and the server both knowledgeable and pleasant. The cocktails were promptly served and well-prepared and the food courses were brought out at just the right pace. It is our favorite full-menu, gourmet dining venue in east Louisville.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A Great anniversary
    fjayr
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    We count on Veranese for those special evenings and, again, Veranese did not disappoint. The service was outstanding, helpful and prompt, the small jazz band was outstanding, and every dish from the curried empanadas through the entrees was well prepared and delicious. The staff were aware that this was our anniversary and there were nice touches throughout the meal. This restaurant always makes us feel valued and comfortable while providing us as lovely a dinner and wine service as you are going to find in the great restaurant town of Louisville.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/1/2014
    Planned a surprise for my sister for her birthday. Staff was overly accommodating and friendly. The service was outstanding as was the food. Would definitely recommend.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stop reading, make a reservation
    KYBP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Fabulous table waiting for us when we showed up for our opentable reservation at Varanese. We ordered drinks and an appetizer. Tons of great beers not normally found to select from and our appetizer was great. Dinner was as good as any dinner we could have had that night. So glad we decided to spend our anniversary dinner there! Most likely going to have to make it a tradition.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect Anniversary!
    Kbk11102
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Food was excellent and service made it even better. We had a great anniversary celebration and we will definitely be back again soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • open doors
    foodfan
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Would like to have doors open to give outdoor feel and diminish noise level
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Varnese - a family favorite
    Gerd9354
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Varnese never fails to please. It is one of our families favorite restaurants. The food is always excellent, as well as the service. Always something new in the specials worth trying, but the standard menu keeps us coming back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Romanticone
    Romanticone
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Once again best place to eat on Frankfort ave. Amazing service food and drinks.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent as always
    TimH
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We visit Varanese at least once a month and it has my favorite dinner in Louisville. The Bourbon Barrel Rubbed Porkchop preceded by the Fried Green Tomato Salad is the TOPS!!! Our out of town guests loved everything about this place on their first visit. Bravo Varanese!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dining Gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Great food with terrific service at a reasonable price
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • CJS1VIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Decent food. I guess I was expecting more based on the reviews. Sauces on both dishes were very heavy and overpowered the flavor of the base.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Out of This World
    JRSREALTOR
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Took out-of-town in-laws here for a welcome dinner. Seven members of the group had never been, and Varanese made a big impression on them. I had the Opah and it was amazing. Everyone walked away very satisfied and happy to have experienced this great restaurant. Service was so good my wife can't stop raving about it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious
    JoeML
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    The food is consistently delicious, new dishes & innovative. Never gets boring or predictable!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent place to dine w/friends
    Missy
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    This was my first visit there, but I loved it. There was quiet music in the background. Service was excellent and the chef came out to see how our experience was. I would definitely go back the next time in Louisville.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Date place
    AppleGuy
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    My best friend and I like to go on "dates" and we like trying new places and Varanese was on both of our lists. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the place was not busy at all so we had a great conversation at a reasonable level. The waitress was helpful with wine paring for the meal I picked and very knowledgeable about the menu options. The food came out very well prepared and the plate looked wonderful. I think we will both be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Perfect date-night destination
    502diner
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    My husband and I chose Varanese for our anniversary dinner, and we were not disappointed. From the appetizer to dessert, we found the food prepared to perfection. Ed, our waiter, was very attentive, but not pushy or intrusive. He made several useful recommendations. The live jazz was a nice touch, as well. We were very pleased to spend a couple of hours dining in such a classy setting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pleasantly surprised
    gov58
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I picked this restaurant from an online site. Got there an hour early and was offered a table right away. Chose to go to the bar first. A great bar but could use a few more choices for draft beer. The wine and liquor selection was great. Dinner was fantastic, the sirloin was almost fork tender and tasted great. As we were finishing dinner the head chef came to our table and was truly interested in what we thought of the food. The entire experience was very enjoyable and was very fairly priced.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Review
    Sussie
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Had a wonder Mother/Daughter night out eating here. We were seated right next to the music duo loved it. We felt like we were in our own little world. The salmon I had was outstanding! Choose a nice Pinot to go with it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hot Spot
    Joeeatswell
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    We've been in Louisville for many years and can't believe we haven't been here. We dine out @ 3-4 times per week and Varanese has moved to the top of our "excellent dinning" list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Most Excellent!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Five of us dined at Varanese on a Thursday night. A two-person jazz combo played in the corner, providing a nice ambiance. The sound-absorbing panels on the ceiling have helped the noise level, but conversation is still a little tricky. The food, however, is excellent. My caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes was luscious. Three of us had the signature pork chop with au gratin potatoes, and it was very good. But the prize went to my husband's choice of the flat iron steak (cooked medium rare) which was tender enough to cut with a regular knife, and melted in your mouth. Once again, Varanese sits at the top our list for favorite Louisville restaurants!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.