Varanese

4.5
2527 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for a Date
  • Live Music
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
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Dinner:
Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00pm

Christmas Eve 11am-10pm

Christmas Day CLOSED

New Year's Eve 4pm-12pm

New Year's Day CLOSED
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Phone number
(502) 899-9904
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
John Varanese
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Catering
Catering is offered depending on Chef Varanese's availability. Call to inquire.
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Cross street
Vernon
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Parking details
Varanese provides on-premise parking along with additional parking across the street at Nancy's Bagel Grounds along with street parking.
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Public transit
Varanese has a TARC stop in front along with a Frankfort Ave. Trolly Hop Stop.
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Entertainment
Live jazz seven nights from the Jeff Sherman band 6-10pm.
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Special events & promotions
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.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 2527 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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2.0Dined 12 hours ago

Food was ok. It was very warm. Could have used some fans or ac to make it more comfortable. We have dined there many times in the past but wasn’t impressed tonight

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5.0Dined 2 days ago

Great bar. Food was excellent . Salmon and grits perfect! Steak excelent

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

awesome wine and dinner featuring tuscan wines and great food

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4.0Dined on June 17, 2018

Great food! We always enjoy Varanese.

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2.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Service was slow. Ordered steak medium well and it was over cooked but did not send back because I didn’t want to wait. Music was nice overpriced for what we ordered

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3.0Dined on June 15, 2018

One of our favorite restaurants in Louisville. Food is always good, no matter what one orders. Great bar menu. The restaurant is often open to the outside, weather permitting. When it is closed to the outside, as it was when we were there last week, it is rather loud. Nice 2-3 piece jazz band plays every night.
Service on this night was not up to par. Took forever to get our drinks and we finally gave up on dessert. the manager finally came through with a to-go dessert comped which shows that they do care. Still, I would go back to Varanese in a heart beat.

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5.0Dined on June 12, 2018

Wonderful dinning experience. My wife and I really enjoyed our anniversary dinner at Varanese. Food and service were great. Excellent value and we will be back.

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3.0Dined on June 10, 2018

I ordered a chef’s vegetarian dish thinking it would include primarily summer vegetables. Instead it was undercooked small potatoes, two types of corn (baby and cut from the cop) with about three bites of zucchini and a couple of mushrooms over a bed of whipped sweet potatoes. The dish had no flavor. Our server was great -he had the dish taken off of our bill after he noticed I did not eat much. Still, I was pretty disappointed.

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5.0Dined on June 10, 2018

My husband and I love having date night here. We love the setting outside with the band. Staff is excellent and the food is amazing. Steak is reasonably priced and cooked to perfection.

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3.0Dined on June 8, 2018

Niki was a fine server! Wonderful hospitality from calliope to niki. Food had eye appeal, however, was not up to fine dining experiences of the past.

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5.0Dined on June 7, 2018

Exceptional as always. This is one of our favorites, and this visit did not disappoint. We signed up for the Copper and Steam special bourbon-oriented meal, and it was fantastic from start to finish. The pairing of food and drink is something they do exceedingly well (we've done a wine-paired tasting menu as well), and the bourbon was a unique spin. We even got to hear from some local experts!

Go here!

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4.0Dined on June 4, 2018

Most everything was really good. But the beef and tortellini was not. It used to be very good but there is something different about it now.

Loved the music.

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2018

Love Varanese. Celebrating the anniversary of our first date there. Great live jazz in the background. Support local businesses.

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3.0Dined on June 2, 2018

MyPlate consisted of monkfish which I usually enjoy, but this fish set on top of a risotto that had absolutely zero taste, not even salt or any flavor, and some dark brown sauce that tasted like squid ink.

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5.0Dined on June 1, 2018

Fantastic staff and food. IT was great to celebrate our 3 year anniversary and they took that into consideration as soon as we walked in the door.

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5.0Dined on May 28, 2018

Fabulous all around especially for us Virginia folks. :-)

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4.0Dined on May 28, 2018

We hadn’t been to Varanese for quite a while, but it was as good as always. We shared a salad and bourbon salmon. Very good!

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

Great bourbon selections here.
Had the Pork Chop, and it was excellent.
Not our first time here. One of our favorites when we are in Louisville.

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

It was our 39 th Wedding Anniversary. We had never dined there before and was referred by a friend. It may become one of our favorites!

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3.0Dined on May 27, 2018

Date night

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

the ambience, small jazz band, food and service is excellent. I went there with my friend. the server heard her mention it was my birthday. our server took it upon herself to ask the band to play happy birthday and brought us a sample of desserts with a candle!

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Staff was friendly and the service was excellent. But the food! The food was absolutely delicious! We will definitely be visiting Varanese again.

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

First time for us and everything was very good. We will be back

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5.0Dined on May 24, 2018

With a late afternoon decision and using the reservation system, we got an excellent early seating table in the open walled center stage to the lite combo. The wine selection was excellent and the food choices challenging to make a choice. But we did and both entrees were perfectly prepared and timely delivered following appetizers. Large portion and a single bottle of wine, we opted to forgo the very tempting desserts. All in all a very enjoyable of evening, slight breeze from the open wall, with the fountain wall and lite music capping an already perfect dinner.

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5.0Dined on May 22, 2018

This is a great restaurant off the beaten path and not touristy.

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5.0Dined on May 20, 2018

Everything was excellent and our server, Neil was top notch!

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1.0Dined on May 19, 2018

I will never go to this restaurant again! We arrived for dinner and were passed over to seat a regular customer! The manager lied and even argued with me :( the poor host was caught in the middle! We walked out and found a much friendlier staffed restaurant to eat dinner! Will discourage everyone we know to never done here!!! BTW, the manager,David, was called out on every terrible and poor review on trip advisor! Chef Veranese should find a new manager !!!!

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Very reasonably priced. Everything was great, including drinks. Recommend the calamari.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

One of my favorite restaurants. Never disappoints. Food is creative, delicious, comes to table at perfect temperature, diverse menu selections.

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3.0Dined on May 18, 2018

While I'd be happy to go here again (the sweet potato biscuits with pulled pork and apple butter were to die for!), The service was one of the worst I've ever had at a restaurant. I get that it was a busy night, but we regularly had waiters and waitresses pass our table by to serve other tables that arrived after us. When our waiter arrived to take our order, he seemed annoyed to be serving us and seemed like he was trying to rush us. He seemed annoyed and frustrated that we didn't order alcoholic beverages and wanted to share some dishes so we could try a few different items. We did not receive the complimentary bread or bruschetta that all the other tables received. We constantly had to ask for our waters to be refilled. It made us feel like our patronage was not as important to the staff at the restaurant. Looking around, we were probably the youngest customers dining here and it made us feel like we were being ignored and treated poorly because we might not have been able to tip as much as some other customers or order as much as them. That assumption, or appearance of such an assumption, really ruined our date night. We were here to celebrate my fiancée's new job and it really just turned into more of a downer than a celebration. Might not have happened at a different restaurant. Like I said, I'd go here again to try some of the food that sounded really good, but it probably wouldn't be my first choice, especially if we get the same kind of shoddy service that we received on this visit.

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2.0Dined on May 13, 2018

We’ve had special occasion dinners here before and it’s always been perfect. Mother’s Day was not the case. We had a wonderful table, outside and near the music. However, dinner at 6:30 and they were out of two of the specials we ordered? The server was apologetic we will return because we know you’re better than this.

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3.0Dined on May 13, 2018

It was too hot inside and out.

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3.0Dined on May 13, 2018

We had reservations and were seated quickly. The cocktails were ok, but nothing special. Appetizers (mussels) were good. The main dishes were good, but not what I'd expect from a restaurant at this price point. My steak was prepared like I requested, but there was way too much fat, even for a ribeye. Dessert (creme brulee) was served in a coffee cup and was soupy. It tasted ok, but the texture was all wrong. I don't think I'll return here. I brought my wife here for our anniversary dinner, but I ended up wishing I'd taken her someplace with better service and food.

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2.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Disappointing!!! Ambiance was great, partial outdoor on beautiful Mother's Day (took Mom out for brunch). Server was drab and acted like he didn't want to be there; was not able to adequately describe dishes/recommendations while ordering; wrote incorrect orders delaying meal for one party; took forever to bring out a glass of ice and ketchup; rarely checked in on us or even the quality of food; and presented an order-to-go dessert disgustingly (happy we checked it before leaving). The manager was nice enough and brought a dessert that looked like a slice of pie and said he was sorry but made excuses.
Food was mediocre at best. Mac n' cheese burnt, brussel sprouts dry, the hot brown was overtaken by brioche and lacked sauce ( better quality and taste at Krogers deli). Crabcakes were overcooked and size of golf, poached eggs were under-cooked and the lobster hollandaise had no lobster flavor or meat.
Although we promptly seated at our reservation time (and tables were mainly filled), took about 15 minutes for water service (without ice) and drink order and there was no bread service. We asked about bread when the dishes were served, one slice of brioche came out when the meal nearly finished (would have been good with poached egg) and charged $1.50 for the one slice.
Total Disappointment and too expensive for what we received! Won't go back!

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

We went for Mother's Day. It was perfect. A beautiful day, beautiful setting and excellent Mother's Day brunch menu.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

We were a party of 9 and we all had an enjoyable afternoon. Food was very good and was quite enough to actually converse, this is hard to find. We will be back.

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4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Food was great. craft cocktails great, even though wait staff was attentive, Service was slow. took 20 mintes to get our coctails after drinks were ordered.

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3.0Dined on May 13, 2018

This was my 3rd or 4th time to Varanese and unfortunately the most disappointing visit. It's a good menu with a nice variety and the food is mostly delicious however this time the service was subpar. I'm not sure why they were in the weeds that night, it was Saturday evening but there were several open tables. We were immediately served complimentary appetizers after sitting but it took about 30 minutes to get our wine/drinks...would've been more appropriate if served together. The server was very nice and apologetic to her credit. Dinner came out much more expeditiously and everyone enjoyed the food, specifically the salmon/grits and beef tips/tortellini. The patio is great especially with live music but don't think you'll be more comfortable sitting inside on a warm night as the garage doors are usually open to the patio and the air conditioning isn't able to maintain a decent temperature inside. I'll most likely return but perhaps not as soon as usual with all the other restaurants to try on Frankfort Avenue.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Great food and great service as always for a reasonable price! The pecan encrusted white pass with sweet potatoes is to die for!

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

This restaurant never disappoints! Always good food& good service!

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