This article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com .
The Cuisine: German
The Locale: Eiderdown , 983 Goss Ave., 290-2390
The Scene: This Germantown neighborhood eatery is at once rustic yet refined. The dining room of exposed brick and tables built from reclaimed lumber provides the perfect atmosphere for the über-cool menu, with bar-snack selections such as duck-fat popcorn and main courses of späetzle tossed with root-vegetable ragout and sage brown butter. Plenty of German beer awaits as well.
Second Locale: Gasthaus , 4812 Brownsboro Road, 899-7177
The Menu: It’s the place to go for all your schnitzel and sauerbraten cravings — the menu is authentic German cooked up by the Griepel family, who have owned and operated it since 1993. Will make you want to grab an accordian and do the polka.
The Cuisine: French
The Locale: Bistro Le Relais , 2817 Taylorsville Road, 451-9020
The Scene: Think Casablanca without Bogie. Le Relais’s Art Deco dining room occupies a space in the historic airport terminal of Bowman Field, which accommodates prop planes and private jets. Francophiles will not be disappointed by the flawless preparations of Truite Meunière and Escargot de Bourgogne nor by a wine list that boasts rare selections from Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Second Locale: Ghyslain , 725 E. Market St., 690-8645
The Scene: Open from 7 a.m.- 9 p.m., this cafe and chocolate shop is a superb destination to pop in for a croissant and French-press coffee.
The Cuisine: Japanese
The Locale: Dragon King’s Daughter,  1126 Bardstown Road, 632-2444
The Menu: The ethos of a Japanese restaurant with a bit of a wanderlust for the West. Our favorites are the sashimi pizza — organic spring mix and avocado accompanying sashimi salmon and white and red tuna with tamari mayo — and the Justin Casey roll — tilapia tempura inside, roasted red pepper and cilantro outside, served atop a fiery drizzle.
Second Locale: Sapporo  Japanese Grill and Sushi, 649 S. Fourth St., 589-3333
The Scene: One of the city’s much-loved sushi spots. Its sleek downtown location (the original is on Bardstown Road) is where we head for a guilt-free yet filling bento box lunch.
The Cuisine: Argentinean
The Locale: Palermo Viejo , 1359 Bardstown Road, 456-6461
The Scene: Chef and owner Francisco Elbl’s menu is real-deal Argentinian. Many recipes hail from his grandmother, whom he grew up visiting in Palermo Viejo, one of the largest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Like any good Argentinian, he uses a charcoal grill for all his meats — which are of course abundant on the menu and even delivered to the table on a portable charcoal grill to keep them sizzling.
The Cuisine: Irish
The Locale: Irish Rover , 2319 Frankfort Ave., 899-3544
The Scene: Housed in a 150-year-old brick building with 12-foot ceilings, this is Louisville’s most visually comfortable Irish pub. And owner Michael Reidy’s brogue comes direct from County Clare, so you can count on the authenticity of the classic fare, including fish and chips, bangers and mash, and, of course, a perfectly drawn Guinness Stout.
Second Locale: The 900 block of Baxter Avenue
The Scene: You can’t toss a leprechaun without hitting an Irish pub on this stretch of Baxter Avenue. Molly Malone ’s, Flanagan’s and O’Shea’s are all in bar-hopping distance of one another, providing a festive atmosphere for late-night shenanigans.
Photo: Kentucky country ham sandwich at Eiderdown by Zach Everson