For more than 60 years, KingFish Restaurants have been grilling, broiling, and frying a bounty of sea-dwelling edibles. Lobster tails, tilapia fillets, and freshly shucked oysters punctuate a menu of more than 25 seafood selections that adorn plates breaded in a golden crust or blackened in Cajun seasonings. More terrestrial morsels arrive in the form of fried frog legs and 10-ounce rib-eye steaks, which are grilled to order and taught to swim before arriving to tables.
The flavors aren't the only things inspired by the majesty of the water, though; two of the restaurant's locations are perched directly on the banks of the Ohio River. Diners can gaze through expansive windows or breathe fresh air on a covered patio as they savor their meals amid sparkling waters framed by the Louisville skyline. The understated sound of rushing water is periodically interrupted on select nights, when live bands entertain dinner guests and provide a soundtrack for the underwater ecosystem's endless Disney auditions.
When Shahram and Gita Pouranfour—with the help of their sons, Farzan and Arman—first started a family-style restaurant in South Louisville, their main goal was to cater to families and seafood lovers. After years of success at this original restaurant, Fishery Station, they started adding more exotic food items, such as shark and alligator tail, to the menu alongside their traditional seafood and chicken platters. Along with the exotic fare, they incorporated Shahram’s Persian and Gita’s German cultural influences as well, adding basmati dill rice, gyros, and chicken schnitzel.
They’ve continued these same traditions at The Fish Fry House, where families can dine-in or carry out, and Shahram still enjoys cutting and hand-breading pounds of fish daily before it’s transformed to one of the popular platters or sandwiches.
There's no body of water in El Marlin Latin Cuisine's immediate vicinity, but you might forget that upon entering its maritime-themed dining room. Life preserver buoys, paddles, and pictures of fish adorn the walls, setting an appropriately nautical tone for feasts of marlin skewers and seafood-filled pineapple. Of course, not everything at El Marlin hails from the ocean. Lime flavors succulent pork chops, while vegetarian-friendly scoops of mac and cheese sizzle on the plate. To complement meals, the restaurant's bartenders handcraft cocktails and pour wines from a massive cellar that houses reds, whites, and people hiding from tornadoes.