Oct 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm

CONNOR’S PLACE, 207 E. Main St., New Albany, Ind., (812) 944-0207, A comfortable bar and grill in what locals still call the Maytag Building, Conner’s Place features mostly American menu essentials so you can kick back and relax over a pint. Lunch is served until 2 p.m., when a pub grub menu kicks in. (Reviewed 8/29; Rating: N/A)

VARANESE, 2106 Frankfort Ave., 899-9904, Owner and chef John Varanese recently opened this dining spot in the old Red Lounge location on Frankfort. Billed as “eclectic Mediterranean,” the menu offers an easy blend of down-home, the Med and around the world. (Reviewed 9/19; Rating: 85)

AUGUST MOON CHINESE BISTRO, 2269 Lexington Rd., 456-6569, Whether you go for the Malaysian dishes or prowl the East on August Moon’s eclectic menu, this 20-year-old eatery remains a favorite. Chef Peng Looi’s chicken satay, some of the best in town, derives from his native Malaysia. (Reviewed 9/26; Rating: 91)

SAHARA MEDITERRANEAN CAFÉ, 3701 Lexington Rd., 895-1338. This small new Middle Eastern eatery in St. Matthews is coupled with A Small World gift shop. The fare is right up there with such other local Persian stars as Saffron’s and Shiraz. (Reviewed 10/3; Rating: N/A)

TUSCANY ITALIAN RESTAURANT, 9 New Cut Rd., 363-0308. This new South End Italian spot dramatically exceeded expectations for shopping-center dining. The chef, a native of Mexico, has lived and cooked in Italy, and it shows. (Reviewed 10/10; Rating: N/A)

CHARLESTOWN PIZZA CO., 850 Main St., Charlestown, Ind., (812) 256-2699. Building a strong word-of-mouth reputation, this Southern Indiana restaurant and pub is run by folks who learned their pizza and beer at New Albanian Brewing Company. The beer selection is exceptional, and the Italian-inspired dishes are reasonably priced. (Reviewed 10/10; Rating: N/A)

MAIDO ESSENTIAL JAPANESE, 1758 Frankfort Ave., 894-8775, This popular Clifton restaurant is Louisville’s only example of “izakaya” dining, a combination of pub, sake bar and eatery. Maido specializes in small dishes, affordably priced, with the idea that a group can select a variety of contrasting bites to accompany with plenty of libations. (Reviewed 10/17; Rating: 92)