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Indianapolis Restaurant: Reviews & Recommendations


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#1 Toni10

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Posted 17 May 2002 - 10:51 AM

Anyone have any suggestions for dining in Indianapolis?  I will be there for Grand Prix in September.  Thanks for your help all suggestions appreciated!

#2 NewYorkTexan

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Posted 17 May 2002 - 03:26 PM

Tough city to find a decent meal, really tough.  I usually end up at St. Elmo’s steakhouse.  Has some character and a good yet overpriced wine list.  The cocktail sauce served with the shrimp cocktail is good yet potent.   It is heavy on the horseradish and will clean your sinuses like you would not believe.  St. Elmo’s is somewhat formal, although I am not sure if jacket/tie is required.  

From a foodie’s perspective, Indianapolis is very conservative and boring (IMHO).

St. Elmo's

#3 macattak

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 12:07 PM

You can try Aesops Tables for Greek, Il Gargano Italian Trattoria, Buca di Beppo or Amalfi Ristorante Italiano for Italian. Buca is family style, kitschy and loud. Bazbeaux is a funky pizza place for a casual meal. If you get a chance, head to the Slippery Noodle Inn for some good music and a drink. Try Yummy for Oriental. The dim sum on Sunday is very good.

#4 chengb02

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 02:03 PM

Indy dining is difficult, agreed...with the discussion of other cities though, maybe we can liven this one up again...Outside of St.Elmo's and, say, Ruth's Chris are there any good dining choices around?

#5 ducphat30

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 02:58 PM

Is Acupulco Joe's still around. I remember them having good margaritas and very tasty salsas. Although the last time I went was probably 12-13 years ago. Damn, time flies!
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#6 cbarre02

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:53 PM

I always wondered if Indy was ready for a 4 star fine dining restaurant. There really isn't anything in the downtown area at all. They have two professional sports teams, the race track, RCA, and somemoney that can be spent. I must admit I reaserched the idea about a year ago, and gave it consideration.
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#7 chengb02

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 12:43 PM

as somebody who has spent a lot of time in Bloomington, trust me, the idea is a must! Indy is the main city in the entire state and yet there is nothing. Bloomington's quality dining options are minimal at best, when investigating into what there was in Indy, I was surprised to find out there wasn't much available there either. Around this time of year was always the hardest, picking a Valentine's Day restaurant was always very difficult.

#8 rlibkind

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 02:10 PM

I haven't been to Indianapolis in a couple of years, but....

It hardly fits in the category of fine dining, but Shapiro's is a trip for the tastebuds and the eyes. Best pastrami west of the Raritan River. I haven't been there since the fire, but I would suspect nothing's changed.

St. Elmo's is a quality steakhouse, and I'd rather have my beef there than at a chain, even a high-end chain. Killer chocolate cake.

It's part of a Pacific NW chain, but if it's still around and has kept up its standards, Palomino is a fine establishment, especially in late May when the Copper River salmon is available.
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#9 JimInLoganSquare

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 03:11 PM

I've recently had good experiences in Indianapolis at Oakley's Bistro and the Broadripple Steakhouse. You may also want to look at the following restaurant review page from Nuvo, an Indianapolis entertainment weekly:

http://www.nuvo.net/cuisine/

The reviews seem pretty fair and they have a deep archive. I don't get back to Indy as often as I should (just ask my mother), and therefore haven't been able to sample a lot (or even just a few) of these places. However, unless the Nuvo reviewers are completely off their rocker, there are a lot of really good restaurants in Indianapolis

Indy is a sprawling, "cars only" city and there aren't many options right downtown. Like so many towns, looking closely at your options probably will be more productive than throwing your hands up and bemoaning the supposed lack of "any" good restaurants based on a walking tour of the financial district.

Edited by JimInLoganSquare, 05 February 2004 - 03:21 PM.

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#10 Sweet Willie

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 07:11 PM

an associate who's view I respect states Yats is quite good, http://www.yatscajuncreole.com

I'm a deli guy and he recommended Shapiro's to me which I liked, did a review on eG, just do a search or http://www.shapiros.com/

other places he recommended:

Just past the Shapiro's parking lot you will see a small blue building. That's the Greek Islands Restaurant. Good Greek food at reasonable prices and very friendly service. They only do dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The best place in the city for a weekend (or weekday if you have time) breakfast is Cafe Patachou at 49th and Pennsylvania.

Bosphorus, right across the street from Don Victor's, serves excellent Turkish food.

St. Elmo on Illinois Street just south of Maryland is an original Indianapolis steak house.

Great Wall -- Keystone and Hanna -- this hole in the wall Chinese place has the best Chinese food I've found in town

Hollyhock-- Want a real Hoosier fried chicken dinner? Head to Hollyhock at 83rd and College Ave. on the north side. Family style eating. You will feel like you passed into a time tunnel back to the 50's. High quality.

Mikado-- fresh/flown-in high quality sushi. On Georgia St. and Illinois. The best in town. Prices a bit steep, but worth it.

Kabul-- Again, demonstrating Indy's increasing ethnic choices is this superb Afghani place. Been in business for 10+ years. Unbelievable soup called aush--a must have. The kabab murgh (cornish hen) is fantastic. Crisp unusually seasoned skin, moist on the inside. Location: 86th and Ditch (SE corner) in Greenbriar shopping center

Edited by Sweet Willie, 05 February 2004 - 07:27 PM.

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#11 JimInLoganSquare

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 07:35 PM

Hollyhock-- Want a real Hoosier fried chicken dinner? Head to Hollyhock at 83rd and College Ave. on the north side. Family style eating. You will feel like you passed into a time tunnel back to the 50's. High quality.

Hurray for Hollyhock! Can't believe that one got a mention here, but it's about time. Everyone raised on the northside of Indianapolis for the last 50 years or more has a soft spot for this family style restaurant (literally, it's family style "pass the bowls" service). They've been serving fried chicken dinners in this cottage setting since 1928. Complement that fried chicken with heaping bowls of mashed potatoes and green beans and some apple butter for your fresh baked bread, and it's a little bit of heaven. However, unless you plan on adopting a family while there, don't go alone. (And now my parents have moved within walking distance; maybe I should talk them into a meal on my next visit.)

Edited by JimInLoganSquare, 05 February 2004 - 07:39 PM.

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#12 chengb02

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 01:39 AM

Mikado is a good option, but it is a bit overpriced for what you're getting. Is it connected to the Mikado in Bloomington, which I would generally say the same thing about? St. Elmo's is a good bet, but there are also 2 Ruth's Chris and a Morton's...I'm looking to go beyond steaks...Yummy's for dim sum is definitely the best you can get in Indy. I understand what Jim is saying, my trips to Indy have been centered around sporting events downtown or plays downtown, so I haven't gotten outside the downtown area. My post was intended to be less a complaint about the limited options and more a looking into of what there really is in Indy. But it definitely would be nice to have a "trendy" restaurant in downtown Indy.

Edited by chengb02, 06 February 2004 - 01:41 AM.


#13 Ovenfrenzy

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 09:56 AM

Mikado is a good option, but it is a bit overpriced for what you're getting. Is it connected to the Mikado in Bloomington, which I would generally say the same thing about? St. Elmo's is a good bet, but there are also 2 Ruth's Chris and a Morton's...I'm looking to go beyond steaks...Yummy's for dim sum is definitely the best you can get in Indy. I understand what Jim is saying, my trips to Indy have been centered around sporting events downtown or plays downtown, so I haven't gotten outside the downtown area. My post was intended to be less a complaint about the limited options and more a looking into of what there really is in Indy. But it definitely would be nice to have a "trendy" restaurant in downtown Indy.

Indianapolis has improved its restaurant offerings in the seven years I've lived here. There are several restaurants downtown that may not fit the bill as "trendy"(and what exactly does that mean?) but their menus reflect a progressive step for this city. Scholar's Inn on Massachusettes Ave. Elements- also on Mass Ave. But wait, there's more on Mass Ave alone- R Bistro(local & seasonal offerings), and Agio(Italian-influenced). These are all worth a trip, and it's important to patronize independent restaurants, because Indy is choking on chains.

#14 chengb02

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 11:42 PM

I've been to the Scholar's Inn in Bloomington a number of times, by far the finest restaurant in Btown, and enjoyed the bread from the Scholar's Inn Bakehouse. Does the Indy restaurant have the same menu as Bloomington?

#15 rlm

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 12:54 PM

I was begrudgingly in Indy for the Grand Prix in Y2K and found the snack food at the track to be abominable. Really enjoyed the Rathskeller though (Bavarian fare), as well as the fact that Kurt Vonnegut's grandfather had a hand in designing the building it's located in.

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#16 chado

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 12:02 PM

Wow, thanks for the advice on Scholar's Inn in Bloomington. My wife and I will be visiting there this weekend and will be sure to go! The menu looks great!

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#17 feloniousmonk

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 02:45 PM

It has been over a year since the last post but the Oceanaire Seafood Room is fantastic.
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#18 robb

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 09:13 AM

I don't live in Indiana but have been visiting for a little while. I've eaten at a lot of unremarkable places. But, here are two choices on the West side that I found to be fairly good.

Zydeco (Mooresville): This is a cajun/creole restaurant on the tiny main strip in Mooresville. It's definitely a bit out of place in this little country town. Still, the owners have created a nice taste of New Orleans here. I found the Ettoufe to be very good. The chef knows how to make a roux. The gumbo, red beans and rice, and blackened fish were also good. While I've had better versions of each of these in New Orleans and found that they lacked a bit in spice (oregano, thyme, and heat), for Indiana it was a nice change from buscuits and gravy.

El Jaripeo (Plainsfield): This is a little mexican place in a strip mall near an Old Navy. I believe it's one of several El Jaripeo's in the area. Generally I found the mexican dishes here to be surprisingly authentic. The menu goes well beyond the usual enchillada's, taco's and burritos. The spicier dishes as well as their salsa's can be quite hot, especially comapred to the bland mexican you usually get in middle america.

#19 RyuShihan

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 09:19 PM

Out of curiosity would that still be considered the Heartland? There might be a chance I might be moving there and sadly I don't know nothing about its culinary scene, does it even have one?

#20 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 09:42 PM

Out of curiosity would that still be considered the Heartland?  There might be a chance I might be moving there and sadly I don't know nothing about its culinary scene, does it even have one?

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Pork tenderloin sandwiches, baby! Even though I believe they actually originated in Iowa, Indiana is pretty well-known for them. They're basically round disks of pounded pork tenderloin which are breaded, fried and served on hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato, mayo and sometimes pickles. They're fairly thin (maybe 1/2" thick at most) and pounded out in such a way that the patty usually exceeds the width of the bun by several inches. They're really great and I've often said that I could "eat one everyday." :wink: :smile:

Seriously though, it's a relatively diverse state. While it's not a exactly a culinary Mecca, Indianapolis has a lot to offer. Where exactly is it that you might end up?

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#21 rlibkind

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 10:23 PM

Seriously though, it's a relatively diverse state.  While it's not a exactly a culinary Mecca, Indianapolis has a lot to offer.  Where exactly is it that you might end up?

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Like he said. Good steak houses can be found, of course (I'm fond of Casey's in Elkhart and St. Elmo's in Indianapolis). The northeastern part of the state offers Amish fare (no high-falutin' gourmet eating, but good food and lots of it). Indianapolis itself can boast a reasonable diversity of fare; if it's not as deep and wide as Gotham or the Second City, well, it still offers one of the best corned beef or pastrami sandwiches west of the Delaware River (Shapiro's). And sliders can be had at White Castles in many different locations (I have to travel from home in Philadelphia to North Jersey to get my fix), though my travels in the Midwest have also encouraged a fondness for Steak 'n Shake.
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#22 BeJam

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 07:33 AM

Jerrad is from Indiana. So I guess they have Subway stores.
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#23 RyuShihan

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 09:51 AM

Well if everything turns out I will be living in Avon but working in indianapolis, trying to get a job at a new hotel there. Ironicly i went to the state fair with my wife this year and that pork reminded me of something i saw. Apparently every year they try and deep fry something different, like reeses deepfried, moonpies, kitkats and other candies you wouldn't think of. Wonder if it should be called the deep fry state?

#24 edsel

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 09:51 AM

If you're going to be in Indianapolis, check out the CIRA web site (dineoriginals.com), indyethnicfood.org, and the reviews from NUVO to get an idea of what the food scene is like.


Pork tenderloin sandwiches, baby!  Even though I believe they actually originated in Iowa, Indiana is pretty well-known for them.  They're basically round disks of pounded pork tenderloin which are breaded, fried and served on hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato, mayo and sometimes pickles.  They're fairly thin (maybe 1/2" thick at most) and pounded out in such a way that the patty usually exceeds the width of the bun by several inches.  They're really great and I've often said that I could "eat one everyday." :wink: :smile:

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I had the tonkatsu at Mikado the other night. Does that count? :biggrin:

~Edsel
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#25 amccomb

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:05 PM

I would recommend driving down to Bloomington for dinner at Restaurant Tallent, or catching a wine dinner at Truffles.

#26 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:10 PM

If you're going to be in Indianapolis, check out the CIRA web site (dineoriginals.com), indyethnicfood.org, and the reviews from NUVO to get an idea of what the food scene is like.



Pork tenderloin sandwiches, baby!  Even though I believe they actually originated in Iowa, Indiana is pretty well-known for them.  They're basically round disks of pounded pork tenderloin which are breaded, fried and served on hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato, mayo and sometimes pickles.  They're fairly thin (maybe 1/2" thick at most) and pounded out in such a way that the patty usually exceeds the width of the bun by several inches.  They're really great and I've often said that I could "eat one everyday." :wink: :smile:

View Post


I had the tonkatsu at Mikado the other night. Does that count? :biggrin:

~Edsel
(Temporarily living and working in downtown Indy)


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I'm not from Indiana but I'll ask my wife and get an "official" ruling on that. :biggrin:

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#27 cbarre02

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 05:08 AM

don't worry chicago isn't to far of a drive!
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#28 david coonce

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 07:59 PM

Indianapolis, for being a big city, is woefully inadequate when it comes to food and inventive restaurants. Bloomington has restaurant Tallent - www.restauranttallent.com - which is similar to Chicago's Blackbird - seasonal, regional emphasis, lots of organics. Truffles in Bloomington is very good, too, although a little more traditional. I'm sure you can find info on the web somewhere on it. Also in Bloomington, The Limestone Grill does amazing stuff with food. Bloomington is a pretty amazing city, a progressive oasis surrounded by farms, the Saturday Farmer's Market, which attracts around 5-6000 visitors each Saturday to the Showers Plaza, is a pretty amazing place, where at least half the Farmers farm organic, and the rest are amazing old grizzly 70-year-old dudes who raise the tastiest pork and elk and beef you could ever eat. And, of course, Capriole is there, too. Well worth a road trip. (I lived there 10 years)
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#29 jrichman

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:08 PM

I am going to be in Indy for a few days next month and need some help on where to eat. I would appreciate a few recomendations for a few nice places with good food as well as a few recomendations for some restaurants with local cuisine. For the second request, the place does not have to be nice, just great local cuisine.

Thanks!

#30 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 02:41 PM

Welcome, jrichman, to the eGS.

While they are not all extremely current, check out some of these threads in which Indianapolis dining options are discussed:

Indianapolis threads

My vote, of course, would be for Shapiro's but there are plenty of other, worthy spots.

=R=
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