Be sure to bring an appetite to Indy because food abounds in a mouth-watering and stomach filling range of cuisines and styles. Find a searchable list of restaurants online.
You could feast at a different steakhouse every day of your stay in Indy and still leave a few for your next visit. But to find the signature dish of Indianapolis, make reservations at the historic St. Elmo Steak House that still operates in its original 1902 location right downtown. Their world famous shrimp cocktail is made with fresh horseradish ground daily and was recognized as ‘the world’s spiciest dish’ by the Travel Channel.
Adam Richman, host of Man vs. Food, found a signature Hoosier dish worthy of a trip to Indiana. The traditional breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is served as tasty as it is big. Try one at Plump’s Last Shot, a hole-in-the-wall pub owned by Bobby Plump who made the basket that inspired ESPN’s #1 movie Hoosiers.
Only-in-Indy restaurants are plentiful, surrounding visitors with rich history and richer flavors. Indianapolis’ Italian heritage can be experienced at Iozzo’s, Milano Inn and Iaria’s, that all opened in the 1930’s, while German heritage shines through at The Rathskeller set in the 19th century Athenaeum Building. Another historic setting, City Market, offers a wide array of vendors selling fresh and local options from crepes to creole. And an Indy staple, Shapiro’s Delicatessen, has been filling stomachs with generous portions since 1905. USA Today recognized it as one of America’s greatest delis.
And more recent additions to Indy’s restaurant scene have increased the number of great dining spots. A century-old storefront took on new life as Tavern on South, with a menu featuring quality ingredients well prepared. BRU Burger Bar dishes up twists on an iconic American food. The Libertine is known for contemporary cocktails enjoyed alongside re-imagined, high-end bar food. And Black Market, a gastropub tucked at the end of Mass Ave, pairs innovative entrees and pickled everything with great local brews.
With the area’s rich agriculture, Indianapolis is home to an array of farm-to-table restaurants. James Beard Award-finalist chef Regina Mehallick leads the city’s slow food movement, and her culinary expertise can be savored at R Bistro. Another James Beard Award nominee, Greg Hardesty, frequently rotates the locally-sourced menu items at his culinary playground, Recess.
Goose the Market, a “Top 10 Sandwich Shop” according to Bon Appetit, serves up quality Indiana-raised meats and crafted cheeses, and even offers a bacon-of-the-month club. And recently opened hotspots, Bluebeard and Cerulean, feature contemporary cuisine with the best ingredients surrounding farms have to offer.
Café Patachou has won legions of followers with award-winning gourmet breakfasts and healthy lunches served up in an energetic, metropolitan setting. It got noticed by Gourmet.com, who placed it on their “Top Ten Healthiest Restaurants in the Nation” list. (Don’t miss the cinnamon toast!)
And no foodie visit would be complete without a trip to Traders Point Creamery, an urban organic dairy farm. This 150-acre farm raises and serves grass-fed beef, crafts custom cheeses and serves up the best in ice cream.
Nearly every continent is represented among Indy’s array of authentic international dining spots, which can be found throughout downtown and surrounding cultural districts. But an area of town known as International Marketplace takes the cake. This neighborhood consists of culinary entrepreneurs representing over 70 languages and cultures, leading the New York Times to claim Indy as “where the world comes to eat”. Turkish, Moroccan, Mexican, Middle Eastern, German, Cuban, Asian, Peruvian, Indian, Brazilian, Italian, Spanish…it’s all here.