Visitors to Indianapolis, Indiana's capital, are often intrigued by the city's vibrant culinary scene. Known affectionately as the Circle City, Indianapolis presents a diverse array of gastronomic delights sure to enthrall any food lover.
From quaint, family-owned diners dishing out heartwarming comfort food, to upscale restaurants offering exquisite culinary creations, Indianapolis caters to a wide range of palates.
This article presents a curated list of standout dining spots throughout the city. These establishments have earned accolades for their distinctive offerings, hosting memorable family occasions, friendly gatherings, and serene evenings of reflection.
It was my partner's birthday and I decided to surprise her with a dinner at Vida, a popular choice among the locals.
Now, I must tell you, the moment we walked in, we were taken aback by the trendy ambience - a cozy fireplace, a lavishly stocked bar, and an eye-catching herb wall that added a touch of nature to the chic setting.
We opted for the four-course meal and believe me when I say this, it was an absolute treat to our taste buds.
The plates were modern American, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented.
The cocktails were refreshingly unique and absolutely worth every penny.
But what really impressed us was the tranquil atmosphere - no deafening music or noise to drown out our conversations, just the comforting crackle of the fireplace.
Fast forward a couple of months, we found ourselves at Vida again.
This time to celebrate our anniversary.
The cauliflower dish and the desserts were extremely delicious.
Every detail of the dining experience was amazing and the service, just like the first time, was impeccable.
Now, we are regular patrons of Vida.
It's the place we choose for special occasions, for amazing food and drinks, for memorable conversations, and for an overall wonderful dining experience.
This bi-level beauty is a prime spot for those who crave Latin classics and a good tequila selection, and it's got an all-season rooftop patio that's a perfect match for Indiana's temperamental weather.
My taste buds are no strangers to Livery's delectable menu.
Each dish is a gastronomic masterpiece, a culinary kaleidoscope of flavors and textures that explode in your mouth.
And oh, the cocktails. They change them every few months, much to my delight, because each drink is a well-balanced mix of creativity and exquisite taste.
It's become my new go-to spot for meals, whether it's for appetizers or main dishes.
The Yuca Fries and Pan de Queso are to die for, and let's not forget about the Cauliflower that's so good, it could be a meal in itself.
If you're into spicy food, the Paella is a must-try.
It's one of the spicier items on the menu, and I guarantee you, it's worth every bite.
I can't talk about Livery without mentioning its atmosphere.
It's hard to beat, truly. If the weather cooperates, take my advice and grab a seat under their covered patio area.
But whether you're dining indoors or out, this Latin Fusion restaurant captures the vibrant, lively spirit of Latin America right here in Indianapolis.
Harry & Izzy's
Just another Friday night and where am I?
Enjoying the exceptional dining experience at Harry & Izzy's.
This place is a staple for my family and friends.
It's not just a steakhouse, it's an upscale treat with a contemporary twist on our favorite dishes.
I've been here countless times, and the service has always been nothing short of impeccable.
On my last visit, I decided to go with my all-time favorite - the steak.
But let me tell you, at Harry & Izzy's, they know how to do steak right.
It's always cooked to perfection and just melts in your mouth.
I also ordered a side of Brussels sprouts salad, surprisingly delicious and the perfect complement to the steak.
But don't get me started on their wine selection.
It's extensive and truly notable. Whether you're a wine connoisseur or a casual sipper, you're bound to find a selection that pleases your palate.'
The cocktails are another must-try, always adding the perfect touch to the meal.
And if you're in a mood for a celebration, Harry & Izzy's knows how to make it special.
I remember celebrating my partner's birthday here once.
There's this upscale spot in the heart of Indy, an Italian gem nestled right inside the JW Marriott, known as OP Italian.
It might surprise you to find such a fine dining experience within a hotel, but let me tell you, it's a delightful surprise.
I've had the pleasure of stopping by OP Italian on more than one occasion, but my most recent visit was during Devour Indy.
The food, as always, was amazing. I started with the Calamari and a Caesar salad, followed by the Salmon Entree and Spicy Sausage Rigatoni.
Each bite was a delightful fusion of flavors. The evening ended on a sweet note with their Tiramisu.
What stands out for me, though, is not just the food, but the impeccable service.
But let's not forget their bar and the classy glass-enclosed wine room. I sampled a couple of drinks during my visit and they were as great as the food.
Picture this: you're stepping into the 1920s, entering a Mediterranean-style villa, complete with a lush garden and a full bar.
This is the everyday reality at Mama Carolla's, a hidden gem that's become a staple in my dining routine here in Indianapolis.
The first time I walked into Mama Carolla's, the ambiance immediately swept me off my feet.
The warm, welcoming atmosphere exudes a certain kind of magic that's truly unique, making every visit feel extra special.
Now, let's talk about the star of the show: the food.
Every dish I've tried here lives up to the high standards set by the ambiance.
From the homemade pasta to the perfectly baked lasagna, it's always a culinary journey through Italy, without ever leaving Indianapolis.
I also appreciate the attention to portion sizes - just right to leave you satisfied, but not overstuffed.
Another thing I have to mention is the service.
Even on a busy Friday night, they manage to make you feel like you're their only customer.
Tinker Street Restaurant
You know, there's something special about evenings at the Tinker Street Restaurant.
It's a charming New American-style restaurant tucked away in Indianapolis, with a warm, upbeat setting that has become my favorite spot to unwind.
I remember my first time there.
The service was prompt and informative, and added to the overall pleasant experience.
The food, however, was a mixed bag.
While I found some dishes a tad too salty, the soup hit the right spot.
The oysters were small and soaked in lime juice which overpowered the original flavor, but they were an interesting twist to the usual fare.
For the adventurous, their duck meat is an option, though be warned - the heavy use of hoisin sauce makes it saltier than you'd expect.
On a positive note, their cocktails are an absolute delight.
They might seem a little pricey, but trust me, they're worth every penny.
What really stood out for me, though, was the fish.
It was slightly undercooked to my taste, but the overall experience made up for it.
And oh, the new persimmon dessert! It was a terrific end to the meal and is something I would definitely go back for.
One of the best things about Tinker Street is its atmosphere - a cozy closed-in patio that's simply delightful on a warm day.
But nothing beats the exceptional experience I had when I ordered their pork chops.
Tender, flavorful, and served with seasonal peaches and vegetables, it was an absolute culinary delight.
Believe me when I say that no two visits to Bluebeard are ever the same.
The eatery, nestled in a renovated 1924 warehouse, is an absolute favorite for those of us who crave an ever-changing menu of creative dishes.
It's an adventurous foodie's dream with the menu constantly revolving; every visit is a new culinary journey.
As you step in, you can feel the trendy vibe of the place.
There's a certain charm to the somewhat cramped interiors, but the outdoor seating is definitely the way to go if you prefer a more airy setting.
The atmosphere is unexpectedly chill, making it an excellent spot to unwind after a long day.
But let's talk about what we're really here for - the food.
I've tried a good range of dishes from their sharing plates and, while they've been a hit or miss, the hits have been truly spectacular.
The ribeye, for instance, was well-seasoned and flavorful, although the accompaniments of mashed potatoes and corn didn't quite hit the mark.
The drink selection is impressive, with the watermelon and cucumber concoction being particularly refreshing.
But it's their craft cocktails that steal the show.
The quality is consistent and the unique combinations are quite the experience.
In fact, they even catered to my friend who was pregnant and whipped up one of the best mocktails she'd ever had.
The Capital Grille Indianapolis
There's something uniquely comforting about finding a place in your city where the service is consistently excellent, the ambiance inviting, and the food absolutely delicious.
Such a place is The Capital Grille in Indianapolis.
The moment you step into this outpost of the upscale steakhouse chain, you're treated to a warm and attentive service that just sets the tone for the delightful dining experience that awaits.
Their bread selection is the first to impress – an array of options that are nothing short of delicious.
The drink options are equally impressive, ranging from the classics to the more adventurous options, all expertly crafted.
The main course at The Capital Grille is where the magic really unfolds.
I've had the pleasure of trying their salmon, cooked to absolute perfection, and the crab cakes – a delectable choice that I heartily recommend.
The salad, always fresh, is served with a flavorful dressing that elevates the experience.
And, if you're in the mood for a delightful indulgence, the lobster mac and cheese is a must-try.
It boasts generous portions of lobster and a rich, creamy cheese that's simply irresistible.
One thing that truly sets The Capital Grille apart is the consistency in the quality of their food.
Every dish is spot-on in its flavors, and the presentation is always impeccable.
Despite being part of a chain, this steakhouse has managed to maintain a level of quality and service that's truly commendable.
Iozzo's Garden of Italy
You'll never forget your first visit to Iozzo's Garden of Italy.
Tucked away in an unassuming corner of the city, it's a place that's easy to miss if you're not looking.
But once you discover it, you'll find yourself coming back time and again.
Now, I have a bit of a routine. I usually start off with their Burrata - hands down, the best in the city! It's always served at the perfect temperature and is absolutely delicious.
Their calamari and garlic bread are also fantastic appetizers that I would highly recommend.
Their main courses never fail to impress. I've tried the lamb chops, salmon Mediterranean, chicken parmigiana, but it's the spaghetti that holds a special place in my heart.
It's simple, yet bursting with flavor and perfectly cooked every time.
And of course, I always order the caesar salad - it's the perfect balance to the richness of the entrees.
One of the highlights of dining at Iozzo's is their incredible selection of authentic Italian drinks. I'd never heard of an Italian Margarita until I ate here.
Amaretto, orange juice and other ingredients blend together to create a drink that's smooth and refreshing.
Desserts are a must-try too! Who says real men don't eat chocolate?
I'm not usually one for sweets, but I can't resist their selection.
And don't even get me started on the ambiance. The warm and cozy atmosphere makes every meal feel special.
And it's not just the food and drinks that make Iozzo's stand out. The service here is always top-notch.
It was one of those nights that called for good company, innovative American cuisine and local beers - and Union 50 delivered.
I can't help but be drawn to the industrial-chic ambiance that just raises the bar for casual dining.
I remember walking in with a group of friends, seven of us in fact, and even without a reservation during Devour Indy, they found us a comfortable spot in less than a quarter of an hour.
Now, if that's not accommodating, I don't know what is.
The menu wasn’t overwhelming, rather it was simple yet filled with tantalizing options. I opted for the swordfish - a decision I didn’t regret.
The food was fantastic, a testament to the chef’s expertise.
The gnocchi, paired with a generous serving of chicken, was another delightful surprise that evening.
Of course, the experience wouldn’t have been complete without their signature drink – the whiskey sour, but one of their watermelon drinks caught my attention.
Let's just say, the drinks were as great as one could hope for.
Oh, and did I mention the fries? They were pretty awesome too.
And then came the dessert - a unique date appetizer with an unforgettable taste.
It stood out not only for its unique combination of flavors but also for its memorable presentation.
Union 50 stands out, not only in the culinary scene but also in the level of service it provides.
If good food, excellent service, and a chic environment is what you're after, then Union 50 is where you need to be. I’m already planning my next visit!
Iaria's Italian Restaurant
There's just something about the charm of a family-run restaurant that's been serving up delicious food for four generations.
That’s exactly what you get when you step into Iaria's Italian Restaurant, a culinary gem in our city that's been delighting both locals and visitors since 1933.
My first encounter with Iaria's was during the Indy Summer Devour and it was love at first taste.
They greeted you like you were family, a delightful touch of 'extra-homey' in their service.
If you think a restaurant is defined by its ambiance, then you'll be pleasantly surprised by Iaria's.
With a wholesome blend of character and charm, Iaria's serves not just food but a whole experience.
As soon as you walk through the door, you'll feel the love and dedication that goes into preserving the restaurant's rich history.
Let's talk about the food, shall we?
The menu is a classic mix of pasta dinners and pizzas, with a perfect balance of tradition and innovation.
I ordered the Chicken Parmesan with Fettuccine and it was a delight.
The chicken was cooked to perfection, smothered with ample marinara and cheese.
The Fettuccine tasted as if the noodles were homemade, served in a flavorful sauce with a subtle hint of nutmeg.
My partner chose the special, a spicy rigatoni.
The bowl was huge, and they weren't kidding when they said it was spicy.
The spice was just the right amount, perfectly balanced and not overwhelming. It was a dish that left you craving for more.
Iaria's Italian Restaurant is not just a place where you go to eat, it's a place where you go to experience authentic Italian cuisine, served with a side of heartwarming history.
If you haven't been to Iaria's yet, you’re truly missing out.
I know I'll be back soon, and I can't wait to introduce more people to this little slice of Italy in our hometown.
Tony's of Indianapolis
There's no other place quite like Tony's of Indianapolis, my trusty spot for all things delectable seafood and steaks.
A steakhouse to rival all others, Tony's never fails to deliver an unforgettable dining experience.
Their crab cake is a must-try, generously sized, moist, and bursting with flavor from the lump meat.
Following it up with their steak is the best move you can make - seasoned to perfection, it's every carnivore's dream come true.
I'm a frequent visitor and out of all the steakhouses I've dined at in Indianapolis, Tony's is indeed the best.
Their sides, from mashed potatoes to creamed spinach, are also worth mentioning, and they share them generously too.
Apart from the food, it's the service that sets Tony's apart.
Experience a five-star dining experience yourself at Tony's of Indianapolis.
You'll be planning your next visit before you even leave.
You know you're home when you walk into the Rathskeller.
It's that familiar scent of hearty German cuisine, mixed with the faint aroma of Bavarian beer, that greets me every time I walk through the doors.
It's one of my favorite places to unwind, and not just because of the extensive beer selection, which I must say, is pretty impressive.
Stepping into the Rathskeller is like stepping into a different world - a world where food is hearty, beer is abundant, and live music is the cherry on top.
The schlacht platter is my absolute favorite–a combination of traditional German specialties, so delicious that I often have trouble finding the right words to describe it.
The warm pretzels served with spicy mustard in their bread baskets are another highlight.
They're the perfect starter to a meal, and something I always look forward to.
Their French onion soup and potato pancakes are something out of a dream, a must-try if you ever find yourself there.
The one dish that really surprised me was the grilled portobello mushroom. I'm not usually a fan of mushrooms, but this dish had me ordering seconds.
And the Beef roast, different yet delightful in its own way.
And even though the Chicken Diane was a bit on the dry side, the flavor made up for it.
The sheer size of the Rathskeller is another thing that never fails to amaze me.
There's always a spot to sit, whether you prefer the indoors or the outdoor beer garden.
But the beer garden is where the magic truly happens.
Nestled under the shade of trees, with the beautiful view of a cathedral as a backdrop, and live music filling the air - it's the perfect place to spend a warm summer's evening.
Ah, Indianapolis - home to some of the best food in the Midwest.
And Seasons 52, well, it's one of the crown jewels in our culinary showcase.
It's a place that's close to my heart and palate, a delightful upscale restaurant nestled in the heart of our city.
Each dining experience at Seasons 52 is a journey guided by the symphony of seasonal American dishes.
Their rotating menu is a testament to the freshest ingredients and the chef's creativity.
I've savored their delectable lamb many times, and it never fails to impress.
The changing menus keep the culinary adventure exciting, each dish is a delightful surprise waiting to captivate your taste buds.
The service is another aspect that makes Seasons 52 stand out.
They've always been on their A-game, catering to every need with a warm and welcoming attitude.
This consistent high-quality service creates an atmosphere that's just right for any occasion - be it a casual evening out or a special celebration.
Speaking of celebrations, my family and I once celebrated a birthday here.
The place was bustling with fellow diners, but our reservation ensured we had a comfortable spot.
Our evening was filled with a medley of flavors - from tangy elderflower bourbon sour to a succulent pork chop paired with a fine selection of international wines.
Root & Bone
Just last Monday, I found myself once again strolling towards Root & Bone, the heart of Indianapolis' culinary hub.
A trendy restaurant with an industrial vibe, Root & Bone is my go-to spot for those days when I crave farm-fresh mains and sides, thoughtfully prepared and plated.
I was thrilled to see the diverse vegetarian options on the menu.
These plant-based delights were not just an addition. They were thoughtful, creative and on par with the other dishes.
The biscuits we ordered were truly amazing. I might even dare to say they're the best we've ever had.
I've tried biscuits at different places within and outside the city, but these were in a league of their own.
I savored every bite, promising myself that I'd be back for more.
On previous visits, I have tried their fried chicken, steak sandwich, biscuits and gravy, and all have their unique flair.
Root & Bone is not just about food, it's about the experience.
The walls adorned with kitschy knick-knacks make it a pleasant place to dine in.
It's the perfect blend of great food, a welcoming atmosphere, and quick service.
The biscuits will always keep me coming back for more.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
I cannot help but rave about my experiences at The Oceanaire Seafood Room.
I've had the pleasure of dining there multiple times and each visit was truly remarkable.
Upon entering, you're greeted with an intimate and cozy atmosphere that immediately sets the tone for a delightful evening.
My most recent visit was my second time back and I was even more impressed.
You cannot go wrong with their menu - every dish is a culinary masterpiece.
The escargot, for instance, is an absolute must-try.
I also indulged in their Indiana tomato caprese salad and fried calamari during a work dinner and both were impeccably prepared.
I was initially skeptical as I'm not a big seafood fan, but boy, was I pleasantly surprised!
And let's not forget about their desserts.
The Baked Alaska is both a visual delight and a sweet treat, and the perfect way to end the evening.
The Laughing Bird Shrimp, Shrimp and Grits, and the crab cakes also come highly recommended by my colleagues.
One thing to note is that dining at The Oceanaire Seafood Room is quite a luxurious treat.
It's not a place I can afford to frequent, but every visit is worth every penny.
Indianapolis, Indiana, undeniably boasts some of the most exceptional dining spots.
Whether you're in the mood for seafood or Italian, Indianapolis has got you covered.
When in Indianapolis, get ready to satiate your palate, as this city's culinary scene is nothing less than a gastronomic adventure!