Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana and the state’s most populous city. It has plenty of places to hold your interest, from the numerous historic sites and districts to the niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing to the world’s largest children’s museum.
The culinary scene in Indianapolis is also thriving. Many classic and creative establishments have popped up across the city, featuring everything from steakhouses to mom-and-pop restaurants.
If you are searching for where to eat in Indianapolis, this compilation of the best restaurants is a great place to start.
Shapiro’s Delicatessen has been operated by the same family for more than 100 years and is a neighborhood staple.
A New York-style deli, the restaurant serves bagels, matzo ball soup, and house-made corned beef. The deli serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Entrees include meatloaf and baked chicken. The bagels, onion buns, and rye bread are delicious options from the bakery. The lox and bagel platter makes a person in Indianapolis feel like they are in Manhattan!
A must-have is the Reuben Sandwich, but a close second is the peppered beef sandwich. Finally, don’t skip out on the all-beef franks – the hotdog was one of my favorite bites!
Harry & Izzy’s
Harry Roth and Izzy Rosen met as children and remained friends as Issy worked at City Market selling grocery items while Harry attended Monroe College of Optometry.
The two ultimately became partners in another restaurant and became known in the community as “the Odd Couple.”
Harry & Izzy’s is a more casual eatery celebrating the legendary partnership of the two men.
If visiting for lunch, try the Izzy New York Strip, rolled in cracked pepper, pan-seared, then topped with an orange brandy butter sauce.
For dinner, try the Roasted Chicken Breast with wild mushroom demi-glace, served with redskin mashed potatoes.
The Northside location offers a brunch menu with a Filet Benedict, a grilled filet mignon with two poached eggs served on a toasted English muffin topped with Hollandaise sauce.
Tony’s of Indianapolis
110 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Tony’s of Indianapolis is an Open Table Diner’s Choice Winner for 2020. The restaurant is open for dinner service daily, and Tony Ricci, the restaurant’s owner, has been in the fine dining industry for more than twenty years.
If you enjoy pasta, try the Pappardelle Fra Diavolo with shrimp, spicy tomatoes, black olives, roasted pepper, and spinach.
My recommendation is the Tomahawk Veal Chop is a popular entree with lemon caper brown butter, toasted crouton, and crispy parsley.
From the steak menu, the 12oz Barrel Cut Filet Mignon or the 24oz Porterhouse with one of the specialty toppings like bearnaise, horseradish, and chive butter, or mushrooms and onions.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
117 E Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse is an interactive dining experience where servers continually offer guests a rotation of various fire-roasted meats.
The restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis in the former Zipper Building – named for its zipper-like façade. It is open for lunch and dinner during the week and offers extended hours during the weekend.
The continuous tableside serve includes different types of steak; filet mignon, ribeye, chicken, beef ribs, and more.
If you prefer ordering an entree, try the pan-seared salmon, which is topped with chimichurri and served with grilled asparagus, or the cauliflower steak, which is oven-roasted with a parmesan crust and basil sauce with warm chickpea salad.
725 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Mesh is a contemporary restaurant located in downtown Indianapolis. The restaurant aims to provide creative cuisine in a classic setting perfect for a business lunch or a romantic dinner.
Mesh is open for dinner during the week and offers brunch and lunch hours during the weekend.
For brunch, I enjoyed the Fried Chicken and Waffles with honey butter and spicy maple syrup, or the Breakfast Burger with caramelized onion, white cheddar, fried egg, bacon, and spinach.
If you’re there for lunch, try the Kung Pao Calamari with chili-garlic sauce, ginger-soy slaw, and sesame seed as the Steak Salad with caramelized onion, pancetta, mushroom, bleu cheese, and a chipotle-lime vinaigrette.
When it comes to dinner, I had the 12-ounce New York strip with black cherry demi-glace and asparagus or the Snapper with sweet potato, tomato confit, candied pecan, and a citrus beurre blanc. I didn’t regret it!
Spoke & Steele
123 Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Spoke & Steele was voted one of the best bars in Indianapolis in 2020.
The restaurant is open on weekdays for breakfast from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and for dinner from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm, and on weekends, brunch is served until 1:00 pm. Spoke & Steele is located inside the Le Méridien Indianapolis hotel.
For dinner, start with the French onion soup or the charcuterie board local artisan meats. For an entree, try the Lamb Meatball with spicy tomato cream and focaccia bread, or “The Local,” an eight-ounce burger with white colby, garlic, heirloom cherry tomato on a bacon fat brioche bun.
If visiting for brunch, order the Crepes Mornay with confit chicken, mornay, and sage or the Spoke French Toast made with brioche, honey-sweetened goat cheese, and seasonal fruit.
653 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Tom Battista founded Bluebeard about ten years ago; the restaurant is named after a book written by Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut.
Bluebeard was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America within its first year of operation. Chef Abbi Merriss currently runs the kitchen and creates seasonal and delicious dishes.
Bluebeard’s menu shifts slightly daily because the restaurant uses the freshest ingredients available.
Try the Steak Fried Rice with onion, snap peas, carrot, egg, sesame, and scallion or the Chicken and Dumplings with herb dumplings, roasted leg and thigh, chicken stock, parmesan, and mirepoix.
My personal favorite is the Hanger Steak with confit leeks, crispy rice noodles, basil, lime, and beef jus.
Tinker Street Indy
402 E 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Tinker Street is near the Old Northside Historic District, a short ride from downtown or a lovely walk for those in the community.
The restaurant is named after 16th Street’s name during the 1800s. The restaurant aims to be seasonal and farm-to-table, and the menu has multiple vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Begin your meal with the Peaches, Beets, and Buratta, with bourbon peach chutney and candied walnuts.
For the main course, try the Cauliflower Steak with a Jamaican jerk rub and served with a mango-coconut sauce.
Another option is the Halibut with fennel, farro, and Swiss chard. For dessert, end your meal with sweet corn cheesecake with basil sabayon.
The Capital Grille
40 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Capital Grille has a formal dress code, similar to businesses with ‘no t-shirts or flip flops’ policies.
The signature appetizer is the Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers, which is crisp and spicy. I would recommend the Lobster Bisque as a starter.
For an entree, you need to have a steak – like the Sliced Filet Mignon with cipollini onions, wild mushrooms, and fig, paired with a delicious wine – or another main dish like Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon with Marcona almonds and brown butter. Finish your meal with classic crème brûlée.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
30 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
In 1998, the Oceanaire Seafood Room opened to provide seasonal and fresh seafood. The restaurant won Open Table’s Special Occasion Restaurant.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room is a popular destination for guests seeking a refined experience with multiple locations across the country.
Outstanding appetizers include Chesapeake Bay Style Crab Cakes and the Sauteed Baby Spanish Octopus.
Choice main courses include Chicken Fried Lobster with truffle butter and the Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with sweet potato puree.
Add the truffle whipped mashed potatoes for a delectable side dish. For a cocktail, try the Barrel-Aged Manhattan or the Blackberry Smash.
Root & Bone Indy
4601 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46205
In 2020, the Indy Star named Root & Bone Indy winner of the best new restaurant category. Chef Janine Booth creates dishes with seasonal ingredients and aims to provide comfort food to her neighborhood.
In 2013, Chef Booth competed in the popular television show, Top Chef, where she connected with Jeff McInnis, her partner in operating the Root & Bone restaurant chain.
Brunch offerings include a Waffle Benedict with poached eggs, a Tabasco lemon hollandaise sauce, and a Banana Cream Pie Waffle with butter pecan ice cream.
For dinner, try one of the following entrees: Braised Short Rib Meatloaf, Mojo Pork Chop, or the 16-ounce prime ribeye with asparagus and tomato jam. I enjoyed the R&B Old Fashioned with bacon!
Prime 47- Indianapolis Prime Steakhouse
47 S Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Prime 47 is a locally-owned restaurant serving prime USDA cuts of beef and fresh seafood. An extensive wine list adds to the excellent dining experience.
Located inside the Majestic building, the restaurant’s vibe is expansive with original tile floors, marble columns, and 18-foot windows. The restaurant is open for dinner daily.
The best starters on the menu include the Lobster Ravioli with garlic cream sauce, pesto, and fresh basil and the Steak Tartare on a Himalayan Salt Block with mustard aioli, quail egg, shallots, and truffle.
For the main course, the Chef’s Exclusive The World Tour is a three-ounce Australian Wagyu, a three-ounce Japanese Wagyu, and a two-ounce American Prime Filet are all delights that took my taste buds to another world.
Iozzo’s Garden of Italy
946 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Katie Harris is the owner of the restaurant and the great-granddaughter of the establishment’s namesake, Santora “Fred” Iozzo.
The restaurant prides itself on serving the best authentic Italian food in Indianapolis. The original iteration of the eatery was open for about a decade in the 1930s, now revitalized and reopened, Iozzo’s Garden of Italy is obtaining various culinary awards.
On the menu is an incredible Chicken Piccata made with white wine, lemon, and capers. The pasta is its own category, with whole wheat and gluten-free options available.
Try the Lasagna Bolognese, Pasta Carbonara, or the Rigatoni alla Vodka.
Served explicitly during dinner, try the Seafood Ravioli or the Black Truffle Mafaldine. Ultimately, the Grilled Branzino was my favorite dish.
The Eagle’s Nest
1 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Located inside the Hyatt Regency, The Eagle’s Nest offers a beautiful 360-degree view of the capitol building and downtown Indianapolis from the hotel’s top floors.
Business casual dress is expected, and reservations are recommended. The restaurant is open from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.
Try the Baked Brie with puff pastry, nuts, and a wild berry compote to start your meal. For your entree, the Filet Mignon with garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal mushrooms, asparagus, or the Miso-Glazed Pork Chop with citrus ginger butter sauce, potato purée, and asparagus are both delicious. Then, finish your meal with the snickerdoodle cheesecake.
OP Italian Indy
10 S West St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
OP Italian Indy serves authentic Italian foods and Neoplitian pizzas in a comforting space.
The restaurant has an open kitchen and a lively vibe. In 2019, OP Italian won a Diner’s Choice award from OpenTable. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In the morning, try the Italian Sausage Scramble with roasted bell pepper, caramelized onion, spinach, and parmesan; if visiting for brunch, try the bloody mary and mimosa bar.
I enjoyed the various juices available for mixing with champagne. For lunch, the Prosciutto pizza is delicious and served with fresh mozzarella and arugula. Sample the Short Rib Gnocchi or the Tomato Braised Lamb Shank for dinner.
601 E New York St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Vida Restaurant was awarded AAA’s Four Diamond Award. The restaurant aims to offer modern cuisine with global influences. Vida is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner service.
It is located in the Lockerbie Square neighborhood, near Interstates 65 and 70.
The restaurant has two primary types of offering: a seasonal menu and a rotating tastings menu. The tasting menu is six courses, including yellowfin tuna, pork belly, roasted maitake, corn agnolotti, wagyu rib-eye, and panna cotta.
The wine selection is diverse and robust; the 2018 Pesquera Tempranillo is a red wine that brought me pure delight.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
210 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225
For a fun, family-friendly dining experience, visit The Old Spaghetti Factory. It is open daily for lunch and dinner.
The restaurant’s decor is cultivated and classic for an enjoyable visual adventure. The Old Spaghetti Factory boasts many locations across the country and is one of the best spots in Indianapolis.
Every meal is three courses, with the guests selecting a soup or salad, entree, and dessert. Try the restaurant’s Famous Baked Lasagna or the Chicken Parmigiana. The menu includes gluten-free pasta options.
The Sicilian Meatballs are a signature dish, and I found them to be absolutely delicious. The Kid’s Menu also includes mac and cheese and fettuccine alfredo.
The Rathskeller Restaurant
401 E Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Rathskeller Restaurant is a German-style pub with three distinct sections – the Kellerbar, the Biergarten, and the Dining Room.
Wednesday through Saturday, the restaurant shares live music with guests. Near Lockerbie Square, the restaurant is also near the American Legion Mall.
The dinner menu includes some delicious appetizers like the Onion Dill Bread with Herbs & Melted Provolone and the Brat n’ Kraut Balls – a delightful, deep-fried combination of beef and sausage bratwurst, sauerkraut, and onions.
For my entree, I tried a German special like the Schnitzel with a special lemon dipping sauce, and I can’t recommend them enough. Alternatively, consider the Rouladen, a beef roll-up filled with bacon, onions, and spicy mustard.
720 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Livery is a Latin American restaurant with savory dishes and unique mezcals. The menu includes vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options.
The restaurant is only about a block away from the IndyFringe Theatre, a performing arts venue near the Chatham-Arch neighborhood. I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood after my meal.
The menu is filled with delightful treats. Try the yuca fries or the ceviche for a starter. Of the main courses, the Paella with shrimp, scallop, and chorizo fried rice, or the Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Serrano hot sauce are delicious.
The restaurant also specializes in empanadas – try the corn, steak, or lamb! The Livery Margarita with agave and lime is an excellent accompaniment.
11 W Maryland St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
With multiple locations around the country, Nada is open for dinner in Indianapolis’ Wholesale District from Tuesday to Sunday. The menu is filled with Mexican and Latin American specialties.
Order the tacos – the Chicken Carbon with chihuahua cheese, crema, ancho salsa, and onion, and the Grilled Shrimp with cilantro-lime slaw and citrus achiote are delicious!
The Chile Relleno is perfect with charred jalapeño, chorizo, lime crema, shaved onion, and tomato frito sauce.
The Peruvian Chicken with aji verde, papas fritas, and aji panca is also ridiculously good. For dessert, try the Tres Leches Cake with red berry compote.
Caplinger’s Fresh Catch
In 2013 Andrew Caplinger opened Caplinger’s Fresh Catch. Seafood deliveries arrive at the restaurant daily.
Nick Caplinger, Andrew’s father, and business partner, previously operated the 56th Street Fish Market. In 2017, the restaurant was named one of the top twenty-five places to get a lobster roll in the country!
The Caplinger’s Special is the restaurant’s number one selling sandwich served with fried or grilled fish. I ordered the Catfish Filet Dinner with collard greens, Buffalo fries, and hushpuppies, and it is excellent.
The tuna or lobster melt with Mozzarella and Provolone cheese are popular menu items as well. Don’t skip the Pineapple Bread Pudding or the Key Lime Pie!
534 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Jonathan Brooks opened Milktooth in 2014 and aims to serve elevated diner fare using local produce.
A year after opening, Brooks was named one of the Best New Chefs by Food and Wine. The restaurant was also named one of the top ten new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit.
The restaurant is open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday.
Try the sandwich with a crawfish cake, over-easy egg, Old Bay velvet hollandaise, and topped with celery salad. The croissant with bacon jam, roasted tomato, and white cheddar is a perfect bite.
There’s a little something suited for everyone with creative dishes on the menu like corn waffle with peaches, whipped butter, ginger caramel and lemon pepper, and Szechuan honey wings with pickled green beans.
114 E 49th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Martha Hoover established Napolese in 2012. She is a six-time James Beard Foundation semi-finalist with a keen skill at crafting delicious pizza on a stone hearth.
The restaurant is open for dinner daily and cultivates a contemporary and comfortable vibe. It felt like my grandmother could have been in the kitchen!
For an appetizer, try the baked goat cheese with tomato sauce and focaccia. As an entree, select the Roasted Salmon with Garbanzo bean succotash.
But the reason most people visit Napolese is to try the artisanal pizza! Try the Green Margherita, the Hamaker’s Corner, or the BLT options on the hugely creative menu. The cocktails are equally unique – the Bicicletta is a refreshing option.
St. Elmo Steak House
127 Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Since 1902, St. Elmo Steak House has been serving the residents and visitors of Indianapolis.
Forbes has listed St. Elmo Steak House as one of the ten great classic restaurants to visit. The restaurant has a turn-of-the-century saloon-style vibe that highlights the traditionalist menu.
Various cuts of steak like porterhouse, ribeye, and filet mignon are available and are served with navy bean soup and the choice of baked potato, French fries, redskin mashed potatoes, or sauteed green beans. The Bourbon Peppercorn Sauce is an excellent addition to any steak.
The St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail has been on the menu since opening and is a restaurant staple, and if you’re in the mood for seafood, the Crab Stuffed Shrimp is a wonderful option.
Yats is a New Orleans-themed restaurant that originated in Indianapolis. The restaurant now has locations in Ohio and Tennessee as well.
Open for lunch and dinner daily, it is the perfect place to find Cajun and creole cuisine. Be sure to check the restaurant’s social media pages for daily menu updates and beer selections.
Try the Red Beans with Smoked Sausage or the Vegan White Chili, but the restaurant’s signature dish is the Chili Cheese Etouffee with Crawfish.
On cooler days, the Drunken Chicken stew will warm you up with rosemary and crushed red peppers. I’m a massive fan of New Orleans dishes, and Yats didn’t disappoint.
8617 Allisonville Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46250
Since 1982, the Ale Emporium has been operating as a high-quality sports bar with creative food offerings and a vast selection of beverages.
In 2019, the IndyStar named the Ale Emporium one of the best sports bars in town and specifically cited the magically delicious and world-famous Hermanaki wings.
Start with the boneless or traditional wings with any of the various sauces, particularly one of the award-winning “Herman” sauces. The Buffalo Chicken Dip and the Pretzel-Crusted Pickles are great sharable starters, then try the stromboli or white panini.
Living up to its name as an alehouse, it’d be criminal to ignore both the Lagunitas IPA and the Falls City Pale Ale.
Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine
Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine specializes in fresh pasta and artisan pizzas. The restaurant uses local ingredients and aims to highlight regional specialties. Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine is open for dinner daily.
Try the Lamb Meatballs served over fried polenta with chimichurri sauce, the Pappardelle al Cinghiale, a pappardelle pasta tossed with braised wild boar, carrots, celery, and rosemary.
Another option that had my mouth watering was the Cotoletta Milanese, butter-fried rosemary, breaded bone-in veal chop in a lemon sauce. I would recommend a glass of Chianti with your meal.
Best Restaurants in Indianapolis
- Shapiro’s Delicatessen
- Harry & Izzy’s
- Tony’s of Indianapolis
- Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
- Spoke & Steele
- Bluebeard Indy
- Tinker Street Indy
- The Capital Grille
- The Oceanaire Seafood Room
- Root & Bone Indy
- Prime 47- Indianapolis Prime Steakhouse
- Iozzo’s Garden of Italy
- The Eagle’s Nest
- OP Italian Indy
- Vida Restaurant
- The Old Spaghetti Factory
- The Rathskeller
- Caplinger’s Fresh Catch
- Napolese Pizzeria
- St. Elmo Steak House
- Ale Emporium
- Convivio Italian Artisan Cuisine
The scene for Indianapolis restaurants is vibrant and expanding. From family-owned restaurants that have been in business for more than 100 years to new award-winning restaurants utilizing local, seasonal ingredients, restaurants in the city offer a bite of something for everyone.
The cuisines are diverse as well. For every traditional steakhouse, there is a Latin American restaurant or a diner serving Asian fusion meals. For foodies in Indiana, visiting the capital city will prove to be a fun and exciting dining experience.
If nothing here interests you, maybe some of these incredible sushi spots around town will!
See any restaurants I missed? Leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to check it out on my next visit!
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