Over the last decade or so, Indianapolis has become Midwest America’s hottest “foodie” destination – with good cause. The city is home to numerous local eateries, unique restaurants, pop-up dining and delectable desserts spots. (Even Conde Nast Traveler has said that Indy is the “most underrated food city in the U.S.)
Whether you’re in the market for an upscale experience, casual dining or street fare, Indy has something that is bound to appeal to you – and we have the list of the most unique, coolest and all-around fun spots you can find:
Punch Bowl Social – 120 S. Meridian St.
Do mimosas go with bowling shoes? They do, at least, at the Punch Bowl Social!
Just about right in the middle of the city (close to Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indy 500), Punch Bowl Social offers made-from-scratch food, cocktails, craft beer and a huge helping of good times for all who visit. You can go bowling, play shuffleboard, show off your skeeball skills and karaoke with friends, all the while feasting on things like bacon-wrapped shrimp and cocoa-dusted carnitas.
Bluebeard – 653 Virginia Ave.
This award-winning restaurant only asks its patrons one question, and that’s, “Do you have an appetite for adventure?” Located in a renovated 1924 warehouse, this trendy city establishment believes that good food (and great times) help build a community.
Located in the historic Holy Rosary neighborhood, Bluebeard is proud to join the area list of local characters. Because they specialize in farm-to-table food, the menu and ingredients often change, which makes this a continuously evolving and exciting atmosphere.
The Eagle – 310 Massachusetts Ave.
Who says you can’t find good Southern comfort food north of the Mason-Dixon line? Bless your heart, but the folks at The Eagle beg to differ.
This is the place to go if you have a hankering for huge piles of fried chicken (served family-style, on platters) and modern takes on classic favorites (like mac n’ cheese), along with local craft beers and classic cocktails. While you eat, relax to the sounds of southern Blues and let all your troubles fade!
Greek Islands Restaurant – 906 S. Meridian St.
For more than 30 years, the Stergiopoulos family has been bringing authentic Greek cuisine to Indy, and we think the Greek Islands Restaurant is simply amazing.
On select nights, they have professional belly dancers as entertainment, and someone from the Stergiopoulos family is always around to make guests feel like family, but the real distinction here is the food. If you don’t try their flaming saganaki (a cheese appetizer), you’re really missing your chance for a foodie experience like no other.
Geraldine’s Supper Club & Lounge – 1101 English Ave.
When you combine a steakhouse with jazz, what’s not to love? Reminiscent of the clubs of the 1940s through the 1960s, Geraldine’s Supper Club & Lounge is one of those places you definitely need reservations – but we think the blue crab cakes are worth it!
While you eat, you can take in the vibes and the tunes from pianists, sax players and more, for a truly elegant and enjoyable time.
Strange Bird – 128 S. Audubon Rd.
Strange Bird bills itself as a mere neighborhood rum and oyster bar, but Indy insiders know that this is one of the city’s current “hot spots” when it comes to cuisine – and rum drinks.
If you visit, go for the oysters, but don’t forget to try their fried shiitakes with black vinegar honey dressing or their coconut-crusted tenderloin, and check out their extensive selection of rum creations, all featuring fanciful names like “Painkiller” and “Missionary’s Downfall.” We think you’ll definitely be back for more!
St. Elmo Steak House – 127 S. Illinois St.
This landmark restaurant has been around since 1902, and it (and its world-famous shrimp cocktail) is an Indy institution. Forbes even named it one of the “10 great classic restaurants well-worth visiting,” and locals know that it’s one of those special places to go when you want to make an impression.
St. Elmo’s is the place to go if you want to immerse yourself in a historical venue, lose yourself in the nostalgia of its wood panels, dim lighting and exquisite art – all while dining on traditional steakhouse fare and fine wine pairings.
The Garage Food Hall at Bottleworks – 906 Carrollton Ave.
Located inside a 30,000 square foot market hall in the historic bottling district, The Garage surrounds you with a unique atmosphere that combines Art Deco designs with industrial architecture, and tons of fabulous food – and the atmosphere is nothing short of amazing.
This isn’t a single restaurant, but a host of them. It’s a place where premier chefs and food artisans come to experiment, refine their craft and push the limits of cuisine. You can visit places like La Chinita Poblana for unique Mexican-Asian fusion, or J’s Lobster and Fish Market for the lobster bisque and hush puppies of your dream – all while being adjacent to shopping, live music, trivia contests and more.
Indy’s “culinary culture” is still growing by leaps and bounds, and new restaurants and kitchens are opening all the time — so grab a fork, and dig in!