Best Restaurants in Indianapolis

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links such as part of Amazon Associate program. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, we may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Where to eat in ? Here are some of the best restaurants to try out in the

Many of the typical restaurant review sites leave you with too much information and too many options. We try to keep the list short, so find a great spot here and enjoy!

In alphabetical order, here are some great restaurant spots you should check out.

1. Bluebeard

In the early 2010s, there wasn’t a bakery in Indianapolis that made hearth-baked, European -style bread. Lifelong Indianapolis advocate Tom Battista set out to change that. He found the ideal space—a 1924 factory warehouse in an historic Italian neighborhood in Downtown Indianapolis—and with the help of his nephew, Charlie McIntosh, started production in Amelia’s Bakery.

The space Amelia’s occupied was big—big enough, in fact, to house more than just a bakery. So Tom brought in his son, Edward Battista, and Chef Abbi Merriss, and together they dreamed up a restaurant that would take the same artisanal approach to food that Amelia’s did to bread. They called it Bluebeard, after a book by Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut.

Bluebeard opened in 2012. In its first year, it became a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in America. Under

the steady hand of Chef Abbi Merriss (who has earned multiple Beard nominations herself) it has continued to earn accolades and an audience of adventurous eaters from all over the world.

Don’t take our word for it, though. Come see—and taste—for yourself.

2. Love Handle

3. Milktooth

Milktooth is a fine diner opened in 2014 by Jonathan Brooks, utilizing the beautiful produce and agriculture of Indiana to serve world inspired breakfast and lunch fare.

In 2015 Jonathan was awarded one of 11 Best New Chefs by Food and Wine while Milktooth was chosen as one of 10 best new restaurants in the United States by Bon Appetit.

4. Pioneer

5. Rook

We’re a casual, contemporary Asian restaurant located just a few blocks away from downtown Indianapolis – in one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods. We draw inspiration from street food stalls all over Asia. We bring you the flavors of Korea, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia – with a Filipino touch. Connecting with the cooks in street markets and at food carts in Asia is so much a part of the experience that we built an entirely open kitchen so that guests can watch the action up close here, too.

From a young age, Chef Carlos Salazar showed a passion for food. His dad, whom Carlos refers to as “the real chef of the family”, passed along a passion for the food from home – The Philippines. At 10 years old, Carlos and his family moved to the United States. After high school, he attended The Chef’s Academy and quickly got work in one of Indy’s most popular restaurants, Oakleys Bistro. After stints at Tulip Noir and Pizzology, he returned to Oakleys Bistro as Sous Chef – cooking under owner Steve Oakley before moving on to his own kitchen at Rook.

His love of Asian cuisine combined with helping run one of Indy’s top restaurants, and the time spent with his family gives Chef Carlos a unique style and vision. “I want to redefine Asian street food and elevate it to a dining experience that is creative and modern,” he says. “Street food, when executed well, is about simple but bold and exciting flavors.”

6. Tinker Street

Nestled in historic Herron-Morton Place and adjacent to the Old Northside Historic District, Tinker Street is a nod to 16th Street’s name during the dirt-road days of the 1800s. Today, we’re a seven-dollar ride from downtown hotels, a pleasant stroll for neighbors, and a convenient drive from most parts of town.

Our dinner menu changes with the seasons to take full advantage of the flavors of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are abundant, and clearly marked on the menu.

7. Salt on Mass

A locally owned scratch kitchen and bar specializing in wild and sustainable seafood, steaks, hand crafted cocktails and extensive wine list, Salt on Mass prides itself on creating unique dining experiences.

The restaurant has become a hotspot for chic dining before a night out on the town, pre and post theatre dining, casual after work and late night cocktails, al fresco dining, business meetings and presentations, special occasion celebrations, private dining and live music.

Enjoy a seasonal menu of fresh and local greens, social plates and signature entrées including Salt and Pepper Calamari cut in-house, Sashimi Grade Crudo served on Himalayan Salt Blocks, Long-Line Caught Chilean Sea Bass, Parmesan encrusted and delicately presented over Shitake Risotto, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon Beurre Blanc, Seared Hawaiian #1+ Sashimi Grade Tuna.

Salt on Mass is committed to providing an unparalleled dining experience through a passion of supporting eco-friendly seafood purveyors, specializing in innovative business practices, to offer an ocean-to-table concept.

8. Taxman Brewing Company

Taxman Brewing Company is the culmination of a passion for beer, food, travel and friendship, alongside a desire to be actively involved in our local community.

Our story begins in Belgium, a country the size of New Jersey that boasts several thousand different beers and hundreds of community-based breweries. It was in Belgium that three of our founders met and began extensively “researching” the wide variety of local beer options. In Belgium, we fell in love with the depth of flavor imparted by the unique strains of yeast used to ferment the beer.

We named the brewery Taxman because tax consulting work took us to Belgium and three of Taxman’s founders are in fact tax professionals. Our skull and bow tie logo is inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “…in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except Death and Taxes.” We selected the Town of Bargersville for the home of our brewery because it reminded us of the small brewery towns we visited in Europe.

Taxman brews a wide range of Belgian inspired ales, American farmhouse ales, Midwest saisons and has an extensive cellar program producing wine and spirit aged beers as well as sour, wild and funky ales.

We love variety and brew upwards of 50 different beers a year. The best place to enjoy our unique offerings is at one of our restaurants, which are family friendly and offer a wide variety of local seasonal cuisine.

9. Three Carrots

10. Vida

Since its opening a year ago, Vida has already received critical acclaim, earning AAA’s coveted Four Diamond award. This highly discriminating award is earned by only two percent of nearly 30,000 restaurants reviewed annually. Vida is the first, and only, Indianapolis restaurant to be honored with this distinction and the only restaurant in Indiana in 2016.

Both of our dining menus—a seasonal à la carte menu and a rotating, five-course tastings menu—showcase Vida’s dedication to fresh ingredients and culinary technique. Each dish is carefully constructed with ingredients from local farmers, house-made charcuterie, and Indianapolis’ only in-house hydroponic wall of greens.

Our talented chefs offer an evolving array of imaginative dishes inspired by the changing Indiana seasons, childhood memories and their own personal bests.

Our two in-house Sommeliers carefully curate an extensive wine collection to fully complement Vida’s menu. Using a Coravin wine extraction system to protect the integrity of the wine, we offer distinctive wine pairings and featured wines by the glass that you won’t find anywhere else in Indianapolis. You’ll also find a collection of rare spirits in our fully stocked bar that appeals to those from the most educated enthusiast to the most casual consumer.

Vida’s talented chefs and highly trained Sommeliers work together to create an unforgettable dining experience for our guests. Here’s an introduction to our team.

More Great Restaurants


Livery brings Latin flair and flavors to Indianapolis dining, in a restored 1890’s building that once stabled horses. We’re a two-story, casual gathering place with rooftop seating under the stars. We’re a part of the Cunningham Restaurant Group.

Developed by OakBridge Properties, the property at 720 College Ave once housing stables was given a new lease on life.

“A special thanks to Will Zink and John Sweet for their partnership in saving the beautiful and historic building which Livery calls home,” – CRG President and CEO Mike Cunningham.

Livery gives a nod to both the building’s heritage and Mass Ave’s art culture by displaying a decorative mural. Designed by Phanomen and painted by Olson Paint Studios, the fanciful mural graces one entire side of the newly refurbished building.

Mama Carolla’s

The story of Mama Carrollas begins in Omaha, Nebraska where Mama was born, and where she got her first taste of real Italian cooking from the small, family-owned restaurants that were abundant throughout the city. They weren’t so much restaurants as they were just houses where a family would serve meals at a smattering of tables to earn some extra money in hard times. The food was home cooked and authentic – something that Mama hoped to recreate when she opened her own restaurant some fifty years later.

Mama Carollas was almost twenty years in the making – a slow progression of successful businesses that started with Diggity’s Hot Dog Parlor in the shopping plaza at 52nd and Keystone in the early eighties. When Union Station opened downtown a few years later, Mama was there with Yogurt Crossing, a frozen yogurt shop which she co-owned with a friend, that eventually grew into four shops around the city (including one at the Pyramids just around the corner from her second Diggity’s Hot Dog Parlor). But in the back of her mind, she wanted something else. She wanted something more. She wanted an Italian restaurant of her own.

And the creation of Mama Carollas itself was a slow progression, taking nearly two years from the day Mama drove past the stucco house on 54th Street with a For Sale sign in the yard, until she opened her doors in April, 1997. It was a house that she had driven past hundreds if not thousands of times in the twenty years she’d lived in the neighborhood, but on that day she saw it differently – not as a just another house, but as a home for her restaurant.

While contractors added the kitchen and bar to the back of the house, Mama went home to Omaha to talk to the cooks at the restaurants she had frequented as a child. She talked to the Chefs and the owners to try to understand the secrets of making food that people would love. Their answer was simple – cook for your customers as if you are cooking for your family.

As the restaurant began to take shape, Mama spent most evenings in her own kitchen at home, testing recipes, creating much of the menu that is still in place today. And for his part, Papa constructed the entire bar by hand, piece by piece, in his garage. When he finished all of the pieces, he and his sons hauled it to the restaurant and assembled it. Papa purchased the wine rack at auction, took it home, and pulled it apart nail by nail. He refinished and reassembled it, then mounted it as the centerpiece of the bar. So now you can understand why Papa spends so much of his time in the bar at Mama Carollas.

All of the other details of the restaurant were put into place by Mama herself. She hand-picked the paintings and other accoutrements that fill the space, that make the house a home. And there is a special painting located in the little alcove at the back of the house before you enter the bar, a painting of an old man smoking a pipe. If you look real close you will find Mama’s signature at the bottom of that painting, a remnant of a time before she became a businesswoman.

But Mama Carollas wouldn’t be what it is today without the overwhelming support it has received from the neighborhood since the day it opened. Perhaps that is a testament to the fact that Mama Carollas and its sister restaurant, Good Morning Mamas, truly are family-run neighborhood restaurants – with Mama’s entire family living within a few miles. Mama, herself, has lived in the same house only a few blocks away for more than forty years. If there is a single key to their success it would be that simple thing Mama learned a number of years ago – cook for your customers as if they are your family. Welcome to Mamas. Welcome to our family.

Shapiro’s Delicatessen

Great-grandfather Louis would wake his young kids up at 3 in the
morning to start the workday by saying, “GET UP! The day is half over!” In the early 1910s and ’20s, many children did not finish much more school than grade school because they had to work. The Shapiro children of the second generation were lucky enough to get to attend school but also had a full work load in their grocery business as well.

Owned and operated by one family for more than 110 years, Shapiro’s
kosher-style Delicatessen is an Indianapolis institution. Famous for our
piled-high sandwiches, our meats (corned beef, pastrami, brisket) are still
slow-cooked in-store. Our homemade dishes like macaroni and cheese
and matzo ball soup are second to none! Shapiro’s incredible
cheesecakes, delicious rye bread, NY-style bagels and delectable
desserts keep Indianapolis residents and visitors coming back for more!
Breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily.

St. Elmo Steakhouse

St. Elmo Steak House has been a landmark in downtown Indianapolis since 1902. It is the oldest Indianapolis steakhouse in its original location, and has earned a national reputation for its excellent steaks, seafood, chops and professional service.

Founded by Joe Stahr, the restaurant was named after the patron saint of sailors, St. Elmo. Starting out with a beautiful tiger-oak back-bar purchased in Chicago, the restaurant was simply a small tavern with a basic menu. Through the years, its classic turn-of-the-century Chicago saloon decor has changed very little, beyond the inevitable expansions.

From 1947 to 1986, the colorful odd-couple team of Harry Roth and Isadore Rosen skillfully guided St. Elmo to continued success before turning over the reins to veteran restauranteur Stephen Huse, the present owner. In 1997, Steve partnered with his son, Craig, who is the current operator.

Through much of its history, St. Elmo was considered a dining bastion for men. It was, and still is, a place where salesmen and tycoons came to seal the deal, where attorneys and politicians strategized and plotted, where coaches and players celebrated wins and lamented losses, where celebrities came to unwind from a show.

With the arrival of nearby Circle Centre Mall in 1996, St. Elmo found itself enmeshed in a dining mecca of trendy new restaurants. Huse decided to give St. Elmo a multi-million dollar makeover, providing a more customer-friendly and comfortable environment without undercutting the charm of its turn-of-the-century roots. This entailed building a large, open kitchen viewable to guests in the bar, creating more usable space in the bar and foyer, adding two additional private dining rooms and designing an award-winning wine cellar with several thousand bottles. Additional expansion has since provided three more private dining room options to accommodate large parties.

Today’s St. Elmo Steak House honors its past by maintaining its traditional atmosphere, professional service and outstanding refined menu. Our goal is to create unforgettable memories for you — our guest.

Union 50

Our dinner menu features innovative dishes that changes seasonally. Union 50 also hosts live music multiple times per week.

Union 50 is a member of Cunningham Restaurant Group (CRG). CRG proudly operates restaurants in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky including: BRU Burger Bar, Charbonos, Stone Creek Dining Company, Boulder Creek Dining Company, Mesh on Mass, Rize, Provision, Livery, Tavern at the Point, Nesso and Moerlein Lager House.

Related Articles

Latest Articles


Secret Menus