Indianapolis Monthly

Restaurant GUIDE

DOWNTOWN

INCLUDES Fletcher Place, Fountain Square, Mass Ave, Mile Square

1913 Restaurant

UPSCALE COMFORT The farm-to-table standards get a glossy do-over at this hotel restaurant tucked just off of the polished marble lobby of the Omni Severin. The dining room, all dark lacquer and leathery browns, feels a bit stuffy, but diners easily warm up to a menu that includes a root beer–cured pork chop topped with bacon marmalade, and half a chicken roasted to a juicy, rosy hue and plated with succotash and a little pan of sweet-corn “milk” for dipping. The sides—such as macaroni-and-cheese pie and sautéed Brussels sprouts—get passed around the table. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 40 W. Jackson Pl., 317-634-6664, omnihotels.com

Ali’i Poke

POKE Follow the IUPUI students to this delightfully fresh fast-food spot just off campus. The scooped-to-order poke bowls have a rice base (sticky or brown) over which customers layer the Hawaiian raw-fish poke and a rainbow of add-ons. Fresh mango, edamame, avocado, pickled ginger, seaweed salad, and unagi sauce are just a few of the available toppings. Go crazy ladling them on, or get yours “Island Style,” with just rice and fish. Lunch and dinner daily. 910 W. 10th St., 317-602-3632, aliipoke.com

Bakersfield Mass Ave

TACOS & BOURBON This hip spot done up with timbers, steel beams, bourbon barrels, and dangling Edison bulbs does a nice job with all the late-night standards: booze, raucous music, and tacos topped with the likes of achiote-braised pork, pickled red onions, and habanero salsa. Plenty of customers wash down the pretty little tacos with PBRs from glass boots, but more-spirited regulars opt for one of the 50 bourbons or 50 tequilas. Lunch and dinner daily. 334 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-6962, bakersfieldtacos.com

Bazbeaux

PIZZA As some of Indy’s most celebrated restaurateurs open pie places all over town, we haven’t forgotten where we first found artichoke hearts and goat cheese on our ’za. Baz-beaux has changed little since 1986, when it opened in Broad Ripple, and it hasn’t really needed to. Flat crust baked crunchy. Toppings you won’t find at Domino’s, like pine nuts and prosciutto. And the cheese—mounds of mozzarella blended with provolone and pecorino. Lunch and dinner daily. 333 Massachusetts Ave., 317-636-7662, bazbeaux.com

Beholder

CONTEMPORARY A former car-repair shop just outside Woodruff Place sets the stage for a daring piece of performance art featuring pigskin noodles, granita-topped uni designed to melt on the tongue, grilled cucumbers, and other transfigured meats and veggies. Laborintensive cocktails are so smart and spot-on that it’s hard to choose just one. Or three. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 1844 E. 10th St., 317-419-3471, beholderindy.com

Black Market

CONTEMPORARY Sophisticated Mediterranean touches and wine-friendly Continental fare now top the menu at this Mass Ave standard, where recently installed executive chef Esteban Rosas took the reins from longtime chef and partner Micah Frank in late 2018. The burger with halloumi cheese and house frites is still one of the best bar meals in the city, but elegant pastas such as cavatelli with a fragrant lamb ragout and a simple spaghettini with imported tomatoes and toasted garlic are not to be missed. Pan-roasted cod, a slowcooked cotechino sausage with French lentils, and roasted marrow bones with grilled bread and pickled apples show just how much this rustic gastropub has evolved into an innovative bistro through the years. Desserts, such as a poached pear with earthy, rich taleggio ice cream and butterscotch, have especially found their elegance. And the secluded, pergola-topped back patio with the low buzz of the interstate is still one of downtown’s most relaxing urban retreats for a summer supper. Dinner Tues.–Sat. 922 Massachusetts Ave., 317-822-6757, blackmarketindy.net

Bluebeard

CONTEMPORARY Crowds still roll in for chef Abbi Merriss’s take on seasonal comfort food, a category she dominates in town as evidenced by her vast collection of national media mentions and James Beard Award nominations. Start with the bread baked next door at sisterbusiness Amelia’s—delicious slathered with anchovy butter—and build your meal from the ever-changing menu of small and large dishes. Fried morels may show up on a spring picnic plate, while winter nights call for a comforting butcher-shop Bolognese. Bluebeard is a rare neighborhood restaurant open for Sunday dinner, a popular $1 oyster night. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 653 Virginia Ave., 317-686-1580, bluebeardindy.com

The Bosphorus Istanbul Cafe

TURKISH This cozy, colorful cafe inside a restored house in the Holy Rosary neighborhood has been one of our most consistent ethnic restaurants for nearly 20 years, introducing local diners—especially nearby Lilly employees—to the aromatic cuisine of the Middle East, Greece, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Silky, tahini-rich hummus is a must, alongside exemplary falafel, creamy eggplant salsa, and borek—buttery phyllo stuffed with feta and parsley. But few dishes are as comforting as the Sultan’s Delight, with tender cubes of lamb over a roasted-eggplant purée. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner daily. 935 S. East St., 317-974-1770, bosphorusistanbulcafe.com

Bru Burger Bar

GOURMET BURGERS The Cunningham Restaurant Group, based in Indianapolis and the force behind several of our hottest spots, revives the gilded burger trend to great effect, pairing patties that combine sirloin, chuck, and brisket with craft beers in a young and stylish spot the Cultural Trail. The signature Bru Burger reinvents the bacon cheeseburger with Taleggio, sweet tomato jam, and porterbraised onions. Lunch and dinner daily. 410 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-4278, bruburgerbar.com

KEY

SYMBOLS

Restaurants included in this guide are selected at the discretion of the Indianapolis Monthly editorial staff based on food quality, innovation, atmosphere, service, value, and consistency. IM does not accept advertising or other compensation in exchange for dining coverage. Price symbols indicate the average cost of a meal per person (without tax, tip, or alcohol). Due to limited space, this list does not cover every evaluated restaurant. For a more comprehensive guide to Indianapolis dining, visit IndianapolisMonthly.com/Dining. Feedback? Please email TheDish@IndianapolisMonthly.com.

Burgerhaus

GOURMET BURGERS Crunchy, well-battered fried pickles are addictive, and standard thick-cut fries benefit from one of several toppings, from garlic-Parmesan to Machu Picchu Chili Cheese, on offer for an upcharge. But, aptly, it’s the burgers that shine here, whether dressed up with tangy feta and pepperoncini as in the Basilica, or served straight up with blue cheese, butter lettuce, and bacon in the American. Validated parking is available in the underground garage of the 9 on Canal building. Lunch and dinner daily. 335 W. 9th St., 317-434-4287, indy.burgerhausrestaurants.com

Burger Study

BURGERS Part of the St. Elmo Steak House family, Burger Study conveniently backs up to Circle Centre, offering mall-side USDA Prime Black Angus burgers made from a blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck. The burgers are gilded with posh add-ons like root beer–glazed bacon, gouda, and pimento cheese. One (the Prime Degree) is made with dry-aged beef, and the Wagyu burger contains locally sourced beef from Joseph Decuis topped with triple-crème whipped brie, blueberry jam, and arugula. Lunch and dinner daily. 28 W. Georgia St., 317-777-7770, burgerstudy.com

Cafe Patachou

CAFE The original Meridian-Kessler “student union for adults” still draws in the baseballcapped morning crowds and has inspired citywide offshoots, such as this sleek downtown location, a huge hit with the business, convention, and weekend hordes alike. The cinnamon toast is still as thick as a brick, the produce is still locally sourced, the massive omelets still have cheeky names, and the broken-yolk sandwiches are still a lunch favorite. Breakfast and lunch daily. 225 W. Washington St., 317-632-0765, cafepatachou.com

The Capital Grille

CLASSIC A theme of rich decadence permeates this downtown steakhouse, from the gildedframed pastoral paintings that hang on its dark-paneled walls to the selection of elaborate steaks (one of them drenched in a Courvoisier cream sauce, another sauced with aged balsamic—and some of them dry-aged). The servers are exquisite, of course. Lunch and dinner daily. 40 W. Washington St., 317-423-8790, thecapitalgrille.com

CharBlue

STEAKHOUSE The menu at this metrosexy steakhouse is at its best when chef Ricky Hatfield gets adventurous, like with a row of sea salt–roasted heirloom beets served with clouds of dehydrated sage meringue, a heady smear of goat-cheese mousse, and shards of pumpernickel tuile. Steak-eaters will be perfectly happy with their filets and New York strips, and seafood lovers would be remiss not to try the lemon-dusted scallops on a swoop of rich black-walnut Romesco with pickled mustard seeds. Dinner Mon.–Sat. 14 E. Washington St., 317-986-7883, charblueindy.com

Chuck’s Coney Island

CHEAP EATS Natives of Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan will wax nostalgic at the offerings from Detroit native Charles Lovelady’s hot dog walk-up. He and son Charles, Jr., even drive up to the Motor City every few weeks to get the authentic chili for their Coneys and loaded cheese fries. But don’t discount their original creations, such as the three-cheese Boom Bang Burger layered with corned beef on Texas toast. Lunch and dinner daily. 2932 E. 10th St., 317-426-4945

Comida

Food truck–style fusion in the form of General Tso’s chicken tacos and char siu pork burritos are some of the tasty globally influenced choices at this counter-service spot that opened in early 2019 in the former home of Plow & Anchor and The Taco Shop. Breakfast scrambles and pastries from such local sources as Saraga International Market start the day alongside espresso drinks, and street food favorites such as beef and chorizo empanadas, “flaming hot” corn-and-mayo elotes, and Korean-inspired bulgogi nachos make great choices for lunch. Don’t pass up a

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