Indianapolis Monthly

Restaurant GUIDE

DOWNTOWN

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

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. Bazbeaux 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. `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 that has featured pig-skin noodles, granita-topped uni designed to melt on the tongue, grilled cucumbers, and other transfigured meats and veggies. Labor-intensive cocktails are so smart and spot-on that it’s hard to choose just one. Or three. 1844 E. 10th St., 317-419-3471, beholderindy.com

Black Market

MEXICAN After eight years of pioneering perfect plates of seasonal, locavore comfort cuisine, this Mass Ave original changed gears in the summer of 2019 with a cantina menu recalling the rich flavors of Mexico City. But classically trained chef Esteban Rosas and his all-star staff are as exacting as their forebears, grinding corn by hand for their tortillas and concocting a beguiling mole from nearly 50 ingredients. Slow-braised lamb barbacoa is a mainstay of the menu, as are fish and al pastor tacos, pork-cheek tamales, and especially fresh ceviche. And playful favorites of the restored lunch service, such as ultra-light potato flautas and tortas with spicy fried chicken or broccoli rabe and fried plantains, are worth skipping out of work. The restaurant’s secluded patio pergola makes summertime downtown dining especially nice. 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 sister-business 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. 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. 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 off the Cultural Trail. The signature Bru Burger reinvents the bacon cheese-burger with Taleggio, sweet tomato jam, and porter-braised onions. 410 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-4278, bruburgerbar.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, and the Wagyu burger contains locally sourced beef from Joseph Decuis topped with triple-crème whipped brie, blueberry jam, and arugula. 28 W. Georgia St., 317-777-7770, burgerstudy.com

Cafe Patachou

CAFE The original Meridian-Kessler “student union for adults” continues to draw in the base-ball-capped 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. 225 W. Washington St., 317-632-0765, cafepatachou.com

The Capital Grille

CLASSIC A theme of rich decadence permeates this downtown steakhouse adjoining the equally posh Conrad hotel, from the gilded-framed 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. 40 W. Washington St., 317-423-8790, thecapitalgrille.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 load up on authentic chili for their Coneys and piled-high cheese fries. But don’t discount the pair’s original creations, such as the three-cheese Boom Bang Burger layered with corned beef on Texas toast. Seating is limited, so be prepared to make off with your bounty. 2932 E. 10th St., 317-426-4945

KEY

NORTHWEST p. 101

College Park Lafayette Square Traders Point

DOWNTOWN p. 90

Fletcher Place Fountain Square Mass Ave Mile Square

WEST p. 102

Brownsburg Plainfield

SOUTH SUBURBAN p. 102

Greenwood

NORTH SUBURBAN p. 96

Carmel Fishers Noblesville Westfield Zionsville

NORTHEAST p. 98

Broad Ripple Castleton Geist Herron-Morton Kennedy-King Keystone at the Crossing Meridian-Kessler Nora SoBro

EAST p. 95

Beech Grove Irvington

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.

Comida

LATIN FUSION 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. 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. 43 E. 9th St., 317-426-4392, comidaindy.com

Condado Tacos

TACOS This flashy Mass Ave outpost of the Ohio-based chain offers a paper menu of build-your-own taco options, from tortilla to sauces. Customers fill in the dots next to their preferred fixings, like the Firecracker hard shell, the house-made chorizo, and the Thai chili tofu. 530 Massachusetts Ave., 317-222-5999, condadotacos.com

Conner’s Kitchen + Bar

CONTEMPORARY At this luxe, relaxed restaurant inside the Indianapolis Marriott Down-town, a glowing wall of alcohol separates the dining room from the bar, and deep, all-seasons sofas made for lounging sit on the sidewalk-side patio. Art-directed cocktails, like the Prickly Pear Margarita and the Peppered Paloma, elevate after-work drinks, and a simple upscale-casual menu focuses on chopped salads and basic dishes done well, like a grilled five-cheese sandwich and a little pail of black-truffle potato chips too addictively light and crispy to share. Weekend brunch calls for cereal milk–infused cocktails garnished with Cocoa Puffs. 350 W. Maryland St., 317-405-6100, connersindy.com

The Eagle

SOUTHERN-INSPIRED Just try to resist the country-fried charms of this lively Cincinnati-based eatdrinkery on Mass Ave. The drinks are as potent as they are fun, but The Eagle had us at whole-bird fried chicken—which you may drizzle with spicy honey and pair with mashed potatoes drenched in white gravy or sweet-corn spoonbread, if you like. (And yes, you do want the whole bird.) We’re smitten with the friendly staff, the large and wildly embellished Bloody Marys, and the mini cast-iron skillets. 310 Massachusetts Ave., 317-929-1799, eaglerestaurant.com

Ellison Brewing Co.

This Lansing, Michigan, brewery arrived in downtown in late 2019, breathing new life into the

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