I moved from Missouri to Indiana to attend Ball State University. After college, I started my dietetic internship in Indianapolis and have lived here ever since. My husband and I live on the southside of Indy and absolutely love our location. The southside is a little less crowded and is surrounded by cornfields. Yet, we can be smack dab in the middle of downtown in 20 minutes. It truly is the best of both worlds. I have had many people ask me for recommendations on places to eat and drink in Indy and decided to make this post a resource for all.
The Garden Table: This is a must stop for those of you that love to eat healthy! Their menu features local, seasonal produce and they also sell their own cold pressed juices. I highly recommend ordering a juice flight to sample four of their juices at once. It’s also a gorgeous place to be. They have two locations- one downtown and one in Broad Ripple (north of downtown).
The Oakmont: This is a new fave for Tyler and me. It is a 21+ restaurant that is such a vibe. Excellent for larger parties, as they sell pancake and bagel boards! So fun. We love to sit and eat on the patio. The Oakmont would also be very fun at night for drinks. I highly recommend the garlic truffle fries and if you are looking for a brunch cocktail, “The Rehab”. Also a plus for a downtown restaurant- limited free parking.
Cafe Patachou: Another great local restaurant that highlights local and mostly organic ingredients. All 5 Indianapolis locations almost always have a wait, so plan accordingly. This restaurant has received many awards and accolades for their menu and they are much deserved.
Taxman Brewing Company: I actually have never been to Taxman brunch, but I have been many times for dinner and am never disappointed. I have heard great things about their brunch. I love their rotating menu that focuses on fresh, seasonal produce. They source their meats from local farms when able. I also love a good craft brew and Taxman knows how to do it! Please note menu will vary based on location.
Coffeehouse Five: This isn’t necessarily a “brunch” spot, but it is my fave local coffee shop that just happens to make the most incredible biscuits I have ever had. Their parmesan-chive biscuits are made into sandwiches or biscuits and gravy. Tyler and I always get the breakfast sandwich and a cold brew with sweet foam.
Ale Emporium: If you like wings, this is a must stop. I have always liked hot wings, but never had dry rub wings until Ale Emporium. Their famous Hermanaki Wings are INSANE. By far the best wings I have ever had and I highly recommend. There are multiple locations around Indy and they have live entertainment most nights. This is also an excellent place to root on the Pacers or Colts!
Brozinni Pizzeria: I have never been to NYC but if NYC is full of amazing pizza like Brozinni, I think I need to make it happen ASAP. I love that during lunch, you can get pizza by the slice. My all time favorite flavor is 34th Street- a garlic butter base, roasted garlic, ricotta cheese, and fresh basil… truly a masterpiece.
Tavern at The Point: A fun spot on the amazing Mass Ave. I am a big nacho fan with fresh jalapenos and Tavern at The Point delivers with their Brisket Nachos. They also are home to one of my favorite cocktails downtown, the Tavern Freeze.
Bakersfield: The best tacos + margaritas in Indy. Hands down. Whatever you do, go ahead and get the margarita pitcher. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Tyler and I almost always order the The Trio as an appetizer- the verde salsa is so good I could drink it. My favorite tacos are the shrimp and fish, and Tyler loves the chorizo.
Livery: One of my all time FAVORITES. I couldn’t decide between putting this under casual or fancy. It is the best of both. The atmosphere of Livery is up-scale, but the prices are very reasonable. The food highlights dishes from Latin America. I love the cauliflower appetizer (just try it), such a fun way to get in those veggies. You cannot go wrong with the Skirt Steak. I order this every. single. time. The steak, polenta and broccolini are amazing paired with the tomato crema and jalapeno butter. Tyler’s favorite is the Red Drum- also very good if you love fish. We frequent the downtown location, but they have another one in Noblesville, IN.
Union 50: We recently went here with friends and loved it! It is such a fun place with a great drink + fry selection. What more could you want?! Excellent for larger parties as they are known for their charcuterie boards. We had the Gnocchi and Chicken Wings when we went and loved both.
The Garage Food Hall: A new experience downtown Indy. Located in the Bottleworks District. I explain it as a boujee adult food court. A must see! There is something for everyone here.
FANCIER DINNER SPOTS:
St. Elmo: Quite possible one of the most infamous/oldest steakhouses in Indianapolis. Famous for their shrimp cocktail! If you do visit St. Elmo, head over early before your reservation and grab a drink upstairs in their cocktail lounge. So much history is in this place and the bartenders are happy to share.
Salt on Mass: We celebrated my birthday here and went all out. It is such a nice place with killer seafood. I had the catch of the day and it may have been the best seafood dish ever. Sometimes you just have to let the chef pick the dish for you! Highly recommend a side of brussels sprouts- very crispy.
Bodhi: A newer spot in Indy that truly makes you feel like you are halfway across the globe. I am a big Thai food lover and this may be some of the best Thai food I have ever had. If you visit Bodhi, try to sit on their back patio. It is gorgeous on a nice day. Highly recommend their soups and curries. Skip the Pad Thai- try to expand your palate here!
Rick’s Cafe Boatyard: Dinner with a view!! The waterfront view of Eagle Creek Reservoir makes you feel like you are somewhere far, far away from Indianapolis The tempura fried jumbo shrimp is so good. I order it every time!
The Hulman: This restaurant opened at the end of 2021 and we have already been numerous times. Everything on the menu is made fresh, using local ingredients, and INCREDIBLE. The brussels and burrata are to die for. We never were oyster people but decided to give theirs a try after our waitress told us she would pay for them if we didn’t like them.. needless to say we are oyster people now. The Hulman is actually in the new, Hotel Indy. The whole place has an incredible aesthetic. They also have a rooftop bar, Cannonball Inn, that I recommend checking out before or after you dine.
Taxman Brewing: Great beer and atmosphere.
Cannonball Inn: Indy’s newest rooftop bar. The cocktails are incredible and the views are awesome.
Sun King: Arguably the most well known Indianapolis brewery.
Hoosier Brewing Company: Great beer + axe throwing. What could go wrong?!
Upland Brewing: Home to the only seltzers that truly love.
St. Joseph Brewery: An old church turned brewery- so cool. They also have the best crispy brussels sprouts appetizer.
Hotel Tango Distillery: Exceptional cocktails + whiskey. I love to go in the winter and sit by the fire place.
Tavern at the Point: I mentioned above, but I love their Tavern Freeze Cocktail.
Bakersfield: Best margaritas in Indy.
Burnside Inn: So many moscow mule combinations + live entertainment. Very cute little place.
16-Bit: Fun arcade bar. Games are free!
The Inferno Room: Tiki bar in the city.
Nicky Blaine’s Cocktail Lounge: A cool vibe for cocktails + cigars located underground by the circle.
The Garage Food Hall: Food court that serves up plenty of adult beverages.
Pins Mechanical Co: Located in the new Bottleworks District. A fun place with plenty of games and drinks. Be sure to make reservations for the duckpin bowling.
The Oakmont: Instagram worthy cocktail bar.
Mallow Run Winery: My favorite winery. Great wine + fun place for summer concerts. Free tastings!
Buck Creek Winery: The best to-go wine slushees!
Spencer Farm Winery: Cute northside winery.
Urban Vines Winery & Brewery: They are known for their fun slushee combinations. Check out their social media pages for the current flavors and drool worthy pictures.
Hard Truth Distilling Co: If you find yourself south of Indianapolis, this is an awesome place to check out in the quaint Nashville, IN. I have always wanted to do their ATV tour!
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt: The BEST homemade ice cream.
Mrs Curl Ice Cream Shop: A local, southside favorite.
The Cake Bake Shop: Gorgeous spot for cake and drinks! Highly recommend for bachelorette parties or girl’s days.
Crumbl Cookies: To die for cookies.
I will continue to update this blog post as new favorites arise. Be sure to let me know what you try!!