Indianapolis Monthly

Restaurant GUIDE


Croûte Baking Company…..138

Pier 48 Fish House & Oyster Bar……………………..142


Cannon Ball Brewing Company…………….153

The Missing Brick……………..155


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,

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 morespirited regulars opt for one of the 50 bourbons or 50 tequilas. Lunch and dinner daily. 334 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-6962,


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. Lunch and dinner daily. 333 Massachusetts Ave., 317-636-7662,


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. 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,

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; roasted marrow bones with grilled bread and pickled apples; and scoop after scoop of savory ice cream show just how much this rustic gastropub has evolved into an innovative bistro through the years. 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,


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,

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,


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 (it’s worth it). But, aptly, it’s the burgers that shine here, whether ressed 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,

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,




Outdoor seating


Vegetarian friendly

$30 and up



Under $10


Very Good


Recently opened establishment.

Open for more than five months but making its first appearance in the guide.

Recently revisited and reevaluated.

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 Feedback? Please email

Cafe Patachou

CAFE The original Meridian-Kessler “student union for adults” continues to draw in the baseball-capped morning crowds and has inspired citywide off shoots, 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, and definitely the bread option you want to order; 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,

The Capital Grille

meates 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. Lunch and dinner daily. 40 W. Washington St., 317-423-8790,

Chatham Tap Restaurant & Pub

PUB GRUB This energetic establishment blurs the line between eatery and drinkery. On any given game day, footie fans crowd around the TVs, enjoying pub grub washed down with pints of beer. The fish “sarnie” (or sandwich)— a fresh filet blackened with lemon-pepper seasoning—lives up to the hype. The range of burgers includes a highly regarded black-bean version as well as The Heartstopper, two burgers topped with three cheeses, mushrooms, bacon, and a fried egg. Lunch and dinner daily. 719 Massachusetts Ave., 917-8425,

Chuck’s Coney Island

CHEAP EATS Natives of Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan will wax nostalgic at the off erings 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 prepare to make off with your bounty. Lunch and dinner daily. 2932 E. 10th St., 317-426-4945, coney1


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 counterservice 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 Koreaninspired bulgogi nachos make great choices for lunch. Don’t pass up a hearty dinner of the fragrant paella-like Gran Castigador with pigeon peas, chicken, and mussels. Breakfast daily, lunch and dinner Tues.–Sat., lunch Sunday. 43 E. 9th St., 317-426-4392,

Condado Tacos?

TACOS This flashy new Mass Ave outpost of the vibrant Ohio-based chain off ers 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. Lunch and dinner daily. 530 Massachusetts Ave., 317-222-5999,

Conner’s Kitchen + Bar

CONTEMPORARY At this luxe, relaxed restaurant inside the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, a glowing wall of alcohol separates the dining room from the bar, and deep, allseasons sofas made for lounging sit on the sidewalk-side patio. Art-directed cocktails, like the Prickly Pear Margarita and the Peppered Paloma, elevate aft er-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 litt le pail of black-truffle potato chips too addictively light and crispy to share. Weekend brunch calls for cereal milk–infused cocktails. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 350 W. Maryland St., 317-405-6100,

Croûte Baking Company

PATISSERIE Acclaimed for her decadent and whimsical desserts at Vida and other Cunningham Restaurant Group outposts, pastry chef Hattie McDaniel now bakes up French-style pastries and crusty bread and rolls at this welcome patisserie in the Chamber of Commerce Building downtown. Sweet and savory Danishes, cinnamon blossoms with maple cream-cheese icing, and brioche-like Bostocks with frangipane and seasonal fruits are among the knockout morning offerings. But sandwiches are worth the trip back for lunch, especially a spot-on ham-and-cheese and a pastrami-and-Havarti on house rye. Salads, sides, and daily iced teas are thoughtful touches at this takeout-only spot that opens for weekly chefs’ tasting tables where Cunningham toques dazzle guests with test recipes and other off-the-cuff creations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.–Fri. 320 N. Meridian St., 317-956-5584,


CASUAL This vibrant sanctuary for vegetarians and the people who love them has several iterations around Indianapolis. The Duos food truck dolls up soups and sandwiches at ClusterTruck festivals and other sidewalk gatherings. A busy location called The Kitchen near The Children’s Museum offers coowners Becky Hostetter and John Garnier’s earthy cuisine (the eggplant sandwich with fontina, tomato chutney, and caramelized onion is worth the trip alone) in a cafeteria setting. Duos’s glassed-in diner outside Eskenazi Health hospital is one of downtown’s cutest undiscovered spots. Last fall, Duos added a counter inside City Market, offering salads and other light bites. Breakfast and lunch Mon.–Fri. at 2960 N. Meridian St., 317-927-6810; lunch Mon.–Fri. at 720 Eskenazi Ave., 317-880-5676, and City Market;

The Eagle

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 wildly embellished Bloody Marys, and the mini cast-iron skillets. Lunch and dinner daily. 310 Massachusetts Ave., 317-929-1799,

The Eagle’s Nest

downtown’s PNC building affords a stunning 360-degree view of the city as it spins in a slow full rotation over the course of

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