Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Indianapolis City Guide: Eateries

Happy Tuesday friends!  In an effort to explore my new city, I am going to be doing a few posts over the next weeks which list my favorite eateries, shops, experiences, etc.  I recently relocated to Indianapolis, but until my boyfriend had moved here a year and a half ago hadn't really spent any time in the city.  I'm still learning new things about Indianapolis every day, but one of my favorite aspects thus far has most certainly been the food.  Indy is filled with small, funky, independent restaurants, many of which feature local and organic ingredients.  There are so many eateries I'm still looking to try, but here are five of my favorites thus far:
Taste Cafe & Marketplace: Taste was one of the first restaurants my boyfriend and I tried when he moved to Indianapolis {partially because it is just a ten minute walk from his apartment} but honestly I can say it is one of the best casual eateries I have ever dined in!  They are open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Sunday, and dinner on Wednesday and Thursday.  For breakfast and lunch they serve dishes such as truffled egg and asparagus toast, pear & Roquefort salad, delicious sandwiches on baguette, and plenty of amazing pastries and baked goods.  On Wednesday and Thursday nights when they are open as "After-Taste," and they have an incredibly inventive and varied menu which includes small plates, salads, tartines, mains, and absolutely fabulous cocktails.  Plus their ever changing list of specials always includes at least fifteen delicious options.  Whenever we have a visitor in town we always make sure to take them to Taste.  Note: If you go, you MUST order the truffle frites.  They are large enough to share and are positively life changing.
R Bistro: Until recently, we hadn't yet visited R Bistro, which has been voted the best restaurant in Indianapolis.  One Friday night we decided to give it a try, and all I can say is WOW!  R Bistro is an upscale casual eatery in downtown Indianapolis which serves fresh local ingredients on a menu that changes every week.  They serve items such as chicken, turkey, and pork terrine, crab salad with Meyer lemon, and pan-seared duck breast with pomegranate sauce & a sweet potato cake.  Yum!  Reservations highly recommended. 
Oakley's Bistro: Another restaurant that has been voted best restaurant in Indianapolis multiple times, Oakley's Bistro is the brainchild of Chef Steven Oakley {who in his previous life worked at haute cuisine restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s}.  Oakley took his learnings and applied them to create an unpretentious, American bistro.  Oakley's is about 10 miles north of downtown Indianapolis but is most certainly worth the commute.  We visited it last year for my boyfriend's birthday and were absolutely blown away by the entire meal.  Favorites were the "Toad in a Hole" salad - an upscale twist on the classic "egg in a hole" with brioche, egg, asparagus, prosciutto, roasted peppers, pickled grapes, artichokes, brie, and truffle vinaigrette and the Lobster Waffle   which featured a basil roasted garlic waffle, lobster, zucchini sauté, mustard cream, and crispy leeks.  The entire meal kept us surprised and delighted, and I cannot wait to go back and try more of Chef Oakley's masterpieces!  
St. Elmo Steak House: St. Elmo's is an Indianapolis institution.  Located in the center of downtown Indy, St. Elmo's has been an Indiana landmark since 1902.  It has earned a national reputation for its fabulous steak and legendary shrimp cocktail {watch out, the sauce is spicy}.  We recently visited St. Elmo's when my family was in town, and our meal was absolute perfection.  The gorgeous restaurant features multiple different dining areas, each with its own unique decor.  We ate in what appeared to be a huge library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, beautiful crown molding, and hundreds of old books.  My family all ordered the filet mignon {which they said was impeccable} and as the non-meat eater in the group I ordered a delicious tuna steak. St. Elmo's is the perfect place for a special occasion, and again reservations HIGHLY recommended.
The Flying Cupcake: Last but certainly not least, to satisfy your sweet-tooth you absolutely must stop by one of four Flying Cupcake locations throughout Indianapolis.  The interior of the stores is an absolute shabby-chic heaven, and the cupcakes are even more delicious!  Some of my favorite flavors are Cinnamon Sugar {tastes JUST like a Cinnabon}, Strawberry Lemonade, and Champagne.  Plus, I heard that the Hungry Lumberjack {which features a french toast cupcake with maple-syrup infused cream cheese frosting, syrup drizzle, and bacon} is amazing, if that's your sort of thing.  And to burn off the calories from your sugar overload I'd recommend visiting White River State Park if you're at the downtown location or taking a walk, run, or bike ride down the Monon Bike Trail.

Have you ever been to Indianapolis?  What was your favorite restaurant?


  1. These look like wonderful places to try. I have only been to Indianapolis once and unfortunately don't remember it very well since I was younger. But next time we are in the area, we will have to check these out! Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at BT

  2. that cupcake place is decorated so cute! i've never been to indiana, but i would love to go! it looks like there are a lot of nice places there.

    1. i know, the interior of flying cupcake is absolutely precious!
      thanks for stopping by kerri!