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May 20, 2006 12:10 PM


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After 4 years here are my best places to eat:

most unique: Dats, formerly Yats - its a creole/cajun type place that isreally yummy, quick, and cheap

best Thai: Esan-Thai, Not Siam House!

best chinese: Chow Bar, buffet at lunch is actually good and so is the Super Asian on Sundays

best BBQ: Barbeque guy at the corner of 17th and college next to the stadium...a must during tailgate
*Smokin Jacks is good too

best pizza: don't bother, but best cheezy bread isMad mushroom

best burger: hard to say, Opie's is ok, Crazyhorse chili gulch is good, really any is good

Best food and drinking: Irish Lion, fish and chips or coddle with 1/2 yard of weizen

best food while watching game: yogis or scottys

Best vegetarian: Roots

Best Ice cream was white mountain now i dont know

best burrito: laughing planet

best sandwich: take your pick, although village deli is most unique

best indian: bombay house, buffet is good deal but not much selection

Best Gyro: Int'l market on 4th st

also, little zags is good but not great, stay away from malibu and most places like that, most mexican isnt good

have fun

also a list of restaurants can be found on the IDS website

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  1. i happen to have a different opinion about a few of bloomingtons best:

    Best burger: Kilroys sports bar... at 2pm or 2am its delicous
    Best pizza: Uncle D's
    Best Mexican: El Norteno is GREAT and it has a wonderful atmosphere
    Best sandwich: Bloomington Sandwich Company
    Best Thai: Im a fan of Siam House.... Esan Thai has horrible service
    Best Japanese: Japanee
    Best Breakfast: Village Deli (they also have the best french fries!)

    3 Replies
    1. re: ninz

      Best Burger: Nick's
      Best Pizza: Butch's
      Best Mexican: La Torre
      Best Japanese: Mikado
      Best Thai: My Thai Cafe
      Best Barbecue: Fatman's
      Best Breakfast: Uptown
      Best Ice Cream: Blu Boy

      1. re: pikawicca

        Mexican: Le Torre though Casa Brava is a solid contender
        Best Pizza: Lenie's
        Thai: Esan Thai
        Japanese: Mikado though I've heard great things about Japanee- just haven't been there, yet.
        Breakfast: Uptown or Village Deli
        Food & Drink and watching a game: Nick's
        Fine Food: Tallent

        1. re: HoosierFoodie

          Definitely agree with your Fine Food pick!

    2. Most unique: Falafels
      Best Thai: Thai between Esan-Thai and My Thai
      Chinese: Fortune Cookies
      BBQ:: meh, not in Bloomington
      Best Pizza: maybe Mother Bear's thin crust
      Burger: Nick's
      Food and drinking: Irish Lion
      Watching a game: Yogis or Nicks
      Vegetarian: Who eats vegetarian? :)
      Ice cream: I'm lactose intolerant, so not fair
      Burrito: Laughing Planet
      Sandwich: Dagwoods
      Indian: Bombay House
      Gyro: Trojan Horse
      Fine dining: Tallent

      Worst in Bloomington: Farm, Scholar's Inn

      1. Re; sandwiches in Bloomington.

        Bloomington Sandwich Company is really good.

        There's this newish place, Butch's Delicatessan, that got a big writeup in the local paper about how the owner came here from NYC to go to business school, but he missed Jewish deli food from NY, so now he opened his own "New York style deli." We just got lunch here and it was pretty bad, unfortunately. The turkey club sandwich was... OK, but overpriced at $8.50. My wife said "is this big enough to split" and they all said "oh yeah, it's huge" -- but it turns out to be made with regular small sandwich sliced bread. Three pieces rather than two, and it's piled pretty high, but it's just not a huge sandwich. Also, no pickle, and no swiss although we asked for this and it's listed on the receipt. Otherwise, nothing special.

        The matzo ball soup had something wrong with it. Here's the transcript of our conversation:

        -Is it supposed to taste so lemony?
        -Is it OK, or did it turn or something?
        -I'm not sure if we should eat this.

        It was also way, way too salty. We threw it out.

        Maybe the problem was the 16 year old girls working there; I have a feeling they may not understand the nuances of New York style Jewish deli food.

        Anyway, Butch's definitely has to work out some kinks. Maybe the pizza's good. (I'd try Max's Place for great pizza in Bloomington).

        1 Reply
        1. re: ivan812

          Sorry you had such a bad experience. I haven't been in a while, but I'm a fan of their thin crust cheese pizza and the potato knishes.

        2. I'd like to add to the list. Finch's Brasserie is excellent. I've enjoyed everything I have eaten there. Bloomington Sandwich Shop too, Mike the owner corns his own beef and it is excellent.

          We enjoy Sunny Palace too. It is Chinese but they do branch out to other Asian cuisines and I love the scallion pancakes. The Limestone Grill has some excellent specials. The regular menu is okay but the specials are what we go for. Truffles, it has been awhile since we were there but the bar food is good. I heard recently that Martin Frenea former Truffles chef is coming back to town. I've not heard where he'll be cooking but I am looking forward to going to where ever he lands a spot. I'm also curious about a new place getting ready to open, Sweetgrass. Southern cuisine. That I will definitely want to try.

          I had customers in the shop who had just had lunch at Dunn St. Inn and were raving about it. I've not been yet but I guess I'll have to add it to the list. Bloomington has a lot of options for fine and casual dining. We do have people come to town just to dine at a specific restaurant. It has definitely improved from what was available when we first moved here. i was ready to go home the day after we arrived.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            We had lunch at the Dunn Inn shortly after it opened. The food was okay, but every time someone opened the door, a blast of cold air rushed through the entire dining room. I imagine temperature control is a big problem in the summer, too. We were simply too uncomfortable to go back. If you like eating outside, though, they have a lovely space.

            1. re: Candy

              Marty is now at Chapman's. He's working on a new menu, which should be out in a week or 2.

              1. re: Candy

                I second the vote for Finch's! I've had nothing but delicious food there, and Jeff and Candace Finch are lovely folks!! My only complaint: I think a lot of passers-by might miss this sleeper because of their too-subtle signage. I'm planning a trip there from Indy next week, and I'm sure I'll be pleased as usual.

              2. Great list and I would agreed with most.

                Pizza: Uncle D's

                @ Atkins. Farm = The Worst? I have been there once and I really enjoyed it. hmm.

                3 Replies
                1. re:

                  Farm's offerings are really weak, poorly executed, and the service is awful. Add to that a drink menu that's terrible. The best thing about Farm is the root cellar and its bourbon offerings, and that's simply because all they have to do is pour it into a glass.

                  Beyond that, you're going to have a hard time convincing me a restaurant is a locally focused restaurant when a number of their supplies come from Sysco.

                  1. re: chetatkinsdiet

                    I would not say Farm is awful. You just never know when it is going to be really good. There have been staffing issues. I have been lucky when dining there. My DH had a business lunch meeting there a few weeks ago and it was quite good. Another friend had dinner there about a week ago and was quite pleased. That said, it is about time that they get it together and become more reliable. But I know some people who have hated Tallent and that was a shocker to me.

                    1. re: Candy

                      I think the reality of the situation is that you're going to have a certain level of unhappy customers at every restaurant- I've seen it from the French Laundry and Per Se, arguably the best two restaurants in the US both in terms of service and food. That said, the level of poor execution going on at Farm is far beyond that of Tallent. You're right, it's time to settle into a rhythm for Farm. I understand staffling issues, but over the time they've been open it seems to reflect more on management than it does on the individuals who have been hired. There are plenty of restaurants both at the high end and the middle of the road who do just fine on their staffing in Bloomington.