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Anything worthy in South Bend, IN?

  • r

I'll be there this weekend. Anything that a hound should check out?

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  1. It's been a while since I've
    been to South Bend, but I
    consider a meal at the LaSalle
    Grill reason enough for a
    return trip as soon as possible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SCUBAchef

      LaSalle Grill is very good. Call ahead for reservations. http://www.lasallegrill.com/
      If you do go and eye the lamb chops...

      I've heard good things about the vine.

      My favorite pizza place is Rocco's... totally casual spot. Supposedly the story is that they brought pizza to south bend. I grew up in SB and never had it... went back to visit from Chicago a few months ago and dropped by there... I've been craving it ever since.
      537 N Saint Louis Blvd
      South Bend, IN 46617
      (574) 233-2464

      1. re: Annie

        Its too late, but I had amazing pizza at Polito's in Mishawaka

    2. Elia's Restaurant on 933 is a decent Middle Eastern restaurant.

      Parisi's, Sunny Italy, and Francesco's all have good Italian.

      Polito's, Bruno's Original, and Rocco's have good pizza.

      Stay away from the Greek owned "family dining" restaurants. THe food is usually bad. No decent Chinese. Some decent Mexican, but unless you know your way around kind of hard to find.

      In general the culinary culture is savored by philistinics.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Brisket Dog

        Carriage House; more traditional and a great wine list. Sometimes you can get game. http://carriagehousedining.bizland.com/

        And for something completely different (excellent ribs and chicken at rock-bottom prices):

        Rib Shack
        12613 Adams Rd
        Granger, IN 46530-9640

        1. re: Brisket Dog

          I'll respectfully dispute the "no decent Chinese" statement. I've had many many wonderful meals at Mandarin House on Edison.

          1. re: umphilly

            I will respectfully dispute the notion that Mandarin House even approaches the standards of "good Chinese". My family had a saying growing up, that Chinese food tasted like the food of the region you were eating in. My dad travelled frequently, so I've had Chinese-Polish (dumpings=peirogi), Chinese-Argentinan (lomo with broccoli), etc...

            I've now had Chinese-South Bend. Unfortunately, since South Bend cuisine approximates the travails of English gastronomy of the immediate post WWII era, this is an unmitigated disaster of bland, flabby, large-portion-poor-quality food.

            To it's credit, Mandarin House is the best Chinese joint in SB. However, that's damming with the faintest praise of all.

            There are excellent, very reasonably priced Korean entrees served at the ostensibly Japanese 'Toyo Grill" (on Edison by Grape in Mishawaka, next to the Bonefish Grill). If you crave East Asian, this is your best option.

            1. re: dzop

              I agree to a point, but I may not have had the excellent entrees described above.

          2. re: Brisket Dog

            I have had excellent Chinese from Ho Ping House...though the egg rolls are not their strongest suit,

          3. I find The Vine to be very boring - the food is mediocre at best, and the pasta is oftentimes soggy. I would go there for the ambiance, but not for the food. I'm also not a fan of Elia's - their flavors just seem a bit off to me. I haven't been to Mandarin House - having grown up in a Chinese household in the San Francisco area, I'm a bit reluctant to try the Chinese restaurants out here - but I have tried JW Chen's (near South Bend Ave. and Edison), which is remarkably good and one can order items that are not the typical Americanized Chinese food. It just recently opened, and the owner, Mrs. Chen, is great - if there's something you want that isn't on the menu, she'll be more than happy to accommodate your request. This is especially great for customers who are looking for more authentic Chinese cuisine.

            5 Replies
            1. re: kcchan

              I just tried JW Chen's this week and our meals were wonderful. Try the Ko-Pa Shrimp (?).... I assume most things are good because our meals were great for lunch at only six dollars.

              1. re: LBO

                So glad you enjoyed it! The lunches are really good deals, but I also recommend the fried rice noodles (with soy sauce, I haven't tried the curry style yet). The thin rice noodles are cooked to al dente and then quickly stir fried with vegetables - we tried it stir fried with pork, under Mrs. Chen's recommendation, and it was yummy!

              2. re: kcchan

                The staff & food , in my opinion, is much better at JW Chen's than Mandarin House. And we have been to both. I will probably NOT go back to the Mandarin House as I was told on the phone they would seat us if we came in before 9PM. We rushed as we were returning from a trip out west, & arrived at 8:56PM. We were told that the kitchen staff had been sent home, & they would not serve us. We rushed then to JW Chen's and greeted as though we were family. And the food is / was delicious!
                They deserve 5 stars! Thank you Mrs. Chen.

                1. re: fkathleen

                  Just came back from a weekend in South Bend. Another vote for JW Chen's here. Mrs. Chen will sit right down at your table, ask you what kind of things you like, and bring you what she thinks best. We got a delicious, very spicy appetizer of squid and cilantro, then a couple of dishes which were relatively standard but well done: a fried fish with scallions and pork with greens. The place was packed; had to wait about 15 mins on a Saturday night at 8. Recommended.

                2. re: kcchan

                  I had a late lunch/early dinner at J.W. Chen's today. Good place. Yes, Mrs. Chen came over and sat down at the next table and I asked her for recommendations - unfortunately she does not speak/understand Cantonese and I do not speak/understand Mandarin or Taiwanese so we fell back on English for the most part (heh) but she was obliging in suggesting some off-menu stuff to me (mainly Taiwanese-Chinese) and I selected a special lamb dish and a hot pot with fried tofu and misc seafood/squid/chicken. The lamb was excellent. The hot pot was fine although not as good as the lamb. Recommended place.

                  J.W. Chen's
                  1835 S Bend Ave, South Bend, IN 46637

                3. I believe that LaSalle Grille, Bonefish Grille, Cambodian Thai and The Fondue Parlor are all worthy of visits!

                  Cambodian Thai will run about 20-25/couple, but it's authentic and wonderful. DO NOT ORDER THE HOT! Be advised, I don't know what HOT is for these people because Medium is plenty hot enough and I love hot. Trust me.

                  LaSalle Grille is the best kept secret, but be prepared to pay 100/couple. Reservations REQUIRED as previously mentioned. This place could easily beat several upscale Chicago restaurants.

                  Bonefish, albeit a chain, is very enjoyable and in the 75/couple range. I highly recommend the Asian Tuna. All of the specials they offer are worth a try, never have had anything poor there.

                  The Fondue Parlor, in the Historic 100 Center in Mishawaka, is a unique dining experience. The atmosphere is dark and romantic. You can expect to pay 25/person. If you do not enjoy preparing your own food, do not attempt this experience. It has several sauces to experiment with: Dill, Horseradish, Sweet and Sour, Bbq, Teriyaki, Honey Mustard and I may be forgetting another. I really enjoy this and while it may not be right up a guys alley, I bet it's a winner for the women.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: booba

                    Regarding Cambodian Thai - I agree that it's good cheap food if you need a Thai fix. I usually get the Chicken Pad See Ew. I've gotten the Pad Thai before, but wasn't overly impressed (when I've ordered it, the noodles were much too dry and not very flavorful). Also would not recommend the Drunken Noodles or the Crispy Egg Noodle lard nar. The drunken noodles are heavily laden with basil and bamboo shoots which are just too overpowering -perhaps I should try the dish without the bamboo shoots. The Crispy Egg Noodle lard nar was simply terrible. The noodles were an oily, soggy mess. If you want good Asian food, do try J.W. Chen's - that's where I go for my Asian food fix these days.

                  2. I just wanted to mention that the Star of India (at Grape and Edison) has a great lunch buffet for those who like Indian food or just want to try it sometime.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LBO

                      I prefer Taj India to Star of India. I just get an odd vibe from the Star of India, and the food is a bit bland, especially compared to Taj India.

                      1. re: kcchan

                        I also prefer Taj, but it's worth noting that both these places have had changes of ownership and food quality in the four years I've lived here. I always went to Star until they moved around the corner to Grape Road and the food (for me) went south. There must have been a new cook or management. Since then, I've been a fan of Taj, and I go there sometimes every week or two. There's a new place called, I think, Indian Garden, on Edison. I tried the lunch buffet, but have since returned to Taj.

                    2. OK, the best place in the area is Yesterdays in Granger (10 min from south bend). Try the roasted garlic appetizer, amazing.

                      The dessert are some of the best in the country (I'm not kidding), great for kids too, they have a Steak Sunday for them, I don't want to spoil the surprise, just order it for them. The steaks are great as well. Everything I have tried is great. Save room for the dessert as they are huge. Make reservations as it gets packed.

                      Here is their website with menu:


                      Report back after you try it!

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: mulcher

                        Taj is definitely better than Star in my opinion, as far as Indian food goes.

                        I will say that in my experiences, Lasalle Grill comes off as more hype than great restaurant- the atmosphere is great, but their entrees have failed to live up to the flavors promised on the menu. Perhaps the most disappointing appetizer I've ever had was the "Jamaican Jerk" shrimp, which had absolutely zero jerk flavor and seemed to only have a few seasonings on to make the shrimp "look the part". The soups are consistently good, though.

                        Yesterday's is great. Large portion sizes, and plenty of intense, flavorful dishes on the menu. They also have perhaps the best desserts in the area.

                        If you're coming to South Bend, the real crime is in not going to the number of good Italian restaurants. Rocco's is great, and Carmella's (in the Macri's building downtown) and Ciao's (located near Lasalle Grill and right down the street from the Morris theater) are even better than Parisi's , which is also an excellent choice.

                        Also, Club Noma is right next door to Ciao's, and is another excellent restaurant with a great atmosphere and unique styling. I'd rank all 3 (Noma, Ciao's, Carmella's) over Lasalle Grill in downtown dining.

                        As far as Mexican goes, if you want the real stuff (no, Hacienda doesn't count), Mazatlan, located on Mckinley (US20) is number one, and it's not really a close call in my book. The flavors, portion sizes, and value are tremendous- I'd recommend the Camerones Ala Diabla (Diablo Shrimp) with no lettuce for anybody who loves their meal to pack some flavorful heat. There's probably a couple places in South Bend's west side region that are great, but I haven't eaten at all of them to narrow them down.

                        Toyo Grill is the easy (and smart) choice for Japanese cuisine and sushi, and the Vietnamese restaurant in Town and Country is amazing as well- and one of the healthier places in town with the abundance of fresh veggies used there. It was also the official restaurant for my late father (who was a Vietnam vet) and I.

                        If anyone's got any questions about any restaurants I've mentioned or any other ones, I've eaten at alot of places in South Bend so I'd be glad to help if I can

                        1. re: rock0052

                          Ciao's was inconsistent at best, and overpriced. They have closed and were replaced by a place with a German - maybe Hungarian - name.

                          1. re: makeshift

                            I liked Ciao's a lot. And I've heard they're reopening soon in a new location. Keep an eye out.

                        2. re: mulcher

                          I just had to check out the menu of Yesterdays Restauant to see what all the talk is about from Mulcher, and I must say that I'm completely confused. Not sure what type of cuisine they specialize in besides 'Everything American?' The menu leaves me to be skepticle due to the size and # of dishes they offer. HOW CAN EVERYTHING BE GOOD? And you mentioned the desserts? Are they great because they're homemade and simple or is it because they're HUGE. I'm sorry to sound snobby but I think you need to travel around and eat out at other places more often. And I will knock it before I try because I would never engage in a menu that looks so rediculous.
                          Sorry. Plus it's in Granger, IN!!

                          1. re: napolean

                            What do you mean, "not sure what type of cuisine they specialize in"? You can see the menu on their website; that tells you what their cuisine is!

                            And it's not fair to criticize the quality of a place based on their website menu, without having actually been there. Just because they have a large menu, it must be bad??? Oh, please. I've been to lots of restaurants that do an excellent job with everything on a large menu! Heck, I don't even think Yesterday's menu is unusually large.

                            Granger is part of the South Bend area; as Mulcher mentions, it's ten minutes from campus, right near the Toll Road entrance on the east side of town.

                            I haven't been to Yesterday's. Maybe it's as good as Mulcher says, maybe it isn't; without having been there, I don't really know. I'd be interested in hearing from people who have actually been there. Otherwise, maybe I'll stop there next time I'm traveling through on the Toll Road, and report back based on my experience.

                            1. re: nsxtasy

                              Please. Can you honestly tell me this menu looks appetizing...especially with the prices!?! You can eat a great meal of updated food, let's say Restaurant Tallent, for the same price. I'm not saying outdated food doesn't have it's place but my point is there are many people out there who would pay over ten for a chicken wrap. It could be the best wrap or baked brie in the world but when a menu has 60 items (excluding dessert) with no focus on a type of cuisine, I hardly doubt all this stuff is cooked. Anybody can reheat Sysco product or put it on a plate, although the opposite is becoming much more of a reality in most 'restaurants' these days. But by all means, please go to Yesterday's and let me know how you feel afterwards. I could use some entertainment.

                              1. re: napolean

                                Yes, the food on the Yesterday's menu sounds appetizing to me. Creative seafood, nice steaks, prime rib - sounds great! Furthermore, the prices (sandwiches around $10, most entrees in the twenties) sound perfectly reasonable as long as the food is good. Especially compared with the much more expensive Tallent, which I found extremely disappointing when I went there, primarily due to its overly bland food rather than its prices (and isn't anywhere near South Bend anyway). I've also been to LaSalle Grill in downtown South Bend, recommended by others in this topic, and it's very good indeed, far better than Tallent IMHO; it too is more expensive than Yesterday's, but I consider its prices reasonable for its fine food and upscale atmosphere.

                                I look forward to trying Yesterday's some time, and reporting back on how good it is based on *actual experience*.

                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                  I'm sorry, but I'm a purist when it comes to fine dining. I enjoy fresh ingredients cooked simply. The fact I will spend $20-30 on a plate of food...it better be fresh, like at Tallent, Elements, Explorateur or R Bistro. If a place takes a prime rib and dredges it in blackened seasoning to make it less BLAND then I'm not going to pay for it. I would much rather pay for a quality piece of prime rib, because I love PRIME RIB. Although dry rubs, salty spice blends galore and over-seasoned everything is tasty at times, a restaurant which claims to be fine dining is not the time for lesser quality ingredients to be masked to death. It has sort of brainwashed many people about what good food is. Why do you think the chef at Bloomington Farm calls his food 'REAL?' I think he's trying to make a point in the fact that there is beauty and flavor in SIMPLICITY...a concept most Westernized society will never understand. Sorry.
                                  I hope the curried crab stuffed mushrooms (what a nasty way to utilize low grade crabmeat, unless these N.D. good ole boys are getting it from the Grotto daily??!??) at Yesterday's are drowning in a lake of sauce by the time you get there. It's their only chance for survival!!

                                  1. re: napolean

                                    I enjoy fresh ingredients simply cooked, too. That's why I enjoy the food so much at Oakley's Bistro and LaSalle Grill - because, at truly great restaurants, the flavors of the ingredients come alive, with relatively simple preparations. I just wasn't impressed with the overly bland food at Tallent. VERY disappointing, especially for a place that gets so much hype. And that opinion is based on actually eating there, not on just looking at their menu - which is a perfect example of how the actual experience can be very different from what a menu might lead you to expect, positive OR negative. L'Explorateur is okay, very creative but not exactly great; I found Oakley's and, getting back to the topic of this discussion, LaSalle Grill in South Bend, far better.

                                    I'm looking forward to trying the prime rib at Yesterday's, so that I know what it's like, based on experience. The same thing for all of the seafood dishes.

                                    Has anyone here (in addition to mulcher) been to Yesterday's? I'd love to hear opinions from people who have actually been there and can point out what they like (or don't like) based on dining there.

                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                      The food at Yesterday's is good - not brilliant - but good.

                                      Desert is superb. I think the portions are a bit much, myself, but speaking as a pastry chef (not theirs - for the cynics), I can vouch for their desert menu. Go for desert and coffee.

                                      1. re: nsxtasy

                                        I ate at Yesterday's earlier this year, but haven't posted about it till now. I thought the food was just as makeshift describes it: "good - not brilliant - but good". Many of the items are quite heavy and rich in nature. For example, I had the fried artichoke appetizer, which was very good, but it's a fried item (heavy) with a rich sauce (the remoulade was mayonnaise-based). I had a salad which had a rich, thick dressing. I then had a seafood main - I forget which, but I think it was the sea bass - which should have been rather light, but wasn't (it was good, though). I looked at the desserts, and I was absolutely NOT impressed; they were very conventional, traditional desserts, very gooey and rich and heavy - giant pieces of pie and ice cream desserts and such, distinguished only by their enormous size, and just were not appealing, especially after the rest of the heavy/rich menu. Service was very good. The decor was very traditional, with a lot of knotty pine woodwork, kind of like an old hunting lodge, with Notre Dame sports memorabilia on the walls. If I'm not mistaken, the building is very old (like 100+ years old) - there was something about that on the menu, as I recall, although I don't see it on the website. Granger is a VERY small town (just a few blocks of businesses, and then you're out in the country) and for all practical purposes Yesterday's is a standalone restaurant, with a large parking lot, etc.

                                        All in all, I thought Yesterday's was okay, worth trying. But this is really a very old-fashioned restaurant; by that I mean that this would be considered an excellent place 20-30 years ago, when heavy, rich food was synonymous with fine dining (for an American restaurant like Yesterday's, as well as French food). It is perfectly named. But nowadays, that style of cooking is really passe. If you want prime rib or a steak, it's as good a place as any, I suppose, and the value is decent. But don't expect anything unusual or creative or earth-shattering.

                                        Other than both being restaurants in Indiana, there is very little that Yesterday's has in common with Tallent. Yesterday's serves traditional American cuisine, and Tallent serves contemporary American cuisine. Almost any dish on either's menu would never appear on the other's. One restaurant in South Bend whose menu very similar to Tallent is LaSalle Grill, if you remove the various steaks from the latter's menu. Come to think of it, the decor (contemporary) and location (in the middle of the commercial downtown of a medium-sized college town) are generally similar between LaSalle Grill and Tallent too.

                                        If you're a visitor in South Bend, or if you're looking for a great restaurant for that special occasion, LaSalle Grill is a great destination, and is a shining gem of the local culinary scene. Yesterday's, while decent, does not fill that niche in any way.

                                    2. re: nsxtasy

                                      "Especially compared with the much more expensive Tallent"

                                      Uh... take a look at the menus again please?

                                      Tallent's entrees are no more expensive than Yesterday's, and are considerably more inventive. Appies trend a couple bucks higher, but that can't be considered "much more", and based on my experience with portion size and quality, I'm sure they are worth the slightly higher tariff.

                                      Yesterday's looks like a total ripoff, unless the various dishes were the absolute best renditions available anywhere. And I'm pretty sure they're not.

                                2. re: napolean

                                  Hey, I live in Granger, and there are several worthwhile places here. But about Yesterdays, it is a place my wife likes to meet her friends. All I know is that she comes back with leftovers from her dessert which are nothing special, to my taste, but in terms of quantity, she has more left over than I think a decent restaurant should serve in the first place. From my perspective, this place thrives on a customer base that wants huge leftover desserts in the fridge afterwards...

                              2. Cosimo's and Suzy's, Fiesta Tapatia, Pat's Pub for ND fans, Siam, Bruno's Pizza, and Starlite Pizza.

                                1. too late for may, but if you're looking for authentic korean try Sunny's in next door Mishawaka. As food goes, s.b. is not mecca, but Ciao's, Carmela's, LaSalle Grill and Noma are all good bets.

                                  1. Just returned to my hotel from LaSalle Grill. Had my meal at the bar, and I must say that a big attraction there is Wally, the bartender. The appetizer was less than stellar, the house dressing on the salad (mustard and ginger) left me longing for the missing soy, but the butternut squash soup was the best I have had. My entre was the gorgonzola filet medalions, and it was good but not exceptional. I will return because I can't see that there is a better offering in South Bend, and Wally is a fellow Scotch fan.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Pizzahound

                                      Belatedly, it must be said that Ciao's is a really, really good Italian restaurant. Decor is mall-bland, and it can be a bit cold in the front near the windows in winter, but the food is really extremely good. Recently I had fresh figs with tiny balls of goat cheese, fresh walnuts and a port wine reduction. Then my friend had the osso buco which he happily downed riht down to the marrow (and he's an excellent chef himself), while I had pheasant tortelli (tortelloni??) with a mushroom-cream sauce (this dish is such a winner that I've had it before, sometimes with pomegranate seeds sprinkled over it). Then, some fresh Italian cookies to take home. Though Ciao's is bizarrely pricey considering that we are in South Bend (so much here is!), the quality is really very very good. I agree that Lasalle Grille is overrated and doesn't always deliver what it promises -- they also will charge you extra if your group is too large to be seated in the main diningroom - bizarrely. Carriage House is even more overrated, though -- they cannot handle large groups at all, and the service often takes ages -- several times it has been 2 HOURS until we had our main course. Meat can easily be overdone. Appetizers bland. And they think they are so special, and, like many other places they charge too much!

                                      1. re: fiorbhlasta

                                        I would have to agree on the Carriage House being overrated. I went there and was given the opportunity to choose the wine on a date. The first 2 that I chose, they were out of. It seems as though they "run out of" the moderately priced ones. Also I ordered the Beef Wellington with Duchess Potatoes and the potatoes didn't have any flavor to them. The Beef Wellington was ok, but too much puff pastry and pate, so much that I really couldn't taste the beef. http://www.chow.com/images/button-pos...!

                                        1. re: happidiva

                                          Carriage House was much, much better 25 years ago than today! Also years ago they had the BEST Sunday Brunch in the greater South Bend-Mishawaka-Elkhart Area!

                                    2. Again, a belated opinion, however I haven't seen my favorite Italian place on here so I have to chime in. Giannetto's in the 100 Center is scrumptious. They make their sauce from scratch every morning and the ambiance of the place is wonderful. A family run business for years, it's better than any chain could be.

                                      1. I don't see any recommendations yet for breakfast in South Bend. I've eaten several times at the Original Pancake House (the location on Ironwood just north of Edison, just east of campus) and always enjoyed it - everything from their spectacular puffed-up cinnamony apple pancake, to their German pancake ("Dutch baby"), and Swedish pancakes, and omelets, and crepes, and...

                                        Original Pancake House
                                        1430 North Ironwood Drive
                                        South Bend, Indiana 46635

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: nsxtasy

                                          All of a sudden, seems you're in the mood to talk breakfast in SB so I'm sorry to change the subject! It WAS great to hear other people's experience at the LaSalle Grille and the Carriage House among others in the South Bend area recently. I confidently agree with the Carriage House being overrated, not because I was just there and happened to stumble upon a bad piece of Chateau briand (sorry for the potential mispelling, but I've been done with out-dated french food for a good 25 years now) but because I understand the market enough to never risk or subscribe to such pretentious culinary offerings in such an area. It's not brain surgery, and I can honestly admit to judging menus for my decision making. I hear the offerings at LaSalle Grille were so so (meaning an overrated experience for someone) meaning that's probably what to expect from a menu containing beef medallions with blue cheese and lobster pot pie. These are newer items for the South Bend market but anywhere else?? Come on, let's wake up a little. I'm sorry you experienced bland food at Tallent because their food is probably the least bland out of any of the more sophisticated menus in Indy. In fact my only quibble was that the food was too rich to enjoy a 5 course meal. But being in Indiana, it was just satifying eating up-dated tasty food. You can learn a lot from a menu and where it's located, and it's definitely not worth judging a restaurant by the cover. However, I will never invest in 'higher end food" in South Bend. Go for the drinks and stick with the Mexican joints on Western Avenue. I can't wait for more thoughts on Yesterday's. I'm surprised there have been no comments in the last week. HMMMM.

                                        2. Last week I drove down Western Avenue for the first time in a while.Maybe we should get a group together and do a Western Avenue Mexican Restaurant tasting.Sure seems like there are a number of them.I stopped and ate at SuperMariscos.Strange place the menu had the typical Greek coffee shop omlette with feta cheese and your choice of pancakes or toast and a large Mexican menu.I had the camarones with mojo de ajo.Pretty tasty.For dessert I had a cake with flan instead of frosting on top.Interesting and good.Anyone else been?

                                          1. I'm virtually certain I ate at Yesterdays in Nov. as i recall it was wildly over decorated in some sort of kitchy/colonial decor with a bit of "fridays" style things hanging from the ceiling / not a bare space on a wall kind of thing going on. there were long lines of people getting deserts to go which made the narrow entrance impassable. I remember the food being large... I can't remember it being particularly good...the wine list was pretty much an homage to California. The Deserts were HUGE, way beyond what a "normal" person could/should eat after a dinner. but then i'm 185lb /6ft. and i was a
                                            small person in the restaurant. We made a note not to return. not because anything was particularly bad....just not our style

                                            1. So some thoughts from the most recent visit. We ended up doing 2 "Polish Dinner" Buffets one at the M.R. Falcons hall in South Bend and one at the K of C hall in Mishawaka. MR Falcons had better sausages (we were thinking from Ebys) ,Chicken, potatoes and gravy. K of C had better noodles, rolls and Green beans. Not restaurants(or St. Hedwigs) but still good to know.

                                              West End Bakery, still thrills me with their cake and donuts.

                                              Polito's Garlic pizza was just as tasty this time as the first time I had it.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: frittering_away

                                                We hit the M.R. Falcons hall during the (popular political fair...can't think of the name???!$@!??#@?) every year. Ebys definitely has the best polish sausage.

                                                1. re: napolean

                                                  It's Dingus Day and it is the Monday after Easter, it is a Polish Holiday.Some people say it was started in Poland by Catholics, centuries ago, to celebrate the end of Lent.I have heard many stories about how this holiday was started. I also understand it is a big celebration in parts of the State of New York.

                                              2. Note. The strip mall Politos was in burned last night. Politos was a loss. There was only minor damage to the Outback.


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: frittering_away

                                                  Glad to note that Polito's reopened at a new location on Hickory a bit north of McKinley.

                                                  1. I have lived in South Bend many years. The BEST Chinese restaurant is China Garden. Try their Mongolian Beef. Add to it the Snow White Chicken. And be sure to try their pot stickers! The BEST pizza is Bruno's on St. Rd.23. AND the very BEST ribs are at J. Willys on 31 North. It used to be where Damon's was. But their ribs (especially the dry rub) are the best in Indiana!!!

                                                    1. I'm headed to South Bend for a convention and am looking for suggestions for Wednesday night. Several years ago I enjoyed a meal at Sarin's in the Morris Inn on Notre Dame's campus. Any feedback on that or other recommendations would be appreciated. This isn't a blow the budget night so I'm not thinking LaSalle Grille, but I would like a place with some atmosphere where conversation is possible.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I work in South Bend, and have never had a really good meal here -- beyond adequate stuff at chain restaurants.
                                                        Two places to avoid: The Vine. I actually shudder when I think of it. I ordered a cheese plate and received stuff you would get at the supermarket.
                                                        But far worse is the Carriage House. Smelly, dusty, old and crammed self-important employees -- it's a untraveled, dull-witted person's idea of "class." It just has a strange vibe.
                                                        For where it is located (in the middle of nowhere), it's terribly expensive. Two people can eaily spend $200 there with drinks. For less money, you can go to Yesterday's in Granger. The food there is not superb, but it is very respectable and the service is good. The desserts are fun, but not brilliant.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Granger3231

                                                          Granger, 3231, I know that I already commented on Carriage House, but i just can't get the idea of it, still being around, out of my head! It amazes me that people still go there. Can someone who loves the Carriage House, please tell me why it is so special? It was GREAT, 30 years ago.

                                                          1. re: garryd451

                                                            We are not from around here originally. Some old-time South Bend residents suggested it, and we had one good meal there. We ate early and not on a football weekend. We went back,and it was just horrible. The pretension is startling. If it weren't so expensive (for where we are), it would be funny. It's almost a satire of a "fine" restaurant.
                                                            After the second time, then, suddenly, we started hearing bad things -- from people who were more in touch with the current dining scene. We will never go back.

                                                        2. Ok, this is off topic, but I can't resist. There's an amazing wine store chain in South Bend/\Mishiwaka. Dan Rousseve runs it. The selection is beyond belief for a small town in Indiana. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                                            That is probably City-Wide Liquor (http://citywideliquors.com/ ).

                                                            We always hit CWL when we are there.

                                                          2. Downtown: LaSalle Grill, Noma, Trio's, and Siam (Thai). They're reliable. I've had some decent pub food at Fiddler's Hearth, sometimes.

                                                            Near Notre Dame: Sorin's (in the Morris Inn on campus), Greenfields ("world food" in the Hesburgh Center), a Vietnamese place in a shopping mall just north of Angela on SR 23, and the Chinese place in the same location (JW Chen's, I think). I've never had Rocco's pizza; it's probably similar to Barnaby's (another family business).

                                                            Granger: Uptown Kitchen for breakfast and lunch. It's a breakfast place mainly, but they make decent salads and their dinner entrees (overpriced for the room) are on par with LaSalle Grill; the wine list, of course, isn't. I've heard that the manager/owner (a one-time Chicago guy) is going to open a dinner location in Granger. That will be great, and he'll probably poach some of the better cooks and servers in town when it happens.

                                                            Grape Road/Mall area: the Granite City Grill offers a decent but expensive brunch on Sunday.

                                                            Nearly everything else in South Bend is mediocre. I've never had excellent pasta. I'm delighted to hear about authentic Mexican, because most I've had is industrial feed bag.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: domerfoodie

                                                              Rocco's pizza is NOTHING like Barnaby's. Barnaby's is in the same style as Pizza King, thin crust cut into squares. Rocco's is hand tossed, served in traditional triangular slices. Have you tried Villa Macri yet, in Toscana Park? Best pasta I've had yet in the South Bend area.....

                                                              Uptown Kitchen is FABULOUS on so many levels. One of our favorite places for breakfast...

                                                            2. A report here on a Ciao's Italian Cuisine visit this week (April 2010). I'll post here because this seems like the unofficial "South Bend" thread by now.

                                                              This restaurant is excellent. It's "fine dining," so maybe not the Chowhound mainstay. But for innovative, authentic Italian cooking in this area, I don't think it can be matched. This is seriously well made Italian food, both in the old space and now in the new one.

                                                              I was with four people and did not try their foods, although I can say that two of them were very happy with their lamb chops and the third with his swordfish. I had a very good cream of asparagus soup for a first course and then a pheasant ravioli (they call it tortelli, little raviolis; it was $25). The pasta was handmade and the filling was ground pheasant with spices. Cream sauce was very fine. Their desserts look amazing. I was so full I only tried a mini-tiramisu. Also, I ordered an espresso, and they made that properly. You can tell a lot about a supposedly "fine" restaurant when they give you so-so-espresso without crema. This one was perfect.

                                                              Downside is that the food does not come out very quickly. Not that anything took too super-long, but I really think they do up most things from scratch here, so you need to figure on a leisurely meal.

                                                              Alas, it's hard to feel optimistic about it thriving in its rather isolated, business-parky location, just across the river from central downtown South Bend. It's also not cheap. So really it needs to carve out a niche as a destination and event locale. Ciao's had an earlier incarnation downtown, where the excellent and rather pricey food seemed out of keeping with the space, which was like an average bakery/cafe space. The new space is larger and fancier, but also rather too large for our weeknight (Tuesday) evening outing, when the space can seem cavernous

                                                              Support this place if you have means and inclination. I hope economic times and local awareness will catch up with this locale in time for it to sustain itself.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                Bada - I've never heard of it - how long has it been open? Downtown SB? (I live in Niles, the hotbed of culture food and sophistication.)

                                                                1. re: supah

                                                                  It used to be downtown central (west side of river). Now it's on the east side near Madison Center:


                                                              2. I had lost all hope of finding any standard Middleeastern cuisine in the area. I hadn't heard of Elia's until a recent article stating they were moving their Dixie Way location soon.
                                                                I am a fan.
                                                                Though I can't begin to almost understand why they would serve an order of falafel with dill pickle slices. WTF?
                                                                Did they run out of cucumbers and think no one would notice?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: supah

                                                                  Kabob House on Grape near Edison is pretty good--eclectic Middle Eastern/Mediteranean sit-down, with a tandoor oven to boot, from the old Star of India that used to be there, I assume.

                                                                2. I'd like to see more updated recs on this thread too - we are stopping overnight there on our way to WI in mid-June and I need a place that is at least relatively family-friendly (our baby will be 1 by then) and that isn't too heavy on cheese (so no Italian or Mexican) as we have to live dairy free right now.

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                    Do you know where you're staying in town? You might do best with Middle Eastern or Asian places, but which ones would depend somewhat on where you are. Then of course there are tons of family friendly chains, but they're not much for adventure.

                                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                      I have a friend and husband moving to Mishawaka, IN. They (and I when I visit) are looking for non-chain, quality breakfast places, pub type eateries, pizza, and a good steak house. Any recommendations at all would be appreciated. All the Mishawaka, Elkhart, Granger, and South Bend posts seem outdated.

                                                                      1. re: amb222

                                                                        Lots of options. But first I should say that this thread has outgrown itself. Half or more of it is too old, and it makes it hard to clarify the relevant remainder.

                                                                        Anyway, Uptown Kitchen in Heritage Square (Granger) is a good upscale breakfast place:


                                                                        For steak there is a Ruth's Chris Steak House in Mishawaka, which I finally went to for the first time last week, coincidentally, having been given a gift certificate. Everything was excellent, but I find the price-point to be way too high for me, and I can make a great steak at home. If I wanted a steak house for convenience and atmosphere and value, I'd go to Eddie's Steak Shed in Granger (near to me, too!). LaSalle Grill downtown is also very reliable and would surely make a solid steak and much else.

                                                                        For pubs, the Fiddler's Hearth Irish pub downtown is also a worthy hangout.

                                                                        I have yet to find pizza in South Bend that blows me away, but I haven't tried some of the contenders with many fans, like Luigi's and Rocco's. I do think that Yummy Pizza in Granger is very decent New York Style pizza, but, again, it doesn't blow me away (it's a plus or minus, depending on your preferences, that it is not as greasy as genuine NY pies).

                                                                        There are many other places worth trying, but given the types of places you specified, most of the ones that come to mind for me are a bit afield (Asian, Italian, etc.).

                                                                        LaSalle Grill
                                                                        115 West Colfax Ave South, Bend, IN

                                                                        Fiddler's Hearth
                                                                        127 N Main St, South Bend, IN 46601

                                                                        Eddie's Steak Shed
                                                                        12685 Adams Rd, Granger, IN 46530

                                                                        Yummy Pizza
                                                                        15017 S R 23, Granger, IN 46530

                                                                        Uptown Kitchen
                                                                        303 Florence Ave, Granger, IN 46530

                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                          The best food in South Bend is....potluck. Inviting your friends to bring their favorite dish and all sharing. Seriously. I have failed to be impressed with most of the area's offering. Carriage House is absurdly pretentious and incredibly slow (2 hours to get your entrée!?) and dated, dated, dated. It's bizarre, we're 96 miles ... and about 30 years from Chicago.
                                                                          Ciao's on the other side of the river from downtown has the best pasta in town, and some delicious lamb, grilled vegetables, great Italian cookies, espresso, etc. You've got to play to her strengths though. She can cook, my god can she cook, but go for the mainsteam Italian stuff for sure.
                                                                          Lasalle Grille is heavy on the butter/cream, expensive and tasty enough but overrated.
                                                                          New place Cre-Asian has some server issues to work out and is a bit slow, but the food is fresh. Worth trying.
                                                                          Most Mexican is blah, but you can get cheap n' fresh over on Western Avenue, out past Olive St.
                                                                          All those Granger people can keep Uptown Kitchen. I wasn't impressed. Why are you all living over there on polluted former cornfields anyway? But that's another question.
                                                                          About 45 minutes away is Lake Michigan, and there are a few places worth visiting out there, such as Cafe Gulistan, which is a bit uneven, but at its best has some of the best lamb around. It's Kurdish food. Baklava is good.
                                                                          I don't care for Elia's though people seem to get excited about it. I agree with previous poster who said the flavors were a bit off. Some folks like the diner in the Farmer's Market building. Never tried it. More a greasy spoon authentic type of experience I'm guessing?
                                                                          Wish I had better stuff to report. You can get better and better ingredients around here these days -- decent cheese, very good wine, better vegetables and more organic and unusual options -- try Almadina grocery on Grape just N of Main for pomegranate syrup, middle eastern spices, etc, or the Indian grocery BEHIND India Garden on Edison for bulk spices, great frozen malaysian parathas, or the Chinese market next to JW Chen's, which has great cilantro-salt-n-pepper ribs, and is fairly fresh but nothing really special. Post if you find something new n' special....

                                                                          Uptown Kitchen
                                                                          303 Florence Ave, Granger, IN 46530

                                                                        2. re: amb222

                                                                          >> I have a friend and husband moving to Mishawaka, IN. They (and I when I visit) are looking for non-chain, quality breakfast places, pub type eateries, pizza, and a good steak house. Any recommendations at all would be appreciated. All the Mishawaka, Elkhart, Granger, and South Bend posts seem outdated.

                                                                          Most of the places mentioned above are still around and the earlier reviews are still accurate. For example, the Original Pancake House east of campus at Ironwood and Edison is still there and still serving excellent-quality breakfast foods.

                                                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                            Thanks for the quick response! I appreciate it. I will have to let you know what they and I find. When you say all the earlier reviews are still applicable. . . are there any stand outs not mentioned in the previous few responses? This thread goes back a long time! Stand outs in a sense of quality food, I don't care if it's a hole in the wall. Thanks again.

                                                                            1. re: amb222

                                                                              I haven't been to all that many places in South Bend recently, but I know LaSalle Grill is still doing a great job. (As I reported above, Yesterday's didn't thrill me a few years ago so I haven't tried it since I posted my report.)

                                                                              LaSalle Grill
                                                                              115 West Colfax Ave South, Bend, IN

                                                                              1. re: amb222

                                                                                Hole in the wall reminds me that many people really like Cambodian Thai downtown, which I have yet to try. The word is that their medium hot is what most people call very spicy, so be aware that way. Also, i gather it pays to order take-out or call ahead, because they can take a while making something to order if you just walk in.

                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                  I've had two entrees at Cambodian Thai now. The place is very worthy. Fresh, tasty, and--if you want it--genuinely spicy-hot. In my first instance, they put their hot suace on the side for me to add as desired. They use a habanero hot sauce, which is not exactly authentic but effective.

                                                                                  For Thai Asian, by the way, I want to put in a plug for Taste of Asia on north Main in Mishawaka (near the Home Depot, etc.) The place seems like Chinese food to many, I think, but the chef is Thai and they have many great Thai/Lao dishes, as well. Everything made fresh to order, and adjustments are therefore also done to order. It's great.

                                                                              2. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                If your friends are still looking:

                                                                                Uptown kitchen has expensive but decent breakfasts. It is very loud and while locally owned, does its best to look like a chain.

                                                                                The diner in the farmer's market in SB is quaint, crowded, greasy and delicious.

                                                                                Chicago Taqueria on Western has good Mexican breakfast, but the other Mexican place, with the giant mural on the side, has the best chilequilles (sp), and they make your tortilla chips fresh.

                                                                                The LaSalle Grille serves well-cooked steaks with standard sides in a classic steak house, men-in-suits sort of ambiance. I've always found it predictably good.

                                                                                Fiddler's Hearth has surprisingly good food, and great beer, but gets pretty open-mic bluesy in the evenings.

                                                                                Sunny Korea Patio is delicious.

                                                                                Rocco's in SB has by far the best pizza around. Their house made sausage is just beyond.

                                                                                Fiddler's Hearth
                                                                                127 N Main St, South Bend, IN 46601

                                                                              3. re: amb222

                                                                                Corndance Tavern on Grape Road in Mishawaka is spectacular in terms of fresh ingredients, interesting preparation. It's the sister restaurant to the Corndance Cafe in Culver and both are outstanding.

                                                                                Corndance Cafe
                                                                                117 S Main St, Culver, IN 46511

                                                                                1. re: jes7o

                                                                                  Cambodian Thai hole in the wall can be fairly tasty, but they have one phone to call out credit cards and receive orders, and one person trying to do that, and ring people up, AND serve the 8-10 tables. So on a Friday night at dinner time, you could wait for 70-80 minutes for your food. I'm not kidding. It's a total mess. Has anyone else tried Cre-Asian on Ironwood, just below 23, opposite Nick's Patio?

                                                                                  Nick's Patio
                                                                                  1710 N Ironwood Dr, South Bend, IN 46635

                                                                                  1. re: fiorbhlasta

                                                                                    Giannetto's (in the 100 Center still I believe, although I know they are moving locations. They do have a Facebook page so you could check that if all else fails) has amazing stuffed pizza and they're pasta is delicious too. All their sauces are homemade and the ambiance is cozy. It's a great family owned place that's a nice change of pace from all the franchises.

                                                                                    Siam Thai Restaurant downtown is amazing as well. Reasonable prices and large portions of super tasty food make this one of my favorites when I'm down there.

                                                                                    Siam Thai Restaurant
                                                                                    211 N Main St, South Bend, IN 46601

                                                                          2. I love Fiddler's Hearth. The Chicken and Leek Boxty is delicious! I've been to Ireland, and this place makes me feel like I'm right back in a real Irish pub with great beer, live music, and much better food than you would expect!

                                                                            1. I have a little different question. I'm from SB but have lived far away for decades. My mother, who does live there, has moved to an assisted-living facility near Ironwood @ Ireland Rd. The food is just horrible - the cheapest ingredients poorly prepared. She isn't able to go out. When I visit I would like to bring her decent things to eat. Anything from good, fresh salads & sandwiches (even hamburgers) to full dinners.
                                                                              Does anyone have any suggestions for halfway-decent carryout in that area? Even a suggestion of 1 thing done well at an otherwise nothing-fabulous place would help.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: mizcriz

                                                                                The south side is pretty much chain restaurant hell....if you wanted to bring her a pretty okay burger, I'd go with the Culver's on N. Michigan and Ireland Rd. If I remember right, there is a Jewish deli in the small plaza in front of the Martin's on Ireland called Gold's, but I've never been and I don't even know if it's still there. You might be able to get salads and sandwiches at the Martin's, I'm pretty sure that the one at Miami and Ireland has a Side Door Deli. There's also a Panera Bread at Erskine Plaza (where Scottsdale Mall used to be). If you head up north on Ironwood to Mishawaka Ave, I hear Allie's Cafe has some decent grub and the Farmer's Market is on W. Mishawaka Ave.

                                                                                Chains that are on Ireland Road (from west to east, starting just west of the Michigan Street intersection): BW3, Texas Road House, ChikFilA, Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Hacienda, Burger King, Steak and Shake, Panera, Jimmy John's, Logan's, TGI Friday's, Wings Etc.

                                                                                Hope that helps and gives you a better picture of the options!

                                                                                1. re: jes7o

                                                                                  And apparently there's another Jewish deli serving sandwiches at Erskine Commons (Michigan and Ireland) called Midwest Kosher and Deli....never been...but just wanted to let you know that it's there....

                                                                                2. re: mizcriz

                                                                                  I'm seldom on the south side, but I did stop once by Macri's Italian Kitchen at 315 West Ireland Road. That's a solid place.

                                                                                3. Thank you everybody for your help.
                                                                                  If I try the delis I'll report back.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: mizcriz

                                                                                    i'm not sure why my post didn't show up, but I would suggest you check out
                                                                                    • aladdin's eatery in mishawaka
                                                                                    • martin's supermarket's salad bars

                                                                                    Until Whole Foods is here, those are my best two suggestions.
                                                                                    There's so many chain places, but all the salads are probably just as healthy as mcdonalds.

                                                                                  2. I'm looking for a romantic night out to get engaged which is better LA Salle grill or carriage house or other suggestions

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Deano53

                                                                                      Haven't been there, but Carriage House is pretty generally considered the most old-school "high class" place in the area. LaSalle Grill can be a bit loud with tables close to others. although calling ahead would surely position them to set aside an ideal space.

                                                                                      Go reconnoiter Ciao's, too. It can be too quiet in fact on weekdays. But superb food, very leisurely pace, classy.

                                                                                      1. re: Deano53

                                                                                        Corndance Tavern on Grape Road, Mishawaka. Excellent food, beautiful room for a special occasion.