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Downtown Indianapolis

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I will be in Downtown Indianapolis without a car, staying at Circle Center. I am interested in good ethnic retaurants, esp Asian, Latin, Caribbean, eastern European, southern US; also good bakeries, local specialities, and other good restaurants that aren't too expensive or that might be good buys at lunchtime. Pls include location and days & hours open, if known. Thanks!

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  1. Around downtown you have the following:

    1) India Garden ( http://www.indiagardenindy.com/ ) at 143 N. Illinois St. Very good northern Indian with quite a few vegetarian options. I think that the lunch buffet at around $8.00 is one of the best lunch deals downtown. I know that a lot of people don't like buffets, but this one is very popular during lunch hours so the food moves very quickly. Dinner is very good also.

    2) The Bosphorus ( http://www.bosphoruscafe.com/ ) has very good Turkish food. They are located on East St, down across from the Eli Lilly Corporate Campus. It's a very short (5 minutes) cab ride from the circle.

    3) Mikado, a Japanese restaurant at the corner of Illinois and Georgia Streets. I couldn't find a website but I think that their hours are typical. I think that the food is good but it's a bit on the pricey side due to it's location. There are several other very good and less expensive Japanese restaurants outside of downtown

    4) Greek Islands ( http://www.greekislandsrestaurant.com/ ) is very good Greek food a few blocks south of downtown. It's walkable but you may feel more comfortable taking the 5 minute cab ride to get there.

    5) Shapiro's Deli ( http://www.shapiros.com/ ) right next door to Greek Islands. Not really ethnic, but a great place to go if the urge for a pastrami on rye hits. They also have a full cafeteria line of other home cooked food.

    6) El Sol de Tala in Union Station (the old train station) a few blocks south of the circle on Meridian Street. They can be hit and miss, but they do serve some authentic Mexican fare downtown.

    7) Yats ( http://www.yatscajuncreole.com/ ) Cajun / Creole over on Massachusetts Ave. is one of our favorite restaurants in the city. For $5 ($6 if you want to do a half and half of two of their entrees) you can get a great meal. They mark on the chalkboad what they have that day and erase things as they sell out. The chili cheese etoufee (sp?) is always one of the first things to sell out. I think that everything that they make is great.

    Most of the ethnic food is not right downtown. If you want, I could give you some options that would require a cab ride.

    1. Thanks for the info.

      I am a big walker--could walk 2 miles there and back easily, if it's safe, crimewise & trafficwise, and the weather is OK. Also happy to take a bus if there is one. I'd take a taxi if it were a super good restaurant, or in an area where I'm seeing other touristy things. For instance, near the parks & zoo.

      Why do you say I might be more comfortable taking a taxi to Greek Islands?

      I'm also interested in places with good pastry or breads & good local specialties if not too expensive. Also if a more expensive place has good lunch specials, I'd go for lunch.

      Thanks again so much for all the info.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wanda

        Downtown Indy is very walkable which is one of the things that I like best about it.

        If you have time to do some touristy stuff I would definitely recommend that you walk west on either Washington St or Maryland St (they'll both eventually get you to the same spot) to the White River State Park, just on the other side of West St.:

        http://www.in.gov/whiteriver/

        There's lots to do over there, including the zoo and the White River Gardens, The Indiana State Museum and IMAX Theater, The Eiteljorg Museum of Native American and Western Art, The NCAA Headquarters and Hall of Champions, The Indianapolis Indians Triple-A Minor League Baseball Stadium and lots of green space to enjoy. It also adjoins the Canal Walk:

        http://www.discovercanal.com/

        Which offers a nice place to stroll and people watch.

        It sounds like you would be fine walking to Greek Islands and Shapiros. The reason why I mentioned the cab ride is that there are a few blocks, once you get south of South Street, which is mainly part of Eli Lilly and a nice older neighborhood, where the number of people on the street is much less than in downtown itself. It's still safe (most of downtown Indy, with maybe the exception of some back alleys, is very safe) but some people who are unfamiliar with the area may feel a little uncomfortable. You could walk to The Bosphorus as well.

        Another place that I forgot to mention is the Luxor Egyptian restaurant in Fountain Square, also very walkable, about a mile southeast of downtown:

        http://www.discoverfountainsquare.com...

        Anything over on Massachusetts Ave is walkable:

        http://www.discovermassave.com/splash...

        MacNivens ( http://indianabeer.com/bars/macnivens... ) a Scottish themed restaurant and bar, and Bazbeuax Pizza ( http://www.bazbeaux.com/locations.html ) are on the south end of Mass Ave closest to downtown. Just a block or so north is Elements ( http://indianapolis.citysearch.com/pr... ) one of the best fine dining restaurants in the city. Another block or two north and you're at The Rathskeller ( http://www.rathskeller.com/ ) for great German food and a great Biergarten out back. A few more blocks north is Yats. And a half-mile or so north of Yats, at the far end of Mass Ave is R-Bistro ( http://www.rbistro.com/ ) another of Indy's best restaurants.

        For baked goods and pastries downtown it's hard to beat Shapiro's ( http://www.shapiros.com/menu.pdf ). Everything is baked fresh there on site. For the absolute best bakery in the city though, you would need to take a cab ride up to Broad Ripple ( http://www.discoverbroadripplevillage... ) to Rene's Bakery ( http://www.nuvo.net/cuisine/eatme.htm... ).

      2. Thank you so much for all this very helpful info. I can't wait to go now!

        1. You might also want to try Bistro Tchopstix which is in the building at the NE corner of Illinois and New York-- great Korean and sushi also.