Indianapolis Food finds
Yummy became Shen Yang ( http://features.cityguide.aol.com/ind... ). I believe that several of the kitchen and front of the house people were there when it was Yummy. They still have outstanding dim sum and the dinner menu seems very authentic. They also removed the fish tanks and gave the place a fresh coat of paint both of which were definite improvements.
I second R Bistro very excellent! Chef there is fabulous. Shapiro's is good too. G.T. South's is also good for BBQ. For late night eats on the prowl in Downtown I suggest Red Eye Cafe..cheap and good chili cheese fries are great. Big portions and CHEAP! Open 24/7. They have a coffee bar (milky way coffee is good but sweet) Breakfast is 24 hour too!
GT South's is pretty good.
A couple of other suggestions:
* Judge's Tip of the Rib ( http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060809/ENTERTAINMENT02/608090325/1079 ) is also very good. There are two locations. One in the City Market downtown that's open mainly during lunch hours. The other is at Belmont and Michigan, a couple of miles northwest of downtown. In addition to the barbecue, the sides are great. I love the corn casserole and the baked beans which contain large chunks of pork.
* Squealers ( http://www.nuvo.net/archive/2005/02/16/everything_and_the_squeal.html ) is also very good. There's one at 86th St and Zionsville Rd (northwest of the city) and the original location in Mooresville (southwest of the city), both are a pretty long drive from downtown (especially Mooresville).
* I also like the Dick's Bodacious BBQ ( http://www.dicksbbq.com/indy.html )location at Market and Pennsylvania right downtown. Fair disclosure, I'm a friend of Jason, the owner. Dick's is a small local chain. Jason and his staff really put out a quality product. One of my favorite lunches downtown is the smoked salmon salad that they have as a special quite frequently. The rub that they use on the salmon is great, and if you go easy on the dressing it makes for a very healthy and delicious lunch. I also really like the turkey and the chicken wings are really good. The pork, ribs and brisket are all pretty good, too. The sides are average except for when they have sweet corn on the cob!
While we might not be able to blow your mind (culinarily speaking) we can still make sure that you have some really good food to eat while you're here.
For an upscale dinner downtown, Elements ( http://www.elementsindy.com/ ) would be my choice.
A bit of a drive north of downtown, in Broad Ripple, is L'Explorateur ( http://www.dinelex.com/ ), a relatively new upscale restaurant that is as cutting edge as it gets in Indy. Sad to say, but I've still not eaten there. They have been getting some very strong reviews, though.
About an hour drive south to Bloomington will get you to Restaurant Tallent ( http://www.restauranttallent.com/ ), one of the top restaurants in the state. If you do a search of Chowhound for it you can read some of the rave reviews they've received from Chowhound regulars.
R Bistro ( http://www.rbistro.com/ ) and Shelbi Street Cafe ( http://www.fountainsquareindy.com/ShelBi.html ) come in a bit lower on the price scale, but are both downtown and put out some solid food.
For more casual food I'd recommend some of the following:
* Shapiro's Deli ( http://www.shapiros.com/ ) just south of downtown for some of the best deli food in the midwest. I love the pastrami on rye!
* The Bosphorus ( http://www.bosphoruscafe.com/ ) for excellent Turkish food. Also very close to downtown.
* India Garden ( http://www.indiagardenindy.com/ ) for excellent Indian food downtown. Mainly nothern Indian but several southern Indian dishes. They also do a very popular lunch buffet if you're in the area.
* Yats ( http://www.yatscajuncreole.com/menu.php ) over on Massachusetts Ave for cheap Cajun/Creole. A great meal for $5 ($6 if you want to do a 1/2 and 1/2 of two of the entrees).
* Saigon Restaurant ( go here: http://www.indyethnicfood.com/Index.c... and search on Saigon and then click the "View" button to read people's reviews) for outstanding Vietnamese food. It's about a 15 minute drive northwest of downtown. If you go here, make sure to ask for the quail as an appetizer. Outstanding! As is everything else on the menu that I've ever had.
I need to run for now, but I'll probably post a few more possibilities later. Let me know if there's something in particular that you're looking for.
What's your food prefence - that will help guide us in the right direction.
Having said that, here's a few off the top of my head...
Shapiros - best sandwiches for lunch. It's a long-standing Jewish deli downtown.
Elements - innovative, quality food. www.elementsindy.com
Du Soleil - others have given it mixed reviews since the original chef left. However, I've been since his departure and was quite pleased. Located in the Conrad hotel.
Cafe Nora - an often forgotten gem on the north side. It would be easy to find and only 15 min or so from downtown. From the outside, it doesn't look like much, but they always have excellent, creative mediterranean food. www.cafenora.com
R Bistro. Menu changes weekly. Always reliably good food with fresh, local ingredients. Not necessary a "must," but very very good. www.rbistro.com
Will be happy to provide others if you so desire...
Well, it depends on where you're coming from. If you live in a serious food-centric U.S. city, e.g., NY, SF, LA, Chicago, Indy and environs have nothing to excite. There are, perhaps, a dozen restaurants that aspire to top-tier status, but no one has hit it yet. We're getting closer, but I think that we lack a sufficient base of educated consumers to support top-flight dining establishments. There are talented chefs who are trying very hard, so in five years the story might be very different.