Indy - midrange nr 82nd and Fall Creek
I would like to get a gift certificate for my brother and his wife for their birthdays. What would you recommend that is within about a 20 minute drive of this area, where they could get appetizer, entree, and dessert (they're not wine drinkers) for about $70? They would enjoy standard or nouveau American cuisine, Italian, German, and possibly French.
I have looked at several posts, and I think the Rathskeller and R Bistro would be good options, but I think it is quite a drive to get downtown for them.
And while you're at it, we will be visiting them for a week or so in March and would love recommendations on good, cheap ethnic restaurants in the area. Is Shen Yang anywhere close? Dim sum sounds fantastic. Vietnamese and Middle Eastern restaurants would also be a plus as we can't get that at home.
If I read your description correctly I think your relatives live at the south end of Giest reservoir which is closer to Hancock county than to downtown. I think Oakley's is more than 20 minutes from Giest but I also think it is well worth the trip and certainly closer than downtown.
I know next to nothing about resturants in the Giest/Castleton area as I live on the other side of town but my BIL likes Bella Vita which is an Itailan place on the Giest reservoir. Maybe another CH has been there?
When you come in March, you should know that Shen Yang is farther than Oakley's. In fact I think it could be as much as 40-50 minutes from the south end of Giest. However, the Broad Ripple area might be an nice compromise. It is not as far as downtown or the westside but has a large variety of resturants from many different cultures that fall within all price ranges.
The closest place is probably The Fox, on Fox Rd. at Oaklandon Rd. Less than five minutes, and passable American fare.
A bit farther would be Sangiovese, on 82 St at Dean Rd. About 10 minutes, and decent Italian fare.
Other options would include H2O Sushi, and Shanghai Lil's. Both within 15 minutes.
All of the Castleton Mall area stuff is whithin your range (10-15 minutes), including Maggianos, Bravo and the dreaded Cheesecake factory. I think there's also a PF Chang in the area. Also Hall's Castleton Grill, with decent prime rib, if you want to avoid the standard chains.
I'm not a big fan of Bella Vita, although I know others are. The food is OK, but the atmosphere is not to my taste. YMMV.
Rathskeller is downtown, which is 20 minutes if the traffic is good. Oakleys is northwest, and is also 20-25 minutes. Oakleys may not be within your stated budget.
For a birthday dinner I'd want a quiter place with softer lighting. Sangiovese would be a decent choice, IMO.
L'Exporateur is also on the north side, not too far away. www.dinelex.com
Another option is to give them an American Express dining gift card, which would enable them to choose any restaurant that accepts their credit cards, so they could choose the restaurant that THEY would like best. For more info: http://www10.americanexpress.com/sif/...