Good Spots in Indianapolis (Downtown, plus...)
Traveling to Indianapolis for two days, and staying at the Westin Indianapolis downtown, near the RCA Dome.
Need to find two good dinner spots. One needs to be close to the hotel, the other can be pretty much anywhere in the city. Nowhere super expensive ($15-$25 range works); the downtown spot can be a little pricier than the other.
Looking for some good local spots, places with character.
I've been trying a lot of the top spots in and around Indianapolis on my frequent trips to that city. My two favorites are both just two blocks from the Westin (they're right around the corner from each other). 14 West ( www.14westindy.com ) features upscale contemporary food in a casual setting (they also have outdoor seating, which offers the character you're looking for). If you like them, their panned veal sweetbreads are heavenly! The Oceanaire ( www.theoceanaire.com ) features the freshest seafood in a nautical motif. The Oceanaire also offers a bargain three-course special for lunch and up to about 4:30 pm. Both are consistently outstanding in every way. You can read my detailed reports on meals at these and other restaurants in and around Indy in this topic:
BARcelona ( http://www.barcelonatapas.com/ ) a tapas restaurant at the corner of Ohio and Delaware downtown is a recent and very good addition to the downtown dining scene.
I'll always put in a plug for Elements ( http://www.elementsindy.com/ ) an R Bistro ( http://www.rbistro.com/ ), both on Massachusetts Ave as excellent dining choices downtown. Elements is a bit more formal (but not overly so). You can't go wrong with either.
For Jewish deli - Shipiro's. Greek - Greek Islands. Italian - Iaria's. good burger - Working Man's Friend. Pizza - Bazbaux's. Japanese/Sushi - Mikado.
Like those above, I'll absolutely recommend Elements and R Bistro for your downtown experience. Both have websites. Also consider Rathskeller for good german food with great beer options
For you meal away from downtown, I'll recommend Oakley's (my overall favorite Indy restaurant) and - with a measure of hesitation - L'Explorateur where your meal will either be absolutely fantastic or fall short; there is little middle ground there.