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Aug 13, 2009 08:17 AM

Downtown Indianapolis

I will be attending a conference in Indianapolis next month and am looking for some suggestions for lunch and dinner.

My hotel is near the State Capitol and Monument Circle.

Lunches would be moderately priced. Dinners could be moderate-upscale.

What do you recommend?

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  1. For lunch there is a very good pub that's close to you. By your description, it should either be next door (on Washington St) or just around the corner. Loughmiller's Pub. You can check theri website at loughmillerspub dot com. There are of course plenty of chain restaurants. There are many chain restaurants and the Circle Center Mall has a food court with a Johnny Rocket's that's popular.
    For dinner it's mostly chains again downtown. There are some nice options. If you like Mexican, Adobo Grill is on Washington near you and has very good guacamole made table side. Ask to sit in the lounge area by the window. You will overlook the street which gives a good view. Indy has a couple of Ruth's Chris steak houses and the one downtown is very nicely laid out. Near downtown (can be walked but it's kind of a hike is a wonderful local place. It's a bar, but the restaurant has excellent food. Ralph's Great Divide is on New York St. The home made desserts are the best. People who think they don't really like coconut cream pie will ask for seconds. There is a link on the Indianapolis Star website to a review. They are only open to the public Mon-Fri. A couple of blocks closer to downtown on New York is a local Italian restaurant called Amici's. Try the bruschetta, it's made with a mushroom pate. Also near downtown but again you'll want to drive is a terrific Greek restaurant, Santorini.
    I hope you will get some time to explore the Indiana State Museum and/or the Eiteljorg Museum as well. Enjoy your stay.

    1. Lots of chains downtown. Palomino's, Oceanaire, (both dependable) steakhouses, etc.... St. Elmo's Steakhouse is independently owned and at least as good as the chains.


      1 Reply
      1. re: HoosierFoodie

        We like Palomino and Oceanaire a lot, but were very disappointed the last time we ate at St. Elmo's (probably 8 years ago). The steaks were really subpar -- not at all up to the quality of years gone by. We will not return.

      2. Independents are scarce but here is a list by neighborhood. The central core has CAFE PATACHOU, STARS DELI, ADOBO GRILL, SAFFRON CAFE & A BUNCH OF CORPORATE CHAINS AND STEAKHOUSES THAT ARE OVERPRICED FOR THE VALUE. Massachusettes Avenue: McNIVEN'S, HOAGLIN TO GO, AESOPS TABLES, YATS, CHATHAM TAP, & R BISTRO. Lockerbie area has RALPH'S GREAT DIVIDE. Fountain Square: SIAM SQUARE, NAISA & BOSPHOROUS. On 25th and Delaware (near northside) GOOSE THE MARKET has the only selection of housemade charcuterie and imported cheeses along with unique/local items with a great chalkboard sandwich menu. More of a deli but should not be missed by a true foodie.

        My favorite out of these is Siam Square in Fountain Square for Thai, R Bistro for seasonal, from scratch cooking utilizing local ingredients...and their dinner menu changes weekly, and the GOOSE for cheese, pork fat, gelato, beer, wine, and a number of sandwiches. Where downtown can you find smoked beef tongue and pork cheeks on the same sandwich? Good luck and hope you enjoy your stay!

        3 Replies
        1. re: napolean

          I was recently in Indianapolis for a night and had dinner at Saffron Cafe, and it was really great. We got the ginger chicken tajine, the lamb tajine, and the honey lamb. All were good - I liked the lamb dishes a bit more than the chicken. The service was very pleasant and competent and the chef came out to say hello, too (I think it was a slow night). It was maybe a fifteen minute walk from our hotel (downtown, right where the OP describes), but definitely worth it, and I was glad for a walk after all that lamb. Unfortunately I can't remember the location but maybe someone local could fill that in.

          1. re: LiaM

            I just know it's on Ft. Wayne Avenue, a diagonal street between Delaware and Pennsylvania Streets. I have heard raves about the lamb dishes by the way.

          2. re: napolean

            Loved Cafe Patachou when I was in town...would try that for lunch if you can.

          3. I moved a few years ago, and really miss City Market for lunch, Ameer in particular.