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Aug 13, 2011 06:27 PM

Need Some Dinner Recs From Indianapolis Hounds...

Flying in to Indy the week after next (8/22), and will be staying downtown. One of the nights I'll probably visit Mo's, and dine at their bar, I don't swear by their food, but I do enjoy the atmosphere, and the food isn't bad. What I'm looking for is some suggestions in the downtown area. Let's look at dinner options that offer a creative menu, and quality flavors, as far as types of cuisine, we'll say anything goes. There's a chance I'll be dining alone, so please give extra consideration to places that allow you to dine at the bar or bar area. Any recs will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. >> What I'm looking for is some suggestions in the downtown area.

    Near Monument Circle and the hotels:

    Oceanaire -
    Palomino -
    14 West -

    A bit further away (just over a mile), at the far end of Mass Ave:

    R Bistro -

    I've dined solo at all these places (although I've preferred to eat at my own table; all have bars though). I've posted reports on those meals at I liked them all - especially the Oceanaire for seafood, and R Bistro for creativity.

    14 West
    14 West Maryland St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

    R Bistro
    888 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

    Palomino Restaurant & Bar
    49 West Maryland Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

    Oceanaire Seafood Room
    30 South Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks nsxtasy, i will do a little research on these recs.

    2. If you intend to be at Mo's, I take it you like steak. If so, there are a few other places for that, not necessarily "creative" places but decent places. Any interest?

      "Creative" menus - hmm, how about Asian/Japanese/Chinese fusion mash-up stuff? Not that much my cup of tea, but these may be of interest to you:
      Bu Da Lounge on Mass Ave:
      Sensu on South Meridian (down a bit from Oceanaire):

      nxstasy suggested R Bistro. Just a bit further (at the END of Mass Ave in the area)(Mass Ave actually continues in fits and starts all the way out to the suburbs) is Black Market, a new place for small plates and interesting stuff (small menu):
      Still settling in, I think. Some folks consider it pricey for the food.

      BTW I would consider both R Bistro and Black Market to be "borderline downtown". 1.3 miles to R Bistro, 1.4 miles to Black Market from Monument Circle, the center of downtown. (Bu Da Lounge is 0.7 miles)

      I think a sense of self is the main part of dining well by oneself.

      Do you have any desire to go beyond the core downtown area? Are you renting a car?

      5 Replies
      1. re: huiray

        I was thinking even before your response, creative isn't important, straight forward and flavorful works very well unto itself.

        I'll look these places up you mentioned, and welcome any other suggestions you may have, yes I will have a rental car.

        I do like steak, but honestly I don't go to Mo's for the steak, as I wrote, I just enjoy the restaurant generally speaking, I've never found their steaks to be anything above and beyond, but they do have a very enjoyable staff, a nice piano thing going in the background, and I've always had a good time when I visit Mo's.

        On a different note, I feel sure I know the answer, how is the Weber restaurant?

        1. re: picklelicious

          I have not eaten at Weber Grill but have heard/read both good and bad things about it as I imagine you have also found.

          If you are going to be mobile, that increases the range of places tremendously. Indy is pretty spread out and many of the better restaurants are outside of downtown. Two that immediately come to mind are:
          • Recess ( - 5.8 miles from Monument Circle (This also has a "side room" called "room four" with a casual, limited, a la carte menu);
          • Oakleys Bistro ( - 11.5 miles from Monument Circle. (This is nsxtasy's favorite! in Indy


          There are many other decent and fine places around beyond downtown, depending on how high or low you want to go in both "style" and cost, as well as whether you want some "Indy-ness" or "non-Chain-ness" or various other considerations. Some recent threads that will be of use:

          There are other threads, consult the "list" of similar threads usually at the bottom of each CH thread page. Some of the info may be out of date or the restaurants closed or relocated - as examples: Euphoria, Z's Oyster Bar have closed; Saigon has relocated to 38th St & Georgetown Rd; etc - you should call and/or check otherwise.

          Oakleys Bistro
          1464 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260

          4907 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46205

          4907 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46205

          1. re: huiray

            Thanks huiray, looks like some good leads.

            1. re: picklelicious

              You're welcome.

              If you're still interested in hunks of beef, two steakhouses downtown that I like are St Elmo ( ; old school, "famous" locally, signature shrimp cocktail [a little overblown in its notoriety]) and Capital Grille ( ;even though this latter one is a national chain). There are others, just search for them on Yelp or similar places.

              Oh, another useful thread:

              Capital Grille of Indianapolis
              40 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

              St Elmo Steak House Restrnt
              127 S. Illinois, Indianapolis, IN 46225

            2. re: huiray

              Good stuff here.

              Oakley's is indeed my favorite restaurant in Indianapolis! It's in a strip mall, but as noted, it's not all that close to downtown. They have a bar you can sit at as well as at your own table.

              Recess - a bit closer - is in a neighborhood called Broad Ripple, which has quite a few restaurant options. Just south of there is another place I like a lot, Zest ( ), which serves contemporary American food in a "down home" atmosphere. I don't recall whether they have a bar to sit at, but if the weather's nice, they have some pleasant outdoor seating. I posted a detailed report on my solo dinner there (as well as at Oakley's Bistro) in the "special occasion Indianapolis" topic for which I posted the link above.

              If you enjoy bakeries with really good breads and pastries, check out Rene's. Their main location where they bake is in Broad Ripple, and they also have a downtown shop that's open during the week.

              If you decide to go to Oceanaire, 14 West, or Palomino, note that those three restaurants are on the same two blocks as the Circle Center, a large downtown indoor shopping mall. However, the entrances to all three restaurants are from the street outside, not from the mall.

        2. Because huiray and nsxtasy have pretty well covered the bases already (and they're excellent recs), I'll just add a few others...

          Ball and Biscuit - in the Mass Ave area, a fun trendy bar with small plates.

          Mesh - (a small Indy based chain) also in the Mass Ave area, has a full dinner menu.

          I'd skip The Weber Restaurant and try Harry and Izzy - the little sister of St Elmo and just down the street from them. Bigger restaurant with a pretty bar, basically the same food as St Elmo.

          I'd wholeheartedly recommend Recess and Room 4 in Broad Ripple.

          Also, in the event you're willing drive to Broad Ripple, I'd also recommend H2O Sushi - they're excellent.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Cookiefiend

            I wasn't planning on trying the Weber restaurant, I had seen a show that featured it once and was curious how it is, I am a fan of some of their product line.

            1. re: picklelicious

              I've been to one in the Chicago area. It's okay. It's a somewhat upscale chain restaurant, maybe slightly above a TGI Friday's, not as nice as say Palomino or most of the steakhouse chains.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                I was at Ball & Biscuit a few weeks ago and loved it. Black Market was also very good. I have heard great things about R Bistro but have not been. If one wants steak then I'd opt for St. Elmo's first and Mo's second.

                Recess is probably my favorite place in Indy. I was underwhelmed at Oakley's. I also like Oceanaire a lot too.

                R Bistro
                888 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  "maybe slightly above a TGI Friday's"

                  Well, it's now on my must list!!!

                  1. re: picklelicious

                    Ah. I see. OK. :-)

                    Well, in that case, there are many restaurants that you may like in the downtown area without venturing outside of it. If you like TGIF you may not like Recess or Oakleys.

                    Some chain places in the same vein as 'slightly better than TGIF' around downtown within a few blocks of Monument Circle:
                    PF Changs - entrances in the Circle Center or from S Illinois.
                    Champps Americana - Circle Center, there's an entrance on W Washington St.
                    Qdoba, Hard Rock Cafe - both on S Meridian; the Hard Rock here has a big bar.
                    Buca di Beppo - N Illinois.
                    Adobo Grill on E Washington just east of N Pennsylvania.
                    Scotty's Brewhouse at Virginia & N Pennsylvania.
                    There's also a Claddagh Irish Pub a couple blocks further on S Meridian.

                    There's a McCormick & Schmick's on W Market, a Ruth's Chris (Steakhouse) on S Illinois [Circle Center complex] and a Fogo de Chao on E Washington (opposite that Adobo grill) but these are more expensive.

                    There's an independent place you may like - Tata Cuban Cafe on W Market just before Capitol Ave.

                    Just walk around, I'm sure you'll find something to your liking.

                    McCormick & Schmick's Seafood - Indianapolis
                    110 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

                    Hard Rock Cafe
                    49 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

                    Tata Cuban Cafe
                    137 W Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

                    1. re: huiray

                      My gosh man...I was being as sarcastic as humanly possible. Sorry for the confusion.

                      1. re: picklelicious

                        Picklelicious -

                        No worries!
                        Please let us know though where you go and what you thought!

                        1. re: Cookiefiend

                          Getting ready to get on plane now. Thanks for all the wonderful recs, and will let you know the results.

            2. Well, tonight I tried 14 West and was very pleased with the food and service. They were featuring 1/2 priced apps at the bar, so apps it was. I ordered three different starters: Vietnamese Beef Rolls, "award winning" Lobster Mac & Cheese, and Steak Frites. First off, let me say this appears to be a solid restaurant that takes pride in what they serve, and I would have no problem recommending it to anyone who knows enough about food to care.

              Vietnamese Beef Roll-good light app, nice flavor, good textural contrast, and a tasty bitter/sweet/acidic sauce to compliment.

              Lobster Mac & Cheese-very nice dish, this would probably be the 2nd best version of the dish I've had, although a distant 2nd to Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans. The dish was very worthy, mac was cooked properly, there was enough sauce, and the sauce had good flavor, and there was a reasonable amount of lobster (claw) meat. If I had any complaints about the dish, it would be the lack of a textural component, such as a light bread crumb topping, and perhaps a richer lobster flavor devoloped in the cheese sauce. The same app (lobster mac) served a little later to a different customer had a light panko bread crumb topping, although it appeared to have far less sauce accompanying the pasta, so there appears to be some issues with consistency of what's coming out of the kitchen, at least in this instance.

              Steak Frites-this was a sliced usda prime top sirlion in a demi glace. Both components were good, but both were underseasoned, after adding a little salt, we had a much better dish. The steak was cooked perfectly MR as ordered, and although the fries could've been crispier, they were fresh cut and not bad at all.

              The staff was very attentive, but the resturant was quite empty, although it was Monday, and quite early for most of my visit.

              Thanks for quality rec, as of now my plans are Oakly's Bistro tomorrow night, and most likely Mo's on Wednesday, but my hotel is a block away from St Elmo....we shall see.