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Indy Downtown - Convention Center - Best Resto semi near

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Is R Bistro pretty much the top spot downtown at the moment?

Friends and I generally get to Indy for Gen Con once a year and like to do at least one nice dinner - we have been to St Elmo's plenty of times (I am sure we will get some bread pudding there and a few cocktails - perhaps a shrimp cocktail or two) but I don't fancy the steaks there for the price, we have been to Oakley's, which was good but the cab ride there from downtown was so expensive it took any value out of the trip, and with limited time was not worth the ride

Is there any other place close to the conference center that is worth checking out, the maroon tarped place with the cat on it (i cannot remember the name maybe Salazars's?) seemed to have some decent happy hour specials, I think the Ram food / beer has gone downhill, and it is always a mad house, I have been to Oceanaire in SD, so no need to try the Indy outpost, Hoolihans used to be solid later in the evening for pub grub but I think that is gone

Help us out with a few ideas please

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  1. With a 10 month old baby, unfortunately I have not been able to enjoy many of the newer, independent restaurants in the downtown area that have been getting a lot of buzz and good press. You might want to check some of them out though:

    Black Market
    BlueBeard
    The Libertine

    I am sure other Indy Hounds can add to the list.

    R Bistro is always a good choice too!

    1. R Bistro on Mass Ave. is excellent. I also like Blackbeard a lot, too. Black Market and Libertine are very fine as well. Oakley's is very good but I have never been as impressed as so many other people. Also consider Mesh on Mass Ave.

      1. I have had some excellent meals at The Meridian. Even on Valentine's Day, which is not usually when restaurants are at their best. The food, service, and ambiance are all wonderful. You will definitely need a reservation here. It is at North Meridian and Westfield. I mention it because you have been to Oakley's, which is even further from downtown.

        Two other places I would mention are Taste and Recess. Taste is open for dinner on Wednesday and Thursday, while Recess is open at least Tuesday-Saturday. Taste's menu is static, but Recess has a prix fixe menu that changes daily. Love them both.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ParisKat

          Just so you know, these three places are quite a distance from the Convention Center:

          Meridian - 6.6 miles

          Taste - 6.3 miles

          Recess - 6.1 miles

          And for reference, the other places mentioned above:

          Black Market - 1.9 miles

          BlueBeard - 1.2 miles

          The Libertine - 0.4 miles

          R Bistro - 1.8 miles

          Oh, and they just announced today that Bluebeard was nominated as a semifinalist for a James Beard Award for best new restaurant in the U.S., and Libertine, Recess, and R Bistro were nominated as semifinalist for best chef Great Lakes: http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2013/02...

        2. I'm not from Indy but visit family there frequently. R Bistro is certainly a good bet, but my favorite in the downtown area is The Libertine. It's a craft cocktail bar with an awesome dinner menu as well.

          If you're willing to get a cab or have a car, Recess is hands down my top restaurant in Indy. I've been 4 times and I don't even live in the state. Every dish I've had there has been excellent, and the atmosphere is casual and fun while still seeming special in some way.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mira_r

            Picking this thread back up now that the trip is close, thanks for all the new info - very excited for the trip based on these findings:

            The Libertine you had me at craft cocktail - and the fact that it is .4 miles away, that means I can walk over

            Cocktail menu looks pretty good - also you know it is a good cocktail bar when they never mention vodka on the menu :)

            Menu also is very interesting - seems like good noshing food to go with good drinks - love they have a Blood Mary Lunch on the menu (dont like blood mary's but love the concept)

            Bluebeard seems a decent option, sounds like they have a decent cocktail menu as well, and taking some points from Noble Experiement is a good call, have a few interesting rum drinks

            And I got to Black Market, their Rum list is fantastic, that is a winner :)

            So I think we will try to get to R Bistro, Black Market, and The Libertine

            Is there anything not to miss at these 3 (if avaliable on the day) or something R Bistro does especially well (obviously it changes often)

          2. R Bistro, Recess, Blackbeard, Black Market, Libertine, or Mesh. Pretty much in that order at least for the first few.

            1. One other questions here that is slightly off topic but is there any good Coffee places near the convention center

              I.E. Blue Bottle (SF) or Cartel Coffee (PHX)

              Thanks
              D

              1. I just got back from Gen Con and had 2 great evenings at Libertine and a wonderful dinner at Bluebeard as well. Also had lunch at a spot... Patasomething Cafe, there's one at the airport as well... Anyhow, right around the corner from the convention center and very quick. Fit very well in my 1 hour lunch.

                Libertine was a nice handcrafted cocktail spot with good, basic food. Had the Pimm's Cup and Chartreuse drink. Also sampled the Mortadella sandwich, came with fried egg on it. Think upscale fried bologna sandwich. Later, tried the cauliflower ("grilled", but swimming in oil), broccoli (less, so, but still very oily) and chickpea fritters (yes, more grease). Friend had the simple but tasty deviled egg assortment and the bacon sampler (only in America...) Overall, a good spot, convenient and serves food late. Also, close to downtown without having "Last Resort" "di Beppo" "Hard Rock" or a thinly veiled breast reference in the name (Tacky, yes. Unrefined, yes. Braggable? Hardly.)

                The best was Bluebeard, very well deserving of the James Beard recognition. 90 minute wait quoted (no reservations accepted), but we sat at the bar after loitering for about 10 minutes near those eating dessert. Great gin drinks while we waited. We had a 3 cheese plate (manchego, a raw goat cheese, and, um... great gin drinks, lol. Sorry. [edit: we had tomme and bloomy]), and the greatest choucouterie plate ever, with several types of sausage, boudin blanc, some fingerling potatoes and overall deliciousness. We grabbed the next to last one and the staff were hoping the other would make it through the night so they could have it. 5 minutes after ours arrived, the guys next to us ordered the last one. Also, we had the uni spoon (great, fresh uni but was overpowered by the large amount of soy sauce dumped on it, plus too much wasabi served with it. Also had the brussell sprouts and octopus (both delicious).

                Great service and would go back in a heartbeat. $8 cab ride each way, but well worth it.

                Great map, although far from complete, of the the downtown restaurants:
                http://www.icclos.com/pdf/DTRestauran...