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indianapolis this august

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will be in Indy for a week this august (GenCon). A few days before the con and a day or so after. Best places to go? Preferably downtown walkable. anything from dives to very high end suggestions welcome.

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  1. The best places walkable from the Indiana Convention Center:

    The Oceanaire, for terrific seafood - www.theoceanaire.com

    Palomino, for American food - www.palomino.com

    Both the Oceanaire and Palomino are two blocks east. They are on the same block as the Circle Centre Mall, a large indoor shopping center, but the entrances to both are outside on city streets.

    The best places further from the Convention Center:

    1.8 miles northeast - R Bistro for contemporary American - www.rbistro.com - R Bistro is at the far end of Massachusetts Avenue ("Mass Ave"), a strip of bars, restaurants, and entertainment

    6.0 miles north - Recess for contemporary American - www.recessindy.com - Recess is in a neighborhood called Broad Ripple

    10.8 miles north - Oakley's Bistro for contemporary American - www.oakleysbistro.com

    Distances shown are walking distances per Google Maps.

    Note, many places in Indianapolis are closed Sundays and Mondays. The Oceanaire and Palomino are open seven days a week. R Bistro, Recess, and Oakley's are closed Sundays and Mondays. (The last day of GenCon is Sunday, August 17.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      thanks so much for the details.

    2. Libertine for craft cocktails and small plates.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wahooty

        libertine sounds fun, even for just the name. their website seems to be having issues but will keep them in mind

      2. I'd second Libertine. St. Elmo's for steak. Short cab ride/drive R Bistro, Black Market and Mesh on Mass Ave.

        Oceanaire is solid unless there is something going on downtown. They consistently over-book the place and if there is something going on, a big sporting event or concert, the place is a complete mess. Recently before an Eagles concert we went over an hour and 45 min before the show and never got served our meal, yes we had a reservation. Brought the wrong wine, twice, appetizers were bad and took 40 min. Then they had the balls to bill us for the apps. We would have left but knew we wouldn't get in anyplace else. Had an almost equally bad experience before a big college B-ball game. Management didn't seem to give a damn either time.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HoosierFoodie

          that doesn't bode well for at least the middle part of our stay when GenCon is in town. thanks for the heads up.

          1. re: velkyn

            Maybe it's just a matter of avoiding them at peak dining hours. I bet it wouldn't be bad at all on Sunday, when GenCon ends and people are leaving town. Plus, it's one of the few places open on Sundays anyway, so you'd probably want to consider it for your Sunday dinner.

            FWIW, I've eaten at the Oceanaire numerous times and I've never had any service problems whatsoever. And their seafood is superb!

            1. re: nsxtasy

              But with GenCon in town it may be a problem but I have no idea about the size of GenCon. But, I'm not sure recommending a place that has issues during peak hours is a good idea anyway.

              I, too, have been to Oceanaire numerous times. But the last two, both within the last year, were complete disasters. The food, when it actually makes it to the table, is always excellent.

        2. I grew up in Indy, and love Alcapolco Joe's. It's located downtown, around the area of the Oceanaire, St. Elmo's, not sure exactly what street. We always get the burritos and queso. Very filling and very heavy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Oboegal

            >> around the area of the Oceanaire

            Not exactly, although it is downtown. Acapulco Joe's is 3/4 mile north of the Oceanaire and the Convention Center, per Google Maps. (The Oceanaire is two blocks from the Convention Center.)

          2. On a recent trip, we had a great meal at Palomino. I'd absolutely recommend that one.

            Harry and Izzy's is connected to St. Elmo's, but frankly wasn't very good. The signature steak was ordinary and smothered in a flavor-killing sauce.

            For a quick lunch sandwich bar, try the Potbelly Deli on the Market Square (have the milkshake).