Here are all the best Indianapolis restaurants from two local foodies: Broad Ripple, downtown, breweries, sushi, and all the places to eat in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis is poised to become America’s next big destination says Travel + Leisure, and that couldn’t make us happier! My husband Alex and I are food & travel experts and cookbook authors who’ve lived in Indianapolis for the past 14 years. Since we’ve lived here, places to eat in Indianapolis have exploded into a renaissance of farm to table restaurants, farmer’s markets, hipster coffee shops, and local breweries. In short, Indy is where it’s at these days. So we’re excited to share with you all the best Indianapolis restaurants in the city we call home.
How we made this best Indianapolis restaurants list
People often ask us, what are the best restaurants in Indianapolis? Here’s our take: it’s hard to give a specific answer because it depends on what the occasion is (night out on the town? dinner with kids?) and where you are in the city. Because of that, our list of best Indianapolis restaurants is fairly large and organized by neighborhood. We’ve noted why we like them and what occasions they’re best for; we’ve also included Indianapolis breweries and coffee shops.
Alex and I have lived here for 14 years and eaten at a lot of Indianapolis restaurants. However, there are new restaurants in Indianapolis popping up each day! So, this is not an exhaustive list: it’s just the places to eat in Indianapolis we’ve been to multiple times and would recommend. Also disclaimer: our areas of most expertise are Broad Ripple restaurants and restaurants in downtown Indianapolis. There are lots of great restaurants in other areas– for example, the West side has lots of international food options that we’ve only just begun to explore! If you see a best Indianapolis restaurant you think we should try, give us a shout in the comments!
Buffalo cauliflower wings at Twenty Tap (Broad Ripple restaurant)
Broad Ripple Restaurants
Alex and I live in the Broad Ripple neighborhood, so naturally we’ve tried more Broad Ripple restaurants since we love to stay in our ‘hood. Here are the best Broad Ripple restaurants, breweries and coffee shops we enjoy.
Dinner: A signature Broad Ripple restaurant, Napolese has truly great artisan pizza and fresh, inventive seasonal salads. It’s a perfect place for a date night, out with friends, or even to bring the kids. You can eat outside in the summer (our favorite). For a starter, get the baked goat cheese. Split a few of the salads and pizzas among the table: the Margherita pizza with quail egg is a must. It’s one of our favorite inspired Italian restaurants in Indianapolis.
Related: Our Baked Goat Cheese with Fire Roasted Tomatoes recipe inspired by Napolese!
Dinner: Perfect for a date night, Ukiyo is a Japanese fusion restaurant has incredible small plates and sushi served in a trendy atmosphere. The omakase is a special tasting menu prepared by the chef that you have to reserve in advance; it’s available Fridays and Saturdays.
Bar One Fourteen
Dinner / cocktails: Bar One Fourteen feels like you’ve walked into a hip club in Paris, but you’re still in Indianapolis! It’s super dark and serves great cocktails and trendy French-inspired food. Perfect for date night! Their truffle burger is the best burger in town. The popovers are also fabulous. It’s another in the Patachou family of restaurants (which includes Napolese and Public Greens).
Patachou / Petit Chou
Breakfast / lunch: An old standby for lunch and brunch, Patachou has straightforward, really good real food served in a fresh atmosphere. The vegan Cuban breakfast and tomato artichoke soup are our faves. It has great vegetarian and vegan options. Petit Chou is Patachou’s the French bistro sister and has a lovely French menu. Petit Chou also serves dinner.
Related: Our Tomato Artichoke Soup recipe inspired by Patachou!
Broken yolk margherita pizza at Napolese (Broad Ripple restaurants)
Just Pop In
Lunch / snacks & drinks: Located on the main strip in Broad Ripple, Just Pop In is a gourmet popcorn bar featuring small plates, beer, wine, and bubbles. The setting is super trendy and the patio is open in warm weather. When we’re in Broad Ripple, we love stopping by for a snack and a drink. The hummus platter is one of our favorites in town.
Lunch / Casual dinner: Broad Ripple restaurant Public Greens is super casual fresh, delicious food served cafeteria style. What we love about Public Greens is it offers veggie forward, delicious food without a big wait. It’s right next to the Monon Trail, so the patio is perfect in warm weather. The menu is constantly changing and it’s perfect for families. Some of our favorites: fries, the vegan chili, and their many salads. Public Greens dedicates its profits to The Patachou Foundation, which feeds at-risk and food insecure children in the Indianapolis community.
Related: Our Quinoa Black Bean Vegan Chili recipe inspired by Public Greens!
Petit Chou (Broad Ripple restaurants)
The Garden Table
Breakfast / lunch: The Garden Table features fresh juices and healthy, plant based foods along with heartier, meaty ones. Our favorite location is the downtown location because of its trendy vibe; it also serves dinner. See below.
Related: Our Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich recipe inspired by The Garden Table!
Breakfast / lunch: For the hardcore plant lover, Ezra’s features raw,vegan and gluten free foods in a casual and brightly colored atmosphere. It’s perfect for breakfast and brunch. Our favorite is the Buddha bowl: lots of veggies with delicious savory raw falafel balls. They also have some inventive vegan and gluten free dessert creations.
Related: Our Raw Falafel Buddha Bowl recipe inspired by Ezra’s!
Sweet treat: It’s not a Broad Ripple restaurant per say, but for a sweet treat look no further than Nicey Treat! It’s a seasonal, local gourmet popsicle company. All of their flavors are insanely good: think pina colada, avocado, strawberry mint, and frozen hot chocolate. Our favorite? Almond butter dipped in dark chocolate (a $1 adder and totally worth it).
Gallery Pastry Shop
Sweet treat / brunch: Gallery Pastry Shop is one of our favorites, offering supremely high quality pastries in a trendy but relaxed atmosphere. They’re well known for their macaroons (hit them on Wednesdays for $1 macaroon day!). Gallery is a perfect meeting spot for coffee and a croissant, or brunch any time of the week.
Sweet treat / lunch: If you’re looking for a spot for a girl date, Cake Bake Shop is sumptuously decorated with all things pink and sparkly! It’s outfitted like a Parisian fairytale and serves enormous three layer cakes, pies, and pastries, most of them topped with glitter. They also have some savory lunch options like sandwiches. I take our niece here for tea and cake on a little date every year.
Pots & Pans Pie Shoppe (Broad Ripple restaurants)
Pots & Pans Pie Shoppe
Sweet treat / snack: Pots & Pans is very new and we’ve only visited once, but we added them to our list because it’s a fun little spot to grab a pie. Boasting artisan savory and sweet pies, you can head over for their Vegan Pot Pie or Biscuits and Gravy Pot Pie as a meal, or a fruit pie as a sweet treat. They serve our favorite local coffee roasters, Blue Mind Roasting, and have a quaint vibe. !
Dinner / drinks: Looking for greasy bar food in a Chicago style deli and pub? Fat Dan’s is where it’s at for a splurge, though we’re more into healthy food, Their fries are our favorite in the city, and come out on a big sheet of parchment paper perfectly salty and crisp. If you’re into wings, their wings are to die for. And don’t worry, they’ve also got a great veggie burger!
Bluebeard (downtown Indianapolis)
Restaurants in Downtown Indianapolis
There are so many restaurants in downtown Indianapolis it’s hard to keep track! Here are some of our fast favorites of places to eat in Indianapolis. Again, we’ve mentioned restaurants that fit various occasions. Because best Indianapolis restaurants means the best restaurant for the occasion: be it lunch, girls night, date night, or drinks.
Bluebeard (downtown Indianapolis)
Dinner / drinks: Perfect for date night or a night on the town, Bluebeard is one of our Indy faves, serving up sophisticated Italian inspired small and large plates. In its first year, Bluebeard was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant. Named after a book by Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut, and the dining room showcases a variety of books and typewriters to fit with the literary theme. The cocktails are great (their gin and tonic is my favorite in the city) and the revolving menu of seasonal inspired dishes is always spot on.
Dinner: Vida is an upscale spot perfect for a night out, with a 4-course tasting menu that changes seasonally. You can also order a la carte. Think courses like Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower with apricot and pumpkin seed dukkah, and Sea Bass with curry emulsion and Thai basil. It’s got a great bar and elegant dining room.
Dinner: Tinker Street is another great spot for a night out. Enjoy sophisticated, farm to table food in a cozy urban cottage. The dinner menu is always inspired and excellent.
Goose The Market
Lunch: A lovely lunch spot and gourmet grocery, Goose The Market has locally cured meats and an extensive cheese counter, as well as lots of local Indiana products. Head to the basement and you’ll find an assortment of wines. For lunch, order a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich and wash it down with a glass of white wine. Oh and there’s gelato!
Shoefly Public House
Dinner: Shoefly Public House has a casual atmosphere with great food, perfect for a family dinner or a night out. The menu is always changing, but we love their sweet potato fries with various tosses, and their vegan meatloaf with gravy is very tasty. Think comfort food, with lots of veggie options.
Coffee / lunch: Provider is our favorite place to grab a drink on the way to downtown Indianapolis. It’s quickly made a name for itself as a coffee shop and bar, but they also have a light menu. We’ve tried a vegan banh mi that was very tasty, and their cocktails are fabulous. The atmosphere is trendy but laid back: the perfect place for working meetings, settling in with a laptop, or meeting a friend for a drink.
The Garden Table (downtown Indianapolis)
Garden Table Downtown
Breakfast / lunch / dinner: The Garden Table’s downtown Indianapolis location is picture perfect for Instagram, and we love the menu selection! It’s full of fresh squeezed juices and healthy vegan and vegetarian options set off by meatier comfort foods. It’s perfect for weekend brunch: and the downtown location also offers dinner. It has the best acai bowl in town.
Related: Our Homemade Acai Bowl recipe!
Brunch / lunch / dinner: Nada is a fun, colorfully designed space to enjoy gourmet Mexican downtown. Their habanero “kreeper” salsa is to die for (if you like a little spice), as is the queso. They’ve got delicious tacos and large plates; a great spot for dinner with family, or a night out.
Milktooth (downtown Indianapolis)
Brunch / lunch: Milktooth immediately attracted national attention for its inventive brunch menu. This fine diner has become one of the most lauded restaurants in downtown Indianapolis! It’s brunchy comfort food served up in a quaint old gas station. Think massive sourdough waffles and inventive takes like deconstructed Chicago dog risotto.
Rook offers up street food inspired contemporary Asian fusion, and it’s over the top delicious. It’s perfect for a date night or night on the town. Think fried avocado steamed buns, glass noodle salad, and curry ramen.
Related: Our Easy Vegetarian Ramen inspired by Rook!
Asaka (Indianapolis sushi)
Sushi in Indianapolis
Alex and I are big sushi fans. While Indiana is landlocked, there’s still some great sushi in Indianapolis. Here are some of our favorites for sushi in Indianapolis:
A family run business, Asaka serves up super high quality sushi in a cozy atmosphere, made by woman sushi chef Nina Takamure. The party platters are insanely beautiful, and all the fish is insanely fresh. Unexpectedly, the kabocha squash roll is incredible: savory sweet with a crunch of tempura. It’s up in the Castleton area so it’s harder for us to access, but it’s absolutely worth a mention.
As mentioned above, Ukiyo is a Broad Ripple restaurant that also serves sushi. There are traditional rolls along with inventive takes, like yellowtail and green apple.
Sakura is straightforward, classic sushi served up just outside of Broad Ripple. It’s next to nearby Sakura Market, a lovely Japanese grocery that stocks a lot of Asian specialty products.
Other Indianapolis restaurants
Here are a few more Indianapolis restaurants that deserve a mention but didn’t quite fit in the categories:
- Duos is a huge favorite for lunch or catering. They have a cafeteria location in the International Medical Group building, right across from the Children’s Museum. All their food is out of this world, especially the vegan and vegetarian options. I’ve had a Spring Roll Noodle Bowl & Crispy Cauliflower Tacos that are simply incredible!
- Oakley’s Bistro is a fantastic restaurant in the Castelton area; it’s got very high quality, sophisticated and inventive food.
- Cafe Korea in Fishers serves up our favorite dolsot bibimbap in Indianapolis.
- Hotel Tango is a local distillery that’s great for drinks: every time we’ve tried to go it’s been closed, so we’ll report back!
Best Indianapolis breweries
So, what are the best Indianapolis breweries? The craft brew scene has blown up so fast that we can hardly keep up with all of the great breweries around town. Our friends over at the Drink Culture podcast helped us to put together this list of their top 5 Indianapolis breweries. You can find them on draft at bars and restaurants around Indianapolis, or check out their breweries for tours and tastings!
- Sun King — Downtown
- Black Acre — Irvington
- Daredevil — Speedway
- Big Lug — North Side
- Central State — Downtown with a taproom at The Koelschip
There are so many other Indianapolis restaurants that are fantastic: some that we haven’t discovered, and others in the suburban areas! Our list includes what we find to be the best restaurants in Indianapolis proper that we’ve been to multiple times and enjoy. We’d love to know your thoughts on other Indianapolis restaurants that you love! Also, we’ll be constantly updating this best Indianapolis restaurants guide. Continue to check back in the future to find all our current restaurant recommendations!
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Last updated: January 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.