What is the best ______ in Indianapolis?

I’m taking some time off to decompress in Indianapolis this weekend, and since I LOVE to eat, I’ll be doing a significant amount of that very thing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And I’m not very familiar with the Indy eats scene, so I thought I’d throw this up for discussion here (incidentally, I’ll be staying in Greenwood, but I am not opposed at all to driving, say, as much as an hour to get some really good grub).

So, herewith, a series of questions:

What is the best burger in Indianapolis and surrounding area?

What is the best hoagy/hero/sub in the Indy area?

What’s the best steak in Indy?

What’s the best pizza in the Indy area?

What’s the best BPT in the Indy area?

Best Mexican?

Best Chinese?

Best sushi?

Best Indian?

Best Italian?

Best dessert?

Best ice cream?

Best breakfast?"


What is the best hoagy/hero/sub in the Indy area?

What’s the best steak in Indy?..St. Elmo’s by a long shot. They also have a kickass shrimp cocktail with awesomly spicy (and famous) sauce. Only problem is it’s pricy. Still downtown and also good (but cheaper) is Weber grill. I loved it

What’s the best pizza in the Indy area?

What’s the best BPT in the Indy area?

Best Mexican?

Best Chinese?

Best sushi?

Best Indian?

Best Italian?

Best dessert?..Not local but Cheesecake Factory is the best dessert ever.

Best ice cream?
Best breakfast?"
Something you didn’t say: Yat’z for the best creole/gumbo/jambalaya ever.

Bacon Peanut-butter and Tomato? Burmese-Pakistani-Thai? Blue Plate Tspecial?

Oh, never mind. I presume it’s Breaded Pork Tenderloin.

Breaded Pork Tenderloin. This thing: http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/super46/sites/default/files/images/sandwiches/Nicks-Kitchen_tenderloin500x250.jpg

IMO, the best noodle place (they also do sushi) is Ichiban Noodles on the north side of Indianapolis. It looks like a ramshackle shack, but the food is the bomb.

Best Italian would be a tie between Mama Carolla’s and Vito Provolone; Mama’s is in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis, and Vito Provolone is on the south side near where you’ll be staying.

I’ll second St. Elmo for best steak, as they are the legend, but I am a HUGE fan of Bynum’s Steakhouse, which is on the south side. I actually like them better than St. Elmo for the food (unless you want the totally rockin’ shrimp cocktail), although the atmosphere isn’t the same as St. Elmo.

One of the best food experiences in Indianapolis, in my opinion, is Hollyhock Hill. They serve dinners family-style; they are known for their skillet fried chicken. The restaurant has been open in some form since 1928. It is a reminder of bygone days, with really good food.

Feel free to PM if you want more Indy tips. :slight_smile:

I haven’t been there, but one of my friends has brought back charcuterie from Smoking Goose. It was incredible stuff. I mean, seriously, not just one of these faddish “everybody does charcuterie” things that seems to have been going on for the last few years. These guys are the real deal.

Here’s a good start for your research

I’ll second Vito’s for good italian. Iaria’s used to be good, but I haven’t eaten there in 30 years. Still gets good reviews I see. Bravo does a surprisingly good job for a small regional chain.

Steak you’ve got covered with the previos suggestions

Pizza is such a personal preference thing, but I find Bazbeaux’s pizza to be very good. For a more Chicago style, Union Jack in Broad Ripple is good.

Also Yat’z for creole, also in Broad Ripple. noticing a pattern? Lots of good places to eat in Broad Ripple.

Thanks, all, for the tips (and please keep 'em coming)!

As it stands right now, I know that, based on the above, Bynum’s will be dinner either Friday or Saturday night.

The Weber Grill’s menus (lunch and dinner) looked and sounded really good, but the Yelp reviews sort of threw cold water on that option (and weren’t really all that surprising considering it’s a chain).

Best web series in Indianapolis?

I’m going with John Green’s Crash Course.

I’m not from Indy but I go there for Gen Con, and I’ve heard good things from friends about the Weber Grill too. I can’t confirm them, though, because every time I tried to go they were packed.

Best Steak - I actually prefer Harry and Izzy’s to St. Elmo; it’s a sister restaurant that is slightly lower-rent (very slightly) but the options are a little wider and I think the food is tastier. Plus it has the same killer shrimp cocktail. I realize Bynum’s is on your agenda, but just wanted to chime in :slight_smile:

Best Sushi - Sushi Club on the west side, at 10th Street and Girls School Road. It looks totally sketchy but is quite popular with many sushi snobs. You just have to get past the former Pizza Hut building.

Best BPT - Dawson’s on Main in Speedway has a FANTASTIC BPT.

Best Ice Cream - comes from the South Bend Chocolate Company Chocolate Cafe on the circle downtown. It’s Bonny Doon ice cream from the South Bend area, but yummy and you can stroll around downtown while you eat it.

Shapiro’s Deli. The downtown location. It’s the real thing.

Ah, yes, that was the other place I was trying to remember. Fantastic pastrami and corned beef.

Weber’s is good, but it is a chain so it isn’t at all unique to Indy. To do the full “I’ve been to Indy” experience then St. Elmo’s is the only option. Shrimp cocktail is required, not an option if you want to say you have “been to Indy.”

Shapiro’s is consistently ranked as one of the top delis in the US so I would add that to the list.

For Pizza… that is tough since everyone likes different styles. If I was in Greenwood and didn’t mind driving I’d head about 40 minutes south to Bloomington and go to Mother Bear’s. You get the added benefit of seeing a really fun and beautiful college town. If you want to stick to Indy though the local experience would be Jackamo’s, Bazbeaux, or much lesser known Pizzaology (North in Carmel).

Burgers… I’m partial to Bub’s in Carmel as well. it is right on the Monon trail which is a “linear greenway” which means it is an old rail line that has been converted into a multi use path/park. Also it is right in the Arts and Design district of Carmel (and to kill two birds there is a Bazbeaux right across the street.)

And for a BPT… first, don’t call it a BPT. It is a “Tenderloin” period. Not a pork tenderloin, not a tenderloin sandwich, not a BPT… if you say you want a “Tenderloin” here everyone knows you want a Breaded Pork Tenderloin flattened, breaded, and deep fried, then served on a bun that is about half the size of the meat, and preferably topped with Mustard, Onion, and Pickles. You can get them anywhere and it is hard to find a bad one. I’ll let someone else more familiar with the Downtown/South Side make a specific recommendation.

I’ve heard Bynum’s is decent but not great. I’ve mainly heard of them for their Prime Rib so if that is what you want then that is fine. Their steaks are “Certified Angus” where most of the better steak places will have prime. I’ve lived within an hour of Indy almost my whole life and I’ve never heard anyone getting overly excited about going to Bynum’s.

In all fairness I’ve never been there but this is what I’ve heard. If you are really looking for “Indy’s Best” I would steer you elsewhere (pun intended). If you are looking for a decent steak or prime rib that is close to you then it will be fine.

Thanks again (again), everyone.

It seems that the trip to Bynum’s has become a trip to Harry and Izzy’s.

Further, I shall be dining at Poccadio, Szechwan Garden (or Lotus Garden, if my wife’s less-than-adventurous palate wins out), Shapiro’s, and possibly Gray Brothers Cafeteria.

So, about my choices … critiques? Kudos? Cantankerous comedic commentary?

Good lineup… you will enjoy it. I’ve not been to Poccadilo but it has been recommended to me. Broadripple is a neat area to walk around in as well.

Definitely Harry and Izzy’s, Shappiro’s and Gray Brothers are top rated local places.

I’ve heard St Elmo (and H&I) now has an “Extra Hot” cocktail sauce… don’t bother… the “regular” is hot enough to clear your sinuses for a month.

Enjoy your time here.

There is so much that is good at Gray Brothers’, but that is one place that you can get an excellent tenderloin if they have them that day. I used to have a picture on my phone of my oldest son sitting at the table with his ginormous tenderloin sandwich in front of him and the happiest smile on his face. The thing was easily the size of frisbee.
They do a good fried chicken and meat loaf too. Don’t skip the PIE!