Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants

Photo of Indianapolis  Monthly

The cream of the crop.

20 Places
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    The finger-friendly snacks offered at industrial-chic conversation nooks and in the cozier, fire-lit basement deliver the Taste flair familiar at brunch and dinner.
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    The servers here know they have the local lock on authentic Chinese dishes: twice-cooked pork belly shimmering in a tangy-sweet sauce; silky eggplant redolent of garlic or basil; perhaps the lightest seafood soup in the city.
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    After work, folks head upstairs to the 1933 Lounge, where they tuck into plates of mini bone-in filet chops, like caveman finger food. Even that famous cocktail sauce is now available by the bottle.
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    Comfortable yet civilized, with flashes of brilliance, as in crispy-fried Citrus Spiced Seitan; beer-battered walleye with housemade tartar sauce; and black bean–corn fritters with cilantro cream.
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    Carlos Salazar’s umami-rich mushroom dumplings, pork-belly steamed buns, and meat-on-meat pig-face hash have raised the culinary bar while channeling the true spirit of Asia’s great street-food snacks.
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    At Room Four, customers may quibble over taco choices—carne asada or rockfish—or opt for a Fischer Farms cheeseburger, a backyard memory revised to succulence by a master who appreciates simple food as much as esoteric fare.
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    You can set your Day-Timer by the weekly rotation of her menus—so even her most popular dishes have an ephemeral quality.
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    The Neapolitan-style pizzas are straightforward, with only five red-sauce varieties, each one garnished with Smoking Goose proteins and hand-pulled mozzarella.
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    Bistro-style dishes like root-vegetable cassoulet baked in its own cast-iron pan, unapologetically heavy Croque Monsieur sandwiches dripping with bechamel, and crepes of both the sweet and savory variety all taste delicious.
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    The bric-a-brac–heavy country French decor may want for a makeover, but this date-night and anniversary draw offers the consistent comfort of an old friend’s house.
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    At the Meridian-Kessler location, an intimate, dimly lit, dining room is built around an exposed hearth oven, and the pizza gods shine a heavenly spotlight on executive chef Tyler Herald as he puts on a master class in pizza perfection.
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    The glorious excess of dishes served amid the log walls and votive candelabra of Meridian-Kessler’s showpiece restaurant have a flair for the dramatic. But the flavors steal every scene.
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