Best Restaurants in IndianapolisOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
Uncle Max Shapiro always said, “Cook good. Serve generously. Price modestly.” That sensible formula has worked well for Shapiro's Delicatessen & Cafeteria since 1905. With its linoleum floors and fluorescent lighting, this is not one of your fancy-schmancy restaurants. Everyone in Indianapolis knows that Shapiro's is the place to go for breakfast or lunch if you're hungry. A perfect lunch here starts with Matzoh ball soup, then corned beef on rye (enough meat on this sandwich to feed a family) and a slice of oh-so-decadent cheesecake. Ah, better than eating kreplach with an angel!
In carnivorous Indianapolis, where it seems there's a steakhouse on every corner, St. Elmo Steak House has been a dining fixture since 1902. You can see this history in a gallery of photographs on the walls of the lounge and dining room. Along with high, tin-plated ceilings and densely-spaced tables, the pictures create a unique dining atmosphere. Try the signature shrimp cocktail with fiery horseradish sauce, then a loaded baked potato with a 14-ounce rib eye steak.
In 1894, the imposing brick building at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Michigan and New Jersey streets was known as Das Deutsche Haus, a cultural center for the city's large German community. Rechristened the Athenaeum during the “Halt the Hun” era of World War I, it now houses the Rathskeller. This charming German restaurant is, you might say, the best place for wurst. You can enjoy a dinner of kassler ripchen (smoked pork chop) and a stein of beer in a dining room of brooding Teutonic elements, including carved woodwork, stuffed animal heads and a massive fireplace.
Designed to resemble the sleek Art Deco décor of a 1930s ocean liner, The Oceanaire Seafood Room offers the best seafood in Indianapolis. The menu changes daily to reflect fresh catches, but you'll always find a wide selection of premium seafood, from grilled Copper River salmon and Hawaiian striped marlin to Chesapeake Bay crab cakes. All of the fish is simply prepared: brushed with sea salt, virgin olive oil and lemon, then grilled or broiled. The oyster bar has an ever-changing selection of East Coast and West Coast mollusks.
Bazbeaux was the nickname given to a court jester by the French king, Louis XI. After Louis' death in 1483, Bazbeaux moved to Florence, where he worked as a chef for the great Renaissance ruler, Lorenzo the Magnificent. Today, Bazbeaux's tradition of whimsical culinary innovation lives on at Bazbeaux Pizza in the canalside village of Broad Ripple. The crusty pies are topped with a wide variety of interesting ingredients. Try the Tchoupitoulas pizza with Cajun shrimp, roasted red peppers, fresh garlic and andouille sausage. During warm weather, enjoy al fresco dining on the rooftop or the patio. There's also a location in the Mass Ave district.
For diners with expansive appetites and expense accounts, Eddie Merlot's can prove to be an interesting indulgence. The Prime-beef steaks are large, as are the side dishes. House specialties include a peppercorn filet mignon, a Cajun-style rib eye and Chateaubriand for two. A half-dozen seafood dishes are also on the menu, including cedar-planked salmon with fingerling potatoes. The elegant dining room features framed, oversize abstract art and massive wooden columns resembling champagne glasses.
Sangiovese Ristorante Italiano has seven dining areas, each with a warm, cozy atmosphere. Seated in a quiet little room before a fireplace decorated with a boar's head and an antique blunderbuss, you can imagine you're in a villa somewhere in the Tuscan countryside. The menu offers a risotto and ravioli of the day, such classic pasta entrees as lasagna ala Bolognese and a number of veal and seafood dishes.
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In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.
Indiana's statewide sales tax is 7 percent. Counties may impose a 1 to 2 percent food and beverage tax. Restaurant tax is 9 percent, lodgings tax is 3 to 10 percent and rental car tax is 6 percent.
Time and Temperature
Indiana University Hospital, (800) 248-1199; St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, (317) 338-2345; and Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, (317) 880-0000.
200 S. Capitol Ave., Suite 300 Indianapolis, IN 46225. Phone:(317)262-3000 or (800)323-4639
The city is served by
Hertz, (317) 243-9321 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
Passenger train service is available through Amtrak, which departs from Union Station, 350 S. Illinois St. For details phone (800) 872-7245.
Greyhound Lines Inc. bus connections can be made at 350 S. Illinois St.; phone (317) 267-3074 or (800) 231-2222.
The major cab company is Yellow Cab, (317) 487-7777. The average fare is $3 per pickup and $2 per mile.
IndyGo operates 29 city bus routes serving downtown and most of Marion County. The fare is $1.75; 85c (ages 0-18 and 65+). A day pass is $4; $2 (ages 0-18 and 65+). Multiday and multi-trip passes also are available.