1. Yats: A True Hoosier Obsession
Source: Yats Facebook page
Yats Cajun Creole Restaurant
659 Massachusetts Ave.(317) 686-6380Yelp
: 4.5 Stars, 171 Reviews
I’ll tell you the truth. At first, I hated Yats. I really did. I had a bad experience my freshman year of university and I was too stubborn to ever look back. First impressions are everything, right?
Man, I was so wrong. A few weeks before I left my hometown for San Francisco I decided to give it one last shot...
... and I ended up eating there four times in one week. I seriously pigged out, especially on the Chili Cheese Etouffee. Good Lord, I didn’t even know there was such a void in my life before I met you, Yats.
It’s pretty shameful honestly, it’s hard for me to even live with myself when I think of all the great years we could have had together. You’re the one that got away, Yats.
2. Watch Out N’awlins, Papa Roux Has Po-Boys too!
Source: Papa Roux Po-Boys and Cajun Eats Facebook page
Papa Roux Po-Boys and Cajun Eats
8950 E 10th St. (317) 603-9861Yelp
: 4.5 Stars, 135 Reviews
Delicious authentic po-boys served right. That’s all you really need to know about Papa Roux. The only place you’re going to find one better is if you actually pack up and drive down to New Orleans.
I have a “ROUX DMC” shirt that I wear to this day with pride. Do not question my dedication. If you’re going to try one thing, the breaded catfish po-boy with Cajun vouxdoux sauce on crusty bread does not disappoint. Far from it.
3. Your Soul Will Be Soothed By Shapiro’s
808 S Meridian St. (317) 631-4041Yelp
: 4 Stars, 169 Reviews
Shapiro’s Delicatessen is the definition of comfort food. The owners brought their family recipes from Russia with them and Indianapolis reaps the benefits. Be sure to come hungry though, because the portions are seriously huge. Try the reuben, pastrami, or corned beef sandwich. Or all three. It doesn’t matter which. You’ll love them all.
4. Just Wing It At Chatham Tap
719 Massachusetts Ave. (317) 917-8425Yelp
: 4 Stars, 158 Reviews
Prince Dean’s Angel Wings are a force to be reckoned with. One dozen of these puppies will sooth the soul of the most savage beast. Chatham Tap labels them a “starter” but I assure you, they can easily be a full meal for the most ravenous of carnivores. Try them hot for the full experience.
5. Goose The Market Will Introduce You To Your Sandwich Soulmate
Source: Goose the Market Facebook page
Goose The Market
2503 N Delaware St (317) 924-4944Yelp
: 4.5 Stars, 206 Reviews
My first encounter with Goose the Market was after a long hot summer day of giving guided tours of White River State Park. I was exhausted, dehydrated and starving. The last thing on earth I wanted in my mouth was something spicy. Or so I thought. My boss insisted on ordering a Batali sandwich.
Let me review what’s in a Batali for a moment:
Spicy coppaSoppressata Capocolla Provolone cheese Tomato preserves Hot giardinara Marinated red onionMayo, ANDRomaine lettuce.
For a brief moment in time, I believed all dreams could come true, cats weren’t awful creatures and that Green Day never sold out. I could live that fantasy forever. All because of one sandwich.
6. Revolutionize Your Breakfast At The Ripple Bagel & Deli
Ripple Bagel & Deli
850 Broad Ripple Ave (317) 257-8326Yelp
: 4 Stars, 79 Reviews
These guys take this classic breakfast food to the next level with their steamed bagel sandwiches. That’s right—steamed bagels. Don’t get weirded out by that image, you’ll understand after you stumble in here on a sleepy Sunday morning in Broadripple. I definitely recommend the truly Hoosier-esque “Indy 500” breakfast bagel.
7. The Best Slice Of Your Life Awaits At Bazbeaux
333 Massachusetts Ave (317) 636-7662Yelp
: 4 Stars, 248 Reviews
I frequented this pizza joint many times in my university days. It’s one of the coolest, most delicious restaurants on Mass Ave. (although they've got two other locations as well), and frequently called “the best pizza in Indy.” I really can’t disagree. The sauce is always fresh, the salad dressing is made in-house, & they have a cornucopia of toppings. The Genova pizza will melt in your mouth—mushroom, tomato, basil, & eggplant!
8. Pull Out All The Stops For A Night At Bluebeard
Source: Bluebeard Facebook page
653 Virginia Ave (317) 686-1580Yelp
: 4.5 Stars, 169 reviews
This place has a unique hipster atmosphere (and I’m sure they’d love to know that I think so), perfect for a date or even impressing the parents. Being a seafood fanatic, I’ll plug their grilled octopus, halibut or grouper. This is the priciest place on this list, but trust me, splurging here will go a long way to earn you brownie points.
9. Have A Fiesta In Your Mouth At La Parada
Source: La Parada Indianapolis Facebook page
La Parada Indianapolis1642 E New York St. (317) 917-0095Yelp
: 4.5 Stars, 141 Reviews
Indianapolis has no shortage of Mexican restaurants, but none quite like La Parada. It doesn’t matter whether you like fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, tacos—La Parada has one of the biggest and most varied menus of any Mexican restaurant in the Circle City.
But if you do get a little overwhelmed by all those options, I’ll help you out. You really can’t go wrong with the Big Texican Burrito. Delicioso.
10. Embrace Your Inner German At The Rathskeller
Source: Rathskeller Restaurant Facebook page
401 E Michigan St (317) 636-0396Yelp
: 4 Stars, 230 Reviews
This place has been a hit in Indianapolis for years and has the best Hot Wurst Platte this side of the Atlantic. That’s Bratwurst, Bockwurst, Kielbasse and German wieners, my friends.
Bring some friends and spend a night listening to live music in the bier garden around back. Great food, great service, great atmosphere—all German style, so you know it’s good.
11. You’ll Flip Out Over The Massive MacNiven’s Burgers
MacNiven's Restaurant & Bar
339 Massachusetts Ave (317) 632-7268Yelp
: 4 Stars, 154 Reviews
I love my burgers big and juicy. But nowhere else have I ever had a patty that I actually had to fold twice just so that it would fit on the bun. That’s right, you’ll have to maneuver to devour Macnivens’ Angus Burger.
You think I’m joking. Go see for yourself.
12. Sample Seafood “Inception” At BARcelona Tapas
201 N Delaware St. (317) 638-8272Yelp
: 3.5 Reviews, 181 Reviews
If you don’t know what tapas are (but come on, by now who doesn’t), a good place to start your culinary enlightenment is BARcelona Tapas. This colorfully decorated hideout hosts one of the most unique dining experiences in Indy.
If you plan on going on a weekend, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation. It takes the title as the only place where I’ve ever had octopus stuffed with crab meat—it’s heaven, by the way.
13. Get Naked... Tchopstix
6253 N. College Ave. (317) 252-5555Yelp
: 3.5 Stars, 70 Reviews
Ok, so Indy has plenty of options when it comes to sushi as well, but I’m taking sides with Naked Tchopstix on this one. Try it before a show at the Vogue or simply for an awesome night out with friends in Broadripple. They’ll satisfy every seafood desire you never knew you had. Make sure to try their fiery Playboy Roll.
14. Go Full Greek At Santorini
Source: Santorini Greek Kitchen Facebook page
Santorini Greek Kitchen
1417 Prospect St (317) 917-1117 Yelp
: 4.5 Stars, 195 Reviews
This is a Fountain Square favorite. Santorini’s Greek Kitchen provides an authentic experience like no other, and it tastes so fresh because it is—made fresh fresh daily and served in large portions. Try the Falafel sandwich to get the real deal.
And don’t worry about getting what you pay for, since all the entrees are served with a delicious helping of Greek potatoes, rice pilaf and green beans.
15. Try The Scotch Eggs At Red Lion Grog House, Change Your Life
Red Lion Grog House
1043 Virginia Ave(317) 822-4764Yelp
: 4 Stars, 189 reviews
Another staple of the Fountain Square area, Red Lion Grog House is the perfect watering hole after a long day of work (or class, ha). But I didn’t put them on the list to talk about their beer. Red Lion’s Scotch Eggs are something you’ve probably never tasted before.
Picture this: Hard-boiled, wrapped in seasoned sausage and lightly breaded with a side of chili-aioli dipping sauce. Stop drooling and just go try them already!