Best Date Restaurants In Indianapolis
From small, chef-driven venues with serious, elevated and creative cuisines to food sourced straight from local farms and classic steaks and chops, below are our favorite date restaurants. And, if you don’t have a date or significant other, no worries, go with friends!
Taking its name from beloved local writer Kurt Vonnegut’s 1987 novel, you can idle for hours at owner Tom Battista and chef Abbi Merris’, Bluebeard. With a bounty from local farmers, there’s plenty of comfort found in starters like country ham, fingerling and cabbage potato salad, shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage and the joy-inducing pappardelle noodles with butcher shop Bolognese. The beloved Amelia’s is connected to the restaurant that only features their Italian hearth-baked bread.
At the homey Marrow, you’ll find a global, exotic soul food and spices galore from chef John Adams. The sprightly colored room is peppered with colorful reclaimed barn wood and the daily changing menu has been known to feature brisket tacos, and hearty mains like a fried pork chop with red beans and rice and ramp butter. For dessert, sink your teeth into the banana banoffee (caramel) fritters with shaved chocolate.
Housed in a sturdy brick building in Fountain Square, its northeastern Italy meets Austria, Germany and Swiss cuisine. Try the chicken liver mousse with Amelia’s bread or the gnocchi with porcini cream sauce, speck, ramps and morels. Come evenings, a stage lights up the mood with live music. Outside, the 65-seat beer garden is ideal for a few rounds of suds (featuring both cans and drafts).
St. Elmo Steak House
Strut into this fabled downtown steakhouse for some serious beef, seafood and chicken. St. Elmo’s (named after the patron saint of sailors) is a place to be seen. If you want proof, among the brick walls are snaps of celebs that have graced the 114-year institution. The signature shrimp cocktail jolts your sinuses with a hearty punch of horseradish (that pairs nicely with a martini).
This hip new spot is a cross between an Indiana barn and a chic Napa Valley restaurant. Inside, you’re greeted by a leafy, hydroponic wall of greens (the city’s one and only) and a lineup of star cocktails. Inside the kitchen, chef Layton Roberts creates starters like housemade charcuterie (cured in a visible meat locker) and entrees like a golden chicken scallopini and duck pastrami with sweetbread schnitzel and accompanied by local farmers’ ingredients.
With a tagline bearing the idea of “tacos, tequila, whiskey” it’s easy to plop down at this Ohio-based joint and chomp on a sunny California-style street menu (a la carte of course) of tortas, tostados and tacos. Featuring highlights like fish, short ribs, pork belly, mole and earthy huitlacoche with fresh guacamole, there are also ample margaritas, served in mason jars, perfect for sipping while the tunes of Johnny Cash roll on.
Inside this minimalist, mid-century modern-esque “temple”, you’ll find edgy, locally-sourced American cuisine. Chef Alan Sternberg works his magic on textured dishes like stuffed calamari (and pork belly with kimchi, forbidden rice, sorghum glaze and farm egg. The thirsty should drink from the generous spirits program while desserts are almost too pretty to eat.
With 34-seats, this lively neighborhood restaurant and wine bar doubles as creative hub for small plates of steam bums with local mushrooms, hoisin, kimchi’d pickles and sesame, the Great Lakes Walleye with Provencal ratatouille and of course, the Tinker burger on a brioche bun with shoestring fries. There’s also an interesting and affordable wine list. Wind down the experience with cornmeal hoecakes and local fruits.