Unique Restaurants in Indianapolis: 12 Cool Places to Eat in Indy

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Indianapolis
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Looking for the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis? Here are 12 of the coolest places to eat in Indianapolis that guarantee a memorable meal.

Are you on the hunt for the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis, IN? Welcome to your definitive guide to the best dining spots in the Circle City.

Indianapolis, often dubbed the “Crossroads of America,” is not just a hub for motorsports and history but also a melting pot of culinary wonders. From the bustling streets of Mass Ave to the serene canals of Broad Ripple, Indy is brimming with gastronomic experiences that are as diverse as its rich cultural tapestry.

The city’s food scene is a harmonious blend of its Midwestern roots and the innovative spirit of its chefs. While Indy is renowned for its classic comfort foods, there’s a world of incredible restaurants in Indianapolis waiting to be explored beyond the traditional. Whether you’re a local foodie searching for your next favorite spot or a traveler eager to dive into Indy’s gastronomic offerings, this guide promises a culinary tour that will tantalize your taste buds.

Get ready to embark on a delectable journey through Indianapolis’s best places to eat. From hidden gems tucked away in historic neighborhoods to upscale eateries offering panoramic views of the city skyline, every palate has a dining spot.

Stay with us as we delve deep into the heart of Indy’s food scene, unveiling the city’s most unique restaurants, one dish at a time. Here’s everything you need to know about

the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis, IN.

The top restaurants to visit in Indianapolis right now
This article on the unique restaurants in Indianapolis contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Unique Restaurants in Indianapolis

Are you ready to discover the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis? As mentioned earlier, there’s no shortage of places to eat in Indianapolis. Keep reading as we spotlight where to eat in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Are you looking for a taste of the tropics? Or would you prefer a nostalgic trip to a historic diner? From gourmet vegan delights to panoramic dining experiences, there’s a wide variety of unique places in Indianapolis to eat that will please all tastes and budgets. Here’s your in-depth guide to the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis, IN.

1. Bluebeard

Located in the historic Fletcher Place neighborhood, Bluebeard is a shining example of one of Indianapolis’s best restaurants. Housed in a renovated 1924 factory warehouse, this eatery exudes a blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication.

Inspired by the novel from Indy-born author Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard’s unique menu celebrates locally-sourced ingredients, crafted with creativity and passion. The ever-evolving menu showcases the best of Indy’s seasonal produce, ensuring every visit offers a fresh dining experience.

The ambiance at Bluebeard is both cozy and eclectic, with vintage typewriters and bookshelves adorning the space, paying homage to Vonnegut’s literary legacy. Whether you’re seated in the sunlit courtyard or the intimate dining room, the atmosphere is perfect for both casual lunches and romantic dinners.

Bluebeard’s commitment to sustainability and supporting local farmers sets them apart. As such, it’s a favorite among both locals and visitors. From their artisanal bread baked daily in their adjoining bakery, Amelia’s, to their innovative cocktails, every detail at Bluebeard is curated to offer a memorable dining experience.

Bluebeard is one of the unique restaurants in Indianapolis.
Bluebeard offers a perfect fusion of old-world charm and modern sophistication in a renovated 1924 factory warehouse.

2. Abyssinia

Venture into a world of flavors at Abyssinia, one of the coolest places to eat in Indianapolis. This traditional Ethiopian restaurant offers an authentic dining experience that’s hard to find elsewhere in the city.

What sets Abyssinia apart is its pledge to preserving the rich culinary traditions of Ethiopia. Diners are invited to share communal platters, where a variety of stews and dishes are served atop injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread. Using your hands, you tear off pieces of injera and scoop up the flavorful stews. It’s a dining experience interactive and communal.

The restaurant’s decor transports you straight to Ethiopia, with vibrant murals, traditional artifacts, and warm, earthy tones. The aromatic scents of spices wafting through the air further enhance the ambiance.

For those new to Ethiopian cuisine, Abyssinia offers a delightful introduction. Vegetarians will be pleased with the ample plant-based options, while meat lovers can indulge in dishes like Doro Wat, a spicy chicken stew. To complete the experience, sip on traditional Ethiopian coffee, brewed in a special ceremony that’s a treat to watch.

Explore a world of flavors at Abyssinia, one of Indy's coolest spots for authentic Ethiopian cuisine.
Explore a world of flavors at Abyssinia, one of Indy’s coolest spots for authentic Ethiopian cuisine.

3. The Loft at Trader’s Point

Experience a unique blend of rustic charm and gourmet dining at The Loft at Trader’s Point. Located within Trader’s Point Creamery, a certified organic dairy farm in Zionsville, this genuine farm-to-table restaurant is set in a beautifully restored 19th-century dairy barn. The wooden beams, high ceilings, and pastoral views create an ambiance that’s both cozy and enchanting.

Every dish at The Loft speaks to the farm’s dedication to organic and sustainable practices. Ingredients are directly sourced from the farm or nearby local producers, ensuring freshness and quality. From creamy yogurts and cheeses made on-site to grass-fed beef and seasonal vegetables, the menu is a celebration of the Midwest’s bountiful produce.

In addition to its delicious food, The Loft offers a range of experiences. Tour the creamery, watch cheese-making in action, or relax on the outdoor patio with serene farm views. It’s an immersion into the heart of Indiana’s agricultural heritage, which makes it one of the best places to eat in Indianapolis, IN.

Savor rustic charm and gourmet dining at The Loft at Trader's Point, nestled within a beautifully restored 19th-century dairy barn.
Savor rustic charm and gourmet dining at The Loft at Trader’s Point, nestled within a beautifully restored 19th-century dairy barn.

4. Heidelberg Haus

Step back in time and embark on a delightful journey to Germany without leaving Indy. As one of the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis, Heidelberg Haus offers diners delicious food as well as a cultural experience.

From the moment you walk in, the vibrant decor, filled with traditional German trinkets and memorabilia, sets the stage for an authentic dining adventure. The aroma of freshly baked pastries fills the air, teasing your senses and building anticipation for the feast ahead.

But the real magic happens when you dive into their menu. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, schnitzels, and more—each dish transports you straight to the heart of Bavaria. And if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try their legendary strudels and Black Forest cakes.

And here’s a little secret: after your meal, make sure to explore their quaint gift shop. From German-themed items to unique souvenirs, you’ll discover a treasure trove waiting to be found.

If you’re craving a European escape without the jet lag, Heidelberg Haus promises an unforgettable meal in the heart of Indy. Ready to embark?

Travel to Germany in Indy at Heidelberg Haus, a uniquely immersive restaurant providing both delectable cuisine and a cultural journey.
Travel to Germany in Indy at Heidelberg Haus, a uniquely immersive restaurant providing both delectable cuisine and a cultural journey.

5. Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse

If you’ve ever dreamt of savoring mouthwatering BBQ on a pirate ship, your dream destination awaits in Indy. Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse offers an adventure in every bite.

Captain Hoffa and his crew have one mission: to serve the best ribs and brisket in Indianapolis. And judging by the loyal following they’ve amassed, they’re on the right track. The secret behind their success? A meticulous smoking process that spans over several hours, ensuring each cut of meat is tender, juicy, and infused with smoky goodness.

Their menu offers a culinary journey through BBQ delights. From the “Hoffanator,” a monstrous sandwich loaded with pulled pork, sausage, and coleslaw, to the “Treasure Chest,” a platter showcasing their best offerings. The adventure continues with the main dishes. Sides like the BBQ baked beans and mac ‘n’ cheese have garnered their own fan base.

For those seeking a challenge, there’s the “Davey Jones Locker Challenge” – a massive feast that few have conquered. So, if you’re in the mood for a BBQ experience that stands out as one of the best places in Indianapolis to eat, set your course for Big Hoffa’s. Here, the focus is all about the food and the fun!

Indulge your BBQ dreams on a pirate ship at Big Hoffa's Smokehouse, where every bite is an adventure.
Indulge your BBQ dreams on a pirate ship at Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse, where every bite is an adventure.

6. John’s Famous Stew

When it comes to comfort food, few places do it better than John’s Famous Stew. With a legacy spanning over 100 years, this iconic spot is a testament to the timeless appeal of hearty, soul-warming dishes. Offering some of the best food in Indianapolis, John’s has perfected the art of stew-making.

Imagine tender chunks of meat, perfectly cooked vegetables, and a rich, flavorful broth that’s been simmered to perfection. That’s what awaits you at John’s. In addition, their pork tenderloins are legendary, drawing patrons from far and wide. And for dessert? A slice of their homemade peach cobbler is the perfect way to round off your meal.

While the food is undoubtedly the star of the show, what adds to John’s charm is its unpretentious atmosphere. It’s a place where generations of families have come together, sharing stories and creating memories over bowls of delicious stew.

If you’re looking to experience a slice of Indy’s culinary history and indulge in dishes that warm the soul, make your way to John’s Famous Stew.

John's Famous Stew is one of the unique restaurants in Indianapolis.
Experience ultimate comfort food at John’s Famous Stew, an icon with over a century of legacy, serving soul-warming dishes that define timeless appeal.

7. Eagle’s Nest

High above the city, Eagle’s Nest offers an unparalleled dining experience. Recognized as one of Indianapolis’s best restaurants, this establishment provides patrons with breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline. Located atop the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Eagle’s Nest is the city’s only revolving restaurant. As such, diners are treated to a constantly changing backdrop of Indy’s iconic landmarks and vistas.

With a focus on contemporary American cuisine, dishes at Eagle’s Nest are crafted using the finest locally sourced ingredients. From succulent steaks to fresh seafood creations, each plate showcases the chef’s dedication to flavor and presentation.

The ambiance at Eagle’s Nest is both intimate and sophisticated. Soft lighting, plush seating, and attentive service create a setting that’s perfect for romantic dinners, special celebrations, or business meetings. The restaurant’s design, with its expansive windows, allows for unobstructed views, making every visit a unique experience.

An extensive wine list complements the dining offerings, featuring selections from around the world. Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking a memorable dining experience, Eagle’s Nest promises an evening of elegance, romance, and unforgettable views.

Eagle's Nest, atop the Hyatt Regency, offers top-tier dining with stunning city views as Indy's only revolving restaurant.
Eagle’s Nest, atop the Hyatt Regency, offers top-tier dining with stunning city views as Indy’s only revolving restaurant.

8. Bar One Fourteen

Dive into an intimate world of handcrafted cocktails and seasonally-inspired foods at Bar One Fourteen. Tucked away in Meridian-Kessler, this “speakeasy” stands out as one of the top hidden gem restaurants in Indy, offering a unique blend of ambiance, music, and culinary delights.

The dimly lit interior, with its plush seating and vintage decor, sets the mood for an evening of relaxation and indulgence. The cocktail menu is a testament to the bar’s dedication to the craft, with each drink thoughtfully curated to offer a balance of flavors. From classic concoctions to innovative mixes, there’s a drink for every palate.

On the food front, Bar One Fourteen doesn’t disappoint. The menu, though concise, is packed with dishes that showcase the best of seasonal produce. Whether it’s a plate of fresh oysters or a gourmet slider, the emphasis is on quality and taste.

To elevate the experience, the bar often features live jazz performances, allowing patrons to immerse themselves in a bygone era of elegance and sophistication. For those seeking a unique restaurant in Indianapolis that offers more than just food and drink, Bar One Fourteen is a must-visit.

Experience handcrafted cocktails and seasonal cuisine at Bar One Fourteen, a hidden gem offering a unique blend of ambiance and culinary delights. | Source: https://www.baronefourteen.com/
Experience handcrafted cocktails and seasonal cuisine at Bar One Fourteen, a hidden gem offering a unique blend of ambiance and culinary delights. | Source: https://www.baronefourteen.com/

9. Workingman’s Friend

Step into a world where time seems to stand still at Workingman’s Friend. Established in 1918, this iconic restaurant is truly a piece of Indianapolis history. Coined by many locals as one of the best restaurants in Indianapolis, Workingman’s offers a dining experience that’s a delightful blend of nostalgia and mouthwatering flavors.

What makes Workingman’s Friend truly unique? It’s their legendary double-patty smashed burgers. Cooked to perfection on a seasoned grill, these burgers have a crispy exterior and a juicy interior, which makes them a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Paired with a side of crispy fries and a cold beer, it’s a meal that harks back to simpler times.

The restaurant’s interior, with its vintage bar stools, checkered floors, and old-school jukebox, adds to its charm. Walls adorned with memorabilia and photos from yesteryears tell tales of the establishment’s storied past.

While many places have come and gone, Workingman’s Friend has stood the test of time, offering a consistent and comforting dining experience for over a century. If you’re looking to take a trip down memory lane and savor some of the best burgers in Indianapolis, look no further than Workingman’s Friend.

Discover Workingman's Friend, an iconic restaurant since 1918, beloved by locals and celebrated for its nostalgic charm and delicious flavors.
Discover Workingman’s Friend, an iconic restaurant since 1918, beloved by locals and celebrated for its nostalgic charm and delicious flavors.

10. Yats

For those craving bold flavors without the hefty price tag, Yats is a game-changer. As one of the top options for cheap eats in Indianapolis, this vibrant eatery offers a taste of New Orleans right in the heart of Indy.

Yats specializes in Cajun and Creole cuisine, serving up generous portions of classics like jambalaya, étouffée, and gumbo. The menu is straightforward, with a rotating selection of dishes that cater to both meat lovers and vegetarians. The standout feature? Every dish is priced affordably, ensuring that diners can indulge in hearty, flavorful meals without stretching their budget.

The ordering process is simple: choose your dish, pick a side of their buttery garlic bread, and you’re set for a feast. The laid-back atmosphere, combined with the aromatic scents of spices and herbs, creates a welcoming environment where everyone feels at home.

With its commitment to serving quality food at wallet-friendly prices, Yats has cemented its reputation as a go-to spot for affordable dining in Indy. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a trip to Yats promises a culinary journey that’s both delicious and budget-friendly.

Yats is a budget-friendly game-changer in Indy, delivering bold New Orleans flavors without breaking the bank, making it a top choice for cheap eats.
Yats is a budget-friendly game-changer in Indy, delivering bold New Orleans flavors without breaking the bank, making it a top choice for cheap eats.

11. Vida

In the historic Lockerbie Square, Vida offers an elevated dining experience that’s elegant and contemporary. Each dish at Vida is meticulously crafted, presenting a journey of flavors and textures. From delicate amuse-bouches to decadent desserts, diners are treated to a symphony of tastes that change with the seasons. This ensures freshness and innovation.

A standout feature of Vida is Indiana’s first and only hydroponic wall garden. This lush vertical garden not only enhances the ambiance but also provides herbs and greens used in the dishes, underscoring the restaurant’s dedication to fresh, locally sourced produce.

An extensive wine list complements the dining offerings, curated to heighten the overall experience. The knowledgeable staff is always on hand, offering recommendations and ensuring every detail is perfect.

For an evening that promises luxury, innovation, and a touch of the extraordinary, Vida stands out as one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Indianapolis. Whilst the prices lean towards the higher side, it’s a restaurant that guarantees long-lasting memories.

Vida offers an elevated, contemporary dining experience with meticulously crafted dishes that evolve with the seasons.
Vida offers an elevated, contemporary dining experience with meticulously crafted dishes that evolve with the seasons.

12. The Inferno Room

Enter a world where every corner holds a secret at The Inferno Room, a tiki bar and restaurant that’s a cut above the rest. Over 400 artifacts from Papua New Guinea adorn the space, offering guests a visual journey through a rich and diverse culture.

Inspired by Polynesian and Caribbean cuisines, dishes like the Luau Pork and the Tiki Tofu are crafted to evoke the spirit of the islands. The drinks, with names like “Zombie” and “Pele’s Revenge,” are a heady mix of exotic fruits, spices, and rum.

One of the standout features of The Inferno Room is its immersive events. From live music nights that feature tropical beats to themed parties that transport guests to far-off shores, there’s always something happening that adds an extra layer of excitement to the dining experience.

Conveniently located just a short drive from the city center, The Inferno Room is not only a culinary destination but also a hub for entertainment and culture. A visit offers an escape from the ordinary, solidifying its reputation as one of the most unique restaurants in Indianapolis for dinner.

The Inferno Room is one of the unique restaurants in Indianapolis.
Discover secrets at The Inferno Room, a unique tiki bar with 400+ Papua New Guinea artifacts, creating a cultural visual journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Unique Restaurants in Indianapolis

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Indianapolis? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Indianapolis’s most unusual restaurants.

Is Indianapolis a foodie city?

Yes, Indy is a foodie city. With a diverse range of dining options, from unique restaurants in Indianapolis to bustling food markets, the city offers a culinary experience that caters to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Midwestern fare, international cuisines, or innovative fusion dishes, Indy has it all!

What food is Indianapolis known for?

Indianapolis boasts a rich culinary heritage that reflects its Midwestern roots. Here are some iconic dishes and foods that Indy is known for:

  1. Tenderloin Sandwich: A Hoosier classic, this breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is a must-try for anyone visiting. Typically served with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles, it’s one of the best foods in Indianapolis, IN.
  2. Sugar Cream Pie: Also known as the Hoosier Pie, this dessert is a creamy, custard-like treat that’s sweet and delectable.
  3. Popcorn: Indiana is one of the top popcorn-producing states. And Indy has its share of gourmet popcorn shops offering a variety of flavors.
  4. Fried Biscuits with Apple Butter: A staple in many local diners and breakfast spots, these biscuits are fluffy, golden, and best enjoyed with a generous spread of apple butter.

What is the name of the restaurant in Indianapolis that rotates as you eat?

The restaurant you’re referring to is the Eagle’s Nest. It’s one of the most unique places to eat in Indianapolis. This is becauase it offers a rotating panoramic view of the city skyline. Located atop the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, diners can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city while savoring their meal. It’s a sought-after spot for both locals and tourists.

Panoramic skyline views from Eagle's Nest, the rotating restaurant atop Hyatt Regency.
Panoramic skyline views from Eagle’s Nest, the rotating restaurant atop Hyatt Regency.

Are there any themed restaurants in Indianapolis worth visiting?

Yes, Indianapolis is home to several themed restaurants that offer unique dining experiences. One notable mention is The Inferno Room, a tiki bar and restaurant adorned with artifacts from Papua New Guinea. Another popular spot is Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse, where you can enjoy BBQ in a pirate-themed setting. These establishments not only serve delicious food but also provide an immersive atmosphere.

Where can I find the best vegan options in the city?

Indianapolis has embraced the vegan movement with open arms, and there are numerous establishments catering to plant-based diets. While many restaurants offer vegan options, dedicated vegan eateries have also garnered rave reviews.. Places like Three Carrots and Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe stand out as some of the best vegan restaurants in Indianapolis, offering a range of dishes that even non-vegans would love.

Are there any hidden gem restaurants in Indianapolis that locals love?

Absolutely! Indy is filled with lesser-known spots that locals swear by. Places like Bluebeard, set in a renovated 1920s warehouse, or Milktooth, a cozy diner with a modern twist, are just a couple of examples. These establishments might not always make the tourist guides, but they’re hidden gem in Indianapolis that offer fantastic food and a genuine local experience.

Wrapping Up Indianapolis’s Most Unique Restaurants

As we’ve explored, there’s no shortage of places to eat in Indy. From the historic charm of Workingman’s Friend to the tropical allure of The Inferno Room, the city’s dining scene is as diverse as it is delightful. Each restaurant we’ve highlighted offers its own unique spin, ensuring that every dining experience is memorable in its own right.

Take Vida, for instance, with its innovative dishes and hydroponic wall garden, or Yats, where flavors of New Orleans come alive without straining your wallet. And who could forget the panoramic views from Eagle’s Nest, making every meal there a visual treat?

The beauty of Indy’s culinary landscape lies in its variety. There’s something for everyone, catering to a range of tastes and budgets. From fine dining establishments to budget-friendly eateries, the options are vast and varied.

In sum, Indianapolis promises a gastronomic journey that’s both exciting and satisfying. So, the next time you find yourself in this vibrant city, remember that a world of unique dining experiences awaits. Bon appétit!

The top restaurants in Indianapolis for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the unique restaurants in Indianapolis? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment