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As a fast-growing modern city in the Midwest, Indianapolis’ restaurant scene combines the region’s penchant for hearty American staples — think dry-aged steaks — with culinary trends. These are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ list of the five best places to eat in Indianapolis:
1. St. Elmo Steak House. One of the nation’s best old school steakhouses, St. Elmo won a 2012 James Beard Award as an American classic. Renowned for its spicy shrimp cocktail and tradition of serving shots of tomato juice, St. Elmo Steak House also has a Prohibition-themed lounge on its second floor.
2. R Bistro. This Indianapolis eatery stresses local ingredients and contemporary techniques. The menu here (with dishes like buttermilk fried quail with corn and blueberry salad) changes weekly and is entirely devoted to utilizing the best and local seasonal products.
3. Recess. Another of the new crop of restaurants focused on ultra-fresh ingredients, Recess changes its menu every day (it always includes a four-course pre-fixe dinner) and uses local Indiana products as often as possible — mixed with lots of fresh seafood. The restaurant offers long list of wines by the glass and an equally impressive craft beer menu.
4. Oakleys Bistro. Chef and owner Steven Oakley worked at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Charlie Trotter’s before opening this restaurant, serving dishes such as a roasted garlic waffle with lobster, zucchini and mustard cream. Catch wine tastings on Tuesdays.
5. Late Harvest Kitchen. This contemporary American eatery serves up satisfying and creative dishes — caviar pie, whole yellowtail snapper Provencal — in both small plate and entrée sizes. The casual restaurant includes an outdoor patio.