Indianapolis boasts an acclaimed culinary scene. From James Beard-nominated restaurants to bustling markets offering delectable treats, it’s no surprise that this vibrant metropolis is quickly becoming one of the best places in America to dine.
The list of iconic Indianapolis foods is endless, but here are our picks for the top dishes you should try while visiting this charming city.
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Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Pork tenderloin sandwiches have become a Midwest institution, found in restaurants from Indiana to Iowa. Not only is this dish composed of breaded and fried pork cutlets served on a bun for convenience, but it’s packed with flavor as well.
Making tenderloin is a popular method in Indiana restaurants – this method produces sandwiches with great flavor that are sure to please. The process is relatively easy and the end result is satisfying.
Watching those large tenderloins being paired with standard-sized buns in restaurants is entertaining to watch, says Julia Spalding – dining editor at Indianapolis Monthly and lifelong fan. But she adds that it’s really because this classic sandwich offers great value for your dollar, which has long been a driving factor in its popularity throughout the Midwest.
The pork tenderloin sandwich first originated in Huntington, but now can be found throughout the state of Illinois. Nick Freienstein reportedly created it at his diner, though many people travel hours just to try it!
Sugar Cream Pie
Hoosier pie, also known as sugar cream pie, is a beloved Mid-West dessert. It’s an eggless custard-style pie baked inside an flaky pastry crust with crunchy cinnamon sugar topping.
This pie recipe is incredibly straightforward to prepare, and you can serve it either room temperature or chilled (my preferred option). You can find this classic heirloom pie at places like Wick’s Pies in Winchester, Indiana.
Sugar cream pie’s filling is sweeter and tastier than traditional pie, featuring cornstarch and sugar added to sweetened cream before it cooks before being poured into the crust. Make sure you use only top-notch cream for this recipe – its superior quality will shine through!
Once the filling is poured into the pie crust, drizzle melted butter over it. Finally, sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over this butter for an irresistible finishing touch.
Shrimp Cocktail, a beloved American appetizer that can be found in restaurants worldwide. This simple dish combines poached shrimp with cocktail sauce – an aromatic mixture of ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce for extra heat.
Shrimp Cocktail is an easy to prepare appetizer or quick dinner that takes only 20 minutes to make. It makes a great party food or quick dinner option and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days!
Serve Shrimp Cocktail on a platter with cracked ice and extra lemon wedges. Alternatively, add the shrimp to a glass with sauce on top or hang them from the edges for a more decorative presentation.
Experience the best shrimp cocktail in Indianapolis at one of these iconic steakhouses that has been around since 1902. Harry and Izzy’s is a landmark establishment that is beloved by both locals and visitors alike for its world-renowned steaks, cocktails, and other delectable foods.
Indianapolis offers an abundance of sights, sounds and flavors – it’s no surprise that its culinary scene has flourished. From authentic Yemeni food to carefully curated omakase menus from Japan and beyond, Indianapolis boasts a diverse collection of eateries, restaurants and bars from around the globe.
The American dining culture has always valued variety and the freedom to mix and match. That’s why there are so many restaurants in America, from fast food giants to locally-owned gems.
That explains why America boasts such a diverse population of ethnicities. This diversity has resulted in an explosion of food options across America – and Indianapolis is no exception.
Every state has its classic favorites, and Indianapolis certainly doesn’t disappoint. From traditional pizzas to Cajun and Creole cuisine, there is something for everyone in this city.
Pizza is one of Indiana’s favorite dishes, and there are plenty of places in Indianapolis where you can get some excellent pies – or have it delivered right to your door with Uber Eats!
This family-run restaurant serves an array of delectable food, including pizza. Their pies are freshly made with a super doughy crust that will leave you wanting for more!
This restaurant also offers Italian classics like lasagne bolognese and pistachio crusted salmon – making it a must-visit when in Indianapolis!
Mad Anthony’s Brewing Company is another top pick. It boasts one of the best deep dish pies in the state, so if you’re a fan of Chicago-style pizza, this stop should definitely be on your list!
Pizza here is served with a zesty sauce and generous amounts of cheese. With its longstanding reputation, this restaurant should definitely be on your list when searching for an excellent slice. Additionally, they have an impressive drink menu as well; the bar offers an impressive range of cocktails as well as various types of beer. Plus, the atmosphere is superbly pleasant, plus service is top notch.
Hoosier-style Fried Chicken
Hoosier-style Fried Chicken is a beloved dish found in restaurants and diners throughout Indiana. This delectable dish is created by marinating the chicken with local spices before baking it to perfection.
Indiana is a special place, and its food is no exception. One of the most beloved dishes here is Persimmon Pudding – an irresistibly delicious dessert featuring wild persimmon fruit.
If you’re in the mood for this classic recipe, head over to Milktooth on Virginia Avenue in Richmond. They offer both sweet and savory Dutch babies – puff pancakes filled with toppings like plums and whipped yogurt.
This iconic meal is a must-try when visiting Indiana! The fried chicken is tender and flavorful, served with delicious sides of waffles topped off with butter or syrup.
Over the past decade, Indianapolis has grown into one of America’s most diverse cities and home to some of America’s best food. Whether you’re craving classic American fare or something more exotic, Indianapolis has something for everyone.
Tenderloin sliders are a beloved Hoosier classic, made with pounded and breaded tenderloin that’s then deep-fried to golden perfection. Served on buns, these tasty sandwiches come in numerous flavors and variations.
These sandwiches come with various fillings and some are made with meat that hasn’t been breaded. Whatever the case may be, make sure to try these sandwiches during your trip to Indianapolis!
In New Orleans, several versions of this classic sandwich can be found – one made with coconut-crusted tenderloin. Another variation uses a Hawaiian bun.
A tenderloin slider is the ideal meal for any gathering, family or not. Plus, it’s relatively straightforward to make at home: roast a whole tenderloin and serve on buns with some kind of spread.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a beloved comfort food. These sandwiches are grilled on both sides and can be filled with an array of fillings.
For the ideal grilled cheese, use low heat and generous amounts of butter on thick-sliced bread. The butter helps the exterior become crisp and golden-brown.
In addition to cheddar and American cheeses, you can also add ham, bacon, avocado, or any other desired ingredients. You could even saute vegetables like onions or mushrooms for extra flavor!
For a more substantial sandwich, why not try making one with smoked gouda cheese? It may be more sophisticated than your average grilled cheese, but it’s still delicious.
For an unforgettable grilled cheese experience, visit Milktooth in Bloomington for their raclette grilled cheese with cranberry walnut bread and black truffle honey. You won’t be disappointed!