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Awesome Eats and Treats in Indianapolis: Indy's Best Restaurants and Experiences

For a small city, Indianapolis boasts a great culinary scene! Consider this your guide for a full day of good eating in Indy!


Best Breakfast Restaurant in Indianapolis: Café Patachou


This place is a top notch breakfast café with a varied menu of breakfast classics, bottomless self-serve coffee for $4, and only a slight upcharge for their house-made sourdough, which you absolutely MUST get. I ordered one of their signature omelets and was treated to this beauty, served with a light arugula salad that reminded me of egg breakfasts in Paris.



Plus, Café Patachou is right off the corner of the Indiana State House, meaning it’s just steps from the canal, monument square, and the downtown museums. It’s the perfect place to fuel up before your Indy tour.


As an extra perk, it was queer friendly right from the get-go. The host that seated me was wearing a support trans kids T-shirt, and their menu QR code had the progress pride flag as a frame. Anytime I travel into a red state (like Indiana) I always have to go in with my hackles up, just in case. Indy smoothed them down for me real quickly. The capitol city really seems to be a blue island in a red state.



The Best Indianapolis Restaurants Under One Roof: The Garage Food Hall


As you research Indy, you’re going to hear a lot about the Indianapolis City Market. I’m here to tell you to skip the City Market and go straight to the food hall where the locals actually eat: The Garage Food Hall on the north end of Massachusetts Avenue. It's like all the best Indianapolis restaurants under one roof.


It’s everything you want out of a food hall. Every possible cuisine you can imagine, including places to grab a beer or a cocktail, and plenty of tables to settle at and chow down.


I visited this spot on the same day I’d had breakfast at Café Patachou, so I wasn’t nearly as hungry on arrival as I like to be when I visit food halls. I grabbed myself a fresh fruit boba from La Chinta Poblana, (I chose two fruits from their list and they blended the fresh slices while I watched), and dumplings from Lil’ Dumplings Noodle Bar. The dumplings were especially good: perfectly crispy, flavorful, single-bite masterpieces.


Tasty Treat: Macaron Bar

a box of macarons from Macaron Bar in Indianapolis

This macaron stop was not premeditated. I was wandering down Mass Ave (the locals’ way of referring to Massachusetts Avenue), toting a few shopping bags, getting a little peckish, and BOOM. MACARONS.


I ended up with a six-pack that I then savored for two days. They have an assortment of classic flavors paired with seasonal specialties. The Cardamom Coffee macaron is a thing of beauty. And the Strawberry Milkshake macaron was absolutely exquisite.


Drinks and Atmosphere: The Exchange


a whiskey flight from Exchange Whiskey Bar in Indianapolis

It’s not a true vacation unless you get into a little trouble with some whiskey, and in Indy, the place to do that is The Exchange. It’s a classy spirits bar tucked into the point of an intersection, making for a cozy, triangle-shaped lounge. Everything is soft leather and candlelight. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable about their wares. Small plates are available if you want something to nibble while you sip. I grabbed myself a spot in the corner

and sat sipping a scotch flight and reading my book, and it was the highlight of the afternoon.


Bonus Adventure: Penn & Beech Candle Company


Ok this one isn’t a restaurant, but you can drink here and it’s way too cool of an experience to skip over!


Ever wanted to create your own candle scent? Walk into Penn and Bench and you’ll be greeted by a helpful shopkeeper who will give you a clipboard and set you loose on the wall of smells. You smell all the candles that sound delicious and write down your favorites. Then you grab a seat at one of the tables, order yourself a drink to sip while you work, and the shop employees will help you select 2-3 scents that will blend together perfectly for your own custom candle. I created two custom candles on my visit, and they’re my new favorite things: a ginger/grapefruit/basil candle that I called Summer Mule, and a jasmine/bamboo/peppercorn candle that of course is called Iroh’s Garden.


Candles take about two hours to fully set, so make sure you plan time into your schedule to come back and pick them up. They’ll hold candles for several days if need be. And if you’re planning to arrive in a group, make a reservation first!


Indianapolis is a fun town with a lot of hidden gems! Eat your way through Indy: you will NOT be disappointed.


Indy also makes a great destination for a solo trip! Check out these posts on solo travel to get started on your adventure!


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Love and Shenanigans,


Andi


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