There is not a style of cuisine specific to Indianapolis or the rest of Indiana. But anyone looking for good food should be able to find something up their alley. Since Indy is a major metropolitan area, the good news is that there is a wide variety of different food available. Check out the Broad Ripple neighborhood, Massachusetts Avenue on the very near northeast side of the city, and the area immediately surrounding the Circle Center Mall downtown for the most variety of restaurants packed into the smallest areas.

The Monument Circle area offers many choices, including touristy places like the Hard Rock Cafe. But if you are looking for a more local experience, the following establishments are all good bets.

 St. Elmo Steak House , located at 127 S Illinois St., has been around since 1907. It is the oldest steak house in Indy still operating at its original location. The menu is centered around steaks (obviously) and seafood, with sides like sauteed mushrooms and creamed spinach. The ambiance is what makes this place special. The bar was first used in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and the decor is right out of a Chicago temperance-era speakeasy.  The MUST EXPERIENCE dish here is the shrimp cocktail with a truly famous horseradish cocktail sauce.

Claddagh Irish Pub, located at 234 S. Meridian and at 3835 E. 96th St. (and also on 96th Street in Carmel), is a fine chain restaurant offering a great selection of hearty Irish food, many beers on draft and by the bottle, as well as a selection of Irish whiskeys (of course!) MUST HAVE DISH: the fish and chips, which are the best!

Elements, at 415 N Alabama St. in the Mass Ave neighborhood, is the place to go for excellent contemporary cuisine. The dishes are typically made with fresh, locally-grown produce, and many have an Asian flare. The desserts are also highly recommended.  Expensive 

 Agio's, at 635 Massachusetts Avenue - the trendy new area in the very near northeast side - offers a fine northern Italian dining experience.  Travelers experienced in dining in the Tuscan region of Italy will find the dishes at Agio's to bring back fond memories.  Moderately expensive, and reservations recommended.

 The Capital Grille is one of the newest additions to the fine-dining scene downtown. Even though it's one of a chain of more than 20 Capital Grilles nationwide, it feels like an old-line, one-of-a-kind establishment. The food and service are high-end, but worth the high-end price tag that comes with it.  Reservations recommended.

On the north side of the city are a wide variety of original and chain restaurants offering excellent dining experiences:

Peterson's, 7690 E. 96th St., is located in an unassuming section of town and in a converted Frisch's Big Boy Restaurant.  Once inside, however, the rich wood, intimate seating, and elegant service take you to a far better place.  The menu offers a fairly wide range of traditional and eclectic options, and the chef enjoys the challenge of satisfying requests as well.  The wait staff are as skilled as any in the city, as are the bartenders.  There are no better Manhattans, martinis, gimlets, etc. than right here.  The crystal is well chosen for each drink, and the bartenders also love a good challenge.  A fine dining experience available only in Indy.

Meridian is a gem amidst the historic homes at 5694 North Meridian Street.  Sit on the deck and enjoy the view of an adjoining park, and enjoy creative cuisine that you can't find anywhere else in the city. Chef Dan Dunville's menu offers a wide variety of beautifully presented food. For appetizers, be sure to try the tuna poke and the hot and cold smoked salmon. Recommended main courses include the pan roasted free-range chicken and the andouille-encrusted halibut. Service is friendly and professional, and the wine list is extensive. Meridian is a relatively new restaurant in its current incarnation, a complete rebuild of a popular old Indy landmark restaurant.

 Sullivan's Steakhouse , 3315 E. 86th St., is located at the Keystone at the Crossing shopping mall (on the south side of the complex) - Indianapolis's most elegant shopping center.  While Sullivan's is a chain restaurant, it is a high end one.  Their steaks are outstanding, and the side dishes as well (they are quite large, and easily serve 2 or 3 persons).  Expensive.

 il Villaggio, 40 S. Main St. - Zionsville (northwest side) - serves fine Italian cuisine in the beautifully restored old town of Zionsville on Indy's far northwest side.  From the torta di formaggi, carciofi ripieni, and crispy calamari appetizers to the delicate pasta primis, to the central and Tuscan secondi dishes, to the wonderfully authentic tiramisu and the lemon sorbet (served in real and rare Amalfi lemons, when available) this is a tremendous Italian dining destination.  (don't forget the limoncello!)  Price is moderate to expensive.

 Amalfi, 1351 W. 86th (at Ditch Rd.), is a small, family-run Italian restaurant with excellent cuisine. Good food, from simple spaghetti with sauce to more exotic offerings.  Excellent service and a very good wine list. 

Mateo's, on the town square in Noblesville, is a cousin to Amalfi - run by a member of the same family.  Yet it has its own unique take on traditional Italian cuisine, bringing a hearty Tuscan fare to the far northside of the city.  Indy is gagga over Italian, and Mateo's is among the finest.  The restaurant has the ambience of a hearty Florentine trattoria, with high ceilings, simple yet elegant table settings, and knowledgable and attentive wait staff.  This is a GREAT place to sit with friends for hours - you won't feel rushed - the wait staff (and kitchen staff) not only tolerate, but encourage a more traditional Italian meal - where conversation and food are king, and NOTHING is rushed.  But it's the beautifully prepared food that keeps aficionados returning.  Reservations highly recommended on Fridays and Saturdays.

 Zydeco's, 11 E. Main St. - Mooresville (southwest) - serves Cajun/creole food in a fun and eclectic setting in a VERY unassuming building in a very unassuming town.  However, patrons come from all around the Indy area to scarf down some of the best gumbo and jambalaya this side of New Orleans.  There may be a wait from Thursday evening through Saturday evening .  Inexpensive to moderately expensive.