There may be nothing quite like hearty Midwestern comfort food, but Indy offers authentic international cuisine even in the nation’s heartland. With diverse local restaurants and eateries, you can travel all around the culinary world without ever needing to leave the city.
Here are some of Indyfluence’s favorite spots to grab a local bite with global flavor. So, whether you’re an amateur tourist or a gourmet globetrotter, you can get out and explore a whole new world of food!
Because of COVID-19, keep in mind that even though Indiana is reopening, some restaurants are still closed or limiting their dine-in services. Be sure to check each restaurant’s safety policies and operations before heading over—or see if you can order carryout or delivery to eat at home!
Indianapolis City Market
If you have trouble deciding what’s for dinner, the Indianapolis City Market is the answer to your prayers—with food options for every taste and craving! The marketplace is a one-stop shop with a wide variety of merchant stalls selling artisanal products, locally designed gifts, and (most importantly) authentic ethnic foods from around the globe. Under the marketplace roof, you can chow down on Mexican tacos at the Tamale Place, try some hot Indian curry at the Spice Box, or even dine like you’re touring France at the street-style crepe stand 3 Days in Paris. Whatever hits the spot, the Indianapolis City Market lets you sample a world’s worth of cuisine from one convenient downtown location.
Must Order: Chicken Shawarma from Ameer Middle Eastern Cuisine (with Baklava for Dessert!)
Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant
At Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant, you’ll find more than just delicious authentic cuisine! They offer a dining experience that gives you a true taste of Ethiopian culture. Instead of your usual utensils, their flavorful spiced meats and veggies are meant to be eaten by hand, using a sponge-like flatbread called injera to scoop up the food. And the meals are served on a large common plate and shared around the table, which makes Abyssinia the perfect place for bringing all your friends and family! While you’re there, don’t miss out on their freshly roasted coffee, made in a jebena through a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony
Must Order: Taste of Abyssinia Combination Plate—a Meat or Vegetarian Sampler Platter
One of Indianapolis’s newer additions, Wei Ramen has joined the ranks of Indy’s delicious Asian restaurants—offering a quality, authentic ramen shop in the heart of downtown. Wei Ramen specializes in its namesake, a Japanese dish made with thin noodles served in a well-simmered broth with meats and veggies, but they also offer a wide variety of traditional Japanese foods from shrimp tempura udon to curry chicken katsu. And if you want a lighter lunch, Wei Ramen shares their building with T-Swirl Crepe, a place for both savory and mouth-watering sweet Japanese crepes made with rice flour!
Must Order: Tonkotsu Ramen
Taste of Dubai
The Taste of Dubai magically transports your taste buds across the world to the beautiful port city of Dubai, a bustling hub of Arab cultures—and cuisines! This restaurant captures the diverse flavors and foods that come together to influence the city’s food fare, from dishes like Yemeni lamb haneeth to Jordanian mansaf. And you can wash it all down with some fresh banana milk or warm adani tea! Best of all, you can choose to sit at a table, or you can complete the experience and dine on their floor seating, with comfy cushions behind an ornate curtain.
Must Order: Mendi Lamb and Rice
Mexico may be just south of the border, but when it comes to international cuisine, nothing hits the spot quite like some spicy authentic Mexican food! La Hacienda has multiple locations around the Indy region, but their very first restaurant at Lafayette Road has been serving up tasty tacos, burritos, and fajitas since 1997. With a vibrant, colorful dining space, huge portions, and a lengthy menu of delicious dishes, there’s no better place to grab some nachos, margaritas, and your hearty entrée of choice. So, next time you’re craving some Chipotle, venture outside the chains and get a true taste of Mexican culture!
Must Order: El Burro de la Roqueta
Mama’s Korean Restaurant
It takes a bit of a trip to get to Mama’s Korean Restaurant from downtown, but it’s absolutely worth it for their authentic Korean dishes and BBQ! Mama’s has been a cornerstone of the Indy food scene for over 30 years, serving up home-style meals and traditional favorites to sate your globe-trotting appetite. Their rice comes with a hefty number of banchan for you to try, and their menu has a little bit of everything, from sautéed pork and kimchi to a hot pot for two. And if you get one of the house specialty BBQ dinners, they prepare the meal on an open flame right at your table—a front row seat!
Must Order: Bulgogi
Chapati combines home-style cooking with authentic Pakistani and Indian cuisine to create truly delicious dishes, ready for you to chow down! Their recipes have been passed down through the generations, so their meals all have that little special something that comes from Mom’s home-cooked food. From slow-cooked marinated meats to flavorful street chaats, Chapati offers gourmet dishes made with authentic sauces and spice blends. All of their meats are halal, and they offer a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan dining options—which means everyone can grab a bite!
Must Order: Goat Biryani
Taste of Havana
Sandwiches are a classic lunch staple for a reason—fresh, light, and oh-so-savory! And at the Taste of Havana, you can try an international twist on a local favorite with their authentic Cuban sandwiches. Inspired by the owner’s heritage, the small family shop uses real Cuban and Media Noche bread and hand-cuts every slice of pork, ham, and turkey on their sandwiches. To complete your meal, you can grab a side of yellow rice, sweet plantains, or black bean soup—and if you still have room for dessert, you’ve got to try their coconut flan and fresh pastelitos!
Must Order: Pan Con Lechon
Few regions around the world have a more iconic flavor palette and cuisine than the Mediterranean. But with fresh seafood, marinated kababs, spiced falafel, and so much more, the Canal Bistro lets you eat all those flavorful foods right here in Indy! The owners George and Mona are natives of Egypt and Lebanon, and they truly bring the taste of their homeland to your table. You can dine inside and watch their chefs prepare your food, or you can eat on their patio overlooking the canal, capturing the perfect feeling of a delicious dinner on the Mediterranean coast!
Must Order: Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce
And remember, these restaurants are only a handful of the many delicious foods just waiting for your taste test! If you’re especially passionate about global foods, we highly recommend checking out Indy’s International Marketplace—an area of Indianapolis filled with unique cultures and businesses from local immigrants. They offer some of the best in specialty stores and global cuisine.
Check them out here: https://www.imcoalition.org/
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