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Naptown Noshing: 25 Great Restaurants in Indianapolis

Indianapolis has long since shed its flyover status, thanks in no small part to its expansive food scene. Once a hotbed of chains, now it attracts independent ventures, and each neighborhood boasts a wealth of dining options. You’ll find authentic Yemeni food and carefully curated menus of omakase featuring locally grown ingredients, among other spots for food, beer, cocktails and more.

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At Chef Carlos Salazar’s Rook, Asian street food is elevated into an unforgettable dining experience. His unique style and vision is directly drawn from his family, combining the characteristic flavors of Korean, China, Japan and Southeast Asia with his Filipino upbringing. Although the menu changes with the seasons, there are some items that never drop off, including the Rook Burger, with soft sesame pancakes, marinated Brussels sprouts and the playfulness of Big Mac–like ingredients like pickles and “special sauce.”

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La Parada

In an impressively diverse Mexican and Latino food scene, La Parada stands out for consistently rocking the tacos. Beginning as a small local neighborhood taqueria in a tiny little building squeezing in only about 20 people, the restaurant drew large enough crowds to quickly expand into a nearby building. The margaritas and food are outstanding, but it’s the friendliness and family-like appeal that draws thousands of folks through their doors every week. The technicolor furniture, weekly mariachi band and loud music-bumping televisions filled with soccer and soaps are a fixture, as is the queue on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. Get there early and grab your drink, and try out something new each time, from well-known items to more regional and traditional Latino fare.

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Public Greens Urban Kitchen

Part of Martha Hoover’s Patachou empire, Public Greens sits on the busy Monon trail in Broad Ripple, where walkers and bike riders buzz up and down all day. This contemporary cafeteria-style restaurant serves fresh American-inspired fare, with profits going to fighting food insecurity for city residents. Most of the dishes are created with produce grown in their onsite microfarm. And like all of Hoover’s Patachou family of restaurants, Public Greens supports local farms and maintains an extensive sustainability program. Executive Chef Tyler Herald has designed an approachable menu, with snacks, salads and full plates filled with healthy ingredients. Eating right and for a good cause never tasted so good.

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One of the best-known restaurants in Indianapolis, Milktooth ladles out the goodness with every new menu change. This little datyime-only establishment, a brainchild of chefs Jonathan Brooks and Ashley Brooks, has evolved into a hip little comfort food hangout. Each menu dares you into waiting in line for a table, and lays the flavor on thick with serious goodness. The mixture of Midwest and Southern flavors is a match made in Dutch Baby heaven, one dish that is a staple on the menu, though toppings change seasonally. The kitschy-cool decor and one-off cocktail night DJ seshes add to its appeal.

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