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!
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 cuisine from countries around the globe. Under the marketplace roof, you can chow down on tacos from Ztapatia Mexican Grill, order a gyro at Grecian Garden, or try the calzones at Mauricio’s Pizzeria. 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 and 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. The meals are also 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 which is prepared through a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
Must Order: Taste of Abyssinia Combination Plate—a Meat or Vegetarian Sampler Platter
Wei Ramen has joined the ranks of Indy’s best Asian restaurants since they first opened in 2019. They offer a wide variety of quality and authentic ramen right 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 have other traditional Japanese foods such as shrimp tempura udon, pork buns, and 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
The Greek Islands Restaurant
Greek Island Restaurant has been operating in Indy since 1987. This family-owned business brings authentic cuisine straight from Greece. Their menu covers all the classic dishes—including tasty lamb and chicken gyros, spankopita spinach pies, and refreshing tzatziki sauce. They also have interesting dishes like their flaming Saganaki cheese dish. And if you’re not that into cheese, you can still watch the belly dancers who come out for surprise performances on Fridays and Saturdays.
Must Order: Chicken Souvlaki
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: Chicken Shawarma
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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