With Indianapolis being known as the Crossroads of America, it's no wonder we have amassed an impressive lineup of really good international dining. Start your palate expansion with our list.
Chef Carlos Salazar is giving Naptowners a walloping hit of Filipino flavors with his street food-themed menu. Though they're famous for their dumplings (and rightfully so), it's all good, all the time. Whether you're in search of a great bowl of ramen or some of the best fermented flavors you can find in the city, Salazar has your number here. Word is, the restaurant is moving to a larger location down the street with an open kitchen. We'll give you all the details when the doors are about to open. In the meantime, check out this gorgeous and delicious little shotgun style restaurant in Fletcher Place.
719 Virginia Ave., 759-5828, rookindy.com
For a long time, Spice Nation was the only place vegetarians could eat that guaranteed a meat-free dining experience with plenty of flavor. And the staple restaurant continues to go strong, giving the rest of us an authentic taste of Indian spices. If you're having an argument about whether you want something meatless or exotic, now you don't have to choose.
4225 Lafayette Road, 299-2127
When Indy chefs want good, Szechwan-style Chinese, they go here. The enormous variety of proteins, including offal, fill the pages upon pages of menu options.
3649 Lafayette Road, 328-2888, szechwangardenindianapolis.com
Bosphorus Istanbul Café
A nice warm welcome by friendly owners is just the beginning of a fantastic Turkish experience at Bosphorus Istanbul Café. Bosphorus is a cozy place to enjoy a calming, international themed lunch, and it captured the #1 spot in its category in last year's Best of Indy voting. Freshly made hummus served with warm pita chips make for a perfect appetizer. Entrees are plentiful, from baba ganoush to doner kabob. And don't forget dessert where baklava is the only way to go.
935 S. East St., 974-1770
Santorini Greek Kitchen
Santorini is a familiar face on the Best Of list, having been honored many times before this. But that's because Santorini is the real Greek deal, and our readers know authentic international food when they taste it. For over a decade now, the Sawis have been serving lovingly-prepared Greek dishes. One if their most popular is the Lamb Lovers, which features lamb prepared three ways for the carnivore at the table. Of course, you can get lighter fare like the mixed grill entree or something vegetarian. But why mess with that when you could eat flaming cheese and spiced meat on a stick?
1417 Prospect St., 917-1117, santorini-greek-kitchen.com
MaMa's House Korean Restaurant
Korean barbecue is the condiment lover's dream, and there's only one place in town you should even think of when you want Korean barbecue. Not only is their grilling game strong, all the other traditional selections on the menu like beebimbap are out-of-this-world good. If you want to know how to properly enjoy MaMas, here's the formula: On a gorgeous, sunny day, go for a hike or bike in Harrison State Park and work up a powerful appetite, then head straight for this Pendleton Pike restaurant and split a few entrees with friends. Proceed immediately to a napping place.
8867 Pendleton Pike, 897-0808
I have never been to Sakura and not waited for a table. It's been a staple of Keystone Avenue for years, and still packs the booths full every night. They do outstanding sushi, but the best thing to go for is a bowl full of big, fat udon noodles in broth. Or, if you're like the NUVO crew, there's no reason not to get one of each and split it. You won't be sorry.
7201 N. Keystone Ave., 259-4171, indysakura.com
Jun and Yoko Kuramoto are bringing real Sapporo style ramen bowls to the former INgredients building on Binford. Traditional ramen broth is a multi-day affair with lots of boiled-in flavors and a hearty broth with lots of dissolved proteins and fats and magical, chewy alkalized noodles. We're so excited for this one to open, we can barely keep it together. Stay tuned for more info on the opening.
5628 E. 71st St.
Fun fact about Indianapolis: We have one of the largest Burmese populations outside of Burma. Our new transplanted neighbors then treated Greenwood residents to a taste of home. Here you can get a steaming bowl of Burmese Shan noodles, plus other neighboring culinary influences like pho; you can also buy just the pho broth for your noodling needs at home.
1280 Hwy 31 N, Suite U (Greenwood), 893-2221
While it's not technically a restaurant, you can still get plenty of prepared foods in their in-store mini shops. And of course, you can browse the aisles and find whatever kind of international or unusual ingredient you need. This is a place for those who like to play in the kitchen, or those who miss the snacks they used to get when they studied abroad. Chances are, you can find it on the shelves at Saraga.
3605 Commercial Drive, 388-9999, saragafood.com
We get into a lot of arguments around here about what constitutes the perfect taco, and I'm starting to think that this place my have their fingers on that fickle pulse. They've only been open a handful of weeks and are already regularly selling out on the weekends. They've got fajita tacos, mole tacos, elote and all the extra goodies. Give them a try to see what the buzz is all about.
2196 E. 54th St., 929-1424