"Without a doubt, food and all of its trappings are some of the most sensual of life’s necessities. So serving up a potential sweetie some ramen or canned tuna is out of the question. But whether your wallet is fat or your checking account has been flagged for insufficient funds, Indy has a wealth of dinner spots suitable for just about any stage of your relationship — whether fledgling or familiar. At the top of the wow scale, several locally-owned bistros and cafés may just make your date swoon. Of course, atmosphere and a bit of privacy are in order, so choose wisely.
7690 E. 96th St., 317-598-8863
Peterson’s stylish banquettes will allow you intimate space in the midst of a lively restaurant, and Karl Benko’s innovative culinary creations will allow more than just a typical steakhouse experience.
2. R Bistro
888 Massachusetts Ave., 317-423-0312
R Bistro will impress both with a spiffy environment and a fastidious menu that’s worth lingering over through several courses. An early or later reservation might ensure a more quiet dinner.
148 S. Illinois St., 317-972-4180
For the more internationally oriented paramour, Mikado offers one of the most airy and soothing dining rooms as a backdrop for its delectable fusion dishes, none of which will scare off your date. The sun roll, one of Indy’s best sushi rolls, doesn’t even contain raw fish.
4. Shanghai Lil
8505 Keystone Crossing, 317-205-9335
Shanghai Lil has an even larger menu of Chinese and Japanese specialties in elegant environs utterly drenched in romantic reds. Order your date the pineapple shrimp and you’ll be set for the evening.
5. El Morocco
1260 W. 86th St., 317-844-1104
If your evening companion is of the adventurous sort, go off the path a bit at El Morocco, which has a number of aromatic multicourse dinners for two in a festively décored dining room.
5352 W. 38th St., 317-299-0608
Though much more humble a setting, Abyssinia will challenge your inhibitions as you and your date share food out of the same large platter, eat without utensils and use only a tangy sourdough crêpe to scoop up the food.
7. Adobo Grill
4939 E. 82nd St., 317-915-9990
If you want something a bit more lively, drop in on a Fiesta Friday at Adobo Grill for a 30-minute salsa lesson before you sit down to guacamole and margaritas.
8. D’Vine, A Wine Bar
2727 E. 86th St., 317-466-1117
If spirits are in order, don’t forget D’Vine, A Wine Bar, recently named the No. 7 best wine bar in the country.
9. Canterbury Hotel
123 S. Illinois St., 317-634-3000:
Visit the bar at the Canterbury Hotel, an old-school pub hung with paintings of game birds, whose bartenders shake up some mean aperitifs.
10. 96th Street Steakburgers
4715 E. 96th St., 317-844-6351
If a shake is all you need to share with your someone special, just head to 96th Street Steakburgers, order some burgers, shakes and, of course, two straws.