Best places to eat? 1st timer
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Posted by kodywolf

Hello Gencon peoples!
I'll be attending Gencon for my first time this year, and I've never been to Indy.

What are some of your favorite places to eat?
I eat almost everything, and my price range per meal is about $10-$20, and probably one dinner $50+

I'm a huge foodie, a chef and restaurant consultant. I like good food!
I'd like to try a new restaurant every meal, at least for lunch and dinner.

Are there places to get a late night or midnight snack?

If I manage to wake up for be up for breakfast - where are some great cheap eats? $5-10?

Thank you!

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Posted by fethbone

It kind of depends how far from the ICC area you are willing to go. IMO, there are not really that many exciting food options immediately in the ICC/connected hotel area. Lots of chains -not that there's anything wrong with chains- and it's very much a steak n' seafood kind of downtown for the nicer places. I am personally not a fan of the food trucks due to the lines and I don't think they are the greatest value even though they're not super-expensive, per se (you can get more food, free water, and AC for the same price at, say, PF Changs or similar depending on what you order if you're thinking cost-effectiveness only), but they do have a good variety, are right there, and are not excessively costly per-meal depending on what you eat. 

One reasonable place dinner right downtown that I do like is Napolese Pizza; very fresh Neopolitan style pizza with good toppings. I think they are open for lunch and dinner weekdays, but only dinner on the weekends. The same group that owns Napolese owns Cafe Patachou downtown, which has a good breakfast, but you won't get out of there for <$10 with tip unless you literally just get oatmeal or toast. Honestly, you will probably not find breakfast for less than $10 in that part of downtown except for fast food and Steak n Shake. St. Elmo's is worth a visit ($$$$$), even if you just have drinks in the lounge.

However, if you are staying or willing to go further afield, there are more options. A mile or so southwest of downtown you can get fresh pastries and breads at Amelia's Bakery for a very good <$10 breakfast. Bluebeard is right next to Amelia's too- I've never been there but they've gotten huge buzz. For lunch/dinner there's also Rook (Filipino fusion), Kuma's Corner (burgers), and 3 Carrots (vegetarian). If you want to use your larger budget on brunch, Milktooth is in that area too- I went there last year and while I didn't really think it lived up to all  the hype I had heard about it, the food was good (service not so much). There's also a bunch of restaurants Northwest up Massachusetts Ave, but I have not explored that area as much.

EDIT: I forgot this initially since I take it for granted, but avoid the food in the Convention Center. It may keep body and soul together, but is, in general, not good and overpriced.

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Posted by ubermx

For dining before Friday night/Saturday, I like to have at least on meal at the Weber Grill.  Its not super expensive and if you are smart about when you go to eat, you can usually get a table with an acceptable wait time.  
If you are ok with just fast food for one meal, try the food court in the mall.  Its not fine dining at all, but if you are in a hurry its not bad. Plus the Godiva store in the mall has soft serve ice cream.  
My personal experience is to avoid Buca De Bepo at all costs.  If another Congoer had a better experience, feel free to post.  My experience was slow service combined with an extremely hot restaurant- which means I don't really want to go back.  
Some of the hotels offer buffet options- pricey to be sure, but if you can get there early you can eat  to fill up for the day and grab a banana or other snack for your bag also.  
 

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Posted by a dark rider on a pale ... unicorn? ubermx

ubermx wrote:

My personal experience is to avoid Buca De Bepo at all costs.  If another Congoer had a better experience, feel free to post.  My experience was slow service combined with an extremely hot restaurant- which means I don't really want to go back.   
 


Based on your experience, it totally makes sense not to want to go back.
My friends & I had a great meal there, but we were in "hanging out" mode, so probably wouldn't have noticed slow service.
Food was very good, I thought, and the portion sizes were gigantic.

Throwing another option or two out there; The Old Spaghetti Factory, and Pearl Street Pizza.
Both are a few blocks away from the ICC, which seems to cut down the foot traffic a lot.

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

The idea of using Gen Con as a place to eat anything but basic sustenance seems strange to me.  I can get food where I live.  Any time taken to eat at the Con cuts into time I could be gaming :-)

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Posted by raidkillsbugsded ubermx

ubermx wrote:
  
My personal experience is to avoid Buca De Bepo at all costs.  If another Congoer had a better experience, feel free to post.  My experience was slow service combined with an extremely hot restaurant- which means I don't really want to go back.  
  
 

My wife and I would totally agree with this.  We do a pretty good job of making mushy pasta with generic tasting sauce right here at home...

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Posted by lord thrifty the cromulent

There's a food court in the Circle Center Mall, which is connected to the convention center.  It's all fast food of course, being a food court.

There are a lot of choices along Washington Street, also close to the convention center.  Weber Grill, Chipotle, Five Guys, Morton's Steakhouse, Panera, and Buffalo Wild Wings to name a few.  Dick's Bodacious BBQ on Pennsylvania Street, near Monument Circle, is pretty good.  Fast Burrito on the ground floor of Salesforce Tower (corner of Ohio and Pennsylvania, but you can see the 40 story skyscraper from pretty far away) makes a pretty good breakfast burrito.  Monument Circle also has Potbelly sandwich shop and Soupremacy (all soups, but a lot of varieties).  Stay away from Giorgio's Pizza on Monument Circle.  Besides being overpriced, they also rip you off with the soda (get a big cup of mostly ice and charge for refills).

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Posted by aldctjoc

"... my price range per meal is about $10-$20"

This suggestion can exceed that a bit; Yelp puts their menu at $11 - $30. But: Nada. http://eatdrinknada.com/indianapolis/. I was happy with it. And it's not far; it's pretty much between the ICC and the Hampton In. You literally just walk east from the Convention Center on Maryland St., and you'll find it.

Another: Bazbeaux Pizza - http://www.bazbeaux.com/. Their pizza was worth getting. It's a bit of a walk for some people (look it up in Google), but I like it. After Giordano's downtown (which well exceeds the $20 limit), it's a favorite place downtown when I'm in Indy. 

"... probably one dinner $50+"

That's pretty much the steakhouses - (St. Elmo's, Ruth's Chris, etc.) or the seafood places (Oceanaire, McCormick & Schmick's). I'd consider hitting up something like Fogo de Chao, which is a Brazzilian churrascaria. If you hit it up at lunch, you'll fall right in the middle of that range ($24 to $35+), but go there for dinner and you're definitely in excess of $50. You're likely in excess of $60. Lunch is a terrific sweet spot with them because it's the same food. 

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Posted by miked

Try steak n shake and by the stadium theres a white castle. Along with the food court.  also take what people say with a grain of salt. I dont find Georguos over price and the food is very good and the bad rep the food at the conviction center is far off.  about 5 years ago they inproved the quality and i find their food on par with the food trucks but better pizza than the food trucks

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Posted by rutherfordr

I'd recommend Harry and Izzy's and Palomino as the best locally-owned restaurants in the area.

Ruth's Chris is a chain, as is Buca de Beppo and Fogo de Chao, so you know what to expect there.

St. Elmo's steak house is unfortunately not as good as Ruth's Chris.

And if you don't mind taking a bit of a walk, Shapiro's delicatessen is a surprisingly excellent kosher deli:

https://shapiros.com/locations/indianapolis/

 

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Posted by aaronr

I love the food trucks! Such a great variety and some really great food. The prices are reasonable and if you go on off peak times the lines are not really that bad.

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Posted by remnant kodywolf

kodywolf wrote:
Hello Gencon peoples!
I'll be attending Gencon for my first time this year, and I've never been to Indy.
What are some of your favorite places to eat?
I eat almost everything, and my price range per meal is about $10-$20, and probably one dinner $50+
I'm a huge foodie, a chef and restaurant consultant. I like good food!
I'd like to try a new restaurant every meal, at least for lunch and dinner.
Are there places to get a late night or midnight snack?
If I manage to wake up for be up for breakfast - where are some great cheap eats? $5-10?
Thank you!

As mentioned I like a quite breakfast at Cafe Patechou the first Thursday of GenCon.  Yolk was also good but a bit farther out.

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Posted by matthias9

My answer to this question would be Thai Paradise.  It's on Market Street.  1.5 blocks west of monument circle.

Though, personally, I'm content to just get something quick, cheap and hearty and get back to gaming.  Chipotle works well for that. 

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Posted by rodoubleb rutherfordr

rutherfordr wrote:
St. Elmo's steak house is unfortunately not as good as Ruth's Chris.

 


Those are fighting words.   

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Posted by ryric

One piece of advice when choosing dinner: I recommend going at about 5:30. The exhibit hall closes at 6 PM, and that coincides with a huge horde of gamers suddenly looking for places to eat. If you can bring yourself to go just a little earlier in the day, you can turn a 90 minute wait into a 10 minute wait. Alternatively, you can wait until about 7:30, and things will have died down quite a bit and waits will be more in the 30 minute range.

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Posted by keithbradburn

If you like Thai, I would suggest Thai Paradise.
Thai Paradise

For a more "upscale" burger, there is Burger Study.
Burger Study

For a hole in the wall place that most don't know, Ike and Jonesy's.  Not a big menu but good food.
Ike and Jonesy's

Some other places.
King David Dogs
Yolk
Hyde Park
Nada
 

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Posted by lord thrifty the cromulent

There's a Five Guys Burgers and Fries nearby that wasn't there last year.  It was Pie Five last year.

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Posted by gswest

For breakfast/brunch - Café Patachou - We end up here almost every day, it is soooooo good and they even have a location at the airport so once you get hooked you can have one last hit!

For a big dinner - St. Elmo's - Don't listen to the naysayers, there's a reason this place is perennially on best steakhouses in the US lists. The Shrimp Cocktail is fantastic - the cocktail sauce is fiery and goes well with the huge shrimp.

I'd like to mention Weber Grill because its a place I wish I liked. Prices aren't bad but I'd avoid it. The food is mediocre at the best, although I have had a couple of great meals there. I usually get dragged there by friends. 

As others have said - avoid the convention center food. Even if you just pop over to the mall's food court you'll have better luck.

Happy eating!

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Posted by jhs

Small note, but Buca di Beppo’s air conditioning broke last year, so it was an oven.  Hopefully that will be fixed!  And while I agree it is not gourmet, I like it for big groups. Have a team of 20 going this year, fun and relatively cheap.
 

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Posted by monkeyknifefight rutherfordr

rutherfordr wrote:
I'd recommend Harry and Izzy's and Palomino as the best locally-owned restaurants in the area.
Ruth's Chris is a chain, as is Buca de Beppo and Fogo de Chao, so you know what to expect there.
St. Elmo's steak house is unfortunately not as good as Ruth's Chris.
And if you don't mind taking a bit of a walk, Shapiro's delicatessen is a surprisingly excellent kosher deli:
https://shapiros.com/locations/indianapolis/
 
Harry and Izzy's and St Elmo's share the same kitchen and have many of the same menu items. I don't know how you could rate one so highly and one at the bottom of the high end restaurants.

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