Did you know there’s a world of great eats just outside of Indianapolis? There is! I had the pleasure of eating my way through a bunch of Hamilton County Indiana restaurants a while back and I can’t stop thinking about them. Still.
Here are the most satisfying, mouthwatering and memorable restaurants I visited. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert you crave, you’ll find it at one or more of these hot spots.
But bring your stretchy pants!
Restaurants in Carmel, IN
One of the best culinary surprises during my Hamilton County hosted trip was at Eggshell Bistro in Carmel where this Caprese Strata blew my mind. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a breakfast meal I’ve loved more.
The savory egg/bread cassolette with roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and pesto was mouthwatering upon sight and each bite yielded a creative explosion of flavors, textures and soul-warming goodness. I still drool at the thought of it. It truly was that divine.
Eggshell Bistro is the conceptual brainchild of owner, Larry Hanes whose masters degree in design, love for travel and culinary genius blend to create a globally-inspired brunch adventure you won’t soon forget.
Although the menu does rotate, guests can usually find the favorite mainstays of a strata, shatshuka, brioche and potato hash. To complement the eclectic menu, the industrial chic decor brings its own ambiance to the dining experience with its balance of masculine and feminine, hard and soft, and old and new.
51 W. City Centre Drive
Carmel, IN 46031
If you’re in the mood for a great burger in a fun location, duck into this cute little yellow restaurant in downtown Carmel and try the house favorite – a Big Ugly Burger. Burgers here are grilled to order with fresh, never frozen (it matters) hand-pattied ground chuck and come served on toasted house-recipe buns.
Up for a challenge? You can face off against the Big Ugly one pounder, a challenge once featured on Man vs. Food. If you finish the burger, you’ll get your photo up on the wall and forever be a part of Big Ugly history.
I settled for the more reasonable ‘Less Ugly’ Quarter Pound burger and paired it with fries and a hand-dipped banana milkshake (which I highly recommend).
It was a fantastic meal!
210 West Main Ave.
Carmel, IN 46032
Restaurants in Noblesville, IN
This cozy little cafe and bakery on the Square packs in the crowds for breakfast and lunch, so get there early!
The menu changes seasonally and is full of tantalizing options, but I happened to visit on a day when the special of the day proved irresistible: Pumpkin-Stuffed French Pancakes. The tender ‘cakes were filled with a sweet pumpkin cream, dusted with pumpkin spice and served with bourbon pecan maple syrup. So.good.
Be sure you don’t leave without trying at least one of Rosie’s famous gooey butter cookies. They taste exactly like the name promises and are not to be missed.
68 North 9th St
Noblesville, IN 46060
Restaurants in Westfield, IN
I was charmed at first glance with this once barn now restaurant located in a seemingly isolated area of Westfield. Isolated now maybe, but not for long. It’s part of a rapidly developing hot spot.
Rail serves upscale locally sourced farm-to-table Midwest cuisine in a cozy and comfortable cafe atmosphere. I ordered their spin on a BLT- a JB.L.T. It’s jowl bacon, romaine lettuce and heirloom tomatoes on toasted challah bread, and it’s served with their popular broad ripple chips.
For dessert, I highly recommend Rail’s Signature Double Chocolate Cake, even if you have to take it home as I did. It’s absolutely one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had.
Rail Epicurean Market
211 Park St.
Westfield, IN 46074
Restaurants in Fishers IN
Four Day Ray Brewing
Fishers is one of the fastest growing areas in the state (and country), so it’s a really fun place to spend time. It’s growing so fast I wouldn’t be surprised if they kick off a Fishers version of the best Chicago food tours.
And when you can have a beer and a from-scratch meal in the same place, it’s a total win-win!
Local lore has it that a railroad worker named Ray would work four days in a row and always call off on the fifth day. So Four Day Ray gives a nod to the legend and to the railroad heritage of the Nickel Plate District where the brewery is located. Fun!
Four Day Ray has a rotating selection of 24 beers on tap. My choice: the Laplander Blonde.
And then I ordered the orchard salad.
The math on that equation is beer + salad = permission for dessert.
A colossal sweet roll, to be exact.
Four Day Ray Brewing
11671 Lantern Rd.
Fishers, IN 46038
Restaurants in Cicero, IN
Big Dog’s Smokehouse BBQ
This family-owned restaurant is smokin’ up some mighty good ‘cue. Guests do the saucin’ themselves, so I ordered a pulled pork BBQ sandwich with a side of beans, and smothered everything with the house-made Smokin’ Hot BBQ sauce. It was unbelievably good!
If a seat is available, enjoy your meal outside on the patio or sit inside where the dining room is full of interesting decor. Check out the truck in the entryway… it’s actually a cooler made from old 44-gallon oil drums and it has a hydraulic lift inside!
Big Dog’s Smokehouse BBQ
29 E. Jackson St.
Cicero, IN 46034
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Hamilton County, Indiana is just north of Indianapolis. Plan a getaway full of eats and fun! Check out the Visit Hamilton County website for more ideas and check out our post on neighboring Hendricks County for Autumn festival happenings.
Which one of these finger-lickin’ good Hamilton County Indiana restaurants would you try first?