Best Restaurants 2022: Newcomers

chicken on hummus at best restaurants 2022 winner The Hulman

The Hulman

Hotel Indy’s street-level restaurant and bar has the exact brand of swagger and confidence that a new venture requires when it makes a dramatic debut in the middle of a city in the middle of a pandemic. We needed a breath of fresh air, and The Hulman obliged with its luxe dining room offering up windows onto Washington and Delaware streets, looking like a sleek relic from the good old days. The ambitious menu has provided hits such as delicate autumn squash mezzaluna; Alaskan king crab bisque with creme fraiche, fermented gochujang hot sauce, and squid ink; and a fantastic bowl of short rib meat over housemade spaccatelli topped with crispy Brussels sprouts and a glob of ricotta. If you’re not ready to go home after they clear away the Key lime tart and Earl Gray creme brulee dishes, just ride the hotel elevator up to the rooftop Cannon Ball Lounge for a nightcap and—for those who haven’t been out of the house in a while—a refresher on Indy’s downtown skyline. 141 E. Washington St., 317-735-2586,

9th Street Bistro

The want for seasonal, chef-driven cuisine in Indy’s suburban north side was so great, the patient diners of Noblesville were willing to wait the 18 months of a pandemic-stalled opening before they could fill up the reservations book at 9th Street Bistro, a newcomer with fewer than 40 seats. In reality, they had been waiting decades for such a well-traveled and talented duo as Samir and Rachel Firestone Mohammad to relocate from places (San Francisco, Napa, Denver) where the terroir of a carrot or the vegetarian diet of a free-range chicken might not seem so esoteric. But when all the crackling curried-lamb empanadas, spears of roasted asparagus quivering with bonito flakes, and fried capers atop bright bowls of lemony spaghetti are said and done (that and the playful cocktails and bottles of wine rarely uncorked at local restaurants), it’s the kindness and enthusiasm of the staff at this reserve-in-advance destination that made it an instant hit. 56 S. 9th St., Noblesville, 317-774-5065,

Osteria by Fabio Viviani

A grocery store lunch spot with celebrity backing isn’t exactly a formula for authenticity. Yet everything about the tastefully appointed Osteria that Top Chef darling Fabio Viviani quietly installed in the former Table by Market District space in Carmel late last fall shows the chef’s personality and precision, from by-the-book Neapolitan pies to rarely seen pastas, such as squid-ink lumache lavished with the fruits of the sea. Even the ubiquitous Caesar salad takes on new character with oven-dried tomatoes and wafer-thin rye crisps in place of croutons. Entrees such as chicken-thigh marsala and a steakhouse-worthy bavette slathered in chimichurri that rolled out in July make this place not just a Hollywood novelty, but a “yes it’s that good” recommendation to anyone who has longed for a knockout Italian place to rise above the checkered tablecloths and gallons of red sauce. 11505 N. Illinois St., Carmel, 317-689-6330,

A tandoori dish from best restaurant 2022 winner 1947

1947 Fusion Eatery & Lounge

If a sign of a city’s maturing international restaurant scene is when its world cuisines move out of dusty takeouts and fill-you-up buffets and into more celebration-worthy locales, then this dazzling, upbeat Castleton lounge is evidence our Indian food culture has come a long way. 1947 is part swank club for sipping spicy guava cocktails and part innovative kitchen fusing flavors from around the Indian subcontinent, this new arrival named for the year of Indian independence features dishes never seen in Indy, at least not as artfully plated as they are here, on slabs of slate with swaths of aromatic chutneys and cooling yogurt sauces. House tikkas are especially impressive, whether chicken or paneer, and familiar biryani is as light and fluffy as it comes, perfect when paired with airy, crispy-edged naan. But lamb curries redolent of a spice market and an arresting plate of smoky, charred octopus over a slightly sweet, rich and creamy curry will give you reason to rethink the possibilities of a cuisine you’ve long loved and thought you knew. 5846 E. 82nd St., 317-288-0060,

Our Table American Bistro

An unapologetically traditional menu hits all of the satisfying pressure points. You have your well-constructed lasagna with an impressive cheese stretch, your slow-roasted beef tenderloin sliders on housemade brioche buns, Faroe Island salmon seared crispy around the edges, and peanut butter torte for dessert. The setting is handsome but unfancy, with coffee table cookbooks displayed on shelves flanking a tall flagstone fireplace. And the view out the large, state highway–facing front windows includes cornfields along its horizon line. Those reasons alone make the drive south to Joe and Ginger Miller’s all-American bistro in Bargersville worth every country mile, especially when there are jumbo Vidalia onion rings, chargrilled filet, and plenty of friendly smiles waiting there for you. Come back for the Saturday-morning market to snag some of executive pastry chef Tanya Smith’s gooey pan-baked cinnamon rolls and specialty focaccia. 5080 S.R. 135, Bargersville, 317-530-2624,

For 20 other Best Restaurants of 2022, click here.