No. 13 – 25 Best Restaurants

When Caleb France opened Cerulean in 2012, the high-concept stunner pioneered a new and adventurous way of dining in Indy—one where the colorful burst of ingredients on your plate could rival the beauty of the contemporary artwork hanging in the adjoining Alexander hotel. The restaurant (which tucks a section of its dining room inside a bent-wood sculpture) quickly became known for its sense of adventure, serving oddities like buffalo mousse. In 2014, France handed the kitchen over to Mesh alum Alan Sternberg, who has managed to tame the wild menu without compromising its modern edge. The 29-year-old chef balances bold and familiar textures with precision—draping charred octopus over piles of tender roasted carrots; swiping apple mustard on a plate of cubed corned beef in a halo of creamy polenta, with a dusting of crumbled caraway sable; and working magic with pork, plunging chops into sweet-and-smoky tomato broth or deepening the flavor of a tenderloin with black-garlic vinaigrette.

TIP: Dessert is a must—even if it’s just to lay eyes on the gorgeous work of pastry chef Pete Schmutte. Every treat looks like a little edible Picasso.

DON’T MISS: A side of crispy Brussels sprouts with maple gastrique and house pancetta.

PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best Restaurants 2013, Best Restaurants 2014

339 S. Delaware St., 870-1320, ceruleanrestaurant.com

See all 25 Best Restaurants here.