Cheap Eats: 3 Great Places to Go Luxe for Less

Here, a trio of options to dine on the finer things without breaking the bank.

Cerulean ($15)

Visit the Alexander hotel’s stunning restaurant during its quiet lunch run, when Caleb France’s molecular gastronomy is pared down to bento-box proportions. The format is just as stylized as the coulis-smeared small plates that come out at night, but the offerings are divvied up into one main and three sides. Need a little pick-me-up for the rest of the day? The French-press coffee is roasted at Cerulean’s original Winona Lake location. 339 S. Delaware St., 317-870-1320,

St. Elmo Steak House ($35)

Hit the storied downtown steakhouse on Sunday, when a three-course prix fixe menu lays out an appetizer (a salad or shrimp cocktail), an entree (filet, salmon, or bourbon chicken), and a dessert (chocolate-cherry bread pudding, creme brulee, or cheesecake) for $35. Granted, each course is scaled down—three shrimp in the cocktail instead of the standard five, for example. 127 S. Illinois St., 317-635-0636,

Fogo de Chao ($20)

Fogo’s limitless salad bar resembles an entire grocery-store produce section, with 30-plus items, including fat asparagus and roasted  peppers alongside aged Parmesan and prosciutto. Clean plates, refills of mini cheese popovers, and drink top-offs show up just when you need them, and the staff makes you glad to be part of the theatrics, meat or no meat. 117 E. Washington St., 317-638-4000, ($20.50 lunch, $23.50 dinner)

Photo by Jonathan Scott

This article appeared in the August 2013 issue.