Five Local Tamales With Masa Appeal

Tamales in their husk from The Tamale Place
Tamales from The Tamale Place.


Tamales were once the flagship dish at Carlos Hutchinson’s tiny, vegan-friendly spot. In addition to savory beef, pork, and chicken (with calabacita squash) bundles, Tlaolli offers meat-free soyrizo, pinto beans, or poblano-and-cheese tamales made with lard-free masa. 2830 E. Washington St., 317-410-9507,

El Gigante Tamale Shop

Five varieties of open-ended tamales (most notably, the elusive chicken mole) are plucked from a giant lidded pot behind the counter. They are tight, no-nonsense, and portable enough to peel and eat between warm sips of thick, chocolatey champurrado. 8335 N. Michigan Rd., 317-280-7838     

Alpha Neveria & Tamales

A vibrant menu of Mexican ice creams and fruity drinks greets you at the door, but the fat tamales nestled inside either corn husks or tender banana leaves deserve just as much love. A lighter, more supple masa does the heavy lifting here. 2802 Lafayette Rd., 317-493-1266,

3-in-1 Restaurant

Sweeter and more textured than most, the open-faced tamales at this northside shop feature corn from Michigan’s Agape Organic Farms. The standard meat fillings are joined by a seasonal ingredient (recently, butternut squash with cinnamon). 1413 W.  86th St., 317-985-5091,

The Tamale Place

A flickering screen keeps a tally of tamales left for the day at this westside shop that opens at 9 a.m. Peek behind the counter to see the crew bagging up warm tamales in flavors ranging from pork to chipotle chicken to a pineapple-raisin zeppelin suitable for both dessert and breakfast. 5226 Rockville Rd., 317-248-9771,