No. 1 – 25 Best Restaurants

Before Milktooth debuted its brunch-only concept two and a half years ago, Indianapolis had no idea it was suffering from a dearth of first-world porridges and absinthe-washed espressos. Nobody had ever said, “You know what this town needs? More kimchi-pork breakfast wontons prepped by ruggedly good-looking cooks behind a counter wrapped in flowered wallpaper.” It wasn’t until Jonathan and Ashley Brooks opened their 2,800-square-foot modern diner in a former Fletcher Place auto shop, complete with concrete-block walls and a retractable overhead door, that we realized that, yes, we really were missing a restaurant that surprises us every day with dishes we’ve either never heard of (smoked-eel kedgeree) or had completely forgotten about (unapologetically starchy shredded-potato latkes crisped in a skillet). Sometimes a good restaurant tells us exactly what we’re hungry for—instead of the other way around—and delivers the message with the confidence of a “modifications politely declined” note at the bottom of its menu. Those words still give us the back-of-the-classroom giggles, but here’s what wipes the smirk off our faces: gourmet Dutch babies cradling glazed beets, lamb patty melts, and Granny plates heaped with biscuits and gravy framed in sweet-tea fried chicken. Even without the validation from Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, and the James Beard Foundation—all of which have sung the praises of the “transcendent, internationally influenced dishes” and “precious tchotchkes” at the “quirky breakfast-and-lunch spot” in the past year—we knew Milktooth was a winner. This year, everyone else figured it out, too.

TIP: Sit at the counter for a front-row view of the food prep.

DON’T MISS: Thick, sticky slabs of sorghum-glazed bacon—the essential side order.

534 Virginia Ave., 986-5131,

See all 25 Best Restaurants here.