Restaurant Guide Update: November 2018

A tour of the city’s best dining. New and updated: Bluebeard, Nesso, Cobblestone, Loco Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

Crowds still roll in for chef Abbi Merriss’s take on seasonal comfort food, a category she dominates in town as evidenced by her vast collection of national media mentions and James Beard Award nominations. Start with the bread baked next door at sister-business Amelia’s—delicious slathered with anchovy butter—and build your meal from the ever-changing menu of small and large dishes. Crispy fried morel mushrooms may show up on a spring picnic plate, while winter nights call for a butcher shop Bolognese that rivals any version of the Italian favorite. Bluebeard is a rare local neighborhood restaurant open for Sunday dinner, and Team Merriss makes it worth the while with its popular $1 oyster night. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 653 Virginia Ave., 317-6861580

Nesso Coastal Italia
Inspired by all the seafood-forward dishes of coastal Italian cuisine, Nesso joins the ranks of enlightened downtown restaurants. Housed in the stunning street-level spot inside The Alexander, it follows the tradition of its predecessor, Cerulean, sending out elaborately plated dishes that turn housemade pastas, gilded steaks, and fresh fish into high art. An exciting culinary duo featuring pastry chef Hattie McDaniel headlines this Cunningham Restaurant Group venture. Dinner daily. 339 Delaware St., 317-643-7400

Cobblestone Grill
Chef Jeremiah Clark revives this Zionsville classic with sophisticated offerings that range from a bright beet salad punctuated with Larkspur Bleu to a lavish tempura halibut with potato pavé. The brick-walled dining room with its sleek red-leather chairs underwent a 2017 facelift that draws attention to a stately mirror-backed bar (itself a fine vintage) and a pleasant brick patio that offers one of the far north’s most pulled-together outdoor dining areas. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat., brunch Sun. 160 S. Main St., Zionsville, 317-873-4745

Loco Mexican Restaurant and Cantina
In the Fall Creek spot that formerly housed startups LongBranch and 22nd Street Diner, this rollicking Tex-Mex joint fills the house nightly for its generous enchiladas, burritos, and chimichangas. A fresh housemade salsa with a kick starts the meal with crispy chips, which are a good companion to tilapia ceviche and flavorful choriqueso, a rich mix of melted cheese and well-spiced sausage. Lavishly sauced enchiladas supremas (red) and verdes (green) are solid bets for the hungry appetites at the table, but tacos, including ones stuffed with slow-cooked brisket barbacoa, allow for slightly lighter and more straightforward flavor. A bar at the rear of the dining room spans the length of the restaurant and promises 50 different tequilas shaken up in some daring pours in opaque tiki glasses. But go for the classic—and strong—margarita. Lunch and dinner daily. 2205 N. Delaware St., 317-419-3700