Lunch: Proper Nosh
Grab your favorite women and push back your afternoon meetings. These classic spots encourage lingering.
Young moms in yoga pants and pearl-clad socialites alike pack this shabby-chic dining room to catch up over bowls of soup and mountainous salads, like tahini-maple salmon sprinkled with brown-sugar candied bacon. Hearty sandwiches and wraps, ranging from beef tenderloin swiped with horseradish cream to the Reuben loaded with tangy apple sauerkraut, are big enough to split—and can still be managed in a ladylike manner. 6515 N. College Ave., 253-1022
Tilly’s Tea Room
Owner Sharon Moore captures a little slice of her native England at this darling Fishers spot decorated with pastels and handmade bunting. The menu is just as endearing, with imported English teas and made-from-scratch British recipes. Buttery, flaky sausage rolls are offered on Fridays and Saturdays, and Moore serves dense, soft fruit or chocolate-chipscones fresh out of the oven. 8745 E. 116th St., Fishers, 316-1121
Fringed with metal tables and black-and-white street scenes, Carmel’s Eggshell Bistro transports patrons to a Parisian sidewalk cafe. This posh vibe extends to the small list of refined entrees starring shakshuka—tomato sauce topped with a baked hen’s egg—and an earthy rosemary ham tart infused with buttery, nutty notes of Gruyere and pecorino. While most people pop by for brunch, this City Center spot quiets down during the tail end of the lunch hour, making it the ideal place to recharge with girlfriends while sipping on the restaurant’s acclaimed New Orleans iced coffee, brewed with organic French chicory. 51 W. City Center Dr., Carmel, 660-1616
What the spare northside cafe lacks in frill, it makes up for with an impressive selection of light, creative lunch fare that won’t blow your diet. Get a hefty dose of fresh veggies in the black-bean quesadilla smeared with a generous layer of avocado sauce, or play it safe with any of the beautifully crafted rotating salads, like arugula topped with smoked mushrooms and a sunny-side-up egg. Peruse the restaurant’s Facebook page to time your visit with gluten-free baking day, when the kitchen churns out one glorious treat after another. Past favorites include tart little blueberry-lime hand pies and ginger–macadamia nut cookies. 1224 W. 86th St., 848-5252
Both locations of this charmer are popular spots for groups. There’s something to please every palate, including all-day breakfast, shareable salads, and sandwiches like turkey with Brie, apple slices, and apple butter or the house-favorite Cuban, piled with pork and ham between grilled slices of homemade challah bread. But don’t pretend you don’t all know the real reason you’ve picked this place for your outing: homemade gooey-butter cookies. 68 N. 9th St., Noblesville, 770-3322; 10 S. Main St., Zionsville, 344-6500
This article appeared in the September 2015 Issue.