Upland Brewery: Try the local brews!
Ah, I love this place! The Upland Brewery is a terrific microbrewery that has a friendly atmosphere, good food, fair prices, and delicious beer.
The beer is obviously the house specialty, however the food is surprisingly delicious. The menu offers typical pub fare, but there are also some surprises like schnitzel with sauer sauce and huge specialty salads.
It can be hard to get a table at the brewery at peak times.
Two bits of advice: 1. Don't sit by the big windows in the afternoon, when the sun shines through it can be unbearably hot. 2. This is probably not your best option if you're looking for somewhere to watch "the game." There are TVs, but they are kind of small and dispersed throughout the restaurant.
Favorite Dish: Try the schnitzel. It comes with sides of German potato salad and spatzle - yum!
Scholar's Inn: truly Gourmet
A restored 150-year-old historic mansion is a great setting for lunch, dinner, or Sunday Brunch.
Frankly, I don't normally pay this much and it can be a bit noisy but it is THE place to entertain in Bloomington
If you are from Chicago, New York, or Metropolis you will not think the prices expensive -- but for Bloomington I find the food good but not great, the atmosphere noise, and the prices too high. Good wines, though.
Favorite Dish: Seafood Risotto -- Crab, scallops, fresh water prawns, peas, roma tomatoes & Parmigiano-Reggiano crema
Village Deli: Breakfast and deli sandwiches
A friend of ours had mentioned that Village Deli was her favorite place to eat when they return to IU and our friend suggested it as well so we stopped here to get lunch on the campus tour with my niece. It was busy but not full, I think most of the campus was across the street trying to get into Kilroy's or at the Homecoming football game.
Favorite Dish: Breakfast is served all day long, we saw some people getting the pancakes and they really are ginormous, the size of a dinner plate. I had already had a waffle for breakfast so I opted to get lunch, the Carmichael's Hoagy, roast beef grilled with onions and mushrooms topped with provolone cheese. It was very good, the sandwiches come with a choice of side and I got french fries but the hot potato chips are what they are known for.
Lennies and the Bloomington...
Upscale and affordable restaurant connected to the first local brew pub: A very relaxing place for lunch, dinner, meeting friends, a meeting, or a birthday. Great beer, great food, snappy service.
Favorite Dish: My personal favorites are: Any pizza
Stromboli which is a calzone: Veggie
artichoke hearts, spinach, button mushrroms and tomato slices,
chicken Quessadillas and I get one without Chicken so it is a tasty Black Bean Quessadilla with salsa!
Plus recently there were NINE great locally brewed (you can see the brewery) beer selections
Grazie!: Don't Miss the Roasted Red Pepper Soup
I've had the opportunity to eat here twice. The first time was with one of my sons a few years ago in the summer when we were able to eat outside. The other time just recently with a business associate. I don't remember much from the first trip, but on a cold January night the soup, main course, wine and dessert were all great.
The wait staff are all Indiana University students, so when you go be generous with your tip. They have a separate eating area from the bar.
Favorite Dish: A large salad comes standard with each meal so we did not order any appetizers. We did have the soup however, which was out of this world especially with the smoked gouda. For the main course I ordered the Lobster and Crab Stuffed Ravioli. There were 8 ravioli which after the soup and salad and trying to save room for dessert I only ate 1/2 of, but did enjoy it the next night for another dinner at home. For dessert I had a chocolate Bomba (I think that is what it was called). A little on the pricey side for students, but a great special evening out.
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Lennie's & The Bloomington Brewing Company: Try the local brews! (Part 2)
Lennie's is home to the Bloomington Brewing Company. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it is definitely worth the trip inside.
In comparison with the other brewery in town, the Upland Brewery, Lennie's is slightly more upscale (in my opinion). The menu can be pricey depending what you order, and I typically limit myself to the "build your own stromboli." The strombolis here are delicious and there are many different fillings and sauces to choose from. Although I've never tasted them - the salads are stacked tall and look delicious.
I find the beer here slightly (very slightly) preferable to the Upland beer. I like their Ruby Amber beer, a reddish colored offering.
Go on Sunday when they offer $2 pints!
Favorite Dish: The Ruby/Amber beer. The beer is fresh and delicious... the food is an afterthought.
Irish Lion: A bit of Ireland in Indiana!
The Irish Lion is probably my favorite restaurant in Bloomington. The antique bar is gorgeous and the atmosphere is rustic: lots of taxidermy. Unlike other pubs/bars in town the Irish Lion has little details like linen table clothes, and well dressed servers that lend it a more sophisticated feel.
The menu features traditional Irish fare and spirits all at reasonable prices. I've never had a bad meal here. The corned beef and cabbage, and coddle, are exceptionally good. The beer selection is a little bit of a disappointment, and the restaurant would do well to expand on it a bit. Smithwicks and Guiness are the major Irish beers offered on draught.
Favorite Dish: Coddle...house stew with potatoes, sausage, bacon, and onions. Typical Dublin pub food supposed to prevent a hangover. Served with soda bread & butter. (from their website)
Mother Bear's Pizza: Goldfish cracker croutons - Brillant!
Mother Bear's Pizza is a Bloomington tradition of sorts. The pizza business is obviously quite competitive in this college town, however Mother Bears is always my first choice for dine-in pizza.
The atmosphere is pretty much like any college pizza parlor. It is very casual, with multi-colored faux-Tiffany glass lamps over the tables. It is almost always loud inside, and there is often a long wait during peak times. What the restaurant lacks in atmosphere it makes up in food quality. There are many kinds of specialty pizzas with varied crusts, sauces, and toppings. There are different specials throughout the week, however the Mother's Special (which is offered all of the time) includes a medium pizza, two side salads, and two drinks cannot be beat.
Service here is hit or miss. I've had some really terrific service, some mediocre, and some truly bad. The bad incident was more a result of the hostess (who forgot to button her shirt... at all... and was nothing but rude to customers) than any of the servers.
Favorite Dish: I get the Mother's Special everytime! Try a side salad that comes with goldfish crackers for croutons.
Esan Thai: Thai in the Midwest
Enjoy an authentic Thai meal in an exotic atmoshpere of Thai music, plants, and flowers. The extensive menu offers delicious appetizers, vegetarian choices, stir fried dishes, noodles, soups, seafood, grilled chicken, steak and special dishes from North East Thailand.
Mikado: Japanese in the Midwest?
Mikado ofers a unique dining atmosphere, along with incredible authentic Japanese cuisine, featuring the freshest seafood flown in daily. If you like sushi, you'll love Mikado! Don't forget to check out the extensive sake and wine list for the perfect accompaniment to your meal. (from Breakaway Bloomington)
Upland Brewing Company: Largest Micro-Brewery in Indiana
Founded in 1998, UPC is the largest independent micro-brewery in Indiana. The tap room and biergarten offer a veiw of the brewery and the menu includes an eclectic variety of appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and steaks, as well as featured specials. Upland hosts seven award winning handcrafted beer, including a rotating tap of seasonal selections. (from Breakaway Bloomington)
Bruster's Ice Cream: Huge Portions!
Brusters is one of the few ice cream places open year round in Bloomington--and the only one worth making the treck to in winter. In the fall, be sure to get a hot apple dumpling with a big scoop of cinnamon ice cream. In the winter, holiday flavors are featured, including rum raisin, eggnog, pumpkin cheesecake and peppermint stick. In the summer, fresh peach and black raspberry ice creams are a big hit.
Sundaes, blasts (like Blizzards), shakes, floats and sodas are also really good. There are also dairy free italian ices, and sugar free ice creams.
Favorite Dish: It's pretty much impossible to pick a favorite...It depends if you're craving a chocolate, fruit, nut, mint, or cookie flavor, or if you want something else intirely, like a sherbet!
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Shanti: Lots of Vegetarian Options!
Shanti is the best place to go in Bloomington for Indian food, hands down. There's a wide variety of chicken, lamb, seafood, rice and vegetarian dishes, as well as tastey appetizers, breads (the naan is delicious!) and desserts. The cooks are happy to make things as mild or as spicey as you like...If you order your meal "India hot", and are able to finish it, most likely the owner will give you a small bowl of mango or pistachio ice cream.
The chai and lassis are also great, kids love them.
One drawback is that Shanti is often crowded, and can be noisy during dinner hours. Also, the waitresses don't get to keep tips, so if you want to tip, know that it's going to the owner, not the person serving you.
Favorite Dish: If you eat meat, be sure to order one of the tikkas at least once. They grill the meat in a clay oven, and then serve it on a sizzling platter with vegetables and a delicious sauce. The butter chicken is another fantastic meat option.
For vegetarians, you can't go wrong with any of the vegetable curries. The banghain bharta (eggplant) is especially good, as is the paneer makhni (Indian cheese with a mild curry sauce).
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there are many LOCAL restaurants here...: A good town for eating
You'll find MANY restaurants in Bloomington. The one at left is Nick's, SEE BELOW. But you'll find many international cuisines + some of the best burgers around at either Nick's or Opie Taylors.
Nick's is one of my favorites as I like their style of pizza with cold (American) beer! It reminds me of a German kneipe for those who've had that experience.
But that is the beauty of Bloomington there are many local restaurants.
Favorite Dish: Here's a guide to local Bloomington Restaurant Menus ---> http://www.bloomingtonwebguide.com/food.htm#RESTAURANTS
Theater Cafe: FAIR TRADE COFFEE
If you want GOOD coffee, at a reasonable price, and to know that you are at least getting some of the price of your cup to the coffee farmers then get your coffee in Bloomington HERE.
Favorite Dish: I love the coffee and the idea.
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