17 Best Restaurants in Bloomington, Indiana to Try Today (2024)

Whether you’re a student at Indiana University (one of the oldest state universities in America and Bloomington’s pride and joy), or you’re just planning a visit to this beautiful Indiana city, check out my list of Bloomington’s best restaurants to make sure that all of your foodie dreams come true (or that you’re simply well-fed with a hearty meal before you explore all that this city has to offer).

B-Town has everything from Mediterranean to Mexican, wings to vegan tacos, family-friendly diners to romantic restaurants that are perfect for a special date night or even a proposal.

The culinary scene in Bloomington is thriving, with a mixture of innovation and homegrown classics, and finding the best places to eat in Bloomington isn’t hard when you’ve got over 300 restaurants to choose from.

So, let’s dig in to Bloomington’s top restaurants, listed in no particular order – we love them all, but read more to discover what each one has in store and which is best for your tastes and budget.

1. Uptown Cafe

The FOOD. Spinach & strawberry salad! The steak! Medallions for me, I was blown away. Macaroni was unique & excellent. We will be back so soon.
Dorian, Google Reviews
Photo credit: Michael’s Uptown Cafe Facebook page

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-339-0900 | πŸ“Œ: 102 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408

If you’re looking for a nice place to eat in Bloomington, Uptown Cafe is the place to make your reservation.

It’s fine dining without being stuffy, casual enough to come with some friends to enjoy some appetizers and sophisticated enough to take your date!

Open from breakfast until dinner, the menu is infused with a Cajun style, but also takes inspiration from other local and foreign cuisine. At the end of the day, it’s all about the quality, whatever you’re enjoying.

Go for the Hoosier Benedict with house made gravy and a side of home fries, or try the surf and turf for dinner (you won’t regret it).

Other favorites include the calamari, the pot roast, and the wide variety of cocktails!

2. Runcible Spoon

Went here during a break in my conference schedule. Loved the food (ie. grilled salmon salad + tomato soup) and service. Thanks for the welcome to Bloomington!
Denise, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-334-3997 | πŸ“Œ: 412 E 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47408

There’s nothing better than brunch at this casual cafe in Bloomington, beautifully decorated to appeal to your inner child and make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.

Go for the smoked salmon eggs benedict or try the chef’s omelet with a side of gravy!

The coffee and tea options are numerous and will make sure you have options if you want to try something new.

If you want to go back to American classics, try the pancakes which are massive and wonderfully filling.

Dogs are allowed in the outdoor eating space so come by with your pup and your human friends and enjoy.

3. Mother Bear’s Pizza

Here is a restaurant worth checking out. Great staff and atmosphere. The cabin style decor with the college vibe somehow works well.
Tyler, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website

Got a craving for pizza?

Mother Bear’s pizza is made with love and from scratch, which is a winning combination when you want some comfort food in Bloomington.

Their sauce options are pretty spectacular, offering everything from traditional pizza sauce to BBQ sauce to homemade pesto, and you can choose your crust thickness so pan pizza, deep-dish pizza, and a thin crust option are all on the table (literally and figuratively).

They’ve also got wings, salads, and other classics like garlic bread, chicken tenders, and stuffed button mushrooms that you can add to your order or enjoy instead of pizza, so no matter what your party is craving, everyone is sure to find something to rave about here.

4. Feast Market & Cellar

Very good food! The girls that waited on us were very knowledgeable and kind and happy. I highly recommend this place for a get away with your spouse or maybe a small family.
James, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-287-8615 | πŸ“Œ: 407 W Patterson Dr, Bloomington, IN 47403

This intimate dining area and restaurant is where comfort food meets cozy meets innovative and you’ll totally know what I mean once you visit.

It’s one of my favorite places to eat in Bloomington, and the indoor and outdoor seating options make it so you can enjoy the weather if it’s nice.

Everything is homemade (the homemade butter is amazing) and I absolutely love the Feast Bakery Board if you’re wanting to sink your teeth into some baked goods, or go for something like the carnitas hash if you want something different.

Lunch and dinner are equally as good, which means you can come back multiple times to try out the different menu options as it changes throughout the day.

5. Feta Kitchen & Cafe

I got a smoothie and it was delicious! I have a food allergy so I needed them to exchange the milk for a non-nut option which they did!
Anne, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-336-3382 | πŸ“Œ: 600 E Hillside Dr, Bloomington, IN 47401

The food really shines at Feta Kitchen, where Mediterranean cuisine takes the spotlight.

The bowl options are some of the best, with veggie bowls, protein powder bowls, and more, or you can try the flatbread (don’t miss the whipped feta) or the baklava for dessert.

The smoothies are also consistently good, with options ranging from Sweet Greens to Chocolate Cherry.

They also are fantastically good at helping with allergies and dietary restrictions, so whether you are gluten free, vegan, vegetarian or something else entirely, the friendly staff will make sure that they help you navigate the menu as seamlessly as possible.

6. The Elm

Best restaurant in Bloomington. Beautifully presented food that tastes amazing! Seasonal varieties that are incorporated into the menu. This was our first visit and will definitely not be our last!
Deanne, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-407-4339 | πŸ“Œ: 614 E 2nd St, Bloomington, IN 47401

The Elm is all about the seasons, with Americana cuisine being the most important cuisine on the menu with locally sourced food that changes as the year goes on.

What’s unique about them is that they do a breakfast service and a dinner service, but no lunch service, so you’ll want to plan your day to stop by in the morning or the evening (I’d recommend the evening).

As the menu items do change, just know that you’ll find a nice variety of pastas, meats, soups, salads, and veggie options for your main for dinner so you’ve got some fantastic choices.

7. El Ranchero Mexican

Amazing Mexican restaurant with the greatest prices for the biggest portions I’ve personally ever seen. Everyone loved their food. The decor is amazing
Coleman, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website

With multiple locations across Indiana, El Ranchero Mexican actually got its start in Bloomington and the Bloomington location is one of the best places to go for authentic Mexican food.

From chimichangas to fajitas to burritos to enchiladas (and don’t forget the margaritas), the atmosphere is fun, the service is friendly, and the food is hot, fresh, and delicious.

It’s a great place to go when you’re craving those Mexican flavors and want to stick your head in a bowl of chips and salsa and forget the rest of the world.

8. Bangkok Thai Cuisine

This is truly a hidden gem of Bloomington! My husband and I love this place. Everyone there is so kind and attentive and the food is AMAZING!
Sarah, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-333-7477 | πŸ“Œ: 2920 E Covenanter Dr, Bloomington, IN 47401

This is one of my favorite Thai places in Indiana, and I highly recommend stopping here if you’re in the area.

You can choose your level of spice in many dishes, and the friendly staff can help you figure out what you might like if you’re not used to Thai cuisine.

The curries are particularly good, and the Pad Kee Mow is top notch.

The sweet and sour sauce is so good I still talk about it, and the chicken satay with peanut sauce is fresh and really leaves you wanting more in the best way possible.

The interior of the restaurant is beautifully decorated and is a nice space for a meal for a couple.

9. Toto’s Uncle Cafe

The best Korean restaurant in Bloomington in terms of price and convenience. Kimbaps and Cupbaps are great. Also the noodle options are great, too.
Harvey, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-287-8018 | πŸ“Œ: 3297 E Covenanter Dr, Bloomington, IN 47401

Toto’s is a wonderfully small (in a good way, you’ll feel like family) restaurant serving Korean and Japanese dishes, so if this sounds like your kind of dinner, you won’t want to miss it.

From the ramen to the kimbaps, they don’t leave anything out and have very good prices as well as takeout options so it’s a no-brainer when you’re wanting authentic Korean food.

There’s also a little section with Korean snacks that you can buy if you want to try something new or are looking for your favorite Korean grocery store items.

10. Hive

Hive is a favorite. We often go there for Sunday brunch after church, but get dinner there regularly as well. Their menu varies slightly for lunch and dinner.
Eve, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-287-7405 | πŸ“Œ: 2608 E 10th St, Bloomington, IN 47408

I’m sort of obsessed with Hive, and I’ll tell you why: the design/atmosphere combines with the food options that are always quality and it means that I’ve never had a bad meal there.

There’s something about showing up to a place already knowing you’re going to have a good experience that takes so much stress out of picking where to eat in Bloomington.

The braised pork bowl and french fries are top notch, or you can go lighter with a sandwich or veggie quiche.

They make everything themselves and the ingredients are locally sourced, which means you’re supporting local businesses and farmers while catching up with family and friends – win/win.

Also, in case you have any allergies – they’re great at helping with that so don’t be afraid to tell them what you can/can’t have so they can help you figure out the perfect meal for you.

11. Smokin Jack’s Rib Shack

After smelling the bbq meats upon entering the restaurant and trying the sample of cornbread salad, we were SOLD. Ordered with our eyes and ate way too much but it was so worth it. The staff were down to earth, super accommodating, and the restaurant vibes were cool and chill.
Ash, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-332-7427 | πŸ“Œ: 505 W 17th St, Bloomington, IN 47404

Southern-style BBQ is the name of the game at Smokin Jack’s, and this is one BBQ place in Bloomington that any meat lover is not going to want to miss.

They take what they do seriously in the best way possible and slow smoke their meats over hickory wood to bring out the most amazing flavors.

They specialize in pulled pork and beef brisket, but the sides like the mac & cheese and cornbread salad are also made in-house daily and you can absolutely taste the difference to the larger BBQ chains that don’t put as much love into their cooking.

Bonus point: the prices are excellent, which is great for feeding a large family or being able to visit Smokin Jack’s multiple nights in a month (or a week!) without breaking the bank.

12. Upland Brewing Co

This is our new go-to place. The beers are excellent, the food (salad in particular) is great quality, and the servers are very nice
Jose, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-364-2337 | πŸ“Œ: 350 W 11th St, Bloomington, IN 47404

With a name like Upland Brewing Company, you might be taken in by the wide variety of beers on offer – as you should.

But this is the list of the best places to eat in Bloomington, Indiana, so why is it on the list?

Because they’re food is awesome, that’s why.

The menu is full and filled with everything from Buffalo Chili to Thai Tofu salads to hot chicken sandwiches to fish and chips and macaroni and cheese.

The blue cheese slaw is one of the most unique sides, and the burgers are made with local beef so you can be sure you’re supporting sustainable farming.

Kids are also invited to enjoy some of the options for the younger crowd, including pulled pork sandwiches and mac and cheese, so bring the whole family!

13. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

Everything was delicious. Not 1 thing tasted bad/bland/cold. It’s literally perfect. I recommend fries, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, steak, new orleans pasta, Buffalo wraps (not spicy though) Alfredo, cheddar bites
Enam, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-822-1628 | πŸ“Œ: 126 S Franklin Rd, Bloomington, IN 47404

This family-friendly chain serving up American classics has a great location in Bloomington that is consistently good.

The double chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans is definitely worth ordering, or try the Monte Cristo that will keep you full the rest of the day!

The outdoor seating options here are great for a warm-weather day and the service is very friendly.

14. Hoosier Seoulmate Korean

Our server was very welcome and friendly, helped us navigate the menu and understand what to order as first time guests. Food comes out super fast, the fried rice is an excellent choice if I you are not sure what to get.
Joe, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-668-2059 | πŸ“Œ: 1614 W 3rd St, Bloomington, IN 47404

This Korean restaurant is fast, friendly, and seriously delicious.

Try the bulgolgi or fried dumplings, or check out the kimchi fries or fried rice with chicken.

The food is authentic, with on-point flavors that make some Indiana residents drive quite a distance to fit in a visit here, which is why it’s made our list of the best places to eat in Bloomington.

15. 3 Amigos Taqueria

Probably one of the best Mexican restaurants I have ever been to in all my travels. The salsa was fresh and delicious. The presentation of the food was beautiful and authentic.
Todd, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-369-4192 | πŸ“Œ: 340 S Patterson Dr STE 2101, Bloomington, IN 47404

Whether you’re digging into the chimichangas or the nachos supreme or the steak fajita enchiladas (or any of the other wonderful menu options), 3 Amigos Taqueria is a great choice for authentic, made-from-scratch Mexican food in the Bloomington area.

There’s an entire vegetarian section of the menu to give you even more options or allow for your entire party to find something they’re going to love, and it’s super kid-friendly if you’ve got little ones with you with cups with lids and high chairs easily available.

The portions are great and the staff are friendly and we’ve never had a bad meal here.

16. Aver’s Pizza

Aver’s is amazingly delicious. My favorite location is the south side. I’ve been ordering from them for years! They are so so so friendly and polite.
Heather, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website

With two locations at Bloomington North and Bloomington South, Avers pizza offers carry-out and pizza delivery for their signature pies, homemade every day from scratch.

With unique offerings like “The Whole Enchilada” to the Greek-inspired “Parthenon” pizza to their Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza, you can try new flavor and ingredient combinations that might surprise you.

Of course, you can stick to your classic cheese or pepperoni as well, and the bread sticks are seriously good.

They also have a vegan menu if you’re looking for a great vegan place to eat in Bloomington.

17. Cloverleaf South

Spontaneously stopped in for breakfast for lunch and was surprised to find such a home-spun diner here in Bloomington. Staff were all wonderfully friendly and attentive. Lovely retro music and food that tasted like grandma made it herself.
Austin, Google Reviews

πŸ’»: website | πŸ“ž: 812-650-1017 | πŸ“Œ: 325 E Winslow Rd, Bloomington, IN 474014

From biscuits and gravy to perfectly cooked bacon and hashbrowns, Cloverleaf South is the perfect choice for breakfast in the Bloomington area.

The prices are unbeatable, the portions are large, your coffee cup will always be full and the vibe is a classic American diner with friendly staff always ready to help you relax and enjoy your favorite comfort food.

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