Valparaiso, Indiana, or Valpo as it’s called by the locals, is a growing city that hasn’t lost its small-town feel. Visit the downtown area to find an array of entertainment options, including unique boutique shopping, museums, and restaurants. The restaurants in Valparaiso are plentiful and diverse – read about the best place to find farm-to-table freshness, classic French dishes, Spanish tapas, craft beer, and much more in the list below.
Stacks Bar & Grill is one of the best spots in the city for craft beer and fun decor. Located in downtown Valparaiso, the bar is designed to look like a library with polished oak furnishings, brick interior, stained-glass installments, and, of course, piles of books. Even the menu is made to look like a book. The classy atmosphere is made fun by the food. Share an order of pretzel bites, or try one of the entrée options, which includes anything from juicy, gourmet burgers to tender scallops to a fresh-made, cheesy pizza. The staff is always friendly and welcoming, and the beer menu always has something new for you to try.
This small restaurant chain specializes in gourmet hamburgers paired with great selections of craft beer, and it has three locations in Indiana. Burgerhaus calls itself a neo-European pub, and diners have raved about the warm, welcoming atmosphere. The finest cuts of premium beef are used to create the juicy patties for Burgerhaus’ 11 unique burgers. Visitors are fond of The Aussie, a patty topped with thick-cut, applewood-smoked bacon, American cheese, and a fried egg, and The Santiago, which is topped with Chipotle Monterey, avocado, tomato, chipotle mayo, and fried jalapeños. Aside from burgers, the menu features excellent appetizers like seared tuna or fried pickles, salads, specialty entrées, and milkshakes. Plus, any beef patty can be replaced with a black bean burger, portabello mushroom, grilled chicken breast, or ground turkey patty.
This restaurant is an innovative, industrial-style establishment. The kitchen serves American comfort food classics and so-called ‘American worker favorites,’ including burgers, meatloaf, fried fish options, and more. Their gourmet burgers are a popular option, and the list includes creations like the pot roast burger topped with pot roast, cheddar cheese, horseradish sauce, and pepperoncini. Another must-try is the Morning Shift burger, topped with an over easy egg, cherrywood-smoked bacon, and cheddar cheese. Attempt to eat the Risk-Taker burger, a massive meal made of four patties topped with risk-taker sauce, American, pepperjack, cheddar and provolone cheeses, lettuce, and onion strings.
Valley Kitchen & Bar claims the title of Northwest Indiana’s Freshest Restaurant because of its commitment to providing fresh and healthier options made from local farmers’ produce. Taking its name from Valparaiso’s nickname, Vale or Valley of Paradise, the restaurant aims to stand out among a sea of fast food and casual dining chains as a fresh option at a reasonable price. The simple menu features seasonal soup of the day along with dishes like lemon-thyme chicken, vegetarian quinoa salad, fresh pork chops, and more. The bar serves local craft brews from the Northwest Indiana area, as well as fun cocktails. The interior is warm and friendly, complete with exposed brick walls and ambient lighting.
Tomato Bar Pizza Bakery serves high-quality pizzas, hoagies, and salads in a friendly atmosphere. The hand-tossed dough is made fresh every day, and each dish is made to order in an open kitchen so that guests can watch the chef toss and bake their meal. The pizzas are are then topped with excellent cheeses, sauces, and ingredients and baked to perfection. The bar offers more than 20 beers on tap, including popular local microbrews. There are many specialty pizzas to choose from as well as a build-your-own option. Try The Buff, a pizza made with a Buffalo sauce base and topped with chicken, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, green onions, hardwood-smoked bacon, and ranch, or the Greenhouse, made with an oil and garlic base and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, Greek olives, artichoke hearts, feta, mozzarella, and provolone cheese.
Bon Femme aims to impress with its elegant but still casual setting. The menu blends American and French cuisine to provide a cross-continental experience. Every dish has the refinement of a French dish with a hint of the casual style of an American restaurant. The beautifully presented food and professional service consistently impress guests. Try a 100 percent steroid- and hormone-free steak, aged for at least 28 days and served with sautéed vegetables and wild rice or parmesan mashed potatoes. The grilled prosciutto-wrapped prawns served with steamed spinach and a potato cake is another excellent and classy choice, or you can go more casual with the Cajun-style po’ boy, a dish filled with flavors and spices.
Enjoy the rich flavors of authentic Spanish cuisine at Restaurant don Quijote. The proprietors and chefs Carlos Rivero and Elena Jambrina are both Spanish natives. The menu includes traditional dishes like grilled shellfish, swordfish steaks, skewered pork, Castilian-style roast lamb, two different styles of paella (both customer favorites), and 25 tapas-style dishes. The restaurant also has a store that sells imported Spanish goods so that you can attempt to remake your favorites at home.
Located in downtown Valparaiso, Meditrina Market Café serves traditional Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner. The meals are healthy, convenient, and packed with vibrant flavors and colors. For lunch, try a house-made gyro sandwich, falafel wrap, or a Med Burger made with spiced ground beef and topped with feta, sumac onions, and tzatsiki. For a larger dinner meal, try the chicken or beef shawarma dinner, which is marinated chicken or beef served with hummus, rice, and vegetables. Alternatively, enjoy the pan-seared salmon spiced with sumac and served with a green bean salad. There are also delicious salads and appetizers to go around and wine selections from all over the world.
Kelsey’s Steak House has served excellent steaks and seafood for more than 20 years. For an appetizer, try the chef’s special clam strips, flash fried and served with bistro sauce. If you can’t get enough seafood, follow with fresh sea bass rubbed with Cajun seasoning or the blackened, bourbon-glazed wild Atlantic salmon. The menu also has plenty of ‘turf’ options, like tender baby back ribs smothered in homemade barbecue sauce or bourbon sauce, parmesan-crusted filet mignon, or porterhouse pork chops grilled and marinated with molasses, peppercorn, garlic, and cilantro. This award-winning restaurant has a comfortable and inviting atmosphere and well-trained staff.
Main + Lincoln is a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant and bar located in downtown Valpo. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday, the restaurant is situated in a turn-of-the-century building that brings character and warmth to your dining experience. The menu incorporates dishes from the many influencing ethnic traditions in American cuisine. The appetizer selection is vast, with options like crispy buttermilk Vidalia onion rings to fresh oysters. From the small and carefully curated menu of entrées, try the seared Maine scallops, served with braised sweet-and-sour mushrooms, carrot puree, and scallions, or the ‘bronze-die spaghetti puntenesca,’ made with kalamata olives, cerignolo olives, capers, extra virgin olive oil, and pecorino. The extensive list of beer features selections from around the world. Traditional cocktails and a carefully crafted wine list are also available.