Monday, December 7, 2009

Canal Bistro

I have been bad lately about getting to some new places for lunch—things just get so busy this time of year! And honestly, I have just been in a mood lately for comfort food and places when I go out for lunch, so I have been hitting a lot of usuals. But I finally managed to get somewhere new the other day with the BFF. We went over to Broad Ripple and ate at the Canal Bistro.

I was pretty happy with this place—there were some hits and some misses, but all around I would put it on the repeat list. I had the mazza plate appetizer sampler for my lunch so I could try lots of things (you know I love to do that). It had hummus, tabouli, spinach pies (i.e. spanikopita), a couple of falafel and various marinated and non-marinated veggie garnishes and olives.

The things I liked about this plate the most were the hummus and the spinach pies. The hummus was not too thick and not too thin—a pleasant consistency that was thin enough you could dip straight in with your pita, but not so watery that it didn’t have the heft that hummus should have. I liked the seasoned olive oil on top with a few diced tomatoes as well. I love a bit of olive oil on top of hummus, adds a nice richness.

I also really liked the little spinach pies. They were very little triangles of the phyllo stuffed with feta and spinach. I think I have told you all how much I love these little crispy things before, and these were certainly great ones. The fillings were still moist and the phyllo was pleasantly browned and appropriately crunchy. Next time I would certainly get an order of just these. They were yummy—and there were only two on the sampler and I wanted more for sure.

The tabouli I wasn’t as impressed with. The flavors were very fresh, the herbs obviously very fresh, and there was a fair amount of lemon. But there was so little of the cracked bulgar wheat that it seemed like a Mediterranean pico di gallo almost. Not bad to slap on top of some other things, but alone, just couldn’t spoon it directly into my mouth.

I thought the falafel was pretty dry and didn’t have a lot of flavor. But then again, I think that about falafel in general. These were a little over fried maybe and even mixed with some of the other things and sauces on the plate; I just didn’t see the appeal.

Loved the olives (big surprise) and I love mixing an olive with just about any bite of the other stuff. And in fact, my friend had the restaurant’s version of a grilled cheese which was grilled feta with olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and other seasonings on pita. She gave me a piece of it (quite a generous portion) and it was very tasty. I would order that again as well. Actually, there are a lot of good sounding entrées on the menu that I would like to try for dinner, but for lunch they seemed too big. I will certainly go back and give them a try one of these days.

The servers were super friendly and the food was pretty fast. The chairs are a bit uncomfortable (don’t tell hubby or I’ll never get him in there for dinner). But a pleasant experience for sure.

Canal Bistro
6349 Guilford Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220


  1. To each his own I guess; your complaint about the tabouli is why I love the tabouli at Canal Bistro. I hate my tabouli with lots of bulgar in it. The food is by far the most authentic middle eastern food in Indianapolis.

  2. Hehehehehe. Interestingly, one of the reviews I read prior to our visit commented on how great the chairs were.

  3. And BTW, I think this place may be one of my "let's go back for dinner" places that we've tried. Word on the interwebs is that the kabobs are awesome, and they are definitely a dinner thing. And they are also purported to be kid-friendly, which is tough to find in Broad Ripple.

  4. I've also enjoyed eating here. Another plus is that they're one of the few places in Indy with a nice outdoor dining area (hey, the days are about to start getting longer, think positive). AND you get airline miles here, woohoo - one of the few decent places to eat on the NE side that do that.

  5. Followed up this weekend with the husband and kids. I got the shawarma platter; it was good, but the flavor combos kind of bowled me over. M got the kebab and said it was great--that will be my choice next time, it looked really good. The kids liked their food as well (typical kid menu food).

  6. excellent all around george is a great host

  7. you should try their calamari, i was pretty impressed!

  8. Lunch there a few weeks ago was a mixed bag.

    I had the calamari and lamb kofta (dinner version). The calamari was good, mostly succulent with light crispy flavorful breading. I would get it again.

    The lamb kofta came with a salad, served first before the calamari. Meh. Utterly nondescript, also barely enough dressing.

    The larger problem was that the lamb dish was served while I was maybe only 1/3 of my way through the calamari - so it sat there getting cold. My server/waitress came over afterward asking exaggeratedly how things were and I told her things were not fine, they need to pace their food, the lamb was now cold; yes, they should take it away and try to keep it warm... Eventually it was brought back out to me after I finished my calamari (maybe 10-15 min later) and whether it was further dried out because of this additional "warming" or not the lamb was NOT a success. Main problem - it was burnt, carbonized on the bottom. Not much taste too. Definitely dry. The rice that came with it was borderline OK and something else that came with it was so unmemorable that I don't recollect what it was.

    The server was also MIA when I wanted to leave, and I basically walked into the restaurant (I was sitting in the front patio) with my card in hand and accosted another server/waiter there who basically said I should have the original server attend me. I walked around the other side to find this person and then stood at the checkout machine to get my charge chit, signed it there and left.