Step away from the hustle and bustle of big-city eats and embrace the small-town charm where there's enough time to savor every bite. 


1.El Maguey Mexican Restaurant


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📷 Credit: @elmaguey.salem


Located on the historic square in Salem, El Maguey serves regionally-inspired authentic Mexican cuisine and offers a warm welcome to everyone. With indoor and outdoor seating (featuring a rooftop patio!), this restaurant combines traditional comfort food and fresh ingredients to create an unforgettable dining experience. The festive bar creates a perfect atmosphere for happy hours and date nights. While you’re here, check out the Salem Apothecary across the square for an old-school soda fountain treat.


2. Gasthof Amish Village


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📷 Credit: @travelingshanti


Gasthof Amish Village is a buffet-style family restaurant best known for its authentic Amish recipes. Upon entering, you’re greeted with simple yet rustic decor, Amish handcrafted wooden beams, and furnishings constructed using Indiana oak and poplar timber. This restaurant offers excellent service, and the staff dressed in authentic Amish attire adds to the experience. The village is also home to a hotel, lake, gift shops, and the Chandelier Barn Market. The onsite bakery makes delicious homemade bread, noodles, and not-to-miss pies, especially the coconut cream pie with sky-high meringue.


3. Mama T’s Italian Steakhouse


On Huntingburg’s Historic 4th Street, you’ll find Mama T’s Italian Steakhouse bringing homemade food to a historic space. You’ll be dining in a registered Indiana landmark - a building that dates back to 1892 and is filled with charming 19th-century details. The entire menu is made from scratch, including traditional Italian dishes, hand-cut steaks, and seafood. End your evening with a walk around the Victorian downtown to explore more than two dozen locally-owned antique and specialty shops.


4. French Licks


What more could you want than coffee, cocktails, pizza, and ice cream? French Licks has it all, serving specialty artisan pizzas and handcrafted ice cream with a laid-back atmosphere, outstanding service, and hospitality. Be sure to check out Bear Hollow Wood Carvers Gallery while you’re there!


5. Thai Lotus


Thai Lotus in Southern Indiana is THE go-to place for authentic Thai food. Thai Lotus in Salem uses only the freshest and top-quality ingredients and is a family-owned restaurant spanning three generations. With lunch specials and a wide selection on its dinner menu, Thai Lotus is the perfect place for those who love Thai food or want to try it for the first time. Across town, visit Six Scoops and choose from more than 28 hand-dipped flavors.


6. The Overlook Restaurant


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Along the banks of the Ohio River, you’ll find The Overlook Restaurant positioned uniquely on a bluff in Leavenworth, where there’s a breathtaking panoramic view of the scenic river from almost every table. As you enjoy your meal, watch barges churning up and down the river or the sun setting behind the wooded hills of Indiana. The menu offers something for everyone, including mouth-watering fried chicken, pork tenderloins, and true comfort food cooking. Down the street, you’ll find Stephen’s General Store, an old-fashioned general store with nostalgic candy, wooden toys, a deli, novelties, and hand-dipped ice cream.


7. Schnitzelbank Restaurant


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A little bit of Germany, right here in Southern Indiana. For authentic German food, Schnitzelbank in Jasper is the destination for you. This premier German restaurant is ranked in the top 10 restaurants in the state and after experiencing it for yourself, you’ll see why. Schnitzelbank offers a unique variety of beer and wine along with generous dining portions of everything from sauerbraten, schnitzels, and goulash to steaks and seafood. You won’t leave here hungry! After your meal, enjoy a walk on the Jasper Riverwalk, a 2.1-mile scenic walking path along the Patoka River.


8. Court Room Sports Grill


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📷 Credit: @travelingshanti


Looking for Cajun food in southern Indiana? Look no further than the Court Room! This Bedford restaurant uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to bring classic, homemade Cajun recipes to the region. Whether you have been to New Orleans or looking for your first taste of Cajun cuisine, Court Room Sports Grill is waiting for you. Check out the other shops on Bedford Square to finish off your evening.


9. Stoll’s Lakeview


Located on the banks of West Boggs Lake, Stoll's Lakeview Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Amish cooking with an incredible view of the 620-acre lake. This Loogootee restaurant offers a little bit of everything including its famous fried chicken, roast beef, baked ham, and homemade pies for dessert. Looking to make a family day out of it? Visit nearby West Boggs Park & Lake for camping, fishing, disc golf, and swimming.


10. 1875: The Steakhouse


📷 Credit: @sassyconfetti


Looking for a fine dining option? The French Lick Springs Hotel's signature restaurant 1875: The Steakhouse is the answer. Enjoy an elegant atmosphere with an open kitchen overlooking scenic gardens and the iconic Pluto Spring gazebo. Known for 100% premium aged Midwest, corn-fed Angus beef, 1875: The Steakhouse offers choice cuts that are aged to be tender and full of flavor. The steakhouse also offers vegetarian options such as hearty curried cauliflower steak and Boursin cream pasta. Check out everything else there is to do in the area to extend your stay.


Check out more of the best restaurants in southern Indiana here!