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“No comparison”
Review of OAKLEY'S Bistro

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Ranked #87 of 2,358 Restaurants in Indianapolis
Price range: $1 - $34
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Washington
Cross street: 86th & Ditch Road
Description: It’s commonly thought that you know you’ve found your life’s calling if you’d do your job for free. Chef Steven J. Oakley personifies that idea. His career began at age 16 when he offered his services to a suburban Chicago restaurant for free: “I just wanted to work, I wanted to learn,” says Oakley. That emphasis on hard work and continual learning has culminated in Chef Oakley arriving at the top of his profession in Indianapolis. That structured education didn’t temper his need to learn from other chefs in other kitchens and he spent many weekends traveling to New York City to work in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, including The Park Avenue Café and Lutece—for free of course. He spent summers back in Chicago where he worked at the famous Charlie Trotter’s. Following a brief stint at the Scottsdale Princess Resort in Arizona, Chef Oakley returned home to Chicago where he worked for another landmark restaurant, Printer’s Row, and again, Charlie Trotter’s.
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“No comparison”
Reviewed January 23, 2008

I'm not a big foodie, but I try to do my eating out in independent restaurants. I've been to Oakley's three times, and each time has been a delight. Instead of just eating, your meal is an experience. You admire the beauty of the dish, analyze the construction, then destroy it in order to savor the nuances of flavor. I've not eaten at any restaurant, US or overseas, that left me with such a satisfied feeling. As if I'd just discovered joy. Restaurants in the same price range cannot compare. Oakley's is a gem in the Midwest.

1 Thank dustbunnymom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chicago area
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“OUTSTANDING gem in a strip mall setting!!”
Reviewed January 14, 2008

I've had the opportunity to dine in some extraordinary restaurants all over the world. When you travel nearly every week for work, dinners tend to run together, and it takes a truly memorable meal and experience to stand out from the pack. A recent dinner at Oakley's truly stands out as one of the finest meals I've had in years. The menu is intriguing, Everything we had was excellent in both taste and presentation, the wine list is extraordinary, and the wait staff attentive without being overbearing. It was good enough that I'm planning a return trip to Indianapolis (from Chicago) for the sole reason of dining at Oakley's again. It is away from the (sometimes) crowded downtown, and convenient to Butler Univ. and the Carmel area. I can't wait to return.

1 Thank wolftrout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“very good restaurant you don't have to get all decked out for”
Reviewed August 4, 2007

The restaurant is located in a strip mall in the north part of the city but the strip mall and area are very nice. White table cloths and wine glasses on the table. Would recommend reservations for the weekend for sure, the place filled up very quickly on Friday night. The suckling pig appt. was wonderful as well as the entree of meat loaf, lamb and rib-eye fillet. Service was efficient enough but wait for food is a little longer than average. Wine by the glass ranging from $ 6 and up. Entrees start at $21 to $28.

Would go back again.

1 Thank NYcowgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago il
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“delicious ,special ,thoughtfully prepared food”
Reviewed July 25, 2007

The food was excellent. My family and I arrived on a Saturday night from Chicago and I have to say I was impressed. The fusion of the freshest ingredients was outstanding. I ordered the duck breast and it was cooked perfectly.Our sever Chris H was attentive and efficent without being intrusive.The only weakness was that bread was on the dry side. Huge wine list.

3 Thank albanypark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
119 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Serious Food in an odd location”
Reviewed May 6, 2007

Oakleys was recommended to us by a friend. Otherwise we would have never noticed it. However, business is very brisk even though it's in a strip mall. The food is serious, beautifully presented, delicious and inventive, but not over the top - a very good, reasonably priced wine list, and good service. The waiter even responded to my requested for her menu favorites by being honest and giving a real, informed opinion. The lighting and the music are very nice and all in all it was a dining experience worth repeating.

1 Thank Indyblonde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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