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“Not what they once were”
Review of OAKLEY'S Bistro

OAKLEY'S Bistro
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Ranked #92 of 2,395 Restaurants in Indianapolis
Price range: $1 - $34
Cuisines: American, French
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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.
Reviewed April 6, 2009

We had been going to Oakley's since they opened and were very impressed for an Indiana restaurant. They appeard to have it right...great inovative food, spot on service and competitive prices for high end food.

Our last two visits there have shown that this is not the case any more. The food, still good, but has gone very standard fare and not anything you could not get at most other restaurants in town. Soups are still good but not enough to bring us in the door very often. The service is what really stood out as going down hilll. Long gone is the professional wait staff that could talk with you about the menue and the wines as they have been replaced by your standard I'm just doing this until something better comes along servers. No attention to details and extremely long waits to get any type of service. Long waits can be tolerated if the staff is busy but most of the time they are talking with the other staff which is a tell tale sign of poor front of the house management.

Last part is price. Just not a good value for your money when you are looking for a night out or special occasion. Oakleys is living on its early reputation when they did it right but sadly lately they do too much wrong. Would love to see them turn it around as it would not take much but you have to care first before this can happen.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Xelint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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150 - 154 of 166 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2009

WE LOVE IT HERE!. The food is fabulous, as is the service and atmosphere. This is a restaurant you could eat it regularly. The chef has a WONDERFUL way with soups--there are always 2-3 available each day and they are fabulous. Sometimes we just go and have soup and salad--a simple meal and affordable. Other times we go for the full meal--starting with the shrimp corn dogs and moving on. The menu changes seasonally--there is always a vegetarian entree, and the food is just great. On Tuesdays they have free wine tastings from 5-6 with a special 3 course priced dinner. it is fabulous!

Thank el04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2008

I travel a lot for both business and pleasure and Oakley's is easily my favorite restaurant. To get the same quality of both food and service, you would usually pay twice as much anywhere else. I eat at Oakley's about once a month and have never had bad food and bad service only once -- which happens everywhere from time to time. Please take the opportunity to see for yourself. Try one of the soups and save room for dessert.

1  Thank jaywhittington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2008

Recently had dinner at Oakley's and remembered why even though this restaurant is less than 1 mile from my home I never go there. There are just too many better choices. We were there on a Tuesday when they have their "wine tasting". Sat at a table a few feet away....& when asked for a taste was told all wine was gone while a few apparent "regulars" to the free wine drank refills of full glasses before moving on to their dinner. I on the other hand spent $35 plus $ on 2 glasses & 1 quartino. (glass & 1/2) Oh well..didn't come for the free wine. On to dinner...which was good but not great . Our waitress was a very insecure haughty young lady who neither introduced herself nor smiled the entire evening with the exception of a forced smile when presenting the large check. Apparently annoyed by about everything I said/did, she contributed nothing to the dining experience. As others have noted food is artful, portions small, sometimes overcomplicated. In my opinion they are trying too hard as are those who appear to be their regular crowd. If you want fine dining in Indy go downtown to the Mass. Ave. area they get it right.

1  Thank Thecheermeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2008

This review might be a little biased since we live outside of Chicago where there are some of the best restaurants in the country but overall we were not very impressed with the food and the overall service of Oakley's Bistro. After reading the reviews we were very excited about trying this place but for us it did not live up to the hype. First of all the service was just very lacking. It had to be 25 to 30 minutes between the time of us being seated and given our menus to our order being taken. I do like to have some time, especially at a new restaurant, to look over the entire menu before deciding but when you close your menus and it is still a good 15 more minutes before anybody comes back for even a drink order that was way to long. The service continued as such when she did not check back on us once throughout the meal and took 15 to 20 more minutes after we had finished to come back and ask us if we wanted desert and with our bill. I will admit that this could have just been our server as she did seem a little flighty to both of us.
Now as far as the food I would say that it was not a bad meal just not a great meal. Again with rated so high we may have expected a little to much. I ordered the meatloaf which had a nice mole sauce but the sides left much to be desired and the seafood dish my wife ordered was again alright but not great. This restaurant seemed way more into the presentation of the meal, which was nice if not a little pretentious, than the actual taste of the dishes. So overall we would say that this was not one of our better dining experiences and we will not be going back.

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

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