Could Bloomington, Indiana have the highest concentration of restaurants of any midwestern city?
The greatest variety of ethnic food? We ate our way through Bloomington on what might have been the busiest weekend of the year: IU's Parents' Weekend combined with a home football weekend.
And, we were generally pleased with how restaurant operators handled the crowds.
We opted NOT to try Tallent on this visit. We know this is considered by many to be Bloomington's #1 restaurant, but we'll hold on to it for a future visit.
Made reservations via Opentable.com for a meal at Bloomington Farm. Had read, on this board, reports of poor service here. We found the service to be excellent. In fact, because a member of our party was delayed coming in from Indy, we changed the time twice but were cheerfully accommodated on both phone calls. The strength here are the starters: we had codfish fritters, a green pea guacamole and a green tomato salad. Servings were generous and fairly priced.
Pizzas were not particularly strong here, although the use of pumpkin as a seasonal ingredient on one pie was nice. Nice selection of midwestern beers.
The dinner highlight, however, was Afghani cuisine at Samir's. Not frequently mentioned as a strong choice in the Bloomington dining scene, we nonetheless were impressed both with the quality of the food and the service here. Kabobs and platters were enjoyed by all. Good value for the money.
Only weakness is in the selection of wine and beer, which could use some freshening up with greater variety.
Breakfast at Runcible Spoon showed us why this place is an institution in Bloomington. Enjoyed, french toast, yogurt with fruit, eggs. Never felt rushed. Coffee cups refilled quickly.
Lunch at Little Tibet included a selection of momo (Tibetan dumplings), which we loved
The Scholar's Inn Bakehouse on Third St. was crowded on Sunday morning, with a half-hour-plus wait for food, which was brought to the table lukewarm. Not up to its usual standard, I feel.
Finally, pho at Basil Leaf was fantastic. We had veggie pho (yes, I know, it is sacrilege), seafood pho and beef pho. Steaming hot, generous servings, selection of sauces was great.
Runcible Spoon Cafe & Restaurant
412 E 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47408
404 E 4th St, Bloomington, IN 47408