When the family is hungry and you don’t want to cook, eating at a restaurant can be a special treat and a night off for you. If you want to try something unusual, you may want to check out an ethnic restaurant. Carmel is a vibrant area that has a great variety of international cuisine, and our Crème de la Crème staff invites you to check out some of the best ethnic cuisines in Carmel.

The Med

Fresh out of the oven spanakopita from a Mediterranean restaurant.

spanakopita by Terri Bateman is licensed with CCO 1.0

Head to The Med at 5614 E. Washington St. in nearby Indianapolis for authentic Mediterranean cuisine. Sample appetizer specialties include treats like:

  • Saganaki: Flaming imported Kasseri cheese served with pita wedges.
  • Spanakopita: Savory Greek pie with spinach, feta cheese, and seasonings baked in phyllo pastry.
  • Cold Spread Sampler: Tzatziki, hummus, and spicy feta.

For your main course, you can try the house-made gyros, a lamb and ground beef patty on pita bread with tzatziki, onions, and tomatoes. You can also try the dolmades, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice and seasoned ground beef and topped with a creamy lemon sauce.

Another great choice is chicken or pork shish kabob, meats that are marinated and grilled to perfection. They also have a kids menu, for ages 12 and under, with a choice of chicken tenders, spaghetti with butter and Parmesan cheese, or shish kabob and fries. Save room for dessert and indulge with one of these favorites:

  • Homemade Mediterranean-style rice pudding topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
  • Baklava, made from layers of phyllo dough, filled with walnuts and honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Galaktoboureko, their house-made custard pie, wrapped in phyllo dough and topped with syrup and cinnamon.

Fresh Indian Grill 

For home-style traditional Indian food, stop by Fresh Indian Grill at 420 W. Main St., Suite D, in Carmel. Select from a choice of appetizers, including vegetable samosas, crispy flour shells stuffed with potato, green peas, and spices. Other options include paneer pakora, veggie fritters, and kachori. For the main course, you have many choices, including lamb curry, which consists of lamb cooked in tomato, garlic, and ginger sauce. You can also try the achari chicken cooked with tomato, ginger, and mango powder.

Fresh Indian Grill also has a kids menu with the following choices for your little ones:

  • Chicken tigers: Minced chicken and egg fritter.
  • Roti pizza: Thin whole wheat bread pizza with chicken or cheese.
  • Naan pizza: Leavened bread pizza with chicken or cheese.

For a delicious dessert, try the fresh falooda with ice cream, milk, rose syrup, vermicelli, basil seeds, tapioca pearls, and gelatin. The rasmalai is a rich cheesecake without a crust, made with milk, saffron, and pistachios. You can also check out the gulab jamun, made from milk-solid khoya balls, which are deep-fried and then soaked in a light sugary syrup flavored with kewra, green cardamom, rose water, and saffron.

Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya

For Japanese food in a contemporary, charming setting, visit Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya at 2450 E. 146th St. in Carmel. They have wide varieties of flavorful ramen, including their tonkotsu shoyu, which has a base of rich pork broth flavored with Yamaguchi soy sauce and topped with black garlic oil. There’s also a garlic tonkotsu variety. Another choice is their miso ramen, a rich pork broth blended with Hokkaido miso, garlic paste, and spicy chili paste.

Their Hakata tonkotsu is traditional ramen from the Hakata region of Japan with a strong, rich pork-flavored broth, then topped with succulent pork belly, woodear mushrooms, green onions, and sesame seeds. The other feature of this restaurant is an izakaya, a casual bar serving alcoholic drinks and snacks. Snack offerings include chicken karaage, a deep-fried marinated chicken with spicy mayo. You can also try their pork belly sandwiched in a fluffy bun with green onions and cucumber or the gyoza, pan-fried dumplings with a soy vinegar dipping sauce.

Mi Hacienda Mexican Restaurant

For flavorful Mexican fare, check out Mi Hacienda Mexican Restaurant at 819 W. Carmel Drive in Carmel. Dig into their beef or chicken fajitas, which comes with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, tortillas for rolling, and toppings and sides like guacamole, rice, refried beans, salsa, and sour cream. Try their Mi Hacienda enchiladas, which includes one cheese, one chicken, and one bean enchilada topped with cheese and red sauce, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, and rice and beans on the side.

Their Big Mi Hacienda burrito is a rolled flour tortilla with beans and rice, a choice of grilled chicken or steak, and a salad on the side. The Big Mi Hacienda quesadilla is a flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, cooked green peppers, onions, and tomatoes with grilled chicken or beef filling. You can also choose from a variety of tacos if that’s more your style, or maybe you’d prefer to pick from the a la carte menu to mix and match your favorites.

Mi Hacienda also has an extensive kids menu for ages 12 and under, which includes:

  • Burrito and taco.
  • Taco with rice and beans.
  • Enchilada with rice and beans.
  • Quesadilla with french fries or rice.
  • Burrito with rice and beans.
  • Mac and cheese.
  • Chicken nuggets with french fries.
  • Pizza and french fries.
  • Corn dog and french fries.
  • Hot dog and french fries.
  • Cheeseburger and french fries.

All kids meals come with a soft drink included in the price.

Mama Carolla’s 

Check out Mama Carolla’s, located at 1031 E. 54th St. in Indianapolis, for a taste of Italy. Their red sauce pasta choices are meatballs and spaghetti, Bolognese meat sauce with spaghetti, and Italian sausage with onions and peppers served over spaghetti. Go for a classic favorite with their traditional beef lasagna, or pick one of their white sauce offerings, which include Mama’s favorite veal medallions, sauteed with wild mushrooms and peas and served with penne pasta in a creamy Gorgonzola cheese sauce, and the fettuccine Alfredo, with sweet cream, Parmesan cheese, and parsley.

The Crème de la Crème of Carmel team hopes this list has given you some ideas about where to go for your next family dinner when you’re craving ethnic cuisine. We’re excited to have many tasty offerings available in and around our city.