Archestratus, the first food critic, praised Italian cuisine's "top-quality and seasonal" ingredients and "fair-to-middling" ability to tranquilize out-of-control mayors. Today's Groupon similarly stuns, and rightfully so: for $20, you get $40 worth of Italian cuisine at Agio, in the historic Massachusetts Avenue Arts District. Agio is a dinner-only destination, open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.) and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Agio's executive chef, Joseph Heidenreich, has concocted a Mediterranean-infused menu of fresh Italian fare that's impeccably paired with sophisticated sips from the restaurant's extensive wine menu. Complement an order of baked goat cheese in a tomato-basil puree served with flat bread ($8.95) with an earthy Italian red wine, or couple a vegetable pizza (basil pesto, mushrooms, roasted peppers, and gorgonzola, $9.95) or bowl of sautéed mussels (tossed with fresh garlic and herbs, $9.95) with a crisp Italian white.
With your appetite aptly antipasto-ed, sink your seafaring teeth into crab-crusted halibut (served with field greens, asparagus, and walnut oil, $21.95), sautéed scallops over lobster pasta (served with green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, and a lemon-tomato cream sauce, $26.95), or grilled salmon napoleon (served with garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, and a grapefruit butter sauce, $19.95). Agio's Moroccan paella serves up a succulent selection of fresh seafood, chicken, sausage, and saffron rice ($21.95), and the pork tenderloin comes stuffed with prosciutto and herbs, topped with a lemon glaze, and accompanied with four-cheese risotto and sweet snap peas ($18.95). The meatball is in the patron's court with the spaghetti, as it can be customized with a choice of sauce, protein, and other tasty toppings ($8.95–$12.95).
Agio's quaint interior is just right for a romantic night out, a boot-shaped family dinner, or a hearty meeting with old friends. Bring a date to Agio, and the restaurant's warm lighting, intimate atmosphere, and intoxicating wine selection will have you cozy enough to Lady-and-the-Tramp a plate of fettuccini—neighboring parties should guard their plates. Call ahead for reservations.
Agio was nominated in 2009 for Best Italian Restaurant by CityVoters. It placed in the top five in 2008 and was first in 2007. Gayot recommends it. Eighty Urbanspooners give Agio an 81% approval rating, and Yelpers give it 3.5 stars:
- Chef-owner Joseph Heidenreich continues to tantalize the palate with his beautiful presentations and knack for marrying Mediterranean and Italian flavors…Sautéed scallops over lobster pasta in lemon cream sauce are sinfully good and just light enough pre-theater. For more casual fare, the designer pizzas and creative salads keep regulars returning often. – Gayot
- Agio has great food, but that's not what makes it special. Chef Joseph and business partner Jeff Wright have made Agio an integral part of the downtown Indianapolis community…It's the perfect place for high-maintenance diners; they're very flexible with their dishes. – Derek, Urbanspoon
- Great food, excellent service, generous community support for many good causes in Indianapolis. – jane327, CityVoter