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Hey...this is Abby. After years of being asked about the best spots in Des Moines, Jenny asked me to make a guide that we could share with all. So buckle up and get ready to send this article directly to your s/o —date nights are about to be fun again!

Do you feel like every time you google “places to eat in Des Moines” you get the same five restaurants that you have been to a million times?

Welcome to the restaurant guide you’ve been looking for.

LET'S EAT, DES MOINES!

Bike Accessible

1908 Draught House (WDM)

West Des Moines

TYPE OF FOOD

High-level bar food

ATMOSPHERE

Casual

SERVICE

4.8/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

An old Kum and Go turned into a local favorite, this place has a fun atmosphere and an incredibly friendly staff. Food and service are always great, and they really get to know you as a customer. (Pro tip: it’s pronounced “DRAFT House.” I know it’s weird, but it’s true.)

MY FAVORITE DISH

Chicken strips with a side of siracha honey and sweet potato fries

WHEN TO GO

Happy hour, casual date night, lunch‌.‌.‌.really anytime!

Bike Accessible

Angry Goldfish

South Side

TYPE OF FOOD

Bar food

ATMOSPHERE

Casual

SERVICE

4.6/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Hands down, this is the best spot on the southside. Daily specials are killer, and they NEVER miss. If you are looking for a good Sunday Funday spot, the sangria is half-price all day on Sundays, and it’s phenomenal.

MY FAVORITE DISH

The $1 Angry Goldfish to start and the goldfish tenderloin with tots OR if you are feeling *extra* upgrade to a small poutine.

WHEN TO GO

Any day that ends in Y

Aposto

Sherman Hill

TYPE OF FOOD

Italian

ATMOSPHERE

Fine dining

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

I’m here a lot; this is my favorite restaurant in Des Moines. My husband and I have become close with the manager and the servers. It feels so nice when you walk in and they don’t miss a beat to ask how you’ve been. The service is always 10/10, and the food is 11/10. Don’t walk—run to Aposto.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Currently the Snow Crab Gnocchi—they change their menu seasonally. No matter the season, their gnocchi is the best dish. (The manager named her cat Gnocchi after the dish because it is THAT good.)

WHEN TO GO

Date night, celebration

Bike Accessible

Barntown Brewing

West Des Moines (Edge of Waukee)

TYPE OF FOOD

Elevated bar food

ATMOSPHERE

Casual

SERVICE

4.6/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Good beer and good food—what more can a girl ask for? Barntown has curated such a fun menu with so many great, unique beers. Everything on the menu is delicious. We love to go here for Sunday night dinner on our bikes.

MY FAVORITE DISH

French onion melt (with a neon hazy IPA).

WHEN TO GO

Today

Bike Accessible
Dog Friendly

Big Grove Brewery

Sherman Hill

TYPE OF FOOD

American

ATMOSPHERE

Fun and casual brewery environment

SERVICE

3.5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

In my opinion, the best patio in Des Moines! Big Grove is SO much fun and such a great place to drink some good beer with some good friends—and the food slaps. See you there!

MY FAVORITE DISH

The cauliflower wings are FIRE. Get those to start, and the tuna poke bowl for an entree.

WHEN TO GO

Perfect spot to go with a large group, or when you just want some good beer paired with some good food.

Bike Accessible

Bix & Co.

Valley Junction

TYPE OF FOOD

American-ish

ATMOSPHERE

Total sports bar

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Our go-to local sports bar. Do not go here if you do not want to watch sports. Pizza is great and service is awesome.

MY FAVORITE DISH

The Luau Pizza—because pineapple does IN FACT belong on pizza.

WHEN TO GO

When “the game” is on

Centro

Downtown near Sculpture Park

TYPE OF FOOD

Italian

ATMOSPHERE

Sit-down with authentic Italian energy

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

A Des Moines classic. Amazing Italian brunch, lunch, and dinner.

MY FAVORITE DISH

The fried portobello mushroom appetizer and the margherita pizza. Don’t forget the ranch—Centro’s ranch game is top notch.

WHEN TO GO

Family dinner, date night, brunch, or half-price pizza Mondays.

Bike Accessible

The Chicken Coop

West Des Moines

TYPE OF FOOD

Wings / Bar food

ATMOSPHERE

Dark bar—but there is a patio!

SERVICE

4.3/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Hands down, best wings in town. You’ll have to see for yourself to find out.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Pepper Teriyaki wings

WHEN TO GO

Any time sports are being played.

Christopher's

Beaverdale

TYPE OF FOOD

Italian-American

ATMOSPHERE

Cozy Casual

SERVICE

4.6/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Christopher’s has been serving the Des Moines area for over 50 years. It is a classic Italian-American cuisine right in the heart of Beaverdale, and it’s the perfect place for a special evening out with your loved ones.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Chicken Parmigiana with half red sauce and half white sauce. CHEF’S KISS.

WHEN TO GO

Special occasions, date night, or when you just want some good home-cooked Italian.

Clyde's

East Village

TYPE OF FOOD

Elevated diner classics

ATMOSPHERE

Fancy diner

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Don’t walk, RUN to Clyde’s. The chef, Chris Hoffmann, is absolutely incredible. He serves up unique dishes that will keep you coming back to try more.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Grain bowl for lunch, CFD Burger for dinner.

WHEN TO GO

Wednesdays—oysters & half-priced bottles of wine!

Bike Accessible

Cooper's on 5th

Valley Junction

TYPE OF FOOD

American

ATMOSPHERE

Fine dining

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Hidden in the heart of Valley Junction, Cooper's is such a fun little dive that’s been around since 2011. The restaurant only seats around 35 people, so I would recommend calling ahead of time to make a reservation.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Meatloaf Meltdown (Cooper’s way).

WHEN TO GO

PERFECT date night—note they are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Cosi Cucina

Clive

TYPE OF FOOD

Italian

ATMOSPHERE

Cozy

SERVICE

4.7/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

An Italian scratch kitchen location in the heart of Des Moines off of 22nd. Cosi Cucina has such amazing food. You really cannot go wrong with any dish!

MY FAVORITE DISH

Ziti Cucina

WHEN TO GO

Special occasions, date night

Django

Downtown near Sculpture Park

TYPE OF FOOD

French

ATMOSPHERE

Upscale

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Dinner at Django? Oui oui! Django is such a fun spot in the heart of the sculpture park downtown. This is my favorite place to go for happy hour downtown.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Start with fresh oysters and duck frites. Then come back and order everything else on the menu.

WHEN TO GO

Special occasions, Tuesdays (all-night happy hour).

Eatery A

Ingersoll

TYPE OF FOOD

Mediterranean/Italian Fusion

ATMOSPHERE

Trendy

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$
$$$ (Happy Hour)

ABOUT

Whether you’re at a table in one of their various rooms, at the bar with a front seat view of the wood-fired pizza oven, or on the patio enjoying the nice day—there is no bad seat at Eatery A. Trendy vibes, great food.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Papas bravas and #14 pizza.

WHEN TO GO

Happy hour from 2-6pm EVERY DAY for half-priced pizza and wine.

Bike Accessible

Either/Or

Valley Junction

TYPE OF FOOD

American

ATMOSPHERE

Trendy

SERVICE

4.3/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

What can I say, Either/Or is the place to be. Whether you are on bikes grabbing a beer or with your family looking for a bite to eat, this spot offers a great selection of burgers/beers/fries AND plenty of vegetarian options! Super kid-friendly.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Don’t sleep on the fried bologna—it is SO GOOD.

WHEN TO GO

Night out with friends, date night, playdate with your kids and friends.

Bike Accessible

Fiesta

West Des Moines (+ Other Locations)

TYPE OF FOOD

Mexican

ATMOSPHERE

Fun and casual

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Best Mexican in DSM. Best service and staff BY FAR. Everyone is so outgoing and fun. They make you feel like family. My husband and I bring all of our out-of-town friends to Fiesta. The chorizo queso is‌‌.‌.‌.a must-have. Tell Vicente that Abby sent you.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Choripollo or enchiladas mexicanas. The birria ramen is also slammin’.

WHEN TO GO

When you need a little fiesta in your life.

Fresko

Downtown

TYPE OF FOOD

Fresh food made from locally sourced ingredients

ATMOSPHERE

Upscale trendy

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Fresko means fresh - and they ain’t lyin’! Their food is always fresh and tasty. This has been a staple restaurant in my date night line-up for years.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Beet and goat cheese salad and the short rib tacos.

WHEN TO GO

Taco Tuesday—such a good deal on tacos and margs.

Gateway Market

Sherman Hill

TYPE OF FOOD

Made-to-order quick lunch/dinner options

ATMOSPHERE

Casual

SERVICE

3.7/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Hot food at the best local supermarket. The food at Gateway is SO good. All of their salads are delicious, sandwiches are tasty‌.‌.‌.everything is good. And do NOT sleep on the pad thai. Sandwiches, salads, and pad thai? Sounds weird, but it works.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Chicken tortilla soup

WHEN TO GO

Weekday lunch

Bike Accessible

G Migs

Valley Junction

TYPE OF FOOD

Wraps (and just dang good food)

ATMOSPHERE

Iowa nice

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Where do I start‌.‌.‌.G Migs is our go-to spot. We stop here every Tuesday in the summer on our way to play sand volleyball. The entire staff has fully embraced our presence and treats us like family. George (the owner and previous chef at Wakonda club) is always behind the grill making sure all of his customers have culinary perfection. Cannot recommend this place enough.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Walking taco wrap with pasta salad

WHEN TO GO

Brunch on the weekends, lunch any day, Wednesday nights (pasta night!), happy hour, DINNER!

Bike Accessible

Guesthouse

Right on the edge of Waukee and WDM

TYPE OF FOOD

American and seafood

ATMOSPHERE

Northern Minnesota vibes

SERVICE

4.5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

A new excellent spot in Waukee. The atmosphere reminds me of up north Minnesota with an Iowa farm accent. Go for the fish or oysters, they are so fresh.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Crab stuffed shrimp with a Guesthopper for dessert.

WHEN TO GO

When you are craving oysters or being at the lake.

Harbinger

Ingersoll

TYPE OF FOOD

Curated menu with locally sourced ingredients

ATMOSPHERE

Trendy fancy

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Phenomenal service. Food is incredible. A true flavor blast in every bite. You can taste the freshness of all the vegetables and the unique flavors throughout each dish. We tried around 7 different dishes and each one was so different and SO GOOD. Highly recommend dining here!

MY FAVORITE DISH

This is SO HARD because everything is delicious and the menu is always changing, so I will just say this—you cannot go wrong with the steamed buns!

WHEN TO GO

Date night, or when you are looking for some really good food.

Hessen Haus

Downtown

TYPE OF FOOD

Classic German fare with some American Midwest favorites

ATMOSPHERE

German beer hall vibes—you’ll feel like you’re in Munich

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Feels like you just walked into a bar in Germany.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Start with a GIANT pretzel to share, then order the Black Forest schnitzel—not to share. Order a boot of authentic German beer, but make sure you follow the rules!

WHEN TO GO

When the train goes by

Bike Accessible

Lachele's

Ingersoll

TYPE OF FOOD

Burgers and stuff

ATMOSPHERE

Fun diner vibe

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Lachele’s is known for the best burger in Des Moines, and I would have to agree! The patties are smashed to perfection with such unique combinations of flavor.

MY FAVORITE DISH

The Yoshi. Texas toast—need I say more?

WHEN TO GO

When you NEED a good burger.

Bike Accessible
Dog Friendly

Lua

Sherman Hill

TYPE OF FOOD

Cannot describe a specific cuisine‌.‌.‌.just so good

ATMOSPHERE

Casual, funky, fun

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Went for the beer and stayed for the food. And the beer. Best beer in Des Moines. Every single dish is so unique and perfectly curated to spark all of your taste buds.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Lua smush burger

WHEN TO GO

Any day, any time

Lucca

East Village

TYPE OF FOOD

Traditional Italian with North African influence

ATMOSPHERE

Fancy

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

This was on my list of places to go in DSM forever, and I am so glad we finally made it because IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! 3 courses are served with a multitude of options to pick from, including some excellent pasta, scallops, and steak.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Cracked pepper pasta

WHEN TO GO

Date night

Bike Accessible

Lucky Lotus

Ingersoll

TYPE OF FOOD

Southeast Asian

ATMOSPHERE

Super cute and trendy

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

This food is FIRE. Lucky Lotus never misses. Not only is it phenomenal food, but the atmosphere and staff are also excellent.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Soy sauce street noodles ‍

WHEN TO GO

Any day except SUNDAY cause they are closed

Mulberry Street Tavern

Downtown in Surety Hotel

TYPE OF FOOD

American-esque

ATMOSPHERE

Fancy fun vibes

SERVICE

4.2/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

It’s the bedazzled raccoon behind the host stand that keeps me coming back. But seriously, the food here is so good. This is the perfect date night spot before a show downtown. The atmosphere is so fun, and they have a large variety of unique dishes!

MY FAVORITE DISH

Bacon-wrapped dates

WHEN TO GO

Super fun brunch stop, and the perfect place for date night!

Olympic Flame

East Village

TYPE OF FOOD

Greek

ATMOSPHERE

Casual

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

OPA! This Greek restaurant in the East Village has the nicest staff and phenomenal food. They serve up all of the classic Greek favorites. If you are looking for good authentic Greek food—this is the place.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Saganaki to start with a cup of lemon rice soup and a lamb gyro. MY MOUTH IS WATERING.

WHEN TO GO

Perfect for a date night or a great lunch.

Bike Accessible
Dog Friendly

The Pelican Post

West Des Moines

TYPE OF FOOD

American

ATMOSPHERE

Fun patio vibes

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Right on the bike trail, The Pelican opened its doors a little over a year ago. This is our go-to spot on the bike trail. They have a wide variety of beer and cocktails and extremely good food. I am so happy we finally got a restaurant in this spot that is making it!

MY FAVORITE DISH

The gallon of nachos—it is SO FUN. They bring them out and plop them on the tray in front of you.

WHEN TO GO

When you are biking or going to happy hour.

Pho 888

Downtown

TYPE OF FOOD

Vietnamese

ATMOSPHERE

Authentic Asian restaurant

SERVICE

3/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Best and most authentic pho in DSM. Always busy and always amazing.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Pho Tai and tofu spring rolls

WHEN TO GO

When you want the best pho in Des Moines.

RoCA

Downtown

TYPE OF FOOD

American

ATMOSPHERE

Fun and trendy

SERVICE

4.5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Did you know RoCA stands for Restaurant on Court Ave? Well, it is THEEE restaurant on Court Ave! RoCA dishes up phenomenal shared plates and unique craft cocktails. They smoke their old-fashioned right in front of you at the table. It’s just all around fun!

MY FAVORITE DISH

Deconstructed nachos

WHEN TO GO

Perfect happy hour spot and our favorite go-to before a show at the Civic Center.

Sakura

Grand and Railroad

TYPE OF FOOD

Sushi

ATMOSPHERE

Cozy dive

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

The best sushi spot in Des Moines. The Sakura staff treats us like family. And it just makes it even better that the sushi is SO GOOD. You can tell it is made fresh to order. Never misses.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Go to Sakura and order these three rolls: Sakura, Oishi, and Spicy Girl.

WHEN TO GO

Tuesdays —all you can eat, Wednesdays—half-priced specialty rolls

Simon's

Urbandale

TYPE OF FOOD

Italian & steaks

ATMOSPHERE

Cozy

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

A true neighborhood gem. Simon (the owner) is the BEST. He takes such good care of his customers and whips up some of the best Italian in Des Moines. They serve complimentary homemade red velvet cake with EVERY MEAL. SO. GOOD.

MY FAVORITE DISH

The steak DeBurgo is always a great choice. Order the lamb chops if you want the best in the city!

WHEN TO GO

Early! They don’t take reservations for parties under 6 people.

Bike Accessible
Dog Friendly

Sully's

Grand/Valley Junction

TYPE OF FOOD

Pub-fare

ATMOSPHERE

Fun and approachable

SERVICE

4/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Our favorite Irish pub! We love to go here on our bikes and get some good wings on the patio with a side of cheese curds.

MY FAVORITE DISH

CHEESE CURDS. Best in the metro. Order with a pint of Guinness.

WHEN TO GO

Year-round. Dine in the cozy bar or get a spot on the patio.

Thai Flavors

Ingersoll

TYPE OF FOOD

Authentic Thai and Asian cuisine

ATMOSPHERE

Nice sit-down or carry out

SERVICE

4.6/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Two Words. Pad Thai.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Pad Thai with a side of Tom Yum Soup

WHEN TO GO

After a night out with friends when you really want something delicious.

Tumea and Sons

South Side

TYPE OF FOOD

Italian

ATMOSPHERE

Cozy casual

SERVICE

5/5

PRICE

$$$

ABOUT

Here is what I have to say about Tumea and Sons‌.‌.‌.my dad’s best friend grew up in Des Moines on the East side. He is Italian. This is his favorite Italian restaurant in Des Moines. Need I say more?

MY FAVORITE DISH

Pasta diablo

WHEN TO GO

When you’re craving Italian food.

Well, that’s a wrap, folks! I hope you enjoy your time eating at my favorite spots.