A- A+

Best Restaurants in Downtown Des Moines & Night Life 

Best Places to Eat in Downtown Des Moines

Come hungry, because the food in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is delish! Downtown DSM is bursting with flavor. Dining in Downtown Des Moines features farm-to-table eats, international flavors, and unique, locally owned breweries, nightlife and restaurants, Downtown DSM is the perfect place to dine, no matter what you’re craving. Explore your options for the best food in Downtown Des Moines! 

Nationally Recognized Restaurants in Downtown Des Moines 

In addition to numerous James Beard-nominated chefs and local Downtown Des Moines restaurants featured on The Food Network and The Travel Channel, the city also has many hidden treasures. If you’re a fan of the show Food Paradise, the episode featuring Downtown DSM staple Fong’s Pizza may have caught your attention. New restaurants are popping up all the time, and many of them are getting attention for their inventive menus.

Brunch and Breakfast – Downtown Des Moines

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start your day right at some of the best Des Moines brunch locations found Downtown. Enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-drink mimosas at Americana’s weekend brunch or the fresh vegetarian fare at Ritual Cafe. More great Downtown Des Moines breakfast options:

Lunch – Downtown Des Moines

If you work in Downtown Des Moines, you’ll need to know all of the best places to get a good lunch. Grab soup and a sandwich at South Union Bread Cafe, Palmer's Deli or give Basil Prosperi a try.

a family eating at a restaurant outside patio

Try some popular Downtown Des Moines lunch spots:

Date Night Dinner – Downtown Des Moines

When you need somewhere special for that special someone, Downtown DSM offers fine dining with a view. Be amazed at Alba or get a taste of Italy at Lucca.

an individual sitting at a booth smiling

Other popular places for couples include:

Need more food for thought? Visit Catch Des Moines for more inspiration.

Pizza Places – Downtown Des Moines

a top-down shot of pizza and salad on a table

Whether your pizza craving hits over the lunch hour or late at night, you’ll be covered by all of the great pizza options at Downtown Des Moines restaurants. As mentioned above, Fong’s Pizza may be the most famous Greater Des Moines pizzeria, but there are many more places to grab a slice:

Seafood and Sushi – Downtown Des Moines

When it comes to Des Moines restaurants, it seems everyone has strong opinions about their go-to place for seafood and sushi. Why not try them all and see what you think?

Roving Restaurants

Need something more on the go? See a list of all the best food trucks in DSM.

Best Places to Grab a Drink in Downtown Des Moines

Bars & Breweries – Downtown Des Moines

A more recent addition to the Downtown DSM scene is the quickly growing collection of craft breweries. Peace Tree Brewing, originally from Knoxville, Iowa, is a favorite in Des Moines’ Historic East Village. And Exile Brewing Co. serves delicious food and beer out of their location near Western Gateway Park. Other all-stars on the Downtown Des Moines brewery scene include Big Grove Brewery, Confluence and Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co.

Other great places to visit to grab a beer include:

Cocktails & Wine – Downtown Des Moines

All of the date night locations mentioned above have a bar area with an excellent list of fine wines and fancy cocktails. Some other local favorites include:

Speakeasys – Downtown Des Moines

These not-so-secret speakeasys are quickly becoming staples in Downtown DSM. Explore Shorty’s Somewhat Fancy Bar, Ken's — featuring classic prohibition drinks and themed cocktails — and Black Sheep, providing an underground private-club feel where all are welcome.

Additional Nightlife Options

a performer on a purple lit stage

Still haven’t found your spot for a night out? Check out these bars and nightclubs in Downtown Des Moines, often featuring DJs, dancing and more:

Bakeries & Coffee Shops – Downtown Des Moines

Need caffeine or a sweet treat instead of a cocktail? Whether it's to meet up with a friend, for a business meeting or grabbing something to-go, you can find coffee shops and bakeries of every kind in Downtown DSM: