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15 Restaurants to Visit in Downtown DSM in December

Warm Food Downtown

December 15, 2022

This winter, we’ve curated a list of cozy eateries in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) so you can warm up when it’s chilly outside! Explore these Downtown DSM restaurants for comfort food, hearty meals, soup, warm lunch options and more.  

Snag a Warm Lunch in Downtown Des Moines   

Basil Prosperi 

Located inside 801 Grand | Skywalk Access 
Look no further to curb your soup, salad, pizza-by-the-slice or pasta cravings! Navigate to Basil’s using the Downtown DSM skywalk system to stay warm and cozy on a wintery day. Fun fact: Basil’s now offers breakfast, dinner and catering too! And here’s a pro tip: Check their Facebook page for daily specials including the soup du jour.    

Palmer’s Deli 

Located inside Kaleidoscope | Skywalk Access 
Compliment your hot sandwich or warm soup with a salad, side dish from the cold case, chips or a sweet treat (the Scotcheroos and Magic Bars are a great pick!). The soups change daily, with flavors including “Wisconsin Cheese,” “Chicken Noodle,” “Garden Vegetable,” “Chili” and “Chicken Enchilada.” 

South Union Bread Café  

Located in Western Gateway 
Serving up hot sandwiches, chili and their well-loved-by-locals “Pepperjack Potato Soup,” South Union is a wintertime lunchtime staple in Downtown DSM. (Did we mention the fresh, made in-house garlic focaccia bread and dipping oil?)   

Trellis Café 

Located inside Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden 
Head Chef Lisa LaValle uses fresh, local ingredients to create mouthwatering menus that rotate each month. You’ll find savory soups, warm sandwiches, flatbreads and salads. Choose two for a $14 combo. Add a dessert featuring seasonal flavors for $8. Kids eat for $8, too! Trellis is now also open for lunch on weekends.   

Downtown Des Moines is the Place for Comfort Food   

A Dong Vietnamese  

Located in Sherman Hill 
This local, family-owned restaurant has been a favorite of Downtown DSM locals and visitors since the late ‘80s. You’ll find traditional pho, stir fried noodle bowls, entrees and much more! There are nearly 150 items on the menu to enjoy.   


Located near Western Gateway 
You’ll find Southern comfort food and seasonal libations at this Downtown DSM eatery. Give the “Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo” a try, or a cup of the “Texas Style Bison Chili!” The “Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich” or “Bowtie Bolognese” is perfect for a wintery day. There are tons of good-for-your-soul menu items to choose from!   

High Life Lounge 

Located just off of MLK, near Principal Park 
Step into this Downtown DSM restaurant and you’ll be transported back to the 1960s (shag carpet and all!) — with a ‘60s-themed comfort food menu, too! Try the “Velvet Elvis” dip appetizer with spicy sausage, Velveeta and Rotel followed by a main dish such as the “Beef Stroganoff,” “Goulash,” “Pot Roast” or “Hot Beef.” Just like Mom used to make!   

Tupelo Honey 

Located in the Downtown Core Area 
You’ll find Southern classics and a few spicy dishes right here in Downtown DSM! Start with “Spicy Cauliflower Bites” and "Fried Green Tomatoes.” Savor “Roast Beef Debris,” “Cast Iron Pork,” the “Bourbon Peppercorn Glazed Meatloaf” or Tupelo Honey’s ”Famous Fried Chicken.” With side dishes like mac and cheese, “Crispy Salt and “Pepper Brussels” and “Parmesan + Rosemary Potato Cracklins” — you won’t go hungry here. Have some “Banana Pudding” or “Brown Butter Pecan Pie” before you go!   

Enjoy Soup at These Downtown Des Moines Restaurants   


Located in Western Gateway 
Although known for their pastas, pizzas and delectable entrees — you’re missing out if you haven’t tried the soup here! The “Tomato Basil with Cheese Tortellini” is to-die for, and daily soup specials are equally as tasty. 

Gateway Market & Café 

Located in Sherman Hill 
Every day they’re serving up chicken corn tortilla and Vegan veggie chili soups, plus a soup of the day ranging from “Tuscan White Bean” to “Clam Chowder!” Insider tip: On Wednesdays, Gateway serves up the well-loved “Pepper Jack Potato Soup” also found at South Union!   


Located in the Historic East Village 
Here’s a spot for yummy bread bowl soups, including creamy potato bacon, chili, broccoli and cheese or beer cheese. Quinton’s also has a robust selection of loaded baked potatoes, house mac and cheeses and warm apps perfect for a cold day (including hot dips: spinach and artichoke, queso and buffalo).   

Restaurants with Hearty Meals in Downtown Des Moines   

801 Chophouse 

Located inside 801 Grand 
Prime cuts of steak, chops and roasts and tantalizing sides like scalloped or garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom pan roast and fresh asparagus make this a must-include on your winter restaurant bucket list.    

Alba Restaurant 

Located in the Historic East Village 
For traditional American cuisine, look no further! “Gnocchi,” “New York Strip Stroganoff,” “Pan Roasted Scallops,” and “Rum Crème Brûleé” to top it off — yum! 

Proudfoot & Bird 

Located near Western Gateway in the Hotel Fort Des Moines 
With a menu that is locally sourced and fresh, stop in for handmade pasta, prime-cut beef and an award-winning wine list — the perfect pairing for a night out during the winter months.   


Located in Historic Court District 
Try the “Fiery Chicken Pasta,” “Pan-Roasted Salmon,” “Butternut Squash Fried Rice,” “Blackened Red Snapper,” Grilled Beef Tenderloin” … there are so many delicious menu items! 


Located in the Downtown Core Area   
Try Jet Fresh Seafood flown in fresh daily from Hawaii, Alaska, Seattle, Boston and the Florida Keys, including "Norwegian Salmon," "Chilean Seabass," "Colossal Gulf Shrimp," "Hawaiian Yellow Fin Tuna," "Sea Scallops," "Swordfish," "Live Maine Lobster" and "Alaskan King Crab."

Find tips on Downtown Des Moines (DSM) parking and navigation, explore more restaurants and nightlife options plus discover a list of upcoming events on the Downtown DSM events calendar. Additionally, follow @downtownDSMUSA on Instagram for more epic, things-you-just-can’t-miss happening around Downtown. 

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.