Restaurants in Des Moines: Where, What, Why
So you’re looking for the perfect place for a first date. Somewhere classy, but not too fancy? Or maybe your friends are visiting for the weekend and you’re looking for a bite to eat and a cocktail. Or on a professional note, you’re planning a lunch meeting with a client or prospect and want to set the perfect tone for productivity.
As one who frequents restaurants in Greater Des Moines (DSM), uh, frequently... here are a few recommendations on my top eateries in Des Moines:
Best Place for a Business Meeting: Americana
Whether you’re treating an out-of-town colleague or meeting up with a local contact, Americana is sure to please. The menu features traditional dishes with quirky twists. A few lunch faves of my comrades: the Wedge Salad, Cheese Ravioli, BLT or the Club. My go-to is the Grilled Cheese Panini with a side of Magic Chips. The dinner menu kicks it up a notch with adventurous eats like Lamb Skewers and Scallop Lollipops or more traditional plates like steaks, chops and pastas. Extra bonus: if you plan to have a few drinks, Americana’s signature mixes are among the best in Des Moines — from Manhattans to Moscow Mules. Overall, the ambiance is upscale, but the menu offerings are just right to entertain a client, yet not feel like you’re trying too hard.
Best Place for Date Night: Latin King
My ultimate favorite restaurant in Des Moines. The type where you can dress up if you want to, or dress casual if it’s more fitting. Latin King is family-owned by a traditional Italian family, serving up their famous fare since 1947. Bob Tursi himself greets and seats customers as they walk in the door. Setting the mood with candlelight, the restaurant serves up amazing dishes like their house specialty, the Chicken Spiedini. Portions are fairly large, but prices are just right. A first date, including two glasses of wine, salads and entrées, will run around $60. The restaurant has fabulous tiramisu for dessert as well, if you’re really looking to treat your special someone.
Best Place for Dinner with Friends: Zombie Burger
Every time my friends come to town, they want to go one place — Zombie Burger + Drink Lab. Warning, the wait is typically around an hour to get a table. Our take is to put our name in and then pop over to another bar or restaurant in the Historic East Village for a pre-dinner cocktail. Also, you’re going to want to come hungry [i.e. STARVING]. My crew usually shares a few baskets of fries and an order of cheese balls, and we each get our own burger or sandwich. My pick is the #5, also called They’re Coming to Get You Barbara. The buns are made of grilled cheese sandwiches. I prefer the grilled chicken, but hamburger patty, grilled Portobello or veggie nut patty options are also available. Zombie Burger has fantastic milkshakes, like the Nutella Marshmallow or the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal shake. Extra bonus: spiked shakes make for Sunday Fun-day (or any day, really). My friends love the theme, the kooky menu, the beer selection, the “fancy” sauce, the spiked milkshakes… pretty much everything about this place. And it’s one-of-a-kind! We love it.
P.S. Each of these are locally-owned, so you can feel good about supporting local businesses.
Did I miss one of your favorite restaurants in Des Moines? Do you have a pick for Best Place to Take the Parents, Best Brunch Spot or even Favorite Place to Watch the Game? Leave me a comment below — I’d love to hear from you!
Kristine Reeves is a Marketing Specialist at the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is a YP and Iowa native. Novice runner. Self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur. And lover of DSM festivals and nightlife. Catch more city insights for hot spots throughout Des Moines at catchdesmoines.com/blog.