Discover the Culinary Gems of Iowa: Your Ultimate Guide to Restaurants in the Hawkeye State
Welcome, food enthusiasts, to the ultimate guide to restaurants in Iowa! Known for its rolling hills, friendly communities, and agricultural heritage, Iowa may surprise you with its diverse and delicious food scene. From mouth-watering steakhouses to farm-to-table treasures, you’re in for a treat as you explore the culinary wonders of the Hawkeye State. In this guide, we’ll give you an inside look into the best eateries that Iowa has to offer, making sure you don’t miss a single tasty bite. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!
1. Steakhouses – Satisfy Your Carnivorous Cravings
As a state known for its agriculture, it’s no surprise that Iowa boasts some amazing steakhouses. From perfectly cooked ribeyes to succulent T-bones, you’re sure to find the ideal cut to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
a. 801 Chophouse – Des Moines
Located in the heart of Des Moines, 801 Chophouse is an upscale dining experience that offers an impressive selection of USDA Prime steaks, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list. With its sophisticated atmosphere and impeccable service, this is the perfect place for a special occasion or a romantic night out.
b. Archie’s Waeside – Le Mars
For a more relaxed, family-friendly environment, head to Archie’s Waeside in Le Mars. This locally-owned gem is known for its mouth-watering steaks, cooked to perfection on a charcoal grill. Don’t miss their famous onion rings, which are hand-cut and double-dipped for an extra crispy treat.
2. Farm-to-Table – Experience Iowa’s Fresh Flavors
With its rich agricultural history, it’s no wonder that farm-to-table dining has taken off in Iowa. These restaurants showcase the very best of Iowa’s local ingredients, offering fresh, seasonal dishes bursting with flavor.
a. HoQ – Des Moines
Located in the historic East Village of Des Moines, HoQ offers a unique dining experience that truly showcases the best of Iowa’s local flavors. With a menu that changes daily, you’ll find dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, including free-range meats, organic produce, and artisanal cheeses. Don’t forget to pair your meal with one of their Iowa-crafted beers or wines.
b. Cobble Hill – Cedar Rapids
Cobble Hill, nestled in downtown Cedar Rapids, is a farm-to-table eatery that focuses on creating flavorful dishes with an emphasis on sustainability. With a menu that rotates seasonally, you can expect to enjoy dishes made from the freshest local ingredients. Be sure to try their creative cocktails, which feature house-made syrups and infusions.
3. International Cuisine – A World of Flavors in Iowa
Iowa’s food scene isn’t limited to steaks and local produce; the state is also home to a variety of international restaurants, offering a diverse range of flavors from around the globe.
a. Lua Brewing – Des Moines
For a unique fusion of flavors, check out Lua Brewing in Des Moines. This brewpub offers a diverse menu inspired by Latin American and Asian cuisines, with dishes like bao buns, empanadas, and ramen. Wash it all down with one of their expertly crafted beers, brewed on-site.
b. Oasis Falafel – Iowa City
If you’re craving Middle Eastern flavors, look no further than Oasis Falafel in Iowa City. This casual eatery offers authentic dishes such as falafel, shawarma, and hummus, all made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. Don’t forget to try their famous baklava for dessert!
c. La Quercia – Norwalk
La Quercia, located in Norwalk, is a must-visit for Italian food lovers. Known for their artisanal cured meats and cheeses, this restaurant offers an authentic taste of Italy right in the heart of Iowa. Enjoy their house-made pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and a selection of Italian wines to complete your culinary journey.
4. Casual Eats – Tasty Bites in a Relaxed Atmosphere
Sometimes, all you need is a delicious meal in a laid-back setting. Iowa has plenty of casual eateries where you can grab a quick bite without sacrificing quality or flavor.
a. Zombie Burger + Drink Lab – Des Moines
For a fun and quirky dining experience, visit Zombie Burger + Drink Lab in Des Moines. This unique eatery offers an array of gourmet burgers with creative toppings, along with a selection of hand-dipped shakes and inventive cocktails. The zombie-themed décor adds an extra layer of entertainment to your meal.
b. The Bluebird Diner – Iowa City
For classic comfort food in a retro setting, head to The Bluebird Diner in Iowa City. This beloved diner serves up all-day breakfast, homemade soups, and hearty sandwiches, making it the perfect spot for a satisfying meal any time of day. Be sure to try their famous cinnamon roll pancakes!
5. Sweet Treats – Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
No culinary adventure is complete without something sweet to finish it off. Iowa has no shortage of delightful dessert spots where you can indulge your sweet tooth.
a. Molly’s Cupcakes – Des Moines and Iowa City
With locations in both Des Moines and Iowa City, Molly’s Cupcakes is a must-visit for cupcake connoisseurs. These award-winning cupcakes come in a variety of flavors, from classic vanilla to creative seasonal offerings. Customize your cupcake with a selection of frostings and toppings for the perfect sweet treat.
b. Whitey’s Ice Cream – Multiple Locations
For a cool, refreshing dessert, head to one of Whitey’s Ice Cream’s multiple locations across Iowa. This family-owned chain has been serving up delicious ice cream since 1933, and their menu includes classic flavors as well as unique creations. Don’t miss their signature flavor, Graham Central Station, which features graham cracker-flavored ice cream with a graham cracker ripple and chocolate-covered honeycomb pieces.
Whether you’re a local or just visiting the Hawkeye State, there’s no shortage of delicious dining options to explore. From upscale steakhouses to casual diners, Iowa’s food scene offers something for everyone. We hope this guide has inspired you to embark on a culinary adventure throughout Iowa.