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50 Best Restaurants in Des Moines: 2019 edition


Brian Taylor Carlson   | Des Moines Register
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Three well-known Des Moines Chefs talk about life behind the kitchen doors
All three called their staffs family and Wade Thompson explained it this way, "It was my dream to begin with and your asking people for it to be their dream too."

There's no question Des Moines is full of outstanding restaurants. Locals and visitors alike can be hard-pressed to make a decision on where to dine in the metro. 

But Register foodies have come to the rescue. We had a meeting of the palates and we came up with this list of our best choices for where we would take friends and family for every occasion. 

This list represents everything we love about these restaurants, taking into account crowd-sourced reviews, personal dining experiences and all-around Des Moines favorites. 

Interested in Iowa food news? Follow @briantaylorcarlson on Facebook, @BriinDSM on Twitter and @briindsm on Instagram.

We also updated our Random Restaurant Generator and our Restaurant Search options for your convenience. Restaurants that have been open for six months or less were not considered for inclusion. 

Here are the 50 Best Restaurants in Des Moines in alphabetical order:

801 Chophouse

Steak/Seafood; Downtown

This steakhouse in the tallest building in the city is a place to see and be seen as well as to dine on prime steaks and side dishes. Perfect for special occasions, USDA Prime-grade beef is served here in a variety of cuts and a choice of preparations like cognac butter with portobello mushroom ragout or a bone marrow butter bath.

Location: 801 Grand Ave., #200, Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 288-6000; Facebook

A Dong Restaurant

Vietnamese; Sherman Hill

Known for its fast service and giant menu, this Vietnamese gem has been drawing big crowds since 1989. It's a can't-miss for vegetarians. There's a full line of rice and vermicelli dishes to order, but be sure to try some fresh spring rolls and grab a bubble tea for sipping.

Location: 1511 High St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 284-5632Facebook

Need help deciding? Try our Random Restaurant Generator.

Akebono 515

Sushi; Downtown

This Japanese restaurant in downtown Des Moines specializes in sushi and sashimi. If sushi isn't your thing, try the teriyaki and udon noodle soup dishes or go for a build-your-own bento box. Akebono also features an assortment of Asian-inspired martinis and cocktails.

Location: 215 10th St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 244-5972; Facebook

Alba Restaurant

American; East Village

This local-sourcing staple with Mason Althiede at the helm in the East Village changes its menu to offer the best produce and proteins of the season. Check out the Monday night happy hour with $5 burgers and cocktails in the bar area.

Location: 524 E Sixth St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 244-0261; Facebook

Angry Goldfish Pub & Eatery

American; South Side

With its generous bowls of spicy crackers and daily food and drink specials, this popular eatery on the South Side draws a big crowd. Try a signature burger with a side of poutine or mac and cheese. For heartier appetites, order the Graziano meatloaf.

Location: 2301 SW Ninth St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 288-2358; Facebook

Aposto at the Scala House

Italian; Sherman Hill

"Everything is right" at Aposto and it shows in its constantly-changing menu of seasonal offerings in a restored Victorian mansion. But menu mainstays include the cappellacci pasta entree, owner Tony Lemmo's cavatelli and Lou Ann's wedding cake. 

Location: 644 18th St., Des Moines

Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday through Tuesday.

Contact: (515) 244-1353; Facebook

Bubba

American; Downtown

For elevated Southern comfort food classics like chicken and waffles, fried okra and Kentucky hot brown open-faced sandwiches, Bubba is your best bet. Open for lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner, this downtown hot spot is also a great place for a bourbon or a mint julep.

Location: 200 10th St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 4-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 257-4744Facebook

Find what's near you: Check out our 50 Best Restaurants interactive map.

Captain Roy's

American; East Side

What started as a big orange food truck has now blossomed into a riverfront bike trail patio bar with live music at Birdland Marina. Go for the chicken and waffles or a garbage burger stacked with french fries, coleslaw, cheddar and a fried egg on top.

Location: 1900 Saylor Road, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 631-2223Facebook

Centro

Italian; Downtown

Jonathan Baker gets creative with his interpretation of Italian fare for lunch, brunch and dinner, with New York classic pizzas and entrees. Go for the full order of portobello fries with truffle aioli and chipotle dressing. For brunch, be sure to visit the bloody mary bar.

Location: 1003 Locust St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 248-1780; Facebook

The Cheese Shop

Cheese Shop; North of Grand

This cozy cheese shop tucked into a strip mall is a great place to snack on a cheese board with all the fixings. But there's a full line of cheesy sandwiches, melts and toasts made with hand-selected artisanal cheeses from all over the globe. Its sister restaurant, Cheese Bar, is located on Ingersoll Ave.

Location:  Shops at Roosevelt; 833 42nd St., Ste. B, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 528-8181; Facebook

Cooper's on 5th

American; Valley Junction

This Valley Junction gem is the place to be for classy comfort food in a warm, cozy space with a bar and patio. Check out the breaded zucchini appetizer with ranch for dipping. But be sure to call for a reservation as the place fills up fast. 

Location: 227 Fifth St., West Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 255-9895Facebook

Crème Cupcake & Dessert 

Dessert; Ingersoll

Relax in the dessert lounge with your sweet of choice with a perfectly paired cocktail or non-alcoholic drink from the menu. Or go rogue and let your sweet tooth run amok. And you can always opt to take something sweet home from the in-house bakery.

Location: 543 28th St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 288-1050; Facebook

Eatery A

Mediterranean; Ingersoll

For Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served late into the evening, this Ingersoll restaurant plenty to offer like cioppino, skewers of smoked chorizo, swordfish and shrimp and falafel made with cauliflower and chickpeas. Pizzas are a must-order here as well. Be sure to check out brunch.

Location: 2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday, 3 to 11 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 282-8085; Facebook

El Mariachi

Mexican; Johnston

Crowds flock to this popular Tex-Mex restaurant in Johnston, known for its fast service, great kids' menu and festive pitchers of margaritas. Order up some queso while you await your sizzling fajitas to arrive. A patio is available for the warmer months. 

Location: 5825 Merle Hay Road, Johnston

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 276-3887; Facebook

Flying Mango

Caribbean Barbecue; Beaverdale

Cajun and Creole specialties and barbecue are the highlights at Flying Mango. You'll find plenty of seafood, dirty rice, grits and a full line of smoked delicacies. One of its most popular dishes is the Redneck Surf-N-Turf — Cajun catfish and loin back ribs served with red beans and rice and cornbread.

Location: 4345 Hickman Road, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. 

Contact: (515) 255-4111; Facebook

Fong's Pizza

Pizza; Downtown

Another local favorite, Fong's serves its Chinese-Italian fusion pizzas from lunch until late night and is a must for any visitor or newcomer to Des Moines. Ever had a crab rangoon pizza? Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages at the Drake location and tiki drinks in Ankeny and downtown. 

Location: 223 Fourth St., Des Moines

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Contact: (515) 323-3333; Facebook

Francie's Bar & Grill

Sports Bar; South Side

Location: 2100 Wakonda View Drive, Des Moines

This sports bar is a must for its iconic burgers, French dips and grinders. Order some nachos or chicken wings during the big game and get there early if you want a seat in the dining room or patio.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 285-5207; Facebook

Gastro Grub & Pub

American; Waukee

Growing from a food truck to a full-service restaurant, Gastro Grub has increased its menu to offer items like fried baby bel cheese served with Sriracha-truffle aioli, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches and jackfruit tacos. Check out the late-night happy hour with small bite and drink deals.

Location: 1378 East Hickman Road, Waukee

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 300-2460; Facebook

Gazali's Mediterranean Grill

Mediterranean; Drake

You'll find plenty of Mediterranean dishes at this popular Drake neighborhood eatery. Look for gyros, chicken shawarma and falafel served as wraps and salads. Tabbouleh is made to order. For dessert? Baklava, of course.

Location: 1205 25th St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Contact: (515) 309-9167; Facebook

Hagar's Manhattan Deli 

Sandwich shop; Ingersoll

Lunch crowds line up at this popular Ingersoll sandwich shop known for its daily specials and an extensive menu of hot and cold Italian hoagies and subs. 

Location: 3705 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 274-1208; Facebook

Harbinger

Local food; Ingersoll

Chef and co-owner Joe Tripp, a five-time James Beard semi-finalist, forages locally for ingredients for his Asian-inspired menu of creative dishes. The menu changes frequently depending on what's in season in the surrounding countryside.

Location: 2724 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 244-1314; Facebook

Hessen Haus

German; Downtown

Enjoy plenty of German classics like sauerbraten, spaetzle, Wienerschnitzel and  Jägerschnitzel in a festive bier hall atmosphere. There are plenty of German beers on tap. And don't forget to play a game of The Passing of the Boot. 

Location: 101 SW Fourth St., Des Moines

Hours: Sunday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Contact: (515) 288-2520; Facebook

The High Life Lounge

American; Downtown

Chow down on Broasted chicken, bacon-wrapped tater tots and rarebit burgers at this throwback 1960s-style tavern serving the “Champagne of Beers," along with Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz. For more of a Mexican vibe, try El Bait Shop next door.

Location: 200 SW Second St., Des Moines

Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Contact: (515) 280-1965; Facebook

HoQ 

Local food; East Village

For seven years, HoQ has been bringing local and sustainable food to East Village including grass-fed beef and lamb, pasture-raised poultry and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. The menu changes with the seasons.

Location: 303 E Fifth St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 244-1213; Facebook

Jethro's BBQ Drake

Barbecue; Drake

With its daily specials and house-smoked meats, this local barbecue powerhouse has six other locations in the metro and Ames to choose from. If you think you have what it takes, go for the Adam Emmenecker challenge. 

Location: 3100 Forest Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 279-3300; Facebook

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Kathmandu Restaurant

Nepalese/Indian; South Side

For the tastes of Nepal and India, Kathmandu on the South Side offers plenty of authentic South Asian dishes with customizable heat levels. For vegetarians, there are plenty of meat-free options like vegetable curries, pakora and naan.

Location: 4121 SE 14th St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 207-1463; Facebook

La Mie Bakery 

Bakery; North of Grand

Shop for freshly baked pastries, bread and macaroons. Or go for a breakfast or lunch dish like a classic scrambled egg breakfast or a tarragon chicken sandwich on a croissant. Also, try La Mie Elevate and La Mie Express downtown.

Location: Shops at Roosevelt, 841 42nd St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 255-1625; Facebook

Main Street Café and Bakery

Cafe; Ankeny

This Ankeny gem serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cozy, modern dining room. The giant menu features a wide selection of breakfast items, pasta dishes, sandwiches and wraps, soups and flatbreads. Be sure to check out the bakery case for some cake pops, cookies and cupcakes. Main Street recently opened a new location in the downtown skywalk.

Location: 2510 SW White Birch Drive, #1 and 2, Ankeny

Hours: Open daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 964-7141; Facebook

Mi Patria

Ecuadorian; West Des Moines

Mi Patria has established itself as the premier Ecuadorian restaurant of the metro. Feast on empanadas filled with beef, chicken or cheese and dishes of fritado con mote — marinated pork tips served with white corn, rice, beans, fried plantains and salad. But save room for the coconut fried bananas with ice cream.

Location: 1410 22nd St., West Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 222-2755; Facebook

Noah's Ark

Italian; Ingersoll

As one of Des Moines' oldest restaurants, this Ingersoll landmark is a tradition. You'll find french fried green pepper rings, Calabrese-style baked pasta casseroles and its popular Neopolitan pizzas on the menu. And there are plenty of hearty entrees to choose from. For dessert? Cakes, cannoli and spumoni.

Location: 2400 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 288-2246; Facebook

The Original Jesse's Embers

Steak/Seafood; Ingersoll

Since 1963, this steakhouse on Ingersoll Avenue has been serving steaks cooked over an open flame. You'll find plenty of seafood, sandwiches, pasta and ribs to round out the menu. Be sure to try an order of the hand-sliced thin onion rings.

Location: 3301 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 255-6011; Facebook

​​​​​​​Over the Top

Ice cream; Pleasant Hill

Enjoy frozen treats made in-house with ingredients from local Iowa dairies and small businesses at this Pleasant Hill ice cream shop. Try fun flavors like Happy Wife Happy Life — dark chocolate ice cream with roasted almonds, Heath bar, fudge pieces and caramel swirl. Waffle cones and bowls are also made fresh daily, along with ice cream cakes.

Location: 955 NE 56th St., Pleasant Hill

Hours: Open daily 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 266-3313; Facebook

Pho 515

Vietnamese; Downtown

Located inside C Fresh Market, this Vietnamese diner serves plenty of pho and rice vermicelli dishes, along with other specialties like spring rolls and egg rolls, soups, noodles and rice entrees. Relax with a fresh fruit bubble tea.

Location: 801 University Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Contact: (515) 243-2434; Facebook

Proof Restaurant

Mediterranean; Downtown

For a playful dining experience with Mediterranean flair and local ingredients, Proof has set itself apart with its creativity. With an ever-changing menu of delicacies, diners can choose items a la carte or let the chef create the perfect multi-course extravaganza. Seasonal 'Second Saturday' dinners include a 10-course themed blind tasting menu.

Location: 1301 Locust St., C, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.

Contact: (515) 244-0655; Facebook

Sam's Fine Food & Egg Rolls

Chinese; South Side

Homemade egg rolls filled with chicken or bacon and pork have customers lining up for lunch and dinner at this cozy Chinese restaurant on the south side. Go for a traditional dish like orange chicken and Hunan beef or go for vegetarian fried rice and angry shrimp stir-fry. A must-try is the chicken wings.

Location: 3300 SW Ninth St., #4, Des Moines

Hours: Monday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 288-5400Facebook

The Seafood Trap

Seafood; East Side

Get your fill of piles of seafood like snow crab, clams, mussels, crawfish, lobster and more served by the pounds and steamed with corn and potatoes — from mild to hot. And baskets of chicken tenders, fried shrimp, catfish and cod are served with fries. 

Location: 1552 E. Grand St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 3 to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 266-6244; Facebook

Simon's

Italian; Merle Hay

Customers will wait for hours for a spot in the small dining room of this neighborhood Italian-American restaurant featuring pasta dinners, pizza, Steak DeBurgo and cioppino. Start with an order of the baked artichoke dip or Mediterranean baked feta. And if you're lucky, Simon himself will bring you dessert. 

Location: 5800 Franklin Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 255-3725Facebook

Smitty's Tenderloin Shop

Diner; South Side

In the mood for a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich? This south side diner has what you're looking for. In addition to its award-winning tenderloins, Smitty's has been serving plenty of other sandwiches and burgers on the south side since 1952. Get an order of chili cheese fries to go alongside.

Location: 1401 Army Post Road, Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 287-4742; Facebook

Smokey D's BBQ

Barbecue; East Side

For award-winning smoked meats, Smokey D's is the place to be. Sample your way around the menu full of ribs, brisket, pulled pork, burnt ends, turkey, smoked sausage, pulled chicken and more — in platters and sandwiches. And don't forget about the sides. Smokey D's also has two lunch locations in downtown Des Moines.

Location: 5055 NW Second St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Contact: (515) 243-2747Facebook

St. Kilda

Australian; Downtown

This modern Australian-style cafe offers healthy and modern takes on classic breakfast and lunch dishes. Try the popular avocado toast or housemade pastries. Or go for a salmon club with bacon and dill aioli on toasted sourdough. A full line of coffee drinks from Counter Culture Coffee will help get your day off to an eye-opening start. Also, try St. Kilda at the Temple and St. Kilda Surf & Turf.

Location: 300 SW Fifth St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 to 5 p.m.

Contact: (515) 369-7854; Facebook

Table 128 Bistro and Bar

Local food; Clive

Enjoy seasonal, creative dishes made from local ingredients at this comfortable Clive restaurant with an outdoor patio and a focus on wine and craft cocktails. Lunch and dinner include a wide range of small plates, salads, entrees and sandwiches, along with a social hour menu served from 4 to 6 p.m.

Location: 12695 University Ave. #140, Clive

Hours: Monday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 327-7427Facebook

Tacos La Familia

Mexican; River Bend

Authentic Mexican food can be found at this family restaurant located just north of downtown. Enjoy burritos, tortas, nine kinds of tacos, ceviche and quesadillas. Or go for a platter of carne asada or enchiladas served with rice and beans. 

Location: 1610 Sixth Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 244-6659; Facebook

Tasty Tacos

Mexican; East Side

With six locations across the metro, Tasty Tacos is known for its fluffy flour tacos filled with seasoned beef, lettuce and cheese. Or you can substitute bean, chicken, steak or pork. And there are plenty of other dishes available like taco salads, burritos, enchiladas, nachos and sides. 

Location: 1400 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 266-4242; Facebook

Ted's Coney Island

American; Ingersoll

This fast casual restaurant with a big local following has a little of everything, but the main focus is on its Coney Island and Chicago hot dogs. Gyros, burgers, falafel, hummus and Greek salads round out the menu of specialties. Also, try Ted's Coney Island West in Urbandale.

Location: 3020 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Contact: (515) 243-8947; Facebook

Trellis

Local food; East Village

Located inside the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, you can expect to find locally-sourced, plant-based dishes like soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches and desserts — all overlooking the water gardens and the cityscape beyond. Sip on cocktails and wine on the elegant patio during the warmer months.

Location: 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Contact: (515) 323-6288; Facebook

Tumea & Sons Restaurant & Lounge

Italian; South Side

There's no shortage of Italian specialties on the menu of this popular eatery on the South Side. Start with an order of homemade onion rings or garlic cheese bread. Then go for some stuffed manicotti, shrimp scampi or Steak De Burgo. For something different, try a slice of raspberry tiramisu or lemon cake. Step out to play a game of bocce ball after dinner.

Location: 1501 SE First St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 282-7976; Facebook

Tursi's Latin King Italian Dining

Italian; East Side

An East Side landmark, Tursi's Latin King is the place where you can take your family for an Italian food fix — complete with zesty red sauce, Steak De Burgo, meatballs and gnocchi. Try the specialty of the house, Chicken Spiedini. And be sure to save room for tiramisu.

Location: 2200 Hubbell Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m.; closed Sundays and Monda

Contact: (515) 266-4466; Facebook

Waveland Cafe 

Diner; North of Grand

This Des Moines diner is where local and national celebrities go for a hearty breakfast or lunch. From classic egg dishes and griddle favorites to filling skillets and biscuits and gravy, it's all here. Soups, sandwiches, burgers and melts make up the lunch menu. And there's plenty for the kids. 

Location: 4708 University Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Contact: (515) 279-4341; Facebook

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

American; East Village

Novelty burgers and shakes can be found at this popular horror movie-themed East Village joint with a "post-apocalyptic chic” vibe. Burgers come with your choice of one, two or three patties. Try a Walking Ched burger on a breaded and deep-fried mac and cheese bun with bacon, cheddar, caramelized onions, more mac and cheese and mayo.

Location: 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Contact: (515) 244-9292; Facebook

Zuzap

Thai; Clive

This hidden gem in Clive is tucked away into a strip mall offering a wide range of Thai specialties for lunch and dinner. Nibble on appetizers like fresh summer rolls and chicken satay while waiting for steaming bowls of soup and entrees with bases of curry, rice, stir-fry and noodles with meat, seafood, tofu and vegetables. 

Location: 12871 University Ave., #100, Clive

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 440-1144; Facebook