Restaurants in Des Moines, IA

Even if you are not in town for the annual Iowa State Fair, which offers days’ worth of good food, Des Moines is a city of eating opportunities far more colorful than suggested by its old nickname, “Hartford of the West.” After coffee and a mighty cinnamon roll at Java Joe’s Coffee House, a visit to B&B Grocery or to Mr. Bibb’s provides a memorable taste of the state’s passion for outlandishly large breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches. Bauder’s Pharmacy is a must for its ice cream, especially peach and strawberry in summer. For a grand climax to the movable feast, tuck into a supper-club meat and potatoes feast at Jesse’s Embers.

Des Moines’s Most Famous Dishes

Huge slab of prime rib extends far beyond its plate


In a red drive-in basket, onion rings are crisp and golden-brown

Onion Rings

Scoops of strawberry, pistachio, and vanilla ice cream accompany a slice of 4-layer chocolate cake.

Ice Cream

Hash browns, browned and crisp, with bacon in the background

Hash Browns

Des Moines’s Best Restaurants

Java Joe’s Coffeehouse - Dutch Letters
Java Joe’s Coffeehouse


Mr. Bibbs


Huge tenderloin stretches far beyond its bun.
B & B Grocery


Bauder Pharmacy


Sirloin steak with char marks from the grill
Jesse’s Embers


Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop - King tenderloin
Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop | Eat Large | An Iowa Best


Chile-orange beef and salsa fill a trio of tacos
Tacos La Barca


La Peña Mexican Restaurant


Des Moines Articles & Guides

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Top 12 favorite Ice Cream Scoops

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Java Joe’s Coffeehouse - Espresso

Delectable Des Moines

Even if you are not in town for the annual Iowa State Fair, which offers days worth of good food, Des Moines is a city of eating opportunities far...

Steak Houses: Roadfood Favorites

Many restaurants serve steak, but some places are dedicated to it. Although no great steak house is cheap, some of the best are extremely informal (like Doe's Eat Place...

In a clear plastic cup, ice cream is topped with swirls of hot fudge and caramel, pecan halves, and a maraschino cherry

Heartland Turtle Sundaes

The turtle sundae is not unique to the heartland. Its sublime combination of crisp nuts, hot fudge and caramel sauce atop vanilla ice cream can be found from coast...

Iowa's Big Buns

Cinnamon rolls can be found almost everywhere, but no state has better (and bigger) ones than Iowa.

Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop - King tenderloin

Iowa Tenderloins

There are excellent tenderloins in Indiana, and some in Illinois, but no state has as many great ones as Iowa. By tenderloin, we don't mean a roast that requires...


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