This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting lovely Des Moines to catch up with friends, eat, set up a new apartment, eat, and also do some eating. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I missed the food of Des Moines until I came back into the fold over these past couple days. Now I’m no culinary expert, but I have seen some Top Chef in my day, and let me tell you, the ‘ol DSM can dish up some meals worthy of the flawless Padma Lakshmi. I’ve listed some of my current favorites below, but what are your top DSM restaurant picks? Where do I still need to try?
Best Pizza Joint- Gusto
Though it might not technically be in the Drake neighborhood, Gusto really is the perfect local pizza place. With cool Italian-inspired pizza combinations (like my fav The Stallion) and perfect location just minutes from campus, it really has become my weekend go-to. One time I even saw a professor and her family there, so if that isn’t cute I don’t know what is.
Best Ice Cream- Snookies
Okay, so ice cream may not formally be considered food, but to me, it’s the most important food there is. And Snookies does it better than anybody. An old-fashioned malt shop with awesome dipped cones, the place is a Drake neighborhood must. In fact, it’s one of the earliest places I visited with my FYS during welcome weekend my first year. Seeing the families, students, kids, and even dogs all hanging out eating ice cream together made me know I made the right college decision.
Best Fancy Dinner- Centro
I’m not gonna lie to you, this place is not exactly budget friendly (unless you have the budget of a midwestern James Bond). But it is the place to celebrate big occasions or simply splurge a little on incredible food. And now that I’ve finally figured out how to pronounce “Centro”, I’m excited to go back. Wait, it’s “chen-tro”, right? Oh, no. I’m still not sure.
Best Game-Day Food- Mullet’s
The game in this case is baseball, but really, Mullet’s is good anytime. It’s a quirky place with a beautiful outdoor deck overlooking the river and Iowa Cubs stadium. And while all that is nice, it’s not as nice as the delicious sweet potato tots you can get there. Oh, and did I mention the copious photos of mullet-clad gentlemen that line the walls?
Best Location- Dos Rios
I know this makes me sound a little basic, but you really cannot beat Dos Rios chips and guac. Seriously, they’re the best. Plus, there’s nothing like sitting out on the patio in the heart of downtown Des Moines’s Court Avenue district with all the people, all the restaurants, and all the guac.