So you’re a foodie and you’ve ended up in Des Moines, Iowa. Not only a booming city for Millennial’s due to the trendy downtown scene, but also a city of surprisingly delicious hole in the wall joints. Where should you go to eat? Here’s a few of the best
1. Flying Mango
4345 Hickman Road Des Moines, Iowa
Love BBQ with a creole spin? Than Flying Mango is your match, it even stood up to Guy Fiere standards as his visited the location on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. You can get classic BBQ such as ribs or pulled pork, or if you’re feeling adventurous try their signature “Red Neck Surf-n-Turf” or their Andouille sausage with cheese, onions and peppers. Regardless of what you order you will not be disappointed.
2. A Dong
1511 High St. Des Moines, Iowa
With a motto as clever as “Pho a better America” you know you are about to get some good food, but you just didn’t know how good it was going to be. With every type of Pho you could imagine, beef or chicken cooked to choice, even a variety of vegetarian options made with tofu, such as stir fried tofu with spicy lemon grass and veggies. All packed into a cute Ma and Pa joint with very affordable prices, you definitely get your money’s worth here.
3. Tursi’s Latin King
2200 Hubbel Ave. Des Moines, Iowa
Talk about a hole in the wall spot, tucked between a dairy facility and a few car dealerships, it could be easy to miss, but not you, you are reading this as a cheat guide to becoming a local, and this is the spot. Their signature dish is their chicken spiedini, but you can’t go wrong with their Fritti calamari or their house made strawberry shortcake. Authentic Italian, great atmosphere and good prices. What could be better.
4. La Mie Bakery
841 42nd St. Des Moines, Iowa
This quaint little bakery is tucked into a strip mall, making it once again easy to miss. But, find yourself lucky enough to stumble upon it you will walk in to the amazing salivating smell of fresh bread and coffee. Do I even need to continue? With counters lined with pastries and baked goods, its a sweet tooth’s heaven. But if you are craving a bit more the smoked salmon omelet with red onion and crème fraiche or the avocado and cream cheese tartine with sprouts and red onion are wonderful choices. With a variety of sweet and savory dishes at great prices La Mie definitely wins us over.
5. Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop
1401 Army Post Rd. Des Moines, Iowa
Talk about a real hole in the wall joint, holding only about 20 customers Smitty’s is definitely a local specialty. Known for some of the largest tenderloins about 4 times the size of the bun! Clearly tenderloins are their specialty but they also have some phenomenal burgers and house made chili you can cover just about anything in. If you are looking for a traditional Midwestern king tenderloin, than Smitty’s is your place, just get there before it fills up!
6. Cool Basil
8801 University Ave. Des Moines, Iowa
Have a thing for Thai food, than Cool Basil is the perfect fit. With a couple different locations each with relaxed atmospheres and wonderful food. With everything from classic Thai appetizers, sushi and sashimi to salads and tempura veggies. If you are feeling adventurous try their Ika Nigiri sushi, with a menu full of fresh items you’ll be sure to love every bit of it.
407 E 5th St. Des Moines, Iowa
With a mix of Mexican, Korean and Vietnamese flavors Tacoapocalypse is the place to be if you find yourself in the shops of East Village. Their chorizo seems to be a crowd favorite along with their Korean chicken and waffles which can’t be beat. If you have the chance to try Tacoapocalypse don’t just try one taco, it’s a must that you try a variety of dishes all which will be delicious of course.
1003 Locust St. Des Moines, Iowa
Centro takes classics and mixes them with specialty cuisine creating beautiful one of a kind dishes. Located in the heart of downtown Des Moines, the atmosphere of Centro will win you over before you even sit down. With a large menu, this is a great place to go with the one picky eater in your group, as they have a little bit of everything. From wood-fired pizzas to fresh seafood everyone is sure to find something they love.
210 10th St. Des Moines, Iowa
Django is all about classic French cuisine, once again a large menu with choices for everyone even the picky eater. From beef bourguignon to duck confit to crab sliders there is a dish for every taste bud. They even have dishes for the less adventurous like sandwiches and burgers. French cuisine in Iowa never tasted so good.
10. El Bait Shop
200 SW 2nd St. Des Moines, Iowa
With a fun Mexican/ fishing theme and over 100 beers to choose from, including a huge selection of micro beers do we really even need to mention the food? Of course we do, while the ambiance is fun year round so is the food. From quesadillas and tacos to pizza burgers and spam and egg sandwiches, the food selection sure is funky and unique just like the people it attracts which is exactly what we love.