Iowa often called “America’s heartland,” provides a glimpse of the genuine Midwest. Many tourists visit its largest cities yearly, including Des Moines, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
Iowan restaurants frequently appear on TV programs like Man v. Food and Bizarre Foods America, demonstrating how vital the food industry is to the state. In the state of Iowa, there is no shortage of excellent dining establishments.
Iowa offers everything from amazing meals to home cooking, including lunches in the alley and dining in the city. Put these top 10 restaurants in Iowa on your list if you enjoy good food or are just a food enthusiast.
Best Restaurants in Iowa You Must Try
10. Zombie Burger
Although Zombie Burger is a humorous eatery and bar, it takes its burgers and boozy concoctions seriously. Diners can expect canteen-style and bar seating inside, where zombie artwork covers the walls and employees are known to dress up.
As you may have expected, there is a genuinely incredible assortment of burgers, fries, and hot dogs on the menu. Unlike many burger joints, there are vegan and vegetarian alternatives as well. Tasty shakes, cocktails, and bottles are available for the ravenous hordes.
9. Tyler & Downings Eatery
The fourth generation of the Downings family, who have operated numerous companies in Anamosa for over 100 years, is in charge of the casual dining establishment Tyler & Downings Eatery, which takes pride in being the best restaurant in the city.
While there are exposed brick walls, stained glass windows, and vintage bric-a-brac throughout the interior of the ancient structure, the restaurant has a fresh, contemporary look without sacrificing its character or charm.
The menu is extensive and features both unique monthly entrées influenced by international cuisine and typical American home cooking, as you might anticipate from a family-run business.
8. Red’s Alehouse
Red’s Alehouse is the ideal visit for beer lovers and connoisseurs because it has what is perhaps Iowa City’s best assortment of beers.
Red’s, which opened in 2009 with about 18 tap beers, has expanded over the last five years to become an alehouse with a good collection of specialty, non-commercial brews.
It is also a highly regarded eatery, having been named Iowa City’s Best Restaurant in 2011 and 2013. The menu includes options for vegetarians and meat eaters with a good assortment of salads, meat and seafood meals, sandwiches, and flatbreads.
The exterior has an expansive patio area and a well-kept garden, both of which are ideal for enjoying a beer in the sunshine. The inside is decorated in a classic alehouse style.
There is more to Iowan cuisine than Americana and eating contests, as seen by the North African and Mediterranean cuisine served in the state capital of Proof, Iowa.
However, it still recognizes its connection to Des Moines by utilizing regional products in its dishes. His South Carolina heritage influences Mediterranean cuisine created by executive chef Sean Wilson.
The menu changes seasonally, as it does at all eateries where fresh ingredients are the star of the show. In terms of the selection of foods available and the techniques used to prepare them, Proof has an impressive menu. Simple, open, and light interior design creates a welcoming ambiance that lets the cuisine take center stage.
6. Orchard Green Restaurant and Lounge
The main fine dining establishment in Iowa City is Orchard Green Restaurant and Lounge. Bouillabaisse, seared sea scallops, swordfish, fillet mignon, “cowboy” ribeye, and New York steak are among the regular menu items.
Executive Chef Bryan Herzic routinely changes the menu options by providing fresh and seasonal ingredients.
Hand-selected wines and unique specialty beverages are the ideal aperitifs or after-dinner drinks. The upstairs dining room, which features opulent chandeliers and cathedral ceilings, and the more relaxed downstairs lounge are their two primary seating areas.
Orchard Green has a high-quality feel to it because of the oak furniture, white tablecloths, and scattered flowers, which are further emphasized by the food.
5. Lucky Pig Pub & Grill
Since it opened in 2011, Lucky Pig Pub & Grill has established a strong reputation among families and businesspeople. The family-run restaurant serves straightforward, delicious home cooking in a casual setting with warm service.
The design is straightforward yet bright, with a variety of Americana memorabilia on the walls, booths to the side of the main eating area, a pool table in the back, and a few “lucky” pigs scattered about, all of which contribute to the establishment’s cozy, welcome atmosphere. With its frequent events and themed nights, the bar area is also quite well-liked by the locals.
4. Clinton Street Social Club
The only authentic gastropub and speakeasy in Iowa City are Clinton Street Social Club, which offers a wide variety of sandwiches, meats, and seafood.
Along with exciting details about their cooking procedures and the origins of some of the restaurant’s interior aspects, they proudly disclose their food sources on the back of the menu. You may not be aware that the lights are constructed from recycled chicken feeders.
With a well-regarded range of liquor and cocktails and a typical speakeasy-style interior design, the Pentacrest may be seen in some of the city’s best views from the outside.
3. Canteen Lunch In The Alley
A genuine example of Americana, Canteen Lunch In The Alley is a lunchtime staple in Ottumwa and is known for its homemade pies and loose meat sandwiches. Before moving to its current location in 1936, the old restaurant had its debut in 1927.
Due to the high-caliber food, the restaurant, which has only 16 chairs for patrons encircling a horseshoe-shaped countertop, is typically packed during lunch hours.
The eatery has also achieved fame in popular culture by serving as the inspiration for the “Lanford Lunch Box” restaurant in Roseanne’s sitcom.
2. Breitbach’s Country Dining
Breitbach’s Country Dining is Iowa’s oldest restaurant and bars, opening its doors in 1852. The restaurant was purchased by the present owner’s great, great grandpa in 1862, and the family has owned it ever since.
Breitbach’s reopened in 2009 to great acclaim after recovering from fires in 2007 and 2008. Diners came from all across the state to support this Iowa icon.
Traditional American breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the restaurant, and all of the food is prepared there. One of the best dining vantage points in the state may be found outside, with views of the Mississippi, farmland, and river valleys.
1. Backpocket Brewing
Backpocket Brewing is a microbrewery and restaurant that serves handcrafted beer with German influences to Iowans.
The restaurant is located at the front of the building and has a limited but well-rounded menu that includes soups, pies, salads, grills, flatbreads, and brick oven pizzas.
All of the beer on offer is locally brewed, and the highly informed staff is happy to suggest beers to go with your meal.
You can also step outside to sit on the patio or by the outdoor fire pit. The brewery, which conducts well-liked tours every day of the week, is located in the back of the structure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most popular food in Iowa?
In addition to corn, lots of corn, Iowa is famous for its sour cream raisin pie, Iowa ham balls, Scotcheroos, Maid-Rite sandwiches, steak de Burgo, taco pizza, and snickers salad. Additionally, it is the country’s top producer of pork.
What meat is Iowa known for?
The breaded pork tenderloin, a German schnitzel ancestor, is a must-have dish in Iowa. The expert tenderloin requires the loin to be pounded to a thickness that stretches to the size of a dinner plate before being breaded and deep-fried, which makes it more difficult to perfect than it first appears.
What candy is Iowa known for?
The Twin Bing is one of the candies for which Iowa is most well-known. They were made available in 1923 and are being made by hand today.
What food does Iowa make?
Corn (maize), soybeans, hogs, and cattle are Iowa’s main agricultural products, and the state is among the top producers of the first three of these. With hundreds of commercial vineyards, viticulture is becoming more and more critical to the state.
What is the most famous dessert in Iowa?
Texas sheet cake is the most famous dessert in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Kansas. In Nebraska, it’s the rich and chocolatey brownie, whereas, in Illinois, they prefer the cold and icy bowl of ice cream.
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