Des Moines: Where to eat | Midwest Living

Des Moines: Where to eat

Des Moines has undergone a dining transformation, the kind that happens one kitchen at a time, until residents look up and say, "Wow! Things have changed." It's one of our favorite food towns in the Midwest.
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    Sushi at Miyabi 9.
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    Django.
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    Alba.

The biggest name on the Des Moines restaurant scene: George Formaro. His best-known restaurant, Centro, packs crowds for contemporary Italian, and Formaro's Django has Des Moines' third oyster bar. Their classy interiors and seamless service signal a swell of culinary ambition in Iowa's unassuming capital (population: 547,000). But Formaro's genius really lies in Gateway Market, the city's first successful gourmet grocery, whose cheese counter and stylish cafe finally give foodies a place to call their own (gatewaymarket.com). 

801 Chophouse Savor USDA-prime steaks and great wine on the second floor of the city’s tallest building. See reviews and ratings. (515) 288-6000; 801chophouse.com 

Alba A 1950s Art Moderne exterior gives way to an elegant wood and glass interior. It’s a bit noisy on weekends, but good wine, an interesting menu and solid service work magic. Seasonal salads, chorizo fries, and lava cake with sea salt and buttermilk ice cream all score. See reviews and ratings. (515) 244-0261; albadsm.com

Bistro Montage Just west of downtown, this chef-owned spot delivers classic French cuisine and a knowledgeable waitstaff. See reviews and ratings. (515) 557-1924; bistromontage.com

Centro Crowds come in for contemporary Italian. If you want to have room for steak, pasta, panini or thin-crust pizza, beware the basket of addictive fresh focaccia. (515) 248-1780; centrodesmoines.com

Django If French restaurants make you nervous, quell your fear at this pleasantly unfroufrou brasserie. The menu offers cozy plates (mac and cheese) and foodie delights (duck cassoulet), and you can even BYOWine. See reviews and ratings. (515) 288-0268; djangodesmoines.com

Manhattan Deli Call ahead for your great, no-frills deli sandwich, or go after the lunch rush. Cash or check only. See reviews and ratings. (515) 274-1208

Miyabi 9 In downtown’s hip East Village, Miyabi Yamamoto rolls some of the city’s best sushi. (515) 288-8885; miyabi9.com

Palmer’s Deli and Market Parking is tough here at lunchtime, and for good reason: fresh-made sandwiches, soups, salads and jumbo cookies. (515) 274-4004; palmersdeliandmarket.com

La Mie For breakfast, try a buttery croissant (or wait, maybe a cherry Danish ... or perhaps a pecan roll ...) and a strong cup of house coffee. Lunch might include a grilled Brie and provolone sandwich or a roasted beet salad. See reviews and ratings. (515) 255-1625; lamiebakery.com

Sbrocco You’ll love the inventive American cuisine and a super-stocked wine bar in downtown’s Court Avenue district. (515) 282-3663; sbroccowine.com

Tursi’s Latin King A family-owned favorite, it has served Italian fare for more than 60 years on the East Side. Try the toasted ravioli. (515) 266-4466; tursislatinking.com

Uncle Wendell's BBQ Savor brisket sandwich on perfectly squishy house-made white bread alongside brown sugar baked beans and hot pepper corn bread. See reviews and ratings. (515) 779-6066; unclewendells.com

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