The essential East Village dining guide
Five years ago, this chef opened his doors to the public, offering locally sourced ingredients with a world fusion flair. People thought he was crazy for opening a farm-to-table restaurant in Iowa in November, but he made it work. Discover how this Des Moines chef transforms ingredients from within a 30-mile radius into works of culinary art. Wochit
Just like we rounded up all of the locally-owned restaurants in downtown Des Moines, here's the next installment — East Village.
This roundup takes us to the east of the Des Moines River, south of I-235 and west of E. 14th St.
Only locally or regionally owned restaurants and food emporiums are listed here. And there's even a map.
Alba opened 10 years ago under the direction and ownership of Jason Simon. Since then, the restaurant has been bringing globally-influenced cuisine to East Village in a modern and eclectic space with accents of reclaimed wood. Alba has launched several chefs into prominent positions across the metro. Currently, Mason Altheide mans the helm of Alba's kitchen creating an ever-evolving menu using only in-season ingredients.
Location: 524 E. 6th St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, aa a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Blu Thai Food and Sushi
Located in an unassuming building on Walnut Street, Blu Thai surprises with an affordable and well-rounded menu of pan-Asian dishes including curries, noodles, soups, fried rice dishes and sushi. Some unique dinner entrees include Blu Tuna — stir-fried coconut rice with seared red tuna, unagi sauce, seaweed salad and sesame seeds. Save room for some mango sticky rice.
Location: 215 E. Walnut St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Contact: (515) 528-2407; Facebook
This little lunch discovery offers dining in a cozy indoor dining room all year, but during the summer months, you'd be hard-pressed not to take advantage of dining on the sprawling patio that overlooks the Iowa State Capitol Building and downtown Des Moines. Enjoy late breakfast dishes, soups, salads, paninis, and Italian specialties like Tuscan ravioli stew — cheese-filled ravioli with rosemary and garlic in a fresh vegetable broth. All dishes are under $10.
Location: 600 E Locust St, Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Since September 2015, owner Tanya Suarez has been channeling her Cuban heritage to create dishes she grew up making and eating. Feast on ceviche, of course, Cuban sandwiches, ropa vieja, arroz con picadillo and bistec de palomilla. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. Sip on mojitos, smashes, mules, Cuban-inspired cocktails and martinis. Or just enjoy a simple Cuba Libre (rum and cola with lime).
Location: 223 E. Walnut St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; closed Sunday.
This international dumpling house has ten different fusion-style varieties of dumplings available in both steamed and fried versions. Enjoy one kind at a time or order the Mega Flight – four of each kind of dumpling. But save room for dessert dumplings. Not a dumpling fan? Try an Asian-style entrée, steamed buns or fried rice.
Location: 212 E. 3rd St., Des Moines
Hours: Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; closed Tuesdays; Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Chef and co-owner Suman Hoque has been bringing Iowa-focused cuisine to East Village for over five years. The constantly-changing menu is reactionary to what's in peak season at the moment so those bright, fresh flavors shine through. Look for dishes like Grinnell Heritage Farm beet carpaccio with walnuts, fresh greens, horseradish and cider vinegar; and Tweed Croft Farm grass-fed steak, baked potato and celeriac purée, roasted winter vegetables, sautéed greens and HoQ hunter sauce.
Location: 303 E. 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Now in its 10th year, Lucca is one of the more romantic spots in the city for elevated cuisine. Lunch at Lucca is speedy and casual with an assortment of dishes like salads, sandwiches, pasta and pizzas. Dinner is centered around a creative 4-course prix fixe menu for $40. Look for house favorites like gnocchi with butter and sage and features like seared scallops with paprika aioli and zucchini.
Location: 420 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.
This quirky little spot is more apt to induce hunger than anger. With an extensive wing and pizza menu, this is a great place for a feast. A full range of appetizers includes the Idaho Nachos — Graziano sausage on a pile of tater tots topped with mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, jalapeños, sour cream and salsa. Of course, a must-try is Mad Meatball's mad meatballs.
Location: 401 S.E. 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Mars Coffee Bar
Serving exclusively environmentally-conscious Kickapoo coffee from Wisconsin, Mars Coffee Bar is an extension of the Drake neighborhood favorite. Fresh French pastries are sold here to accompany the coffee, but for a special treat, try Thelma's ice cream cookie sandwich treats with your Chemex and V-60 pour-overs.
Location: 505 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For ten years, Miyabi 9 has been attracting Japanese food lovers to East Village for its specialties for lunch and dinner including tempura, teriyaki, sushi, sashimi, rolls, noodles and dumplings. Choose your own sushi assortment or let the experienced sushi chefs work their magic to create the perfect experience. If you're not a fish fan, there are plenty of land-based dishes available.
Location: 512 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.
What could be better than small-batch cupcakes baked all day long? A wide range of flavor favorites and seasonal selections are available, along with many other baked goods like pies, brownies and bars, cookies and homemade ice cream. Gluten-free cupcakes are also sold here. Eat in and sit in a swing or take them to go.
Location: 215 E. 3rd St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Olympic Flame Restaurant
For almost 30 years, this East Village eatery has offered a big fat Greek menu. Enjoy all the classics like gyros, flaming saganaki, crispy spanikopita, dolmathes, and pasticcio. And be sure to save room for baklava. Authentic belly dancers can sometimes be seen weaving their way through the dining room.
Location: 514 E Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Contact: (515) 243-4361; Facebook
This restaurant in East Village serves Lebanese fare in a vibrant, cozy space. Enjoy dishes like hummus, baba ganouj, gyros, falafel and shawarma. Try the kibbeh plate — a baked patty made with ground sirloin, bulghar, onion and Lebanese spices with laban (yogurt), hummus and pita; or grape leaves stuffed with rice, garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomato, parley and onion.
Location: 313 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.
Contact: (515) 288-3151; Facebook
Plain Talk Books and Coffee
For the more literary-minded, Plain Talk offers organic coffee and locally-sourced food made with produce from Raccoon Forks Farms in Redfield, as well as new and used books, records, and local art. You can order from the prologue (drinks), chapter one (breakfast) or chapter two (sandwiches). For cooler days, a full line of hearty, homemade soups is available for your dining and reading enjoyment.
Location: 602 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Sunday.
Contact: (515) 243-0815; Facebook
Quinton's Bar & Deli
Quinton’s Bar and Deli in the East Village has an extensive menu full of pub classics like nachos, wings, sandwiches and burgers. But try one of its big bread bowl soups. Quinton's is the place to go for drink specials, with most being $5 or less. Half-price drinks on everything behind the bar, happy hour all day long and $4 "big girl" margaritas are just some of its weekly specials.
Location: 506 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Sunday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Railroad Bill's Dining Car
New to the East Village dining scene, this quirky little spot offers breakfast and lunch dishes like biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, burgers and sandwiches. After filling up at Railroad Bill's, take a spin around the attached antique store. A full line of classic sodas are available, and there's a sizable kids' menu to boot.
Location: 621 Des Moines St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday
Contact: (515) 243-0247; Facebook
Scenic Route Bakery
Enjoy a relaxing moment with coffee and fresh pastries or take a break and have breakfast or lunch in the spacious modern dining room. Try a yogurt parfait with plump berries and crunchy granola or a French onion sandwich with roast beef, caramelized onion and Swiss on white bread. Beer and wine are available.
Location: 350 E. Locust St., #104, Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Funky and fun, Tacopocalypse has a taco for every taste and style. Most tacos are served on Tacopocalypse's homemade hand-pressed corn tortillas. Try the adobo jackfruit tacos with cado verde and curtido or the vegan spicy Korean tofu with mayo and kimchi. And don't forget about the masa fries.
Location: 407 E. 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.
This classic East Village lounge offers a happy hour from Monday through Thursday with discounted classic cocktails and small plates. Pair crisply fried polenta sticks and remoulade dipping sauce with a refreshing Pimm's Cup. Or nibble on a slow-roasted beef brisket sandwich with cranberry and tomato sauce on a kaiser roll.
Location: 428 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; closed Sundays.
The Iowa Taproom
The Iowa Taproom has an industrial beer hall feel to accompany its 120 Iowa-brewed craft beers on tap. And there are plenty of food choices to accompany the beer like nine flavors of chicken wings or fried Taproom Poppers — shredded smoked chicken with jalapeño, pepper jack, cream cheese and Sriracha. But don't forget about the buffalo chicken mac and cheese with roasted cauliflower cheese sauce with pepper jack cheese, cheddar and blue cheeses, topped with buffalo grilled chicken, blue cheese crumbles and pico de gallo.
Location: 215 E. 3rd St., #100, Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Republic on Grand
This view-tastic restaurant and lounge on the 6th floor of the AC Hotel in East Village has become a popular gathering spot for people looking for an elevated experience. Share some avocado fries with curry aioli, smoked paprika and lemon or La Quercia prosciutto deviled eggs. Charcuterie and cheese boards with all the accouterments are available, as well as an assortment of flatbread pizzas.
Location: AC Hotel by Marriott, 401 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 3 to 11:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Open during the warmer months, enjoy al fresco dining and people watching. The Rooftop serves share plates like crostini and hummus, flatbreads, sandwiches and burgers. A brunch buffet is available on Saturdays and Sundays.
Location: 2nd Floor, 525 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Contact: (515) 288-2996; Facebook
Chef Lisa LaValle has been creating vibrant locally sourced dishes since 2013 at this cafe off the tropical foliage-filled dome at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Enjoy a popular soup combo or a tropical chicken salad with dried papaya, pineapple, sliced almonds, brown rice pilaf, honey-lime mayo and orange vinaigrette. Save room for the Iowa honey crème brûlée.
Location: 909 Robert D. Ray Dr., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Truman’s KC Pizza Tavern
New to the Des Moines pizza scene, Truman’s atmosphere features a Kansas City vibe with specialty and build-your-own pizzas in 10- and 14-inch sizes. Bar offerings feature 10 taps (of 24) featuring beer from Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Co. A limited breakfast menu will be available on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Try the Bobby Bell—smoked brisket with Kansas City barbecue sauce, mozzarella, red onion and diced tomatoes.
Location: 400 S.E. 6th St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Zombie Burger + Drink Lab
Whether you're alive or undead, there's something to enjoy at Zombie Burger. Enjoy a wide selection of ingredients for your own burger personalization or choose a specialty like the Dawn of the Dead with bacon, egg, American cheese, red onion and mayo. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or a thick, rich milkshake with a basket of chili cheese fries.
Location: 300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Sunday though Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Do you have a restaurant in East Village and don't see your place on this list? Contact Brian Carlson to be added.