September 12, 2023

Des Moines Delights: Best Brunch Spots in the Heart of Iowa

Bite into Des Moines' best brunch spots! Savor hearty pancakes, delicious eggs Benedict, or gourmet avocado toast. Casual, upscale, hip – we've got it all. Say goodbye to plain cereals and hello to your new weekend tradition!

Richard Gargan
Richard Gargan
Reviewed from:
Des Moines Delights: Best Brunch Spots in the Heart of Iowa
Editor's Note: Brunch Expert is supported by our readers. We sometimes earn commissions when you click through to restaurants or affiliate links.

Welcome to the delectable hidden gems that are the brunch offerings in Des Moines. Uncover the culinary treasures tucked between sweet corn fields and Prairie Meadows of this Iowa capital. From sophisticated eggs Benedicts to scrumptious stacks of pancakes. Join us as we dig into the Iowa sweetness and savory sensations, taking you across 20 of the best brunch spots Des Moines has to offer.

HomeGrown Des Moines - Crescent

555 17th St Ste 102, Des Moines

(515) 348-4094

Reviewed by:

Michael Green

HomeGrown Des Moines - Crescent is a fantastic spot for brunch, offering fresh and delicious dishes that are sure to please. I enjoyed a range of menu items, from the chicken salad, tomato soup, and eggs Benedict Florentine style, to the heavenly John Denver w/grits, complete with a side of some of the best bacon I've ever tasted. Both the mimosas and margaritas were refreshing, made with freshly squeezed orange juice, and the English muffins and bread were similarly fresh. I also couldn't resist trying their homemade pop tart which was out of this world. The restaurant is bustling, so a little patience might be required, but the experience is well worth the wait. The service is efficient and friendly, with food arriving speedily. In particular, I was thoroughly impressed by the croissant French toast, which was fluffy and delicious. What impresses me most, being from Texas, is that this establishment easily contends with some of the best brunch spots I've been to. The menu options vary from standard breakfast items to more unique dishes like the seasonal cauliflower Buffalo salad. It is clear that every dish is carefully crafted with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Yet despite the high quality, the prices remain affordable. All in all, my brunch at HomeGrown was an experience where I left with a full belly and a smile. I'm not normally a breakfast person, but this place has certainly changed my mind. I would definitely recommend HomeGrown to anyone visiting Des Moines and I look forward to dining here again the next time I'm in town. A local gem that truly highlights the beauty of good ingredients and superb food.

Eggs and Jam

1907 EP True Pkwy Suite 102, West Des Moines

(515) 528-2248

Reviewed by:

Angelique Cruz

I recently had brunch at Eggs and Jam in Des Moines and wow, this place is a must-visit! The interior is full of cool visuals and hip-hop inspired artwork, creating a fun and vibrant environment. The portions are generous and the staff super sweet which adds to the overall experience. There was a minor hiccup with incorrectly priced items on our bills. The staff were aware of it, but strangely, no adjustments were made. I found this odd, especially for a place that uses digital menus. However, this didn't dampen our experience. The food here is just delicious - we ordered the Brotherly Love and the You Can Touch This and were simply blown away. The entree was just *chef's kiss*. The potatoes, though tasty, were a bit cold but that seemed like a one-off issue. This place is a hit among hip-hop enthusiasts, but the beauty is everyone can enjoy it. I saw 80-year-olds sipping coffee and having breakfast, taking in the amazing atmosphere. Patience is key here - there might be a bit of wait, but the turnover is pretty fast. Plus, the service by the wait staff is top-notch. And let’s not forget the bar - they serve some amazing drinks. I can confidently say that Eggs n' Jam is a breakfast joint that outdoes itself. Their fried chicken and waffles are, hands-down, the best in the state. Despite the crowds and the long queue, it's definitely worth the wait. This place is 100% a home run. Trust me, you can't go wrong with anything on their menu. All in all, Eggs and Jam gets a two thumbs up from me.

PerKup Cafe

2700 University Ave Suite 324, West Des Moines

(515) 270-1466

Reviewed by:

Martha Tomlinson

PerKup Cafe in Des Moines is a humble yet charming establishment nestled within a strip mall, offering delicious breakfast options that will kickstart your day on a delightful note. The eggs are cooked to perfection, the sausage patty packs a sizzling punch of flavor, and the crispy bacon is a yummy treat that melts in your mouth. Their coffee is a delightful exception from the typical diner fare. There is an unexpected nutty undertone that adds a layer of sophistication to the warm brew. The staff ensures your cup is never left empty, providing efficient and quick service. The highlights of my order were the half portion of biscuits and sausage gravy with scrambled eggs paired with an Americano coffee. The serving size was generous yet not overwhelming, and the prices were incredibly reasonable. PerKup has a small-town charm that is hard to find these days. The staff exudes warmth and friendliness that makes you feel right at home. Whether you crave some classic pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, or just some eggs and bacon, everything here is cooked to perfection. Though I have fond memories of pre-Covid times at this mom-and-pop shop, I was recently a bit disappointed with my meal. The sausage links and pancakes tasted like they were pre-packaged and reheated. This was a stark difference from the high-quality food I was used to here. Despite this experience, I stand by my recommendations for PerKup. The memories tied to this place, the excellent service, and the cozy charm keep drawing me back. I look forward to more breakfasts here, hoping to revive the delightful gastronomical experiences I've had in the past.

Waveland Cafe

4708 University Ave, Des Moines

(515) 279-4341

Reviewed by:

Draco Banks

Waveland Cafe in Des Moines is hands down the best spot for brunch. It tends to get pretty busy, so I recommend sliding in at off-peak times like we did today, around 12:30pm. We managed to snag some seats at the bar and service was swift once we were seated. Let me tell you, their Steak and Eggs is unbeatable, cooked exactly to order, and served with super crispy hash browns. Today, I swapped my usual toast for a biscuit and added an extra side of gravy - total game changer! It was an absolute feast and I devoured every bite. I've only tried their breakfast menu thus far but I have high hopes for their lunch offerings. Be prepared though, since the place is always bustling, the food may not come out piping hot and drink refills might be a bit slow. I'm open to exploring other places, but I'll absolutely be back here. Another recommendation - try their Cinnamon French Toast, it's divine. The cafe has a great atmosphere and there's always lively, upbeat music from the kitchen that adds to the overall charm. Their Mamoa, featuring fluffy biscuits and a creamy sausage gravy, is another hearty option. I was a little let down by the canned mushrooms and processed cheese on the Everything Hashbrowns, but overall, it was still a tasty dish. Considering the quality and portion sizes, the prices are very reasonable. The Waveland Cafe is a local gem that's definitely worth checking out.

University Library Cafe

3506 University Ave, Des Moines

(515) 255-0433

Reviewed by:

Mathew Rudi

I stumbled upon University Library Cafe while exploring Des Moines and what a pleasant surprise it was! A cozy little spot with a remarkably impressive menu. My burger, served on Texas toast, was flawlessly cooked, topped with ample fresh ingredients. The fries, possibly the best in town, were steak style cut, incredibly crispy. I also tried their famous nachos, which had an interesting chip texture, although I believe the topping distribution could use some improvement. The service was top-notch and notably proactive, as they even rushed out to deliver our keys. Without a doubt, this is one of the best kept secrets in DSM, a place worth visiting for its great food and cozy vibes. The Sunday brunch could run a little long, and expect to pay around $10 per person for an entree, but trust me, it's worth the wait. Beyond the food, the drink selection is commendable too. You'll find great on-tap options and a unique "library latte" that's certainly worth a try. I also found the bar/restaurant atmosphere intriguing and friendliness of the service highly appreciable. To top it all off, despite its modest exterior, the place is actually quite spacious, with our server, Tommy, being extremely attentive and friendly. Sure, it's smaller than many places, but it just reinforces the adage, "size isn’t everything." I enjoyed my visit to University Library Cafe and definitely plan to return. This little find truly underscores the idea that the small places are often the best.

Motley School Tavern

1903 Beaver Ave, Des Moines

(515) 279-0075

Reviewed by:

Selene Waite

I recently visited Motley School Tavern for brunch and I must say, the atmosphere was vibrant and fun. I particularly loved the green booths, lending to a lively and jovial ambiance. I had made reservations well in advance and even though there was a little mix-up, the staff were accommodating and we were well taken care of. Service was a little slow, perhaps owing to the busy nature of the restaurant. The waiters seemed to be under a lot of pressure and could have used extra help. My order, a Western burger, while it wasn't presented as beautifully as my friend's, still tasted great, proving that looks can be deceiving. The soup was a letdown due to an overpowering taste of sage or poultry seasoning which unfortunately dominated the palate. Despite the soup, the other food and wine were truly amazing. A particularly standout dish was the fried bologna sandwich - it exceeded all expectations. One thing that slightly marred the experience was the loud party next to us. Conversation was tough due to the noise. An odd smell of rubber was also noticeable, probably due to the restaurant being a former flooring shop. Despite the few lows, the overall culinary experience at Motley School Tavern is definitely worth a try when in Des Moines. The menu is unique and you're likely to find something to delight your taste buds. While the place is a little pricey, it offers good value for money. I'll be rating the place 4 out of 5 stars - the food gets a perfect 5, atmosphere a 4, value a 3, and service also a 4. I made my visit back in July this year and I can't wait to go back!

Mullets Restaurant

1253 1300 SE 1st St, Des Moines

(515) 244-1443

Reviewed by:

Deena Henson

I had a blast at Mullets Restaurant for brunch! After placing our names, we grabbed drinks and had a fun little wait in the car. We got to enjoy our meal after a reasonable 45-minute wait on Saturday. The staff was exceptionally friendly and attentive. I was impressed by their extensive menu. Their Bloody Mary's were simple, but quite enjoyable. It's a place I would definitely revisit, especially in the summer when the outdoor seating is available. The food was delightful and the atmosphere was lively. It seemed to be a popular spot along the bike trail. After only a short wait, we were seated outside. Our server was friendly and helpful with menu recommendations. The fries were a real treat, perfectly fried and crispy. Both truffle and plain were excellent choices. Parking was a bit of a challenge due to limited spaces, so we parked across the street in a gravel area. On a previous visit in 2021, I fell in love with their BBQ & eggs benedict with Alabama white sauce. My recent order of avocado toast flight was disappointing in comparison. The English muffins were rubbery, the avocado was bitter, and the other toppings were either stale or lacked flavor due to poor quality ingredients. But, their cocktails never disappoint. Despite that one setback, I've had fantastic experiences with other dishes like the tenderloin and fish and chips. The nachos were good but could benefit from more queso. I also had a fun time exploring their Bloody Mary flight. The outdoor patio area was comfortable and a great area to wait. Despite the occasional misses, Mullets Restaurant remains a brunch spot I would recommend.

St. Kilda Cafe & Bakery

300 SW 5th St, Des Moines

(515) 369-7854

Reviewed by:

Elizabeth Dubose

I recently visited St. Kilda Cafe & Bakery while on vacation in Des Moines, and I was pleasantly surprised by this unique and modern eatery. We were seated near a kitchen window which added to the overall ambience. I have to mention their pristine bathrooms too, complete with a convenient baby changing table. Upon entering, we were greeted with a bustling environment, but despite the crowd, we were accommodated quickly. The food was simply presented and tasted amazing! I particularly liked the Smashed Peas & Eggs dish, undoubtedly the best breakfast I've ever had. Their hot chocolate, chai tea, and veggie sandwich also deserve an honorable mention, along with the thick bacon strips - finally! The manager, who I suspect is also the owner, was hands-on - bussing tables, serving food, and even cracking jokes. His energy was infectious. Even though one of the staff seemed initially aloof, she warmed up to us by the end. Despite the food taking slightly longer than expected - which wasn't an issue because we enjoyed our flat white and mocha in the meantime - it was an overall top-tier experience. A must-visit if you find yourself in Des Moines.

The Breakfast Club

212 E 3rd St Ste B, Des Moines

(515) 280-5251

Reviewed by:

Russell Terrell

During my first visit to Iowa, I was delighted to try The Breakfast Club in Des Moines. Recommended by a friend, and with glowing reviews, I couldn't resist. The delicious mimosas were a hit with my friends, and my own dish, the "Cowboy Killer," was more than enough to satisfy my appetite. The atmosphere was warm and accommodating, even without reservations, we were seated right away. My experience at The Breakfast Club couldn't have been more positive. From the unique Bonsai Bloody, featuring Wasabi, to the Bloody Verde with green tomatillo, every drink was a new adventure. But the real star was the Shrimp & Grits, a mouthwatering combination of cheddar grits, Cajun shrimp, and gumbo sauce. With such a fantastic variety of options, I'm keen to return and try more. The staff here truly impressed me as well, providing excellent service and ensuring our meal was a pleasure from start to finish. The $15 mimosa flight is a must-try, as is the Juan Denver omelet. Truly one of the best brunches I've had in a long time. Despite a short 30-minute wait on a busy Sunday morning, I wouldn't hesitate to come back. The tempting cocktail options and delicious food make The Breakfast Club a gem in Des Moines.

Drake Diner

1111 25th St, Des Moines

(515) 277-1111

Reviewed by:

Eli Singleton

I recently had brunch at Drake Diner in Des Moines and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience. The restaurant was bustling when I arrived, proof of its popularity. Despite the crowd, the service by the wait staff was commendable. The menu offered a diverse selection of dishes, catering to all types of preferences. One of my favorites was the Waffle Dogs - a unique twist to the classic sausage, dunked in waffle batter and then deep-fried. The classic look of the exterior added charm to the overall experience. I was seated instantly, despite the crowd. However, I felt the service could have been slightly prompter. My order, the French Dip and a cup of soup, took a little while to reach my table. The potato soup was average in taste but the sandwich was a bit of a letdown. The portion was small and lacked ample meat. I would have preferred a more flavourful au jus. The old school cafe feel of Drake Diner was heartening and the staff were cordial, even when rushed off their feet. The food was good, but not exceptional. Regardless, the warm all-American diner vibe and swift service did bring some comfort. The spread we ordered was extensive, including dishes like Eggs Benedict, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, Chicken and Waffles, Captain Crunch French Toast Sticks, Bacon and of course, the unique Waffle Dogs. While not all dishes were impressive, the variety and taste were satisfying overall. All in all, I'd recommend Drake Diner for a pleasant, homely experience. Yes, there's room for improvement, but there's a certain comfort in its simplicity that's worth giving a shot!

St. Kilda Collective

333 5th St, West Des Moines

(515) 705-2030

Reviewed by:

Marcellus Salas Mendoza

I recently had a brunch at St. Kilda Collective in Des Moines and enjoyed my experience! The place has such a good vibe - very friendly staff, and the chefs and baristas make it a point to ensure you're comfortable and happy. I really liked the steak and eggs with their red sauce and my friends who had the chicken sandwich said it was delicious. I took home a cinnamon apple patty which was quite satisfying! The servers were attentive- making sure our drinks never went empty. I'd also recommend trying out their coffee beverages, they're really good. I'd give a solid 10 on 10 for the atmosphere, taste, and service. It's easily become my favorite restaurant in Des Moines. The seasonal change in menu gives me even more reasons to keep going back. Oh, and they make an amazing Australian Iced Coffee too! I've visited for lunch twice as well. My experience during lunchtime was a bit mixed though. The chicken sandwich wasn't up to the mark the first time around, but the spinach eggs Benedict was quite tasty, albeit not very hot. Service could be a bit faster, especially when it's not that busy. Another point worth mentioning is about seating. If you're like me and prefer window-side tables, you might have to ask for it. But overall, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend this place for a nice, laid-back brunch. Oh, and a heads-up, they did add a credit card fee to our bill without informing us, so keep that in mind.

Eatery A

2932 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines

(515) 282-8085

Reviewed by:

Thera Lovett

During my recent visit to Des Moines, I had the delightful opportunity to dine at Eatery A for brunch. It was an impressive experience filled with a variety of delicious options. Their menu is vast and inclusive, catering to all tastes including great vegetarian alternatives. Their dishes are presented exquisitely and taste even better. Among what we ordered were the Shrimp & Grits, Asparagus & Leek Grain Bowl, and the #2 Pizza. A sudden change in weather meant we had to be moved indoors but the staff was extremely accommodating, ensuring we got a table right away. The ambience of the place was charming and cozy, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that was perfect for an enjoyable brunch. Our waitress, in particular, was attentive and prompt in her services. However, the star of the meal was the Nutella French Toast, an absolute must-try for anyone visiting. The service was quick and efficient, with our order arriving in a short time. While the food was largely fantastic, there were a few dishes that I felt could use a bit of tweaking in terms of preparation. Specifically, the shrimp & grits, the lavender crème brûlée, the lamb gyro sandwich, and the shakshuka. However, these minor issues were largely overshadowed by the excellence of the other dishes and the overall experience. The bottomless mimosa was a delightful addition to our meal, and our server was proactive in ensuring our glasses were always filled. In terms of value, Eatery A is a great choice. Their food quality exceeds that of many other establishments, they offer generous portions at an affordable cost. My experience at Eatery A was overall, fantastic and I wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant to anyone in or passing through Des Moines. Despite a few minor improvements needed, it's evident the restaurant strives to offer a top-notch experience in terms of food, service, and ambiance. The staff's attentiveness to feedback is commendable and I look forward to seeing this establishment thrive as a 5-star restaurant.

HoQ Restaurant

303 E 5th St, Des Moines

(515) 244-1213

Reviewed by:

Roberto García

My recent brunch experience at HoQ Restaurant in Des Moines was nothing short of extraordinary. Our waiter Jeff was absolutely well-informed about every dish and drink right down to the details of the glassware. Our party of four had the chance to sample almost half of the menu - from starters to desserts - everything was as amazing as Jeff had described. This dining experience completely changed my perspective on dining in the East Village. I have dined at other excellent local, non-chain restaurants, but HoQ has secured the number one spot in my heart. The exceptional service, scrumptious food, and the carefully considered atmosphere have moved my wife and me to make HoQ our regular date night spot. I was nearly put off by the heavy construction work and various Pride events in downtown Des Moines, but I'm thankful we didn't cancel our reservation. The brief three-block walk was totally worth it, as it led us to the most exquisite meal. The inconvenience of the city's construction isn't HoQ's fault and if a longer walk is required next time, I'll happily do it. HoQ is worth every minute and every penny. I'm genuinely surprised that HoQ isn't busier. I've dined here three times, on different days and times, and each visit has left me more impressed than the last. Whether it's a business dinner, a meal with friends, or date night, the service at HoQ is invariably top-notch, the food consistently outstanding, and their cocktails, wine, and beer selection is impressive. I must also mention their delightful complimentary amuse-bouches, which is a lovely touch reminiscent of European eateries. Their large breakfast wraps/burritos available on Saturdays between 10 am and noon are so sizable that I can make two meals out of one. During my most recent visit, an issue with one of the steaks was handled promptly and professionally by the staff, cementing my admiration for HoQ. If you've not yet experienced HoQ, I strongly recommend you to do so. It's a dining pleasure that should not be missed.


200 10th St, Des Moines

(515) 257-4744

Reviewed by:

Jose Turist

My first time in Des Moines was marked by a fantastic brunch experience at Bubba. The lemon drop martinis were expertly made with fresh lemon and the portions were wonderfully generous - especially the fried chicken. I must commend the quality of the service - our waitress was not only super friendly but also very prompt. If you are a fan of southern Cuisine, this place comes highly recommended. A few standout dishes include the crawfish pimento mac and cheese, biscuit basket, loaded potato skins, fried chicken, and chicken fried steak. Also, the juleps were a big hit with our group. However, the catfish skillet, cherry- rhubarb pie, and jambalaya may not live up to expectations, particularly if you are accustomed to southern culinary traditions, as I am. This was a business trip and we decided to treat our clients to a meal at Bubba. To say we were pleased with the outcome would be an understatement. Our waitress, Ashley, was outstanding, making sure that everyone's food came out just right. A special shout-out to the chef and the rest of the staff for going above and beyond. If you enjoy deviled eggs, you'd be hard-pressed to find better ones than Bubba's - and as a native of North Carolina, I am pretty particular about my deviled eggs. The wine list was impressive and the cocktails did not disappoint. The next time I'm in town, a return visit to Bubba will be high on my list. It was instrumental in showing our clients a fantastic evening. Worth mentioning as well are the crawfish mac n cheese, crab cake salad, fried okra and hush puppies - all fabulous. It's also a great spot for a date night. Carly, our server, added to the overall positive dining experience.

Louie's Wine Dive

4040 University Ave suite a, Des Moines

(515) 777-3416

Reviewed by:

Niqole Mohaymen

I must admit, I'm usually not drawn to places like Louie's Wine Dive, mainly because I don’t drink much due to some medications I'm on. Moreover, wine isn’t my usual go-to. I'm a simple guy, raised on a farm, not what you'd call sophisticated. However, I accompanied my wife here for brunch and I was pleasantly surprised. The place has a warm and welcoming vibe, with friendly and efficient staff. While I might not be a wine connoisseur, I appreciated sipping a glass of red in such a fine setting. The food was another delight. I ordered the Peanut Butter burger, a tribute to a famous Iowan, and it was delightful. The portions weren’t as large as what you might come across in typical Iowan restaurants, but they have a variety of appetizers to choose from if you're feeling particularly hungry. I highly recommend the brussel sprouts--absolutely delicious. The Fish and Chips were also a standout, made with high-quality Alaskan Cod. Aside from the food and wine, I was thrilled to find that the place has a bit of a jazzy vibe and even features live music on Wednesday evenings. All in all, packed with patrons and bustling with great energy, Louie's Wine Dive is definitely worth checking out, whether you're a wine lover or just in for a good meal.


1312 Locust St, Des Moines

(515) 283-1312

Reviewed by:

Willy Chesley

I had a fantastic brunch experience at Americana in Des Moines. Their bottomless Mimosa/Bloody Marys are really special thanks to an accompanying accoutrement table and the food is delicious as well. I particularly loved their homemade chicken strips and the unique grilled cheese bar they offer. The fruits were fresh, the custards were smooth and flavorful, and the overall dining experience was top-notch. We landed there for lunch at 2pm on a Friday and were pleasantly surprised to have the place practically to ourselves. We've always loved the view of the sculpture gardens outside the front windows and the location is simply outstanding. Since the restaurant wasn't crowded, the service was prompt and courteous, and the food was made to order and served hot. I tried the Honey Dip mocktail, which had bold cucumber and ginger flavors. For our meal, we started with Glazed Brussels, then moved on to Veggie Lasagna and the Nashville Hot Chicken Basket with Asian cole slaw. Perhaps the highlight of the meal was the Veggie Lasagna. It was creamy, salty, crunchy, and chewy all at once, and they managed to beautifully layer some typically tricky vegetables. I would give this dish a full 5 stars. Great place for endless eats and drinks, and the staff was friendly and accommodating. We visited with a group of 7 friends and an infant for a brunch feast. Seating was prompt, and the food was varied and flavorful. The atmosphere was a bit loud and not very accessible for those with physical limitations, with most seating upstairs and all the food and drink bars downstairs. I particularly appreciated the mashed potato bar and grilled cheese station. The Mimosa and Bloody Mary bars were well-stocked with options for savory garnishes. However, the stair situation was a bit tricky, especially when carrying food or drinks. Overall, I would highly recommend Americana for brunch in Des Moines. Despite minor issues, the food, drinks, and service make it worth a visit.

Gilroy's Kitchen + Pub + Patio

1238 8th St, West Des Moines

(515) 809-1727

Reviewed by:

Jay Saintil

I simply can't get enough of Gilroy's Kitchen + Pub + Patio for brunch in Des Moines. The menu selection is outstanding, especially the huge tenderloin, hot chicken, and Buffalo BBQ chicken pizza. The cheese curds are just perfect. What can I say about the service - superb! Drinks are flavorful and the staff is incredibly friendly, particularly our server Aaron. His food recommendations were on point. On top of it all, even the owner Carl made a point to come and chat with us. The place is just full of good vibes, with cool and friendly bartenders and welcoming regulars. Makes you feel right at home. The construction going on near the place is a bit of a hiccup, but let me tell you - driving around it is worth every second for the experience that Gilroy's offers. Their Sunday special - $10 pizzas - are absolutely scrumptious. Enjoying this meal with my brother, coupled with the delicious court avenue seasonal draft beer and a succulent medium well ribeye, was just perfection. In short, if you're looking for a fantastic brunch experience in Des Moines, you don't want to miss out on Gilroy's Kitchen + Pub + Patio.

Hy-Vee Market Grille

420 Court Ave, Des Moines

(515) 243-2263

Reviewed by:

Bernard Vereen

I enjoyed a very satisfying visit to Hy-Vee Market Grille in Des Moines for brunch. Despite it being busy, our group was seated within just 5 minutes. Although service was a tad slow, this was more than made up for when they offered us a free dessert. The food not only looked appetizing but tasted great as well. The atmosphere of the place was enjoyable with a good vibe throughout. The make-your-own mimosas for $9 were unlimited, making it a great deal. The food was excellent overall and the waiting staff were fantastic, making it a place I strongly recommend. But what really caught my attention was their offer of unlimited crab legs. Apparently, the record is eating 17 plates! Not sure I can beat that, but it's worth a try. The service was top-notch, with friendly faces all around.


900 Mulberry St, Des Moines

(515) 244-5000

Reviewed by:

Alfre Ramos

I recently enjoyed a fantastic brunch at Malo. The street tacos we sampled were divine, in particular the Al Pastor and shrimp. I must commend them on their salsa options, as well as the guacamole. The downtown location was conveniently close to our hotel and the civic center. To our delight, we arrived during happy hour, resulting in discounted beers and appetizers. The service was top-notch, with our waitress bringing a dash of humor to our table. We found the atmosphere pleasing with great outdoor seating and exceptional music. I also sampled their blueberry margaritas - an absolute must-try! I was specifically impressed with the 'pick 3 tacos' selection. I opted for the mahi-mahi, shrimp, and carne asada tacos. The shrimp was an outright winner for me. The spice level in the mahi was a bit high but definitely made it taste good. My husband enjoyed his fried fish taco, pork belly, and filet taco, with the filet being his favorite. Finally, a special mention to the El Rey margarita - it was delightful! The vibe can get a little loud when full, but the culinary experience makes it worthwhile. Attended by delectable cuisine, fantastic service, and a beautiful location, Malo is undoubtedly a brunch destination worth trying!

Railroad Bill's Dining Car

621 Des Moines St, Des Moines

(515) 243-0247

Reviewed by:

Charville Arcila

I recently discovered a hidden gem in Des Moines - Railroad Bill's Dining Car. This restaurant exudes a charming, old train depot atmosphere, complete with an antique store attached. The food is uncomplicated but very satisfying. Our orders were promptly served, hot and exactly as we requested. We did encounter a few small hiccups like our meat being slightly overcooked and out-of-date ranch sauce, but such minor issues didn't affect the overall taste of our meal. We found the environment highly conducive, marked by tasteful music and beautiful antique displays around us. The self-service drinks, including orange and apple juice, added a unique touch to our experience. We comfortably strolled around the antique store while waiting for our meal. I was particularly impressed with their hashbrown dishes - truly amazing! Though we had little interaction with the server, it was clear that they were a bit preoccupied. However, the cook was very accommodating, which we greatly appreciated. There was, unfortunately, an issue with the waffles as they were not properly cooked. After my complaint, they promptly offered a replacement, but I opted for toast instead. The coffee service could have been a bit quicker, though. While the restaurant is not vegan-specific, I found their vegan options quite pleasing! The prices were reasonable, making the dining experience at Railroad Bill's Dining Car worth it. One thing to keep in mind is the uneven railroad tie floors, which adds to the venue's authenticity. We did have a less than pleasant encounter with the cashier who seemed upset about our late arrival. But don't let that stop you from experiencing this charming spot. Despite these minor issues, this diner left a positive impact on us and we're definitely returning, possibly becoming regulars!

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