During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Blue Mountain Emporium, Orange City
This unique restaurant serves a variety of inventive dishes. The large establishment actually has three distinct eateries with different foods from around the world. With gardens onsite, as well as a greenhouse, this restaurant takes its fresh produce seriously. There’s the Smokehouse Grille, serving mouth-watering smoked meats, wood-fired pizza and more. The Lodge serves American classics in a comfortable space styled after a mountain lodge. The Passport Club is a semi-private club where patrons can relax and enjoy special celebrations. Located at 814 Lincoln Pl. SE, Orange City, IA.
2. Rastrelli’s, Clinton
This family-owned Italian restaurant in Clinton has been in business for over 60 years. They’re a local favorite, serving pizza, pasta with sauces made with hand-ground beef and sausage and a variety of American favorites, as well. They’re located at 238 Main Ave., Clinton, IA.
3. Atlas World Grill, Iowa City
Atlas, an award-winning restaurant located in downtown Iowa City, offers amazing globally-inspired cuisine, like Shrimp Voodoo, jumbo shrimp, New Orleans style, with spicy lemon and rosemary butter sauce, pan-seared Ahi Tuna with a blood orange glaze and much, much more. Located at 127 Iowa Ave., Iowa City, IA.
4. Dixie Quicks, Council Bluffs
This small, homey restaurant in Council Bluffs serves up delicious Southern food with Cajun and Tex-Mex elements, like pan-fried catfish, chicken fried steak and Texas chile pepper steak. Dixie Quicks is comfort food at its best. Located at 157 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA.
5. Zoey’s Pizzeria, Marion
Zoey’s has been a local favorite since it opened in 1991. Their Chicago style pizza with handmade sauce and olive oil crust is absolutely to die for. They also offer killer thin crust pizzas that never disappoint. The decor is interesting and eclectic, with plenty to look at while you wait for your food. Make sure to show up early, as they don’t take reservations and they’re always packed. Location 690 10th St., Marion, IA.
6. La Rana Bistro, Decorah
Located in the Scandinavian town of Decorah in scenic Northeast Iowa, La Rana is a little gem. They make unforgettable seasonal dishes with a Mediterranean flair, like tapas, duck, quiche and gourmet pizza. Located at 120 Washington St., Decorah, IA.
7. Alba, Des Moines
Alba specializes in unique farm-to-table dishes with the best quality produce and meats available. Chef Joe Tripp offers the opportunity to sit at the four-seat chef's table to watch your meal cooked being cooked right in front of you. Located at 524 E 6th St., Des Moines, IA.
8. L. May Eatery, Dubuque
L.May Eatery is situated on the beautiful historic Main Street in Dubuque. The restaurant uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to offer inventive, gourmet comfort food. Their menu features mouth-watering dishes like thin crust specialty pizza, shrimp butternut squash ravioli and braised pork shanks. Located at 1072 Main St., Dubuque, IA.
9. Archie’s Waeside, Le Mars
Archie’s Waeside is a family-owned, James Beard Association award-winning restaurant that serves some of the best dry-aged, hand-cut steak you can find. Located at 224 4th Ave. NE, Le Mars, IA
10. Big Grove Brewery, Solon
Big Grove is no ordinary brewery. With its own impressive selection of in-house brewed beers, comfortable atmosphere with a fireplace and vaulted ceilings, and seasonal and inventive menu, you’ll love your dining experience at Big Grove. Their burgers with homemade pickles are amazing, and they have plenty of other options, like wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, entrees and desserts.
11. SoHo Kitchen & Bar, Sioux City
This comfortable American restaurant offers plenty of tasty dishes, like sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pizza and mac ‘n cheese. Located in a historic building on 4th street, the atmosphere will charm you with its exposed brick walls and iconic art prints. Located at 1024 4th St., Sioux City, IA.