We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Cobble Hill, Cedar Rapids
Cobble Hill’s exposed brick walls and mood lighting set a warm and intimate tone. Their menu features creative and inventive dishes that take eating to another level, and they have an ever-changing selection of specials inspired by local, seasonal food. Catch up over an exquisitely mixed cocktail like the Purple Rain with Broker’s gin, Crème de Violette, St. Germain elderflower, grapefruit bitters and lemon, along with a delicious entree like grilled sturgeon or roasted Berkshire pork belly.
2. Devotay, Iowa City
Editor's Note: Devotay permanently closed in January 2019.
This place is perfect for intimacy, with cozy tables and eclectic art hanging on the walls. And what’s better than tapas for a romantic dinner for two? You can order a sampling of small plates from the menu to share, like bacon-wrapped dates, seared Mediterranean Sea Bass and spicy roasted potatoes.
3. L. May Eatery, Dubuque
A Dubuque Favorite, L. May Eatery provides upscale dining at its best. With delicious dishes like filet mignon, osso buco and amazing pizza, plus a large selection of wine and craft beer, it’s hard to go wrong.
4. La Rana, Decorah
This cozy and inviting restaurant provides the perfect intimate setting for a date. And their menu features a variety of fresh and unique dishes that will delight your senses, like eggplant bruschetta, filet, chicken marsala and strawberry peach crisp.
5. Santa Maria Vineyard & Winery, Carroll
What’s more romantic than a vineyard? Plus, the restaurant is tasteful and elegant, where you can enjoy local wines and a lovely meal with plenty of pizza, pasta, burger and sandwich choices.
6. Aposto at The Scala House, Des Moines
This candlelit gem offers Southern Italian dishes in a beautiful Victorian mansion. They have an extensive menu offering tantalizing appetizers like steamed blue mussels with a spicy white wine and shallot cream sauce and main dishes like braised pork over farro with garlic sausage and roasted fennel with a wild mushroom wine sauce. Yum.
7. Martini’s Grille, Burlington
River views can definitely set a romantic mood. At Martini’s Grille, you’ll enjoy dinner for two overlooking the Mississippi. Their menu is varied and interesting, with a variety of pizza, seafood, sushi and classic entrees like pork chops and BBQ ribs.
8. 1910 Grille, Mason City
1910 Grille is located in the Historic Park Inn Hotel in downtown Mason City. They offer formal and informal seating areas, depending on your mood, and they offer a unique, inventive twist on classic dishes like mushroom risotto, grilled salmon and filet mignon.
9. Bracco World Cafe, Okoboji
Editor's Note: Bracco Okoboki is temporarily closed until 2021.
It’s hard to go wrong in the romance department with a beautiful lakefront location and tropical cocktails. You can eat inside or outside with colorful umbrellas and a fire pit. Continue the tropical theme with island curry chicken or angus sirloin & coconut shrimp with coconut lime rice and fresh vegetables.
10. Steventon’s Riverfront Food & Spirits, Le Claire
Steventon’s provides a beautiful atmosphere that sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. They offer a varied, interesting menu with dishes like butternut squash gnocchi, rack of lamb and blackened ahi tuna.
11. Chez Grace, Coralville
Don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior. Once you get inside, Chez Grace is a warm, intimate restaurant with creative French dishes and a prix fixe menu that regularly changes so you can always be sure to try something new. Pair incredible food with an extensive wine selection and friendly, attentive service, and you have a new date night favorite.