There’s something in this index for most palates and budgets, and each location listed was selected by editors for the unique character it brings to our area. Price is based on a scale of $ to $$$$ and accounts for each establishment’s average price for a meal from the dinner menu (where applicable), and a drink.
$ = $10 / under
$$ = $10–$20
$$$ = $20–$30
$$$$ = $30 / over
2 Dogs Pub
1705 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-337-9047, 2dogspub.com, $$
This Eastside restaurant features a rotation of well-selected craft beers in addition to a full menu with burgers and other standard bar fare. The kitchen isn’t afraid to get creative—like featuring a bacon-wrapped hot dog with two fried eggs on top—nor are they afraid to let their customers get creative: They have a burger of the month competition where diners design their perfect burger.
900 E 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-351-3800, 30hop.com, $$
Enjoy a burger and a beer on their giant rooftop patio or relax over one of their larger, classic American entrees—either way, though, make sure to try something from their epic beer list.
350 1st Ave NE Fl 16, Cedar Rapids, 319-731-4444, $$$$
An elegant, high-end steak house on the 16th floor of the Hilton DoubleTree in downtown Cedar Rapids and a great place to grab a bite to eat before or after an event. Enjoy their breakfast buffet, lunch or dinner with the best view that Cedar Rapids has to offer.
A & A Pagliai’s Pizza
302 E Bloomington St, Iowa City, 319-351-5073, pagliaisic.com, $$
The Pagliai family has been in the pizza business in Iowa since 1957, so Pagliai’s is a respected Iowa tradition. Try the Palace Special, an Iowa City favorite featuring sausage, beef, pepperoni, mushroom and onion.
22 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-351-9259, theairlinerbar.com, $$
Famous for pizza, sports and home-game weekends, The Airliner has been an Iowa City tradition since 1944. Located right downtown with specials throughout the week.
American Legion #17
3016 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-1902, legion.org, $
If Friday night karaoke isn’t your jam, pop in to the American Legion #17 after work someday to enjoy cheap beer and homestyle bar food with the locals.
207 Main St, Columbus Junction, 319-728-9055, $
You don’t have to go to Los Angeles to get LA-style Mexican food. Just drive to Columbus Junction, and eat all you can at Antojitos Carmen. They servine a variety of creative and traditional options as well as to-die-for tacos.
Apres Wine Bar & Bistro
1010 Martin St, Iowa City, 319-499-1198, aprespeninsula.com, $$
Tucked into the heart of the Peninsula neighborhood, Apres Winebar and Bistro serves an eclectic menu of small plates, in addition to an array of creative cocktails. Their lobster mac & cheese is comfort food at its finest.
The Arbor Bar
60 1/2 W Burlington Ave, Fairfield, 641-209-1821, thearborbar.com, $
This quaint, hole-in-the-wall treasure continues its tradition of live music alongside good drinks and a hip atmosphere.
Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt featuring Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, (319) 351-9720, aspenleafyogurt.com
The friendly owner of this franchise frozen yogurt shop is almost always around chatting with customers and guests. Stop in for a cup of froyo or get an outrageous caramel apple.
Atlas World Grill
127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-341-7700, atlasiowacity.com, $$
Snag a spot on the patio to watch the day go by while enjoying a snack and a drink. The menu reflects the “world grill” theme, with a variety of dishes to suit any culinary preference.
Avocado Mexican Bar & Grille
1857 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, 319-337-4432, $$
Avocado is a bright, spacious restaurant and great for families. They offer a wide assortment of delicious Mexican food in a fun, casual environment.
903 Quarry Rd, Coralville, 319-449-3700 / 415 SE 3rd St, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2739 / 333 E 10th St, Dubuque (coming soon)
This place specializes in delicious beer and wood-fired pizza; there are many to try, and quite a few standouts. Their large outdoor patio at their Coralville location is not far from a bike path and is perfect for summer afternoons. The Cedar Rapids location finds a home in a newly restored downtown building.
4719 J St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-1909, thebakerycr.com, $
Hidden in Cedar Rapids’ industrial zone, the Bakery looks like any other warehouse. Don’t be fooled, though. Inside is a delicious assortment of cakes and cookies, as well as fresh rolls, loaves of bread and tortillas. If you’re looking for a place to stop and have lunch, they also boast a variety of Mexican entrees that you can eat in the dining area.
347 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-333-1515, bardotiowacity.com, $
This Brigitte Bardot-themed bar and restaurant specializes in exotic food and drink in a contemporary industrial-style building. They offer brightly-colored and freshly-made frozen drinks in addition to South American-inspired cuisine.
Baroncini Ristorante Italiano
104 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-2048, baroncinirestaurant.com, $$$
Elegant decor and romantic lighting make Baroncini a great date spot, with a well-curated wine list and excellent desserts.
121 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-7370, $$
Looking for an authentic Chinese restaurant in the Iowa City area? Look no further than Bashu, which offers diners tasty and spicy options as well as some of the most traditional Chinese food in town—jellyfish salad, anyone?
121 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-337-2010, bastaiowacity.com, $$$
The best things at Basta are homemade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, tasty cocktails and a killer daily happy hour.
1006 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-261-2355, batasrestaurant.com, $$
Located in the heart of Newbo, Bata’s is home to the famous blueberry burger—yes, a burger with blueberries, bacon, goat cheese, jalapeños and blueberry aioli. Pair that with a side of their sweet potato fries and you’re in burger heaven.
Baxa’s Sutliff Store & Tavern
5546 130th St NE, Lisbon, 319-624-2204, sutliffbridge.com, $
From the dollar bills tacked to the ceiling, to the perfectly executed fried delicacies, Baxa’s Sutliff Tavern embodies the dive bar aesthetic. It’s set apart, though, by the idyllic view of the Cedar River and the historic bridge that makes up the better part of its dining room.
575 Cameron Way, North Liberty, email@example.com, beerburger.com, $$
Serving their signature “smashed” burgers, BeerBurger is a great restaurant to bring your favorite carnivore to. Along with many fun, modern burger choices, they also serve classic bar appetizers, milk shakes, a selection of diner favorites and beer, of course.
1800 Boyrum St, Iowa City, 319-358-0001, $$
This is a basic, Americanized Chinese takeout place that delivers quickly within Iowa City city limits. Prices are reasonable and the food is surprisingly tasty for cheap Chinese takeout. The hot and sour soup is fresh and loaded with veggies, and the pork fried rice doesn’t skimp on chunks of tender, savory meat.
Big Boy Meats
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-343-6603, bigboymeats.com, $$
Descended from a storied history of the Lein family farm’s experience in raising and selling livestock, Big Boy Meats boasts a pedigree as impressive as any of its animals. And what pedigrees! Whether you’re looking for pork, lamb, bison or venison, the variety seems to be endless. Meat isn’t the only thing they provide, though. You can also find BBQ catering, wool and sheep skins for sale.
Big Creek Emporium
100 1st St SW, Mount Vernon, 319-895-8393, $$
Located in the heart of Mount Vernon, this fun shop offers treats rarely found elsewhere: Everything from wine to bulk snacks can be found in this wonderful organic grocer.
Big Daddy’s Dogs
629 12th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-573-8955, biggdaddydogs.com, $$
Big Daddy’s Dogs doesn’t just sell hot dogs. They also offer a wide variety of burgers, chicken, smoked brisket, sides and appetizers. Don’t forget to check out the daily specials—Tuesday is Gyro night!
Big Grove Brewery
101 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-2337 / 1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, biggrovebrewery.com, $$
With a large and impressive beer selection it is easy to overlook their cocktail menu—but don’t! They offer two-for-one cocktails, wine, and half price beers during happy hour. Not only are their drinks impressive, their food is even better. Big Grove frequently hosts different special dinners, and they have even been know to fly in award-winning chefs from around the world for these events.
503 Westbury Dr, Iowa City, 319-338-1770, blackstone-ic.com, $$
One of the few restaurants on the northeast side of Iowa City, Blackstone is locally owned but has the aesthetic polish of a corporation. Their sprawling menu draws influence from a range of global cuisine—including Italian, Mexican and Thai—but the bulk of their menu consists of American staples like burgers, with notably intriguing combinations and elegant presentation.
Black Sheep Social Club
600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-7070, iamtheblacksheep.com, $$$
Black Sheep updates the traditional take on midwestern flavors with creative and inventive plates. The warm interior and long bar provide a comfortable atmosphere in a restored building in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Black Squirrel Tap
72 2nd St SE, Swisher, 319-857-4447, $
Black Squirrel Tap hosts sporting events, card tournaments and live music alongside “pub grub”, local craft beers and whisky flights.
330 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-351-1470, thebluebirddiner.com, $$
Bluebird Cafe 650 W Cherry St #9, North Liberty, 319-626-2603, bluebirdcafenl.com
With a fun and funky staff and decor, and a vast menu, Bluebird offers creative twists on traditional diner fare.
118 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-337-4703, $$
Located downtown, Bo-James is a family-owned tavern known for big burgers, big beers and country music. When weather permits, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the downtown atmosphere on their patio.
804 5th St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-9627, $
Good food and good folks providing some the freshest fish and seafood in town at this nautical-themed restaurant.
Bread Garden Market & Bakery
225 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-354-4246, breadgardenmarket.com, $$
This convenient downtown grocer makes delicious meals easy with a varied and expansive salad bar and selection of gourmet prepared foods. In warmer months, the large patio makes for prime people-watching. Grocery offerings range from conventional to organic, to specialty imports and housemade items.
Breads from Anna
3007 Sierra Ct SW, Iowa City, 319-354-3886, breadsfromanna.com, $
Voted best gluten-free bread in America, Breads from Anna also boasts bread mixes free of the top 8 allergens. Anna herself has celiac disease and Type 1 Diabetes, so her recipes come from a place of understanding and care. Many of her mixes can be found in local grocery stores.
Breakfast House Cafe
820 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-261-2233, thebreakfasthouse.com, $
Treat yourself to traditional, no-frills, no-nonsense, American comfort food. This longstanding breakfast joint has a classic diner feel and one of the best breakfasts around.
1202 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-0802, brewhemia.com
This coffeehouse, located in a beautiful historic building across from NewBo Market, has a simple, hip vibe and serves well-made coffee drinks, alternative brew methods, and light food options. Enjoy a warm beverage, breakfast or delicious pastry, or stay a while longer to check out their lunch menu. At night, this NewBo café transforms into an intimate gathering place where you can enjoy local spirits, craft beers, wine and appetizers.
Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar
209 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-359-1999, brixcheeseshop.com, $$
This wine bar and specialty shop has a delicious selection of cheeses, cured meats, wine and beer; it’s a great place for a group of friends to go to avoid the noise of downtown.
6175 50th Ave, Norwalk, 515-981-0011, twojaysiowa.com, $
Visit Broadbent Distillery and try Two Jay’s Iowa Corn Whiskey. After a whiskey, take one of their living history farm tours, and revel in a classic Iowa afternoon.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-400-4324, $
The clean, minimal interior of Old Capitol Mall’s bubble tea shop avoids feeling sterile through warm lighting and select pieces of oak furniture that could have been in your grandparents’ kitchen. Bubble Pop offers a variety of hot and cold drinks in flavors like taro, mango and green tea.
Bud’s Custom Meats
3027 Highway 22, Riverside, 319-648-3999, budscustommeatsonline.com, $$
Specializing in jerky, Bud’s provides the community with a quality supply of this favorite, Midwestern snack food. You can opt for the classic Peppered Jerky, but don’t be afraid to branch out into either Teriyaki or Cajun flavors.
2020 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4488, / 3980 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4499 , burgerfiend.com, $$
BurgerFiend is a burger-centric joint now with two locations. Great Angus beef burgers with a variety of add-ons, hand-cut fries and delightful shakes.
Cactus Mexican Grill and Cantina #2
245 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-338-5647, $$
You know what to expect: a gigantic margarita served in a kitschy glass; a combination plate smothered in indeterminate sauces; a never-ending basket of chips that you’ll accidentally eat too much of. The salsa is good. The menu is vast. The food is usually tasty and always cheap.
565 Cameron Way, North Liberty, 319-626-6873, cafemuseiowa.com, $
It’s no secret that the Iowa City area is home to some absolutely fabulous coffee. The places are local and stylish, and serve up the most perfect way to start your day. Cafe Muse is just the same, but with one notable perk: Unlike many of their competitors, they offer drive-thru service.
101 N Main St, Fairfield, 641-472-0856, cafeparadiso.net, $
Situated on the corner of the square in Fairfield, Cafe Paradiso is a casual setting with beautiful artwork from various artists and frequent live music. Its outdoor seating makes it a social hotspot for Fairfield’s Maharishi community and townies alike. Those looking for a delicious weekend brunch, excellent organic coffee roasted daily on-site, and deep philosophical debate will be satisfied here.
411 2nd St, Coralville, 319-338-0700 / 1401 5th St, Coralville, 319-338-7007, $
Caffe Crema is a popular coffeehouse that specializes in hot drinks and delectable treats. Their warm interior will make you feel right at home, whether you are studying, meeting with friends or grabbing a quick cup of joe.
Capanna Coffee and Gelato
2441 James St, Coralville, 319-499-1120 / 710 Pacha Pkwy Ste 6, North Liberty, 319-626-2515, capannacoffee.com, $
This local roaster specializes in gourmet coffee and artisan gelato.
7037 C Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-826-2625, cappyspizzapie.com, $$
It’s hard not to feel at home at Cappy’s between the warm atmosphere, board games and self-serve cooler. You can taste the difference in their freshly prepared doughs and homemade sauces. They serve both Chicago deep-dish and New York hand-tossed pizzas, in addition to calzones and Greek salads.
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
4640 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-2900 / 4201 42nd St NE #140, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2277, capriottis.com
These hot and toasty subs are a success in a sandwich. Try their signatures like the Capastrami or Bobbie, or custom build your own! The Veggie Cheese Steak offers a delightful vegetarian fast food option.
1203 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2525, $$
The menu at Caucho boasts a wide selection of authentic Mexican cuisine prepared with a modern touch. Cocktails are served from a stylish bar with inventive and playful ingredients. Vibrant and energetic interior in Cedar Rapids NewBo District.
Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery
1441 Marak Rd NW, Swisher, 319-857-4300, crwine.com, $$
This winery and micro-distillery is located on a beautiful plot conveniently located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Being the first licensed distillery in Iowa since prohibition times, it’s hard to find a bar that doesn’t carry their small batch liquors.
Cedar River Landing
301 F Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-1854, cedar-river-landing.com
This sports bar is located along the Cedar River in an old warehouse. They regularly feature live music and have an eclectic American menu featuring everything from “Broasted Chicken” to crawfish pizza.
Ced-Rel Supper Club
11909 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-446-7300, ced-rel.com, $$$
This old-school supper club and steakhouse maintains many of the trappings of bygone dining: frogs’ legs, fried chicken livers and, of course, a variety of steaks. Each entree is delivered with a complimentary relish tray, a multi-tiered throwback to a time when cigarettes were fashionable and martinis were a lunchtime staple.
Chameleon’s Pub & Grub
119 1st St NW, Mount Vernon, 319-895-8654
This family-owned bar and grill boasts a wide selection of beer, a warm atmosphere and delicious food for when you want a break from the standard bar fare.
89 2nd St, Coralville, 319-338-1738, chezgrace.com, $$$$
Chez Grace is a hidden French gem inconspicuously placed along the Coralville Strip. The owner, David, runs this one-man-show acting as host, waiter and chef. While the menu is extremely limited, it changes frequently, and stays true to its heritage both in offerings and technique.
685 Marion Blvd, Marion, 319-447-1414, cibofusion.com $$
This contemporary Italian and American restaurant offers a very popular brunch menu. Be sure to snag a seat on their patio on warmer days.
102 N 2nd St, Fairfield, 641-980-0423, jeffersoncountyciderhouse.com, $$
Like a dry funky Spanish-style cider? Enjoy a good burger? Chow down on hamburgers voted Iowa’s Best, made of beef from Jefferson County cows, and knock back a pint of the house brew, Fishback & Stephenson Hard Cider. Save room for one of their signature Hard Cider Floats.
7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-848-8777, classactdining.com $$
A gourmet restaurant featuring outstanding, local cuisine while serving as a real-time, real-world teaching environment for Kirkwood’s Culinary Arts program.
341 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-512-2972, $
With its lovely, glass cases of pastries and crisp, stylish interior, Cliché Patisserie looks as good as its wares taste. Stop in for a hearty dinner or just a quick snack, as their options range from savory pork buns to sweet, green tea rolls.
Clinton Street Social Club
18 1/2 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-351-1690, clintonstreetsocial.com, $$
Try to go to Clinton Street on a weeknight, or early in the evening, when it’s not too busy, so you can sit at the bar and enjoy an assortment of small plates and artfully crafted cocktails.
Club 76 Cafe
2349 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, North Liberty, 319-626-6046, $
Club 76 is in an unassuming building; inside, however, there is a large bar and a lodge-meets-dive-bar vibe. The staff is friendly, the regulars interesting and the entertainment options unique. Grab a basket of free popcorn, and head to the wall of lottery machines. In warmer months, they have a volleyball net and outdoor seating on the adjacent lawn.
The Club Car
122 Wright St, Iowa City, 319-351-9416, theclubcaric.com, $
Located just south of downtown, the Club Car is a neighborhood bar catering largely to a crowd of people looking for a cold bottle of beer after a hard day at work. The beer selection is similarly no-frills, with plenty of domestic choices and a smattering of imports. Snack on fried appetizers while you play pool or darts and converse with regulars and the bartender, all of whom know each other. It’s like a miniature version of Cheers but Iowa City-style.
Cobble Hill Eatery & Dispensary
219 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3177, cobblehillrestaurant.com, $$$
The chefs at Cobble Hill are trained in the classic French tradition, and it shows. Cobble Hill serves some of the area’s most beautifully presented food, yet the restaurant manages to be comfortable and down-to-earth. The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons; if there’s some form of housemade charcuterie or pâté on the menu, be sure to try it—though everything is expertly made, so you can’t really go wrong.
Coffee Emporium & Cafe
220 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-3384, thecoffeeemporiumcr.com, $
As the name might suggest, the Coffee Emporium has an extensive list of caffeinated creations. Whether you just need a cup of joe before work or you’re looking for espresso shots to keep you going through the afternoon, they have the perfect drink for every occasion.
26 S Clinton St, Iowa City, (319) 519-2340, $
In its newly-opened location along Clinton Street, Cortado is a great place to grab a pick-me-up on your way to work or class. If you have a little more time than that, though, feel free to sit down, relax and enjoy the spacious and airy interior!
Cottage Bakery & Cafe
230 E Benton St, Iowa City, 319-351-0052, cottagebakerycafe.com, $$
Though hidden away on Benton Street, the Cottage Bakery never fails to offer delicious breakfast and lunch options. Stop in for one of their famous cinnamon rolls topped with layers and layers of frosting, or, for something savory, order a classic deli sandwich, a hummus wrap or a hot veggie panini.
Crêpes de Luxe Café
309 E College St, Iowa City, 319-887-2233, crepes-de-luxe.com, $
Step into Crêpes de Luxe Café for unique French cuisine matched with an exceedingly friendly staff. Sweet or savory, your crêpe of choice is made right before your eyes with mouthwatering ingredients such as Nutella and strawberries, or herb chicken, house-made aïoli and Swiss cheese.
Daisy’s Garage and Filling Station
1117 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2223, $$
Named for Daisy Duke, this garage-themed restaurant brings an abundance of seafood options to the Cedar Rapids scene, so look to shrimp prepared five ways, clams and mussels before settling for a sandwich or burger.
501 16th St NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-0680, dairyqueen.com, $
The staff at this Cedar Rapids walk-up takes the extra time to make sure all the cool treats are prepared with attention and care. Visit for all the classics, plus store-specific special menu items.
McWane Dairy Queen
526 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City, 319-338-9328, dairyqueen.com, $
The Riverside Drive Dairy Queen has been in the McWane family since the 1960s, and it maintains its family feel despite being damaged during the tornado of 2006. This DQ sells all the classics, so you can sit on a bench and watch the river go by as you enjoy your Peanut Buster Parfait.
Dan and Debbie’s Creamery
1600 Main St, Ely, 319-848-6455, $
You might have bought Dan and Debbie’s milk from your local grocery stores or ordered their cheese curds at the Black Squirrel Tap, but this family-owned dairy is well worth a visit in person. Sample their sumptuous ice cream, and pick up the staples you’re already used to.
1430 Willow Creek Dr, Iowa City, 319-354-7400, danesdairy.com, $
Open only in summer, family-favorite Dane’s is a blast from the past with delicious, inexpensive frozen treats.
Dave’s Fox Head Tavern
402 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-351-9824, $
Traditionally frequented by writers, the Foxhead is Iowa City’s oldest bar. It appears in all manner of literary works, and rightly so. It’s dark, it’s cheap; there’s pool; the jukebox is eclectic; the people are eccentric and their stories are grand. The drink selection is minimal, a reflection of the legendary stubbornness of the owner, but this is the kind of bar where all you need is a whiskey with a beer back. It’s the perfect local watering hole for a literary town that likes its booze.
3560 E Court St, Iowa City, 319-339-0055, daylightdonutsic.com, $
Since its opening in 2011, Daylight Donuts has enjoyed a great deal of word-of-mouth popularity and established itself as a mainstay in Iowa City for a sweet breakfast treat and a good, cheap cup of coffee. It takes pride in its customer service, hometown feel and homemade doughnuts. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their maple bacon longjohns or a sausage roll—a cheddarwurst wrapped in sweet dough and fried.
6 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-351-9417, $
This dive bar is big enough that there’s space for everyone, from football fans to people studying, and the nightly specials are a steal—look for the creatively decorated specials board out front.
Deluxe Cakes & Pastries
812 S Summit St, Iowa City, 319-338-5000, deluxecakesandpastries.com, $
On any given Saturday, Deluxe is the perfect embodiment of a neighborhood bakery: Parents sip coffee while their kids read or play in the little front yard; a St. Bernard lolls on the stoop; someone stops in for a freshly made cronut and ends up staying, chatting, for the better part of the day. In addition to being a charming gathering place, Deluxe has sinfully delicious, buttery baked goods; try a petit four or macaron, and good luck stopping after just one!
117 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-354-1001, devotay.net, $$$
An Iowa City pioneer in the locavore movement, Devotay features small plates and artful cocktails, along with beer and wine, in their small, intimate space.
The Dingo Bar
1040 Martin St, Iowa City, 319-400-1921, dingocoffee.com, $
Offering an extensive menu of lunch and breakfast sandwiches, The Dingo Bar is a sleek, stylish place to grab a light meal and a good cup of coffee. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, try the charming, innovative Toast Bar which offers a wide range of delicious spreads.
110 E College St, Iowa City, 319-338-7355, donnellyspub-ic.com, $$
This bar and restaurant is a madhouse on Hawkeye game days, as are most bars in the greater downtown area. Try to go at a quieter time; get a basket of wings and some “frickles” and enjoy a beer in the dark-wooded interior. Also, free popcorn!
5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-337-7660, $
The Dublin is Iowa City’s most authentic Irish bar, popular among pool players, locals and anyone who likes whiskey.
Duck City Bistro
115 E 3rd St, Davenport, 563-322-3825, $$$
The friendly chef who greets patrons at the door will sell you on the creative, well-prepared specials. Be sure to save room for some duck-fat fries.
213 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-338-2404, dumplingdarling.com, $
You might have seen them sold around town in different restaurants such as Pop’s Old N’ New Bar-B-Que, but now these Asian-fusion foodie bites have got their own store. Dumpling Darling offers both a variety of steamed dumplings, as well as steamed bao buns. If you’re looking for something traditional go with the pork dumpling, but my personal favorite has got to be the brisket.
The Early Bird
333 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-261-4901, theearlybirdcr.com, $$
This breakfast spot was made for the early bird. They open at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday (closed on weekends) and have a smoothie bar, espresso bar and some great organic tea selections. Their breakfast and lunch menus are limited but well-executed and refreshing.
327 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-358-2836, elbanditosiowacity.com, $$
Tucked into the Northside neighborhood, El Banditos offers a wide variety of delicious Mexican dishes made from family recipes and local ingredients. Proudly serving non-CAFO meat from Iowa’s own Pavelka’s Point and Grass Run Farms, as well as eggs from Kalona and tortillas from West Liberty, Banditos embodies traditional Mexican flavors with an emphasis on fresh and local. Pro tip: Banditos has one of the best brunches in town—don’t miss the chilaquiles with chorizo.
104 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-354-0444, elcactuscoralville.com / 1534 S Gilbert St., Iowa City, 319-354-0444, elcactuscoralville.com / 40 Sugar Creek Ln., North Liberty, 319-665-2046, $
They’re famous for their margaritas, and there’s nothing prickly about the service. A friendly neighborhood joint for those residing in Coralville or farther up 965. No relation to Cactus Cantina or Cactus 2 in downtown Iowa City.
102 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-688-5237, $$
Standard issue Tex-Mex with menu combos and good salsa. What really sets this place apart are its wild and vibrant exterior and interior.
El Paso Taqueria and Latin Market
601 Hollywood Blvd, Iowa City, 319-338-3703, $
Inside El Paso bodega is a food counter and a few tables. When the weather’s good, you can sit outside at picnic tables. What it’s lacking in ambience, though, it absolutely makes up for in utter deliciousness. The gigantic burritos are an adventure in each bite: a bit of cheese here, some killer guac there, and look—there’s the chicken! The tacos and tortas are super authentic. Grab a Mexican Coke, and grab your order to go.
El Sol Mexican Cuisine
240 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-2020, elsolmexicancuisineia.com, $$
This small Solon restaurant offers many affordable and delicious dishes, with great happy hour specials, like two-for-one margaritas. Fast service and friendly staff makes for a great experience. They are also one of the few Solon restaurants that stay open on Monday to feed the hungry locals.
102 B 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-354-4710, exoticindiarestaurant.com, $$
The best time to go to Exotic India is over lunch for the buffet, which has a delicious selection of both vegetarian and meat dishes. There are also appetizers and soup, and each table gets a fresh basket of hot naan to sop up the delicious sauces. The dinner menu is vast and interesting, and dinner items are tasty.
Fair Grounds Coffeehouse
345 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-338-2024, fairgroundscafe.com, $
Great for vegans and omnivores alike, Fair Grounds features dishes such as the vegan super nachos, which substitutes vegan cheese for traditional cheese, melted over the usual nacho fixings. Fair Grounds is also home to Howling Dogs Bakery, which makes a variety of baked treats, some of which are gluten-free.
Falbo Bros. Pizzeria
457 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-337-9090 / 2100 Norcor Ave, Coralville, 319-248-9090, falbobrospizza.com, $
Offering late-night pizza, Falbo’s is particularly popular among the undergraduate set.
118 E College St, Iowa City, 319-358-2555, icfilmscene.org, $$
Though it is primarily a movie theater, FilmScene has a good selection of beers on tap and a small selection of wine, which can make those three-hour arthouse movies go by a little faster; there’s also a small selection of locally made snacks in addition to the traditional popcorn and candy. In the summer, order a drink and head up to their rooftop patio for some uninterrupted sunning.
103 8th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-861-3036, theflyingweenie.com, $
Urban food cart meets hometown greasy spoon: The result is charming and filling. Featuring authentic “Red Hot” Chicago dogs on homemade buns, as well as sandwiches and Italian sausages. Add the hand-cut fries and a Chocolate Pepsi, and pull up a seat at one the functioning, vintage, multi-player arcade tables (Pac-Man, Donkey Kong) in the dine-in area for a hearty lunch that will bring out the kid in you.
Forbidden Planet Pizzeria & Video Arcade
111 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-358-6400, $
Iowa City’s first bar/arcade has tasty pizza, craft-only taps, a delicious selection of drinks and a video game collection that nerds dream of. A more-than-safe place for kids to roam with limited parental-supervision, making this a great place for families, too.
221 E College St, Iowa City, 319-338-8880, formosadowntown.com, $$
Located on the first floor of Hotel Vetro, Formosa boasts a stylish and modern atmosphere along with quick service and great sushi. They’ve got some of the best deals on sushi and drinks during the week, but the place is always quick to fill up at dinner, so get there early.
Frida Kahlo Mexican Restaurant and Lucy’s Bakery
101 Windflower Ln, Solon, 319-624-2107, $
This brightly-colored and artistically-inspired restaurant and bakery boasts authentic Mexican entrees and beautifully decorated desserts.
103 1st St NE, Mount Vernon, 319-895-8429, $
If Mount Vernon had a living room, it would be Fuel Nest. College students and locals regularly gather for delicious coffee and baked goods. Fuel provides a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy its great baked goods and fresh-brewed coffee. You can also peruse art and curios that make perfect gifts for yourself or a loved one.
Funcrest Dairy & Grill
3981 W Overlook Rd NE, Iowa City, 319-351-4141, $
Ride your bike out to Funcrest in the summer and reward yourself with a root beer float while you perch atop the Coralville Dam—perfection.
Gabby’s Mexican Restaurant
1100 N Columbus St, West Liberty, 319-627-7178, $$
This teeny Mexican restaurant has a plain, bare-bones interior, but packs flavor and authenticity into the food. The menu features Mexican-style “street tacos”—corn tortillas, meat, onion, cilantro and lime—and other traditional Mexican dishes, like tortas and menudo. For the less-adventurous among us, there are also more Americanized dishes and combination plates, and everything is ridiculously inexpensive.
330 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-351-9175, icgabes.com, $
This legendary dive bar and music venue is practically dripping with music cred; pretty much any Iowa City music fan can regale you with tales of the band who passed through town and played Gabe’s before they were famous. Independent of the music scene, Gabe’s is a well-seasoned, slightly gritty watering hole with a vast beer garden that’s a great place to bum an American Spirit. Expect a no-frills, PBR-and-whiskey crowd.
312 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-351-9614, $
Locals, whiskey, beer and classic sesame-seed-bun-cheeseburgers make George’s a favorite with the Iowa City crowd.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-383-5449, $
Get Fresh offers an impressive selection of fresh-squeezed juices and delicious smoothies made with local ingredients as often as possible and blended for optimum health benefits.
Ghurtie’s Gourmet Frozen Yoghurt Cafe
2180 Norcor Ave, Coralville, 319-338-1999, ghurties.com
Ghurtie’s is the real deal. Locally owned and operated, this self-serve froyo spot features a rotating selection of 12 types of yoghurt and over 30 toppings, which should keep you from ever getting bored.
Golden Delight Bakery
2289 Johnson-Washington Rd, Kalona, 319-646-3030, $
Run by an Amish family, the gaslit Golden Delight Bakery makes impossibly fluffy, decadent glazed donuts, cinnamon rolls and a variety of breads, pastries and pies. You can also find children’s books containing Amish morality tales, quilts, preserves, handmade rocking chairs and Grandfather clocks. Make sure to call before you go, as their hours are sporadic.
Great American Popcorn Company
1121 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3554, iowabestpopcorn.com, $
If you’re not already a popcorn lover, Great American Popcorn Company just might change your mind. With unique flavors like Berry Lemon or Buffalo Ranch, you’re sure to be delighted by their selection. Tired of kernels getting stuck in your teeth? They also serve ice cream, fun old-fashioned soda, and candy.
Great River Brewery
332 E 2nd St, Davenport, 563-323-5210, greatriverbrewery.com, $
Stop in for a free brewery tour on a Saturday, complete with plentiful samples, or enjoy one of their small-batch pints on the patio—and don’t forget to take home a growler or two!
Greyhound Deli & Frontier Herbs
450 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-775-5352, greyhounddeli.com, $$
Located inside the Cedar Rapids Public Library, Greyhound Deli focuses on local food, sourcing as many ingredients as possible. Sandwiches, soups and salads are all made from scratch, and there is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan fare.
Grin ‘n’ Goose
227 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, grinngoose.com, $$
Grin ‘n’ Goose offers a variety sandwiches and sides, sure to satisfy any craving. The interior is warm, well-decorated and fun with large booths and chalkboard-style wall art.
702 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-354-8629, gumbyspizzeria.com, $
For the university crowd, Gumby’s cheesy garlic bread sticks, affectionately known as “pokey stix,” are as much an Iowa institution as Hawkeye football for the undergrad crowd. They are open late and deliver in the area until 2 a.m. or later.
Hacienda las Glorias
4317 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-0082 / 715 1st Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-7344, haciendalasglorias.com, $$
Offering savory, traditional Mexican dishes, and featuring an extensive margarita menu, Hacienda las Glorias has watched its competition come and go for decades. Try the Carnitas or an OJ Rita, they do not disappoint. Bonus fun fact: the building Hacienda inhabits is rumored to be haunted!
Hamburg Inn No. 2, Inc.
214 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-5512 / 2221 Rochester Ave, Iowa City, hamburginn2.com, $$
This Iowa City landmark is super popular with families, students and politicians. Breakfast is their specialty, but their homemade pie-shakes are really where it’s at.
Happy Joe’s Pizza
102 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-351-6900 / 5070 Lindale Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-0017 / 3315 Williams Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-396-0626, happyjoes.com
Happy Joe’s is a Quad Cities staple and the inventor of the taco pizza. While most locations lack ample seating, their delivery time is always within reason and their pizza always on point.
316 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-383-6230 /200 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, $
A longtime Chicago favorite, Harold’s is not-to-miss. Serving delightful fried chicken and fish available by the piece or as a meal, and served over white bread and doused with hot sauce.
943 25th Ave, Coralville, 319-359-1744, havelicoralville.com, $$
Delicious, authentic Indian cuisine with an extensive range of options. More adventurous eaters can dive right into a Seekh Kabab or Paneer Tikka, while first-timers can stick to Chicken 65. Even their drinks cover all the bases—whether you’d prefer a Lassi or Fanta Orange.
Heirloom Salad Company
211 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-338-1300, heirloomsaladco.com, $
Custom build a salad to your exacting specifications or order off the menu and the staff at Heirloom will mix and chop your salad, ensuring an easy-to-eat and well-balanced salad. If you’re not up for a salad, they also serve sandwiches, soups, and pastas.
Her Soup Kitchen
625 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-354-1602, hersoupkitchen.com, $$
Alongside salads and sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients, Her Soup Kitchen offers handcrafted soups that change daily and that range from beef chili to poblano pepper to chicken corn chowder to butternut squash bisque.
Heyn’s Ice Cream
25 Cherry St, North Liberty, 319-665-2249 / 811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-354-1981, heynsicecream.com, $
Family-owned Heyn’s is off the beaten path, but its homemade ice cream is worth a little detour.
High Ground Cafe
301 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-338-5382 / 925 E 2nd Ave, Coralville , 319-339-4390 highgroundcafe.com, $
Enjoy pour-over coffee or an espresso drink at this popular downtown study space or visit their new location at the Iowa River Landing.
1100 N Dodge St, Iowa City, 319-338-3063, hilltoptavernnorthside.com, $$
The Hilltop Tavern has been a Deweyville neighborhood joint since 1933; in more recent years, they’ve added a selection of video games and pool tables, and they regularly host euchre tournaments. The kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and the menu is surprisingly vast for a late-night bar. Regulars swear by the reuben and the patty melt, and more adventurous diners can order a basket of deep-fried chicken gizzards or livers.
482 Highway 1 W, Iowa City, 319-499-1058, hudsonsic.com, $$
Since their opening in early 2016, Hudson’s is quickly becoming a favorite on Iowa City’s south side. Boasting 40 beers on tap and a whiskey list to match, Hudson’s is the perfect place for a quick drink after work.
227 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-354-2775, indiacafeiowa.com / 50 W Burlington Ave, Fairfield, 641-472-1792
The lunch buffet at India Café is vast and varied, containing both vegetarian and meat entrees and a variety of salads and condiments. Their aloo channa chat—a spicy snack of chick peas, potatoes and onions—will cool your palate in between the richer curries, and provides a nice textural foil to the rest of the buffet.
Iowa Brewing Company
708 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-2337, iowabrewing.beer, $
This small Cedar Rapids brewery boasts a staggering eighteen house-brewed beers on tap. In addition to creations made themselves, they offer many guest taps for those in the mood for something a little less localized.
Iowa Chop House
223 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-359-1078, theiowachophouse.com, $$
This restaurant proudly emphasizes steaks and chops, which can be spiced up with bold flavors such as blue cheese crust, béarnaise sauce or bacon butter. What really sets this place apart is their vast, interesting and thoughtful lineup of local and regional craft beers that you can learn about at their interactive self-serve beer barn.
Iowa City Brewlab
505 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-499-1089, icbrewlab.com, $
New to the Iowa City brewery scene, the Brewlab places an emphasis on the scientific process of fermentation. If you want to know everything there is to know about beer, this is the place to go.
Iowa City Halal and Grocery
1806 Boyrum St, Iowa City, 319-499-1920, $
Recently-opened dry goods grocer stocking certified halal foods as well as halal meats.
Iowa City Yacht Club
13 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-6464, iowacityyachtclub.org, $
This Iowa City staple is definitely known for their jam band scene, but also offers an array of fresh made grilled cheese sandwiches. The basement venue space is pretty barebones but remains a favorite for students and townies alike.
Iowa Distilling Company
4349 Cumming Ave., Cumming, 515-981-4216, iowadistilling.com. $
Iowa Distilling Company has a strong connection to local farming community. Its owners themselves are descendants of long-time farming stock. Many of their products are locally sourced and many of the byproducts created through the distilling process are donated back to local farmers as feed. They sell a variety of alcohol ranging from vodka to moonshine to a spirit simply labeled “Rocket Fuel.”
Iowa River Power Restaurant
501 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-351-1904, iowariverpower.net, $$$
Offering a fantastic view of the Iowa River, this turn-of-the-century power plant turned restaurant is most known for its Sunday brunch, though they also offer dinner seven days a week. Although the prices can be a bit high, it’s an Iowa City favorite.
440 N Dubuque St, North Liberty, 319-626-3033, jatapbar.com, $
Whether you’re in the mood for sand volleyball, live music, bar food or just a down-to-earth place to hang out and drink, J&A Tap has you covered. Check out their website for specials and scheduling.
211 1/2 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-341-0012 / 713 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City, 319-887-1215 / 200 Hawkins Dr, Iowa City, 319-356-1817 / 1575 1st Ave. S, Iowa City, 319-248-2074, thejavahouse.com, $
The Java House exudes community; what should be a quick coffee run soon turns into a social affair. Customers even have the opportunity to join the live audience of Iowa Public Radio’s “Java Blend” Fridays at 2 p.m. at the Washington Street location. Cozy antique furniture and beautiful artwork create a comfortable ambience, so grab a good book and a fresh-brewed cup of coffee from their pour-over coffee bar and settle in.
Jefferson County Cider
1839 200th St, Fairfield, 641-451-4323, jeffersoncountycider, $
Soon, Jefferson County Ciderworks hopes to press apples from their own orchard, but until that time they’ll keep sourcing apples from growers in the local area. The distillery itself is a seasonal operation, but their inventive cider is on tap at many local establishments year-round.
Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-338-1699 / 1940 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, 319-354-7427, jimmyjacksribshack.com, $$
Responding to a lack of good barbecue in Iowa City, Jimmy Jack’s owners opened the Eastside rib shack in 2005. Since then, it’s established itself as an outpost for tender smoked meats, addictive honey-butter cornbread and house-made barbecue sauces—the Carolina mustard sauce is tangy and the perfect complement to the rich meat dishes.
115 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-338-6717, joesplace-ic.com, $
If you go to Joe’s on a Hawkeye game day, be prepared to be crowded among hundreds of enthusiastic, probably drunk university alumni. It’s better to go when it’s less crowded, so you can enjoy the air hockey or pool tables, play a game of darts or sit in the little beer garden out back, enjoying free popcorn and a draft beer.
401 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-337-2183, johnsgrocery.com, $
This Iowa City staple, since 1948, continues to have a large variety of beer, wine and spirits from all over the world. After their recent remodel they have expanded their grocery selection, while still focusing on keeping things local. John’s deli produces breakfast sandwiches and pastries every morning, fresh bread, and offers daily lunch specials, fresh soups and famous fried chicken.
212 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-358-0776, josephssteak.com, $$$$
For nearly a decade, Iowa City residents, UI students and their families have gathered at Joseph’s Steakhouse for many a post-game or graduation steak. The menu has recently seen some exciting changes; now, in addition to their steak and fresh seafood entrees, diners can enjoy a variety of small plates, sandwiches and salads, all alongside an extensive wine list.
Kalona Brewing Company
405 B Ave, Kalona, 319-656-3335, kalonabrewing.com
Their15 barrel brewing system ferments heavenly craft beers on site, but that’s not all they offer. Get comfortable in their relaxing atmosphere and experience their wood-fired pizzas, flatbreads, sandwiches, burgers and brats.
2206 540th St SW, Kalona, 319-656-4220, kalonacreamery.com, $
You can buy their seriously-good dairy products in grocery stores, but a visit to Kalona Creamery (located in the former Kalona Cheese Factory) will have you ordering up soups and sandwiches, as well as sampling many of those aformentioned dairy products.
616 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-5216, kathyspies.com
Cakes, cookies, pastries and more! This longstanding bakery is a Cedar Rapids staple.
843 Quarry Rd, Coralville, 319-351-2880, konomigrill.com, $$
One of the best sushi restaurants in the area, Konomi brings top-grade sushi and a nice selection of beverages to Coralville’s Iowa River Landing.
1020 Old Marion Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-5576, $
Open during the summer, Kool Moo provides ice cream and frozen yogurt at a reasonable price. A fixation of its local community, they are a cool, sweet blast to the past. Kool Moo offers an extensive range of flavors to satisfy any palate and also sell pints that you can take home for later.
624 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-351-7000, $$$
The space at 624 S Gilbert St. has seen quite a bit of change over the past couple of years since Aeoshe closed shop in 2010, but it seems the current occupant, Korean BBQ, might be here for more than a little while. When you go, sit at one of their barbecue tables and get the bulgogi, marinated beef that you grill at your table.
400 Hakes Dr, Norwalk, (515) 981-1625, laquercia.us, $
Served throughout the country, La Quercia is one of the things that keeps Iowa on the culinary map; it’s even fresher when you eat it in Iowa, though.
La Regia Taqueria
436 Highway 1, Iowa City, 319-341-8226, $
When the taco truck first appeared in Iowa City, the masses rejoiced—so much so that the truck moved into a permanent location, now known as La Regia. Easily the most authentic Mexican food in town, it’s a no-frills place with a bodega and meat market attached.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-471-0959, $
If you find yourself craving traditional Asian pastries such as red bean buns, cream buns, green tea sticks and soboro ppang, succumb to that craving at Le Gourmet. It’s a great place to experience a slice of Korean culture in Iowa City.
301 1/2 Kirkwood Ave, Iowa City, 319-338-1909, leafkitchen.com, $$
This small, quirky restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, and its offerings are consistently creative, often local and always delicious.
2228 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-5537, leonardospizzacr.com, $$
Vintage red and black leather decor against mirrored walls, non-functioning, antique jukebox speakers in each booth and large wrap-around bar make Leonardo’s a true throwback to a different time. It has endured for a reason: They serve the best pizza in town. With low-lighting, kitchen open until 12 a.m. or later and a friendly atmosphere, this is the ideal stop for an after-hours bite with friends out on the town.
180 Main St, Dubuque, 563-584-9712, $
The Lift draws crowds from miles around for its expertly curated live music selection, but it’s also a great place for locals to relax, try out a new beer and shoot pool.
Lighthouse Inn Supper Club
6905 Mt. Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-3467, crlighthouseinn.com, $$
If you grew up in Cedar Rapids, there’s a good chance your grandpa used to make you go to the Lighthouse once a week for ribs. Established in 1912, the Lighthouse Inn is the stuff of legend. Did Chicago mobsters really go there to hide out? Possibly. Did John Dillinger’s gun shoot a hole in the wall? That’s what they say. If nothing else, the kitschy, nautical decor and devoted clientele make it worth a worth a visit.
125 1st St W, Mount Vernon, 319-895-9463, foodisimportant.com, $$$
Featuring an Italian-made brick oven and a talented staff, Lincoln Winebar delivers quality pizzas, small plates and, of course, wine and beer.
Lion Bridge Brewing Company
59 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4460, lionbridgebrewing.com, $$
After winning consecutive gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival, Lion Bridge has become a household name in the area. Located in the Czech Village of Cedar Rapids, it’s a great place to stop and grab a brew or some appetizers between shopping the historic area.
1317 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-6262, $
Little Bo is one of the oldest bars in Cedar Rapids and has the charm of old Czech town. If you’ve got time to savor some genuine home-cookin’, this place is for you. Order their tenderloin and enjoy a beer.
The Local Crumb
221 1st St NE, Mount Vernon, 319-535-0623, thelocalcrumb.com, $
What originally began as a hobby now provides Mt. Vernon with a great place to buy artisan loaves of bread. Visit the charming new location coming soon to the First Street Community Center, a former school that’s been converted to house an array of small shops and boutiques.
2825 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-826-1870, loscompadresbarandgrill.com, $$
With a menu bursting with flavor and daily specials crafted from local ingredients, Los Compadres promises to serve you original recipes that have been passed on for over generations. Stop by on a weekend and order the tableside guacamole, you’ll be able to see and taste the freshness.
The Lost Cuban
209 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2627, $$
Don’t let the size fool you! Although small, The Lost Cuban is cozy and welcoming. Their menu is packed with truly delicious and authentic flavors, and though the lines may be long at lunch, they are totally worth it.
1010 3rd St, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2221, $
If you’re looking for a place to cater to any kind of eater (adventurous, home-style or just plain picky) Lu’s Deli offers a wide selection of soups, salads and deli sandwiches. Their recipes vary from classic to creative and even venturing towards exotic.
1705 Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, 319-200-4312, luckypennypub.com, $$
Luck has nothing to do with what makes this so delicious. From their loaded pizzas to their hefty burgers, Lucky Penny uses the finest ingredients to give us exactly what we want from our pub food.
423 10th Ave, Coralville, 319-621-7481, maestroempanadas.com, $
This counter service restaurant offers a delicious selection of made-from-scratch empanadas, soups and desserts. Those in-the-know order the Maestro sauce to accompany their meal.
Maggie’s Farm Pizza
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4050 / 1300 Melrose Ave, Iowa City, 319-321-1205, maggiesfarmpizza.com, $$
You might recognize the Maggie’s Farm Pizza folks from the Iowa City Farmers Market, where they have a stand on Saturdays during the season. Now, you can get their New Haven-style, thin-crust pizza for dinner, too. Pizza devotees swear by their crust, which is perfectly chewy and gets a great char in their super-hot wood oven.
2315 Edgewood Rd SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-396-4337, maiphocr.com, $$
The menu at Mai Pho (also known as Pho Mai) is loaded with traditional Vietnamese dishes, each more intriguing than the last. The signature dish, pho, boasts a clean, well-spiced broth with lots of meat and noodles and is available in a few variations. The real standout, though, is the bun thit heo nuong: springy rice vermicelli with tender, crispy pork, flecked through with mint.
Mama’s Deli & Catering
125 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-341-0700, mamasdelicatering.com, $
Homemade, stick-to-your-ribs deli specials draw a busy, downtown lunch crowd to Mama’s Deli.
Mami’s Authentic Mexican Food Service
221 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-354-6264, mamisauthentic.com, $
Open late, Mami’s serves fast Mexican takeout to the bar crowd, and, conveniently, they also deliver.
Masala Indian Cuisine
9 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-338-6199, masalaiowacity.com, $$
Relatively recently, Masala started including meat options on its menu, to appeal to a broader audience, but their vegetarian dishes truly shine. When the lunch buffet features malai kofta, make sure you have plenty of time for a nap after lunch: It’s impossible to not eat way too much of these delicious, vegetable-and-cheese balls and their accompanying tomato cream sauce.
114 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-351-6372, mesapizzaia.com, $
On most evenings, a crowd of devoted undergraduates queue at Mesa for the most bang for their buck—and mac and cheese on pizza offers plenty of bang.
Micky’s Irish Pub
11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-338-6860, $$
Belly up to the bar, cozy into a window booth or in the summer recline on the patio of Micky’s for a perfect view of Iowa City’s bustling downtown. In addition to burgers and sandwiches, they also offer classic bar food with twist.
1426 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3644, $
This Greek-owned breakfast diner tends to get busy, although once a seat does open up, it is worth the wait. The atmosphere may leave something to be desired, until you take your first bite of cinnamon French toast and realize that nothing else matters.
The Mill Restaurant
120 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-351-9529, icmill.com, $$
There’s a reason why The Mill has been immortalized in song and print: It’s an Iowa City institution and a great place to kill time with a beer, especially if there’s a band playing, as there so often is.
Millstream Brewing Co.
835 48th Ave, Amana, 319-622-3672, millstreambrewing.com, $
Millstream Brewing Co. is tucked away in far corner of the Amana Colonies, but is worth the trip. In addition to their ever-changing taps, they have an absolute killer root beer.
Mississippi River Distillery
303 N Cody Rd., Le Claire, 563-484-4342, mrdistilling.com, $
Located in charming Le Claire among many an antique shop and cute cafe, you’ll find a selection of different artisan spirits ranging from Bourbon, “Iowish Whiskey” and “Iowish Cream.” They also offer tours and tastings.
40 Sugar Creek Ln, North Liberty, 319-459-1342, $$
A stripmall setting may not be the first place you look for well-executed Italian cuisine, but in North Liberty, that is exactly where you’ll find it. Offering all of the Italian-American staples, using homemade recipes and techniques, makes this little cafe stand out.
14 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-333-1297 / 620 Pacha Pkwy Ste 4, North Liberty, 319-626-2026, icmollys.com, $
In addition to offering carefully crafted cupcake combinations, Molly’s also gives a portion of their profits to local schools. Should your inner cupcake desires not be satisfied by their pre-set menu, choose to build your own cupcake and create your perfect treat.
303 2nd St, Coralville, 319-338-7400, monicasonthestrip.com, $$
Monica’s is unlike many other area restaurants. The Italian-American inspired menu is extensive, and offers vast gluten-free options and substitutions. Monica’s is a great place for all ages as well. The restaurant is regularly awarded “Best Family Restaurant.”
525 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-338-1419, mosleysiowacity.com
A well-designed but simple and inviting interior paves the way for solid barbeque options made in-house. Communal tables are great for accommodating groups of all sizes. If you’re with a crowd, order The Spread so you can sample all the menu has to offer.
Motley Cow Cafe
160 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-688-9177, motleycowcafe.com, $$$
This Northside, neighborhood restaurant focuses on using local, organic food whenever possible to create eclectic, creative flavor combinations, in addition to having a well-curated bar selection.
Mt. Hamill Tap
1467 155th Ave, Donnellson, 319-469-2221, $$$
Go for the fried chicken; stay for the cheap beer and easy conversation with some of Donnellson’s most colorful characters.
207 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-6333, needcr.com
With their huge selection of Iowa beer, deliciously hand-crafted pizza crust and easy-going atmosphere, it’s plain to see that you just need to make a visit. Need Pizza will provide you with a casual nightlife experience and live jams.
Nelson’s Meat Market
1140 Old Marion Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-8161, nelsonsmeat.com, $$
It’s exactly what it sounds like. If you want high-quality, local meat to use in your own home cooking, look no further than Nelson’s Meat Market. They boast both fresh and frozen cuts of meat, as well as sausage, a deli counter and seafood. If that wasn’t enough, Nelson’s also sells homemade ice cream.
New Pioneer Food Co-op
22 S Van Buren St, Iowa City, 319-338-9441 / 1101 2nd St, Coralville, 319-358-5513 / 3338 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-2632, newpi.coop, $$
Though open to non-members, New Pi is the areas only foods cooperative, with a selection of both prepared foods and groceries, in addition to beer, wine and spirits.
NewBo City Market
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4050, newbocitymarket.com, $$
NewBo City market lies within the heart of the New Bohemia District. Upon entering, you are greeted by a variety of artisan vendors serving up anything from local art and homegrown goods to made-to-order pizzas and small plates.
No. 18 Karaoke and Bubble Tea
223 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-333-1265, $
Rent a room at No. 18, and you and your friends can wail away until the wee hours.
Nodo & Nodo Downtown
600 N Dodge St, Iowa City, 319-512-5028, $$ / 5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-359-1181, nodoiowacity.com, $$
Both spots serve up excellent sandwiches, and the downtown location has a patio; the other location has a special charm being in a hardware store.
203 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-354-0119, northside-bistro.com, $$$
The Northside Bistro is a perfect spot for date night. The newly renovated interior is rustic but clean and perfectly accompanies their beautifully executed entrees.
206 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-358-7342, oasisfalafel.com, $
Offering a little bit of the Middle East to Iowa City, Oasis’s super-authentic, super-fresh traditional dishes include their famous falafel and hummus. If they are offering matzo ball soup, get it.
One Twenty Six, Moonrakers and Flight
126 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-887-1909, onetwentysix.net, $$
Located on Washington Street, One Twenty Six stands in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown Iowa City. The menu features French-American cuisine made with local and organic ingredients when possible.
Orchard Green Restaurant and Lounge
521 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-354-1642, orchardgreenrestaurant.com, $$$
This restaurant is split into two sections: a tasteful upstairs dining room with chandeliered cathedral ceilings and white linens, and a more dark and casual lounge area downstairs. The menu features classics prepared fresh, as well as the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.
Orienne Asian Cuisine
5 Sturgis Corner Dr, Iowa City, 319-354-4754, mekongic.com, $$
This is the place to go for tasty Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine. Family owned and operated, their quick service and friendly staff makes them an obvious choice for lunch. Dinner menu has a large variety of appetizers, entrees, and impressive beer selection; everyone can find something they love.
Osaka Japanese Restaurant
122 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-338-9988, osakaiowacity.com, $$
Osaka’s charming waitstaff serves up an array of Japanese fare, including hibachi, teriyaki and bento dishes. Be sure to order their satiating hand rolls, crafted to order. Another exciting perk: they deliver. The service is offered until 10:30 p.m. on weekends, 9:30 p.m. on weeknights—but the presentation is beautiful, so eat in if you can.
1853 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, 319-337-8801, oyamaiowa.com, $$ / 5350 Council St NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-832-1800, oyamasushi.com, $$
There are two Oyama sushi locations, one in Iowa City and one in Cedar Rapids. The food at both locations is good: solid nigiri, sashimi and rolls and some excellent cooked dishes as well.
Parlor City Pub and Eatery
1125 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-247-0000, parlorcitypubandeatery.com, $$
Parlor City’s menu is as extensive as their live music selection. You can order anything from fried haddock to BBQ pork pizza while enjoying anything from their weekly Blues jam to nationally touring alt-rock acts.
176 Locust St, Dubuque, 563-556-9944, $$
The menu is small, but that’s okay: after a long night of drinking and shooting pool, there’s not much more you’ll need than their perfectly made cheeseburger.
93 2nd St, Coralville, 319-333-1369, $
This place is weird, cheap and perfect if you have a bottomless stomach. Their buffet has everything: frogs’ legs, Americanized Chinese, sushi, Mongolian barbecue, ice cream and Jell-O.
– I Love Pho 201 S Clinton St, Iowa City / 2020 8th St, Coralville, 319-383-3953, $
Adventurous eaters will love the house pho, which includes tripe. For those who are not as adventurous, the brisket pho should be right up your alley. Even if you don’t have time to sit and dine, to-go orders are separated from the broth, so the noodles don’t get soggy and you can eat the soup as fresh as it would be straight from the restaurant’s kitchen.
Phong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant
216 8th St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-5784, $
Family owned and operated, this Vietnamese restaurant offers fresh and authentic cuisine, specializing in the oh-so popular, pho.
The Pig & Porter
1028 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4414, thepigandporter.com, $$
Another culinary institution within NewBo, Pig & Porter provides upscale dining with a devotion to serving creative, local food and drinks. Their menu includes a variety of original craft cocktails like the Smoked Black Manhattan.
517 2nd St Unit 1, Coralville, 319-351-7484, pitapit.com, $
Offering hearty pita bread-based sandwiches rolled into a tight, burrito shape, Pita Pit is the place to go when you don’t necessarily want to break the bank on your next meal but wish to avoid the grease and potential self-loathing that comes along with fast food.
Pop’s Old N’ New Bar-B-Que
130 N Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-354-7677, meatmeatpops.com, $
Offering quality and affordable BBQ, Pop’s opened in early 2015 and has quickly become a favorite for on-campus students and Northside residents alike. They offer all of the “old” classic BBQ dishes you would expect as well as some more inventive “new” dishes such as the BBQ Cuban and smoked hamburger.
Prairie Lights Books & Cafe
15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-248-0055, prairielights.com, $
Have a cortado and write the next great American novel, or order the Black Rider, a cappuccino with caramel and volcanic black salt!
Prairie Soup Company
425 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-0972, prairiesoup.com, $
Soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps make Prairie Soup Co. a fresh and popular alternative to the usual pizza and burgers available during lunchtime downtown. The staff is friendly, the service is efficient, and they’re accessible via the skywalk for convenience during inclement weather. Event catering is also available.
Press Coffee Co.
2201 E Grantview Dr, Coralville, 319-887-1500, presscoffeeco.com
Though this neighborhood spot was named for their coffee, their vast (and often local) tea selection is what really makes them stand out. They have a nice fireplace, with overstuffed chairs and couches for lounging in the colder months, and a tucked away patio with hillside views to enjoy during summer.
319-325-4344, provenderiowa.com, $
If you see the Provender truck at the Iowa City Farmers Market, stop by for some of the most sublimely delicious food the market has to offer. Chef Chris Grebner’s food embodies both the ethics and aesthetics of the locavore movement, focusing on the freshest, most delicious preparations of simple ingredients.
Pullman Bar & Diner
17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-388-1808, pullmandiner.com, $$$
Pullman has quickly become an Iowa City favorite for foodies and casual diners alike. Their twenty-something head chef is not afraid to be inventive with his ever-evolving take on the Midwest diner. The open kitchen offers a front row seat to watch the young master chef work his magic.
895 Blairs Ferry Rd, Marion, 319-826-6667, qdogsbbqcompany.com, $$
Tender beef brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs, savory smoked chicken, baked beans, cornbread like your mama made, ABT’s (brisket and cheese stuffed bacon-wrapped jalapenos); the list goes on, and it all lives up to the hype.
Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery
616 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, (319) 200-4140, $
This brand new microbrew and bar/arcade has quickly become a hit! This arcade bar serves as a cool and classic niche where gamers and beer enthusiasts can hang, or nerd out over some ‘za.
Quinton’s Bar & Deli
215 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-354-7074 / 2500 Corridor Way, Coralville, 319-625-2221, quintonsbaranddeli.com, $$
A pleasant bar and deli combo, Quinton’s has food and drink specials every day of the week. They specialize in burgers and sandwiches, but the most unique offerings are definitely the spuds, where you can find nearly any condiment you may (or may not) have wanted piled high on a baked potato.
Rapid Creek Cidery
4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City, 319-541-7684, rapidcreekcidery.com, $$
Rapid Creek Cidery caters and hosts special events and weddings. For those looking for a more everyday experience, visit the newly opened restaurant at Wilson’s Orchard, which specializes in farm-to-table rustic food and housemade cider.
2419 2nd St, Coralville, (319) 354-1071, redgingercoralville.com, $$
Red Ginger offers fresh and quality sushi and Japanese noodle dishes as well as ramen.
208 E Main St, Solon, 319-624-2080, $$
Red Vespa features housemade cheeses on an assortment of creatively topped brick-oven pizza, and it is delicious. The Italian-American specials really set Red Vespa apart, though; if they’re offering a meatball sub, get it. You won’t regret it.
405 N Dubuque St, North Liberty, 319-626-2100, redsalehouse.com, $$
Located about eight miles up Dubuque Street, Reds Alehouse is an ideal bike ride from Iowa City. However you get there, at happy hour, you can enjoy 2-for-1 drinks; their beer list is extensive and features lots of interesting craft brews. In warmer months have a stellar, decadent pork belly sandwich on the gigantic patio, or enjoy the comfort of the indoors.
834 Park St, Grinnell, 641-236-3657, relishgrinnell.com, $$
Fully embodying their slogan, “Local Foods Global Flavors,” Chef Kamal Hammouda mixes Midwestern flavors, local ingredients and recipes from the Middle East to create Relish’s diverse menu. Always looking to bolster the Grinnell community, Relish frequently hosts local musicians, adding to the already comfortable and charming atmosphere of the historic Victorian home in which Relish is situated.
516 2nd St, Coralville, 319-337-3000, eunionbrewery.com, $$
Reunion distinguishes itself in a crowd of ale specialists by being a lager-based brewery. They do make IPAs as well, but at ReUnion you can find a rare selection of craft lagers and pilsners. Perfect for those days when you want your beer to taste like…beer. Pairs perfectly with a straightforward menu of sandwiches, burgers and standard American bar-and-grill fare.
836 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-4779, $$
An authentically “Iowan” establishment, Riley’s will provide you with delicious breakfast or lunch accompanied by a whole lot of flair.
Roasters Coffee House
1059 N Center Point Rd, Hiawatha, 319-393-6001 /1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, roasterscofeehouse.com, $
Smart coffee. It’s really the only way to describe Roasters. They serve a wide variety, blended and brewed with painstaking knowledge of how each type of bean works. All coffees are fresh and roasted in house to the perfect temperature.
223 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4800, rubyspizzeria.com, $$
Standard single-topping and specialty pizzas available for quick pick-up by the generous slice make Ruby’s a favorite amongst the downtown lunch crowd. Courteous staff provides efficient service. Accessible via the skywalk, they also offer sandwiches, salads, sodas and beer.
Rustic Hearth Bakery
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4008, $
Located in NewBo, Rustic Hearth Bakery offers a rotating selection of fresh breads, pies, and pastries. Check in to find out what their weekly specials are and keep an eye out for creative, new creations.
301 N Dubuque St, Solon, 319-624-2870, ruzickascatering.com, $
Graduation party. Office retreat. Family reunion. What do all of these have in common? They’re all too much work and too stressful not to be catered. This is where Ruzicka’s comes in. With their delicious, custom packages, you’re always sure to provide the right kind of food for the right occasion.
Sag Wagon Deli & Brew
827 Shaver Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3265
A cycling-themed watering hole located on the Cedar Lake with a comfortable outdoor patio and a view of downtown Cedar Rapids. Standard bar offerings of tallboys, craft and domestic draughts and liquor as well as bar food.
803 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-2900
Saigon Market sells the freshest Asian produce in town. And if you don’t know what to do with the foot-long pale green bumpy gourd in your hand, they’ll give you a recipe. You’ll also find an abundant selection of rice and noodles (not just Top Ramen here), any Asian sauce you may need, and, if you’re lucky, roasted duck.
Saloon Tequila Bar
112 E College St, Iowa City, 319-354-3837, saloontequilabar.com, $$
In the winter months, sit at Saloon’s beautiful, 200-year-old Brunswick bar and sip on an añejo tequila. When it’s warm, enjoy one of their margaritas or a sangria on the Ped Mall patio, right in the heart of all the action.
Salt Fork Kitchen
112 E Main St, Solon, 319-624-2081, saltforkkitchen.com, $$
Focusing on farm to table food, Salt Fork Kitchen is all about keeping things local. If made-from-scratch dishes aren’t enough to make the trip out to this Solon favorite, their ever changing breakfast and lunch specials should do the trick.
441 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-337-8200, samspizzaic.com, $$
Pizza and calzones are the specialty over at Sam’s, and both these options go along quite nicely with the full-service bar. Enjoy a beer along with your pizza when you’ve finally grown tired of delivery and carry-out.
405 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-351-5692, sanctuarypub.com, $$
The Sanctuary has a stunning selection of local, national and imported bottled and draft beers, and its hardwood interior, complete with fireplace and overstuffed chairs, is the perfect place to cozy up and sample a few. Enjoy a meat and cheese plate with a beer from their frequently changing selection.
Sauce Bar & Bistro
1507 C St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-0892, crsauce.com, $$$
From their wines to their dishes, Sauce’s always-eclectic menu is entirely seasonal. Their partnerships with local farms and quality ingredient providers ensures freshness in their expertly made dishes.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4019, saucyfocaccia.com, $ / 5100 Fountains Dr NE Ste 100, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-6772, saucyfocaccia.com, $
Starting as a food truck in 2013, Saucy Focaccia now boasts a stylish storefront and shiny, new interior. Don’t be discouraged, though: True to its roots, the restaurant still serves up delectably messy sandwiches and loaded fries.
The Sausage Foundry
1100 3rd St SE , Cedar Rapids, 319-202-1631, thesausagefoundry.com, $$
The Sausage Foundry is a responsible way to look after your community and the environment without becoming a vegetarian. They sell a vast selection of different sausages, including staples like Bratwurst as well as more creative concoctions such as “Blueberry Links.”
Scott’s Family Restaurant
1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-550-4517, www.scottsfamilyrestaurant.com, $$
Scott’s boasts the whole gamut of diner fare, from all-day breakfast to classic burgers to liver & onions. As the name suggests, it’s a great place to bring families: catering to even the youngest in your group with an especially with a charming children’s menu.
927 E 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-359-2256, scratchcupcakery.com, $
The cupcakes at Scratch are particularly moist and come in a variety of flavors and toppings, and are a great finish to any dinner in the Iowa River Landing.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-338-5747, $$
If you have an adventurous palate and you like spice, Seoul Grill will be your haven—as long as you’re available for the 12 hours per week that it’s open. Seoul Grill serves lunch only from Monday to Friday.
819 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-337-7275, shakespearesic.com, $$
This Eastside neighborhood bar serves some of the best lowbrow pub food in town, including more ritzy specials like, occasionally, prime rib. Wings are especially meaty; burgers are hand-formed and available with a variety of toppings; and they have tater tots, deep fried to crispy, golden perfection.
210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-354-4640, sheratoniowacity.com, $$$
With a prime downtown location and a multicultural menu, Share is a good gathering place for a cocktail and a snack. It’s especially welcoming in the warmer months, when you can enjoy the patio.
Short’s Burgers Eastside
521 Westbury Dr, Iowa City, 319-338-7743, shortseastside.com, $$
Short’s Burger & Shine
18 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-337-4678, shortsburgerandshine.com, $$
There are 26 different burger options at Short’s, along with chicken and black bean alternatives, so it’s nearly impossible for the menu to ever get old. The beef comes from within Iowa’s own state lines, and they pride themselves on their vast selection of Iowa craft beers and ciders.
Siamville Thai Cuisine
3635 1st Ave, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-1955, siamville.com
Hit the buffet at Siamville to sample an impressive variety of authentic Thai dishes and desserts at a reasonable cost. Friendly service, quiet atmosphere and great food make for a tasty derision from the “same old” fare in Cedar Rapids.
101 1st St NE, Mount Vernon, 319-895-8540, skilletcafe.net
This corner café offers a comfortable, well-lit environment to enjoy a selection of coffees, sweets and their namesake skillets. But don’t let the name fool you: there is more to this cafe than just eggs.
Sonny’s Northside Tap
210 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-4335, $
You want a drink? You need a drink? Head on down to Sonny’s Northside Tap (formerly IC Ugly’s). This local watering hole welcomes all and serves up cocktails, beer,and pizza.
61 2nd St, Coralville, 319-512-5005, spartisgyros.com, $
Though located in Coralville, Sparti’s is one of few restaurants in the Iowa City area able to offer delivery of items like burgers, gyros and hot dogs, which is a godsend for carefree students (and for all us lazy people).
1006 Melrose Ave, Iowa City, 319-887-5564, stellaiowacity.com, $$
Sink your teeth into a mouthwatering burger made with Iowa-bred beef, a house-made vegetarian black bean burger or a grilled chicken sandwich topped with anything from mango jalapeño salsa, to prosciutto and stone-ground mustard. For something a little different, try the gumbo or jambalaya.
Stop On By
1616 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-0788, www.stoponbye.com, $$
If the quaint atmosphere and courteous service won’t do, their brews, pizza and broasted chicken will surely have you coming back for more.
13 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-800-1354, sthirteen.com, $
As Iowa City’s only LGBTQ bar and nightclub, Studio 13 is home to Iowa City’s very own I.C. King’s drag king troupe, who perform at Studio 13 the last Thursday of every month. If you want lasers, strobe lights, smoke machines and techno beats, then Studio 13 is your dance scene.
2665 Edgewood Pkwy SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-396-1990, $$
A family-owned and operated Asian eatery serving Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Their extensive menu includes sashimi, nigiri, maki and more from an open sushi bar, in addition to numerous Japanese rice and noodle bowls.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-338-1606, $
This tiny restaurant offers sushi made quickly by friendly people in the heart of downtown Iowa City.
725 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City, 319-338-7676, sushipopo.net, $$
Serving classic sushi and popular Japanese, Chinese and Korean entrees, what really makes Sushi Popo stand out is the jam bong—a hearty, smoky, spicy Korean soup served in an enormous bowl, rich with chunks of vegetables, udon noodles, pork and seafood (or tofu for a vegetarian option).
745 Community Dr #A, North Liberty, 319-626-6666, $$
This stripmall sushi place is everything you wouldn’t expect from a stripmall sushi place. It has some of the freshest fish in the area, combined with great service and an exceptionally clean environment, a visit to Sushiya makes for a truly wonderful experience.
1681 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-2287, $
What the tiny, strip-mall Vietnamese restaurant Sun Cafe lacks in ambience, they make up for in pure flavor and authenticity. Grab some friends and order the roasted duck to share.
73 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-5271, sykorabakery.com, $
This quaint family-run bakery in Czech Village offers classic Czech pastries and breads as well as traditional Czech dinner fare and pizza.
320 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-338-6788, szechuanhouseiowacity.com, $$
The menu can be daunting, but the rewards at Szechuan House are worth the investment. The food is super authentic and is often sublimely delicious.
Taj Mahal Cuisine of India
3939 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-4953, tajiowa.com, $$
If you’ve never ventured into the grocery section of Taj Mahal Restaurant, this is some of what you’ve been missing: homemade Indian sweets and savory samosas, a kaleidoscope of colorful grains and legumes and any kind of nut you can imagine.
Taj International Food
2419 2nd St Ste 2, Coralville, (319) 354-1901, $
Small store offering an extensive selection of Indian ingredients and imports. Find a small selection of produce and just about anything else you might need to make your favorite dish at home.
219 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-5125, takanamidowntown.com, $$$
This sushi restaurant’s selection is a little more limited than its sibling restaurant Formosa, but what options they do have, they do very well. Takanami has a tendency to frost their rolls in spicy mayo sauce, and this can be a good or bad thing depending on your palate.
Taste Of India
1060 Old Marion Rd NE Unit D, Cedar Rapids, (319) 294-6999, www.toicr.com, $$
Large spacious Indian restaurant and buffet on the northeast side of Cedar Rapids. Visit for a variety of standard Indian dishes as well as some you may not have encountered previously.
TCB Pool Hall
114 E College St, Iowa City, 319-887-2665, $
Even if you don’t play pool, TCB’s a fun place to hang out and have a beer; in addition to the 10 pool tables, they also have shuffleboard and darts.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
324 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-354-6888, teddysbiggerburgers.com, $
This flashy fast-food spot holds the monopoly on speedy, to-go style burgers in Iowa City, and the generous portions and Hawaiian-style sauce make Teddy’s a popular choice. For vegan and vegetarian eaters, the burger-substitute is hands-down the best in town.
340 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-339-8900, thaiflavors.net, $$
Located in downtown Iowa City, Thai Flavors offers solid, tasty Thai standards available for delivery, or you can eat in their brightly lit dining room.
1210 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-351-2581, thethaispice.com, $$
It’s easy to get lost in their menu, which has many pages, but once you find something you like, the pungent flavors are addictive, so be careful!
Tip Top Cakes
708 5th St, Coralville, 319-359-1191, tiptopcakes.com, $
If you’ve ever wanted one of those cakes you see on the Food Network or TLC, Tip Top Cakes is the place to call. Order a custom birthday cake for your sweet-sixteen or design a truly gorgeous wedding cake. They also offer a wide selection of artisan pastries and cupcakes.
Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant
1801 2nd St, Coralville, 319-337-3340, threesamurairestaurant.com, $$
In addition to their vast menu of sushi and Japanese-inflected entrees, Three Samurai has a small selection of stunningly tasty Vietnamese dishes that set the restaurant apart from its sushi brethren. They also have hibachi tables, ideal for group get-togethers or small celebrations.
Ting’s Red Lantern
540 Boyson Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-8666, $
If you want to eat some of the best Chinese food in Cedar Rapids, this is the place to go. Not only is the food delicious, the portions sizes are generous and they come with multiple sides. The restaurant itself is sleek and dusky, just as a Red Lantern ought to be.
3234 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-4313 / 1111 7th Ave, Marion, 319-377-6102 / 1061 N Center Point Rd NE, Hiawatha, 319-393-5610, tomasos4me.com, $$
A local favorite for twenty years, Tomaso’s remains a powerhouse on the Cedar Rapids pizza scene. Whether you take out or eat in, you’ll feel right at home in the laid back, cozy atmosphere. Select your crust: New York thin, Chicago deep dish, or Detroit deep dish, renowned for its cheesy caramelized edge. Do not overlook the smoked chicken wings—they’re the best in town.
309 S Madison St, Iowa City, 319-384-3427, dining.uiowa.edu/locations/power-cafe, $
Running around with no time to spare, let alone eat? Problem solved. Swing through Power Café for quick, healthy meal options, most of the blended variety.
Trumpet Blossom Cafe
310 E Prentiss St, Iowa City, 319-248-0077, trumpetblossom.com, $$
Iowa City’s only vegan restaurant, Trumpet Blossom is delicious in its own right. Even omnivores can find something satisfying on this creative, thoughtful menu, and the cocktails are excellent.
Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth
203 5th St, Kalona, 319-656-3315, tuscan-moon.com, $$$
It is more than worth the drive to Tuscan Moon, a traditional steakhouse with a vast patio and a friendly staff. Their steaks are delicious, and their wine list and specials shine.
Twelve01 Kitchen and Tap
1210 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-338-1201, twelve01kitchenandtap.com, $$
Connected to the Coralville Hampton Inn and Radisson, Twelve01 offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner to hotel guests and city residents alike. Their menu boasts upscale modern fare with a signature tableside preparation of guacamole.
Uptown Bill’s Coffee House & Neighborhood Arts Center
730 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-339-0804, uptownbills.org, $
This coffeehouse and community performance venue offers coffee, tea and perhaps the best selection of soda in all of Iowa City. What truly sets Uptown Bill’s apart, though, is their commitment to nurturing and encouraging people with disabilities: they provide employment and enterprise opportunities, in addition to offering a community forum to raise awareness about people with challenges. Their open mic nights, poetry readings and regular music concerts foster this tight-knit and inviting atmosphere.
849 Quarry Rd, Coralville, 319-338-3782, vestaiowa.com, $$
Vesta has extensive lunch and dinner menus featuring Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. The patio is a favorite perch during FryFest—the kickoff festival for the Iowa Hawkeye football season.
Village Meat Market & Café
92 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-265-6328, vilagemeatmarketcafe.com
As well as serving you in their market café, this deli in Czech Village will provide you with the best fine cuts, smoked meats, homemade brats and candied bacon around.
Vine Tavern & Eatery
330 E Prentiss St, Iowa City, 319-354-8767, vinetavern.com, $$ / 39 2nd St., Coralville, 319-338-7770, vinetavern.com, $$
Students and residents head to the Vine for the bar food options and daily food and drink specials. The Iowa City location has a more classic college-bar atmosphere, with dimmed lighting and giant TVs, while the Coralville location is more family-friendly.
3611 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-7550, vinosristorante.com, $$
Traditional Italian dishes, tastefully appointed. The staff is knowledgeable and the setting is ambient with low-lighting, candles and warm décor making this an ideal place for a dinner date. Stop by RG Books lounge after your meal for a nightcap.
4100 River Ridge Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-8727, vitosonline.com, $$
Vito’s on 965
1295 Jordan St, North Liberty, 52317, 319-665-4800, vitos965.com, $$
Expect high-quality Italian cuisine ranging from pizza to pasta to calzones delivered in a casual approachable atmosphere. Vito’s on 965 brings the brand back to Johnson County after a 6-year hiatus.
517 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City, 319-337-6677, thewedgepizza.com, $$
The Wedge offers takeout and delivery of their many specialty pizzas, in addition to a few calzone options.
White Star Ale House
305 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2000, whitestaralehouse.com
A very popular nightlife hangout with a smooth and sophisticated feel. White Star has daily specials and free late night entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays.
Whitey’s Ice Cream
1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville, 319-338-4776, whiteysicecream.com, $
This ice cream shop is something of an Iowa institution, and rightly so. The shakes are blended on an old-fashioned shake machine, and the ice cream selection contains some really creative, interesting blends.
Wig And Pen Pizza Pub
220 Highway 6 W, Iowa City, 319-354-2767, wigandpenpizza.com, $$ / 363 N. 1st Ave., Iowa City, 319-351-2327, wigandpenpizza.com, $$
Popular with families and sports fans, Wig and Pen can get a bit crowded on game days, but that’s not daunting for its loyal following, who can’t get enough of its pizza and bar fare.
Wild Culture Kombucha
Composed of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other natural juices to create a sweet, nourishing experience, Wild Culture Kombucha is on tap in many local restaurants as well as the Bread Garden Market, and could serve as a healthy alternative to that whiskey sour you usually get yourself.
Yotopia Frozen Yogurt
132 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-338-0500, $
This is downtown Iowa City’s original frozen yogurt shop, and this, along with other little touches, makes it a standout among the crowd.
Zeppelins Bar & Grill
5300 Edgewood Rd Ste 500, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-3047, zeppelinscr.com, $$
With its low-lit brick interior, Zeppelins contemporary ambiance makes for a warm and inviting dining experience. Their menu includes all of the American staples, but it’s the more eccentric Asian-inspired dishes that stand out.
180 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-519-2320, zombieburgershakelab.com, $ / 1451 Coral Ridge Avenue, Coralville, 319-625-2252, zombieburgershakelab.com, $
Whether you’re a fan of horror movies or just a fan of creative burgers, Zombie Burger is definitely a place you want to check out. The décor boasts zombified versions of famous movie posters and a truly impressive neon sign in the window. While they don’t serve any brains, you’ll definitely be craving more after the first bite of their “goremet” burgers.