There is 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. Most are here in Iowa City; others are very much worth the drive.
Price range is indicated on a scale of $ to $$$$ and accounts for each establishment’s average price for a meal from the dinner menu (where applicable), and a drink.
|$||=||$10 and under|
2 Dogs Pub
1705 1st Ave., Iowa City | 319-337-9047 | 2dogspub.com | $$
This Eastside restaurant is a hidden local favorite. The bar 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 — they recently featured 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 | $$$
Enjoy a burger on their giant rooftop patio, or relax over one of their larger, classic American entrees — either way, though, make sure to try something from their epic beer selection.
A & A Pagliai’s Pizza
302 E. Bloomington St., Iowa City | 319-351-5073 | pagliaisic.com | $$
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,” which has sausage, beef, pepperoni, mushroom and onion.
22 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-351-9259 | theairlinerbar.com | $$
Subscribe to LV Daily for community news, events, photos and more in your inbox every weekday afternoon.
Famous for pizza and sports-fan crowds, The Airliner has been an Iowa City tradition since 1944. Located right downtown, the two-story restaurant is suitable for many social occasions. Every Tuesday, The Airliner serves half-price pizza, and there are other specials throughout the week.
American Legion #17
3016 Muscatine Ave., Iowa City | 319-351-1902 | legion.org | $
Hang out with the locals and enjoy karaoke on Friday nights.
The Arbor Bar
60 1/2 W. Burlington Ave., Fairfield | 641-209-1821 | facebook.com/thearborbar | $
The building that houses The Arbor Bar was, for many years, The Beauty Shop, a music venue that attracted all manner of local indie musicians. Now, the space has transformed into a quaint, hole-in-the-wall treasure that still continues its tradition of live music alongside good drinks and a hip atmosphere.
Atlas World Grill
127 Iowa Ave., Iowa City | 319-341-7700 atlasiowacity.com | $$$
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.
101 S. Augusta Ave., Oxford | 319-828-2252 augustarestaurant.net | $$$
Enjoy a little homemade taste of New Orleans in small-town Iowa, with such Big Easy favorites as gumbo, fried chicken and grillades, in addition to a killer burger.
903 Quarry Rd., Coralville | 319-466-4444 backpocketbrewing.com | $$
This place specializes in craft beer and wood-fired pizza; there are many things to try, and quite a few standouts.
Baroncini Ristorante Italiano
104 S. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-337-2048 | baroncinirestaurant.com | $$$$
Elegant decor and romantic lighting make Baroncini a great date spot, with a well-curated wine list and excellent desserts.
121 Iowa Ave., Iowa City | 319-337-2010 | bastaiowacity.com | $$$
The best things at Basta are homemade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, tasty cocktails and a killer happy hour.
1800 Boyrum St., Iowa City | 319-358-0001 | $$
This basic Americanized Chinese takeout place delivers quickly within Iowa City city limits. Prices are reasonable and the food is surprisingly tasty for cheap Chinese takeout.
Big Grove Brewery
101 West Main St., Solon | 319-624-2337 biggrovebrewery.com | $$$
Downtown Solon’s own brewpub feels like a ski chalet, with comforting food, an array of beer and a patio firepit to warm you on cool nights.
503 Westbury Dr., Iowa City 319-338-1770 | blackstone-ic.com | $$$
One of the few restaurants on the northeast side of Iowa City, Blackstone is locally owned but has the aesthetic polish of a corporation. Their sprawling menu draws influence from a range of global cuisine — including Italian, Mexican and Thai — but the bulk of their menu consists of American staples like burgers, with notably intriguing combinations and elegant presentation.
330 E. Market St., Iowa City | 319-351-1470 | thebluebirddiner.com | $$
With a fun staff, funky decor and a vast menu, Bluebird Diner offers creative twists on traditional diner fare and is fun for the whole family.
Bob’s Your Uncle
2208 N. Dodge St., Iowa City | 319-351-7400 bobsyourunclecomfortfood.com | $$
If you want a menu with 85 items, half of which are available gluten-free, Bob’s Your Uncle will satisfy. This place is comfortable and family-friendly. It is also an extremely popular lunch spot, especially for those in the Pearson compound nearby. They are also one of the few places in Iowa City that makes gluten-free pizza.
118 E. Washington St., Iowa City 319-337-4703 | $$
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.
Bread Garden Market & Bakery
225 S. Linn St. | 319-354-4246 breadgardenmarket.com | $$
Located conveniently under the hotelVetro, Bread Garden Market has a vast selection of grocery items ranging from boutique to big-brand, but what sets Bread Garden apart is their expansive selection of prepared foods. See pages 22 and 60.
Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar
209 N. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-359-1999 | brixcheeseshop.com | $$
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.
201 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-400-4324 | $
The clean, minimal interior of Old Capitol Mall’s bubble tea shop welcomes you with 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. They also sell desserts like shaved ice with adzuki beans and have a rainbow of delicious but overpriced macarons.
325 E. Washington St. | $$
Sing the night away in one of Bubbleology’s many themed karaoke rooms.
Cactus Mexican Restaurant
245 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-338-5647 | facebook.com/CactusIC | $$
314 E. Burlington St., Iowa City 319-337-2464 | $$
Joining the many other Tex-Mex restaurants in the area are Cactus, and Cactus #2 — which is mere yards from Cactus. You know what to expect: a gigantic margarita served in a kitschy glass; a combination plate smothered in indeterminate sauces; a never-ending basket of chips that you’ll accidentally eat too much of. The salsa is good. The menu is vast. The food is usually tasty and always cheap.
101 N. Main St., Fairfield | 641-472-0856 | cafeparadiso.net | $
Situated on the corner of the square in Fairfield, Cafe Paradiso is a casual setting with beautiful artwork from various artists and frequent live music. Its outdoor seating makes it a social hotspot for both Fairfield’s Maharishi community and townies alike. Those looking for a delicious weekend brunch, excellent organic coffee roasted daily on-site, and deep philosophical debate will be satisfied here.
411 2nd St., Coralville | 319-338-0700 | 1401 5th St., Coralville | 319-338-7007 | facebook.com/caffecrema.us | $
Caffe Crema is a popular coffee shop in Coralville, with a variety of drinks to choose from.
Cate’s Frozen Yogurt
2221 Rochester Ave., Iowa City | 319-400-9493 | catesfrozenyogurt.com | $
Owned and operated by Iowa City native Cate Sarrazin, Cate’s Frozen Yogurt is a recent addition to Iowa City’s food scene. With a cute and quirky feel, Cate’s features a rotating stock of fresh low-fat and non-fat yogurts, as well as non-dairy options, all in delicious, creative flavors, like sea salt caramel pretzel. Take advantage of the wide variety of toppings to create delicious combinations of your own.
Ced-Rel Supper Club
11909 16th Ave. S.W., Cedar Rapids | 319-446-7300 | ced-rel.com | $$$
This old-school supper club and steakhouse maintains many of the trappings of bygone dining: The menu includes such items as 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.
Clinton Street Social Club
18 1/2 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-351-1690 | clintonstreetsocial.com | $$$
Try to go to Clinton Street on a weeknight, or early in the evening, when it’s not too busy, so you can sit at the bar and enjoy an assortment of American comfort food and artfully crafted cocktails.
2349 Mehaffey Bridge Rd. N.E., North Liberty | 319-626-6046 | facebook.com/club76nlia | $
In warmer weather, biking around the area’s extensive trails can be a fun weekend activity. North Liberty is a natural stop for most bikers, many of whom beeline it up Dubuque Street to Reds Alehouse, but just up the road is this hidden gem. Club 76 is in an unassuming building; inside, however, there is a large bar and a lodge-meets-dive-bar vibe. The staff is friendly, the regulars interesting and the entertainment options unique. Grab a basket of free popcorn, and head to the wall of lottery machines. In warmer months, they have a volleyball net and outdoor seating on the adjacent lawn.
The Club Car
122 Wright St., Iowa City | 319-351-9416 | theclubcaric.com | $
Located just south of downtown, the Club Car is a neighborhood bar catering largely to a crowd of people looking for a cold bottle of beer after a long day at work. The beer selection is no-frills, with plenty of domestic choices and a smattering of imports. Snack on fried appetizers while you play pool or darts and converse with regulars and the bartender, all of whom know each other. It’s like a miniature version of Cheers but Iowa City-style.
Cobble Hill Restaurant
219 2nd St. S.E., Cedar Rapids | 319-366-3177 | cobblehillrestaurant.com | $$$$
The chefs at Cobble Hill are trained in the classic French tradition, and it shows. James Beard 2015 Semifinalist for Best Chef in the Midwest, Chef/Owner Andy Schumacher serves some of the area’s most beautifully presented and elegant food, yet the restaurant still manages to be comfortable and down-to-earth. This may be attributed to the daily presence of Schumacher and his wife Carrie, the restaurant’s co-owner and general manager, and to their adorable children, who can often be found coloring at a table, or helping polish silverware. The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons; if there’s some form of housemade charcuterie or pâté on the menu, be sure to try it, though everything is expertly made, so you can’t really go wrong.
2253 Old Hwy 218 S., Iowa City | 319-338-1573 | $
People go to Colonial Lanes for the bowling, mostly. But they keep going back for the quirky miniature diner, the sunken bar and the Jell-O shots.
Cottage Bakery & Cafe
230 E. Benton St., Iowa City | 319-351-0052 | cottagebakerycafe.com | $$
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. If you find that you want to share their tasty menu with all your friends, you’re in luck, because they cater.
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. Watch as 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. They also offer buckwheat crêpes made with buckwheat harvested in Newton, Iowa — a delicious and healthy twist on traditional crêpes.
1430 Willow Creek Ct., 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 | iowacitysoldestbars.tumblr.com | $
Traditionally frequented by writers, the Fox Head is Iowa City’s oldest bar and appears in all manner of literary works, and rightly so: Despite its tiny size, the place is great. 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’s 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 offer some good deals — 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 joint: 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 | $$$
An Iowa City pioneer in the locavore movement, Devotay features small plates and artful cocktails, along with beer and wine, in their small, intimate space.
110 E. College St., Iowa City | 319-338-7355 | donnellyspub-ic.com | $$
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” (fried pickles) 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.
327 E. Market St., Iowa City | 319-358-2836 | elbanditosiowacity.com | $$
Tucked into the Northside neighborhood, El Banditos offers a wide variety of delicious Mexican dishes made from family recipes and local ingredients. Banditos embodies traditional Mexican flavors with an emphasis on fresh and local. Pro tip: Banditos has one of the best brunches in town — don’t miss the chilaquiles with chorizo.
El Paso Taqueria and Latin Market
609 Hollywood Blvd., Iowa City | 319-338-3703 | $
Inside El Paso bodega is a food counter and minimal seating. When the weather’s good, you can sit outside at picnic tables with a view of Highway 6. What it’s lacking in ambience, though, it absolutely makes up for in utter deliciousness. The gigantic burritos are an adventure in each bite: a bit of cheese here; some killer guac there; and look — there’s the chicken! The tacos and tortas are super authentic. Grab a Mexican Coke and get your order to go, but good luck getting off the couch when you’re done eating.
102 B 2nd Ave., Iowa City | 319-354-4710 | exoticindiarestaurant.com | $$
The best time to go to Exotic India is at 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, though they tend to be on the smaller side.
Fair Grounds Cafe
345 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-338-2024 | fairgroundscoffeehouse.com | $
This coffee shop, located around the corner from the Greyhound bus station, serves up intriguing vegan twists on traditional dishes. Great for vegans and omnivores alike, Fair Grounds features dishes such as vegan super nachos, with vegan 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 | falbobrosiowa.com | $
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 | $$
Primarily a movie theater, FilmScene has a good selection of beers on tap and a small selection of wine, which can make those three-hour arthouse movies go by a little faster. There’s also a small selection of locally made snacks, in addition to the traditional popcorn and candy.
Forbidden Planet PIZZA + ARCADE
111 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-358-6400 | icforbiddenplanet.com | $$
This brand-new pizza arcade has tasty pizza, a huge selection of drinks, and a video game collection that nerds dream of.
221 E. College St., Iowa City | 319-338-8880 | formosadowntown.com | $$$
Located on the first floor of hotelVetro, 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.
103 1st St. E., 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.
Funcrest Dairy & Grill
3977 W. Overlook Rd. N.E., 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 and enjoy the view.
Gabby’s Mexican Restaurant
1100 N. Columbus, West Liberty | 319-627-7178 | $
What it lacks in ambience, Gabby’s Mexican Restaurant makes up for in flavor and authenticity. The menu in this teeny restaurant 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 Americanized dishes and combination plates.
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 cheeseburgers make George’s a favorite with the Iowa City crowd.
1259 Rohret Rd. S.W., Oxford | 319-325-6609 | geyersovenbreadandpizza.com | $
In summers only, Geyer’s serves delicious wood-fired pizza in an idyllic setting; check their Facebook page for weekly updates.
109 E. College St., Iowa City | 319-338-5967 | givannis.net | $$$
Step into Givanni’s and find yourself amid original 1880’s brick and contemporary abstract impressionist artwork. Sip on a glass of wine from an extensive drink menu and order your favorite Italian-American dish, like their Chicken Marsala, dripping with creamy sauce. Give the patio a try during the summer, and enjoy dining al fresco while live music resonates in the background from the Friday Night Concert Series.
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.
Greyhound Deli & Frontier Herbs
1100 3rd St. S.E., Cedar Rapids (at NewBo City Market) | 319-200-4050 | facebook.com/greyhounddeli | $$
Located inside the NewBo City Market, Greyhound Deli focuses on local food, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from other vendors in the Cedar Rapids market. They also locally source their chicken, beef, eggs and seasonal produce. Sandwiches, soups and salads are all made from scratch, and there is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan fare.
702 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-354-8629 | gumbyspizzeria.com | $$
Gumby’s cheesy garlic bread sticks, or “Pokey stix,” are as much an Iowa City institution as Hawkeye football for the undergrad crowd. They are open late and deliver in the area until 2 a.m. or later.
Hamburg Inn No. 2, Inc
214 N. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-337-5512 | hamburginn.com | $$
This Iowa City landmark is super popular with families, students and politicians.
Her Soup Kitchen
625 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-354-1602 | hersoupkitchen.com | $$
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 and butternut squash bisque.
Heyn’s Ice Cream
811 S. 1st Ave., Iowa City | 319-354-1981 | $
Family-owned Heyn’s is off the beaten downtown path, but its homemade ice cream is worth a little detour.
High Ground Cafe
301 E. Market St., Iowa City | 319-338-5382 | highgroundcafe.com | $
Enjoy pour-over coffee or an espresso drink at this popular downtown study space.
1100 N. Dodge St., Iowa City | 319-338-3063 | hilltoptavernnorthside.com | $$
The Hilltop Tavern has been a Deweyville neighborhood joint since 1933; in more recent years, they’ve added a selection of video games and pool tables, and they regularly host euchre tournaments. The kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and the menu is surprisingly vast for a late-night bar. Regulars swear by the reuben and the patty melt, and more adventurous diners can order a basket of deep-fried chicken gizzards or livers.
227 E. Washington St., Iowa CIty | 319-354-2775 | indiacafeiowa.com | $$
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. There is also a menu that offers delicious variety.
Iowa Chop House
223 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-359-1078 | theiowachophouse.com | $$$
One of Iowa City’s newer establishments, this restaurant proudly emphasizes steaks and chops, including sirloin, porterhouse and filet mignon, which can be spiced up with bold flavors such as blue cheese crust, béarnaise sauce or bacon butter. What really sets this place apart is their vast, interesting and thoughtful lineup of local and regional craft beers that you can learn about at their interactive, self-serve beer tap.
Iowa River Power Restaurant
501 1st Ave., Coralville | 319-351-1904 | iowariverpower.net | $$$
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. IRP is an Iowa City favorite and destination for visiting parents and alumni, so weekends can be very busy.
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.
Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack
1940 Lower Muscatine Rd., Iowa City | 319-354-7427 | jimmyjacksribshack.com | $$
Responding to a lack of good barbecue in Iowa City, Jimmy Jack’s owners opened the Eastside rib shack in 2005. Since then, it’s established itself as an outpost for tender smoked meats, addictive honey butter cornbread and house-made barbecue sauces — the Carolina mustard sauce is tangy and the perfect complement to the rich meat dishes. The family-style environment is casual, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and you can enjoy a bottle of beer while you chow down on ribs and thick-cut, seasoned fries.
115 Iowa Ave., Iowa City | 319-338-6717 | joesplace-ic.com | $
If you go to Joe’s on a Hawkeye game day, be prepared to be crowded among hundreds of enthusiastic, probably drunk university alumni. It’s better to go when it’s less crowded, so you can enjoy the bar games or sit in the little beer garden out back, enjoying free popcorn and a draft beer.
401 E. Market St., Iowa City | 319-337-2183 | johnsgrocery.com | $
This grocery store is a Northside institution, selling a small selection of groceries and a vast selection of beer, wine and liquor; there is also a deli and bakery.
212 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-358-0776 | josephssteak.com | $$$$
For nearly a decade, Iowa City residents, UI students and their families have gathered at Joseph’s Steakhouse for many a post-game or graduation steak. The menu has recently seen some exciting changes; now, in addition to their steak and fresh seafood entrees, diners can enjoy a variety of small plates, sandwiches and salads, all alongside an extensive wine list.
Kalona Brewing Company
405 B Ave., Kalona | 329-656-3335 | kalonabrewing.com | $$$
In addition to the beers it brews on site, KBC also has a restaurant that offers a variety of appetizers, entrees and thin-crust pizzas. They also have a giant Scrabble board to keep patrons entertained while they drink.
843 Quarry Rd., Coralville | 319-351-2880 | konomigrill.com | $$$
One of the best sushi restaurants in the area, Konomi brings top-grade sushi and a nice selection of beverages to Coralville’s Iowa River Landing.
624 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-351-7000 | $$$
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. The space has changed little since Aeoshe, including the strange bridge over a pond when you walk in. When you go, sit at one of their barbecue tables and get the bulgogi, marinated beef that you grill at your table.
La Regia (formerly La Michoacana)
436 Hwy. 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.
301 1/2 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City | 319-338-1909 | leafkitchen.com | $$
This small, quirky restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, and its offerings are consistently creative, often local and always delicious.
Lighthouse Inn Supper Club
6905 Mount Vernon Rd. S.E., Cedar Rapids | 319-362-3467 | crlighthouseinn.com | $$$
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 visit.
Lincoln Wine Bar
125 1st St. W., Mount Vernon | 319-895-9463 | foodisimportant.com | $$$
Featuring an Italian-made brick oven and a talented staff, Lincoln Wine Bar delivers quality pizzas, small plates and, of course, wine and beer.
Linn Street Cafe
121 N. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-337-7370 | linnstreetcafe-hub.com | $$$
Relax on the patio on the calm yet captivating North Linn Street, the namesake for this elegant restaurant. In addition to flavorful food, Linn Street Cafe offers a wine menu of roughly 200 different wines, as well as educational wine tastings and coursed dinners with wine pairings.
Lion Bridge Brewing Company
59 16th Ave. S.W., Cedar Rapids | 319-200-4460 | lionbridgebrewing.com | $$
Winning a Great American Beer Festival gold medal within their first year of operation, Lion Bridge turns out a selection of complex, tasty beer, which they distribute to area restaurants and also sell in their taproom.
1402 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-358-1308 | $$
With jumbo margaritas and talented food runners balancing hot plates on their arms, Los Portales is a place to enjoy Tex-Mex fare in a cantina-like atmosphere. The service is fast, and the menu is varied and vast.
The Lost Cuban
209 3rd St. S.E., Cedar Rapids | 319-362-2627 | facebook.com/TheLostCuban | $$
It’s worth the trip to downtown Cedar Rapids to taste the food at Lost Cuban. Customers always seem delighted by their Cuban sandwiches and fried plantains, served with dipping sauces. Bring a friend and enjoy a mojito with dinner.
Maggie’s Farm Pizza
1100 3rd St. S.E., Cedar Rapids (at NewBo City Market) | 319-200-4050 | newbocitymarket.com | $$
You might recognize the Maggie’s Farm Pizza folks from the Iowa City Farmers Market, where they have a stand on Saturdays. 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. The gorgonzola and caramelized onion pie is particularly decadent, and you can’t go wrong with a simple, old-school margherita, made with fresh and local-when-possible ingredients.
Mama’s Deli & Catering
125 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-341-0700 | mamasdelicatering.com | $
Homemade, stick-to-your-ribs deli specials, including a variety of sandwiches, salads, wraps and soups, draw a busy, downtown lunch crowd to Mama’s Deli. The menu is available for off-site catering, and sandwiches are available on gluten-free bread.
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 | $$
Relatively recently, Masala started including meat options on its menu, to appeal to a broader audience, but their vegetarian dishes truly shine. When the lunch buffet features malai kofta, make sure you have plenty of time for a nap after lunch: It’s impossible to not eat way too much of these delicious, vegetable-and-cheese balls and their accompanying tomato cream sauce.
McWane Dairy Queen
526 S. Riverside Dr., Iowa City | 319-338-9328 | dairyqueen.com | $
The Riverside Drive Dairy Queen has been in the McWane family since the 1960s, and it maintains its family feel despite being damaged during the tornado of 2006. This DQ sells all the classics, so you can sit on a bench and watch the river go by as you enjoy your Peanut Buster Parfait.
5 Sturgis Corner Dr., Iowa City | 319-354-4754 | mekongic.com | $$
Mekong sells “pan-Asian” food, with the bulk of its menu featuring Americanized Chinese and Thai dishes. They’re tasty, but the restaurant’s best dishes are its Vietnamese staples, like the pho ga, a rich chicken noodle soup that’s good for what ails you.
1303 5th St., Coralville | 319-333-1291 | mendozawinebar.com | $$$
This warm, intimate wine bar and music venue strives to use as many local and organic sources as possible in their Argentinian and Spanish-inspired fare. A carefully selected and made-from-scratch menu accompanies the more than 100 available wines. Mendoza aims to make both casual drinkers and practiced wine lovers feel comfortable as they listen to the jazz and blues performances that frequent the stage.
114 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-351-6372 | mesapizzaia.com | $
On most evenings, a crowd of devoted undergraduates queue at Mesa for the most bang for their buck — and mac and cheese on pizza offers plenty of bang.
Micky’s Irish Pub & Grill
11 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-338-6860 | facebook.com/MickysIrishPubGrill | $$
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. Micky’s serves up a famous “Conglomeration” sandwich, which includes ham, turkey, Swiss and cheddar cheese. In addition to burgers and sandwiches, they also offer classic bar food with twist.
The Mill Restaurant
120 E. Burlington St., Iowa City | 319-351-9529 | icmill.com | $$
There’s a reason The Mill has been immortalized in song and print: It’s an Iowa City institution and a great place to kill time with a beer, especially if there’s a band playing, as there so often is.
Millstream Brewing Company
835 48th Ave., Amana | 319-622-3672 | millstreambrewing.com | $$
The dry ciders crafted by Sutliff are handcrafted using apples from many local orchards. The taproom and outdoor seating area are situated in the lovely Iowa countryside, providing a pleasant setting for an afternoon of sipping with friends.
14 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-333-1297 | 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.
Mondo’s Draft House
516 2nd St., Coralville | 319-337-3000 | mondos.net | $$
In addition to a sizable selection of beer on tap, Mondo’s Draft House serves traditional American pub fare, plus an array of entrees, salads and sandwiches, in a relaxed, sporty environment.
112 E. College St., Iowa City | 319-354-3837 | mondossaloon.com | $$
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.
303 2nd St., Coralville | 319-338-7400 | monicasonthestrip.com | $$$
Located in an unassuming building on the Coralville strip, Monica’s is unlike many other area restaurants. Setting it apart is the interior, which somehow blends the aesthetics of an old school diner with a posh European hotel lobby. The Italian-American inspired menu is extensive and offers many gluten-free options and substitutions.
Motley Cow Cafe
160 N. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-688-9177 | motleycowcafe.com | $$$
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.
New Pioneer Food Co-op
22 S. Van Buren St., Iowa City | 319-338-9441 | newpi.coop | $$
Though open to non-members, New Pi is Iowa City’s only foods cooperative, with a selection of both prepared foods and groceries, in addition to beer, wine and spirits.
No. 18 Karaoke and Bubble Tea
223 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-333-1265 | $
Rent a room at No. 18, and you and your friends can wail away until the wee hours.
600 N. Dodge St., Iowa City | 319-512-5028 | nodoiowacity.com | $
5 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-359-1181 | nodoiowacity.com | $
Both spots serve up excellent sandwiches, and the downtown location has a patio; the other location has the special charm of being in a hardware store.
206 N. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-358-7342 | oasisfalafel.com | $
Offering a little bit of the Middle East to Iowa City, Oasis’s super-authentic, super-fresh traditional dishes include their famous falafel and hummus. If they have matzo ball soup, get it.
One Twenty Six, Moonrakers and Hearth
126 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-887-1909 | onetwentysix.net | $$$
Located on Washington Street, One Twenty Six stands in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown Iowa City, near many performance venues. The menu features French-American cuisine made with local and organic ingredients when possible. For a real treat, choose their étouffée, a dish prepared with house-made Andouille sausage, smoked chicken, shrimp and basmati rice. Head upstairs to Moonrakers for burgers and other pub fare or to Hearth for a selection of small plates, pizzas and entrees.
Orchard Green Restaurant and Lounge
521 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-354-1642 | orchardgreenrestaurant.com | $$$$
This restaurant is split into two sections: a tasteful upstairs dining room with chandeliered cathedral ceilings and white linens, and a more dark and casual lounge area downstairs. The menu features classics prepared fresh, as well as Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. A great place to go on a date, Orchard Green does not sacrifice comfort or intimacy for elegance.
Osaka Japanese Restaurant
122 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-338-9988 | osakaiowacity.com | $$
Opened downtown in fall 2014, Osaka’s charming waitstaff serves up an array of Japanese fare, including hibachi, teriyaki and bento dishes. Be sure to order their hand rolls, crafted to order. An 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 | $$
5350 Council St. N.E., Cedar Rapids | 319-832-1800 | oyamasushi.com | $$
There are two Oyama sushi locations, one in Iowa City and one in Cedar Rapids, and they have separate owners. Though the Cedar Rapids location is less convenient for Iowa City residents, it is owned by the original proprietor of both locations, Darren, who is one of the best reasons to make the trek up 380. The food at both locations is good: solid nigiri, sashimi and rolls, and some excellent cooked dishes as well. But Darren’s effusive friendliness, occasional little gifts from the kitchen, artful sushi and expertly executed stir fries and noodle dishes place it one notch above its Iowa City location.
117 1st St. N.W., Mount Vernon | 319-895-4041 | cafepalisades.com | $$$
With a small but solid menu, Palisades features a few standout sandwiches, but the regularly changing features are the true stars.
93 2nd St., Coralville | 319-333-1369 | $
This place is weird, cheap and perfect if you have a bottomless stomach. Their buffet has everything: frogs’ legs, Americanized Chinese, sushi, Mongolian barbecue, ice cream and Jell-O.
Petra Falafel House
89 2nd St., Coralville | 319-354-2030 | petrafalafelhouse.com | $$
While their falafel is tasty, you should go to Petra for the shawerma, served with an addictively pungent creamy garlic sauce, or the fattoush, the traditional Middle Eastern salad of fresh vegetables and crispy pita. Be prepared for a too-loud broadcast of Jordanian television; for this reason, it might be best to get your food to go.
2315 Edgewood Rd. S.W., Cedar Rapids | 319-396-4337 | maiphocr.com | $$
The menu at Pho Mai is loaded with traditional Vietnamese dishes, each more intriguing than the last. The signature dish, pho, boasts a clean, well-spiced broth with lots of meat and noodles, and it is available in a few variations. The real standout, though, is the bun thit heo nuong: springy rice vermicelli with tender, crispy pork, flecked through with refreshing mint.
2020 8th St., Coralville | 319-855-4796 | $$
Pho Zaika opened early in 2015, to the delight of Iowa City diners. The menu here is small, but the pho is phenomenal. Available with an assortment of meat choices, the rich, savory soup features perfectly balanced, fragrant broth and a wealth of the garnishes that make pho such fun to eat. And the small, family staff is impossibly friendly and kind.
113 Iowa Ave., Iowa City | 319-351-7482 | 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.
924 Main St., Grinnell | 641-236-0205 | theprairiecanary.com | $$$
If you thought you hated Brussels sprouts, think again. Lightly fried, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with chili-lime dipping sauce, what you avoided as a kid is a must at Prairie Canary. With a wide-ranging menu — from seared salmon to the best veggie burger around — as well as the comfortable atmosphere combining elements of classic small-town Iowa with a modern vibe, the Prairie Canary is worth the trip to Grinnell.
Prairie Lights Books
15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-337-2681 | prairielights.com | $
Have a cortado and write the next great American novel, or simply sip a houndstooth, a curious combination of Schlitz beer and espresso that will make your teeth chatter with its caffeinated, boozy buzz.
Pullman Bar & Diner
17 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-338-1808 | pullmandiner.com | $$$
While new on the Iowa City scene, Pullman is already generating a lot of buzz for its great location and super-cool decor, as well as for the many talented people associated with the business. The menu features updated classics and more-traditional bistro fare, and there’s a small yet creative selection of beer, wine and cocktails.
Quinton’s Bar & Deli
215 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-354-7074 | quintonsbaranddeli.com | $$
A bar and deli combo, Quinton’s has great food and drink specials every day of the week. They specialize in burgers and sandwiches, but the most unique offerings are definitely the spuds, where you can find nearly any condiment you may (or may not) have wanted piled high on a baked potato approximately the size of your head.
405 N. Dubuque St., North Liberty | 319-626-2100 | redsalehouse.com | $$
Located about eight miles up Dubuque Street, Reds Alehouse is, for some, an ideal bike ride from Iowa City. 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 cool comfort of the indoors.
834 Park St., Grinnell | 641-236-3657 | relishgrinnell.com | $$
Fully embodying their slogan, “Local Foods, Global Flavors,” Chef Kamal Hammouda mixes Midwestern flavors, local ingredients and recipes from the Middle East to create Relish’s diverse menu. Always looking to bolster the Grinnell community, Relish frequently hosts local musicians, adding to the already comfortable and charming atmosphere of the historic Victorian home in which Relish is situated. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are always available, not to mention that Relish prepares arguably the best baklava in Iowa.
630 Iowa Ave., Iowa City | 319-359-1521 | rideiowacity.com | $$
This newcomer, opened late in 2014, is a welcome addition to the Iowa City breakfast scene, and they also provide a solid, traditional American lunch and dinner.
Riverside CASINO AND GOLF RESORT
3184 Hwy. 22, Riverside | 319-648-1234 | riversidecasinoandresort.com | $-$$$$
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort has three dining options for visitors: Ripple Diner, Robert’s Buffet and Ruthie’s Steakhouse. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick burger and fries; a varied buffet with nightly specials, like crab or barbecue; or a beef tenderloin and a bottle of wine, you’ll find it at this popular area destination.
441 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-337-8200 | samspizzaic.com | $$
Pizza and calzones are the specialty 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. Try a thin-crust pie, or choose from sandwiches, soups and appetizers.
405 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City | 319-351-5692 | sanctuarypub.com | $$
The Sanctuary has a stunning selection of local, national and imported bottled and draft beers, and its hardwood interior, complete with a fireplace and overstuffed chairs, is the perfect place to cozy up and sample a few. The pizza is popular, or you can enjoy a meat and cheese plate, featuring local delicacies from La Quercia and Milton Creamery, with a beer.
Salt Fork Kitchen
112 E. Main St., Solon | 319-624-2081 | saltforkkitchen.com | $$
This downtown Solon restaurant is an outlet for Salt Fork Farm’s produce, chickens and eggs, and the freshness is evident in their homestyle dishes.
201 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-338-5747 | $$
If you have an adventurous palate and you like spice, Seoul Grill will be your haven — as long as you’re available for the 12 hours per week that it’s open.
819 1st Ave., Iowa City | 319-337-7275 | shakespearesic.com | $$
This Eastside neighborhood bar serves some of the best lowbrow pub food in town, as well as more ritzy specials like, occasionally, prime rib. There’s a pool table and some video games, but it’s most fun to watch the locals and sip a draft beer from an impossibly frosty mug. 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 | 319-337-4058 | 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 | $$
There are 26 different burger options at Short’s, along with chicken and black bean alternatives, so it’s nearly impossible for the menu to ever get old. The beef comes from within Iowa’s own state lines, and they pride themselves on their vast selection of Iowa craft beers and ciders. Be sure to taste the stellar Short’s Whiskey that they recently started distilling in partnership with Cedar Ridge micro distillery in Swisher.
61 2nd St., Coralville | 319-512-5005 | spartisgyros.com | $
Though located in Coralville, Sparti’s is one of the only restaurants in the Iowa City area able to offer delivery of items like burgers, gyros and hot dogs, which is a godsend for people without cars (and for all us lazy people). They provide a fairly extensive and unique menu that drifts from Chicago classics to a Greek souvlaki sandwich. The only real issue is that delivery times can be long, and the wait can be grueling.
1006 Melrose Ave., Iowa City | 319-887-5564 | stellaiowacity.com | $$
Venture a little farther up Melrose Avenue from Kinnick Stadium to Stella, where you can watch the next big game on the big screens and sink your teeth into a mouthwatering burger made with Iowa-bred beef, a house-made vegetarian black bean burger or a grilled chicken sandwich. For something a little different, try the gumbo or jambalaya.
13 S. Linn St., Iowa City | 267-713-2697 | sthirteen.com | $
As Iowa City’s only GLBTQ bar and nightclub, Studio 13 is home to the drag queen Sasha Belle, a fierce competitor on the 2015 season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and boasts weekly drag queen performances. It is also 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. And if you love the atmosphere surrounding drag king and queen culture, you can find performance information on their website.
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 | $$
Serving classic sushi and popular Japanese, Chinese and Korean entrees, what really makes Sushi Popo stand out is the jam bong — a hearty, smoky, spicy Korean soup served in an enormous bowl, rich with chunks of vegetables, udon noodles, pork and seafood (or tofu for a vegetarian option). Here’s a secret: order it “green” for the jalapeño-based broth, rather than the typical red chili stock, and you’ll leave blissfully full and warm.
745 Community Dr., Ste. A, North Liberty | 319-626-6666 | sushiyaia.com | $$
Relatively new on the area restaurant scene, Sushiya offers expertly made, intensely delicious sushi, in addition to a large variety of entrees and appertizers. There are many Americanized Chinese options on the menu, and they’re tasty, but the traditional Japanese dishes are truly superlative.
Sutliff Cider Company
382 Sutliff Rd., Lisbon | 319-455-4093 | sutliffcider.com | $$
The dry ciders crafted by Sutliff are handcrafted using apples from many local orchards. The taproom and outdoor seating area are situated in the lovely Iowa countryside, providing a pleasant setting for an afternoon of sipping with friends.
320 E. Burlington St., Iowa City | 319-338-6788 | szechuanhouseiowacity.com | $$
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.
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.
219 Iowa Ave., Iowa City | 319-351-5125 | takanamidowntown.com | $$$
This sushi restaurant’s selection is a little more limited than its sibling restaurant Formosa, but what options they do have, they do well. Takanami has a tendency to frost their rolls in spicy mayo sauce, and this can be a good or bad thing depending on your palate.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
324 E. Washington St., Iowa City | 319-354-6888 | teddysbiggerburgers.com | $
This fast-food spot holds the monopoly on speedy, to-go style burgers in downtown Iowa City, and the generous portions and Hawaiian-style sauce make Teddy’s a popular choice.
340 E. Burlington St., Iowa City | 319-339-8900 | thaiflavors.net | $$
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 | $$
It’s easy to get lost in their menu, which has many pages of traditional Thai fare, but once you find something you like, the pungent, balanced flavors are addictive, so be careful!
Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant
1801 2nd St., Coralville | 319-337-3340 | threesamurairestaurant.com | $$$
In addition to their vast menu of sushi and Japanese-inflected entrees, Three Samurai has a small selection of tasty Vietnamese dishes that set the restaurant apart from its sushi brethren.
Trumpet Blossom Cafe
310 E. Prentiss St., Iowa City | 319-248-0077 | trumpetblossom.com | $$$
Iowa City’s only vegan restaurant, Trumpet Blossom is delicious in its own right. Even omnivores can find something satisfying on this creative, thoughtful menu, and the cocktails are excellent.
Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth
203 5th St., Kalona | 319-656-3315 | tuscan-moon.com | $$$$
It is more than worth the drive to Tuscan Moon, a traditional steakhouse with a vast patio and a friendly staff. Their steaks are delicious, and their wine list and specials shine.
Uptown Bill’s Coffee House & Neighborhood Arts Center
730 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City | 319-339-0804 | uptownbills.org | $
This cozy coffeehouse and community performance venue offers a wide range of organic coffees and teas and perhaps the best selection of soda in all of Iowa City. What truly sets Uptown Bill’s apart, though, is their commitment to nurturing and encouraging people with disabilities: They provide employment and enterprise opportunities to people with disabilities, in addition to offering a community forum to raise awareness about people with disabilities. Their open mic nights, poetry readings and regular music concerts foster this tight-knit and inviting atmosphere.
849 Quarry Rd., Coralville | 319-338-3782 | vestaiowa.com | $$$
Vesta has an extensive menu featuring Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. The patio is a favorite perch during FryFest — the kickoff festival for the Iowa Hawkeye football season.
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.
Waterstreet Coffee Bar
925 E 2nd Ave., Coralville | 319-351-9317 | waterstreetcoffeebar.com | $
Located on the Iowa River Landing, Waterstreet Coffee Bar is a lovely place to escape from downtown and enjoy your own, personal Chemex pot of excellent brewed coffee. It is clear the staff views coffee as an art, and that is as it should be.
517 S. Riverside Dr., Iowa City | 319-337-6677 | thewedgepizza.com | $$
The Wedge offers takeout and delivery of their many specialty pizzas, in addition to a few calzone options.
Whitey’s Ice Cream
1451 Coral Ridge Ave., Coralville | 319-338-4776 | whiteysicecream.com | $
This ice cream shop is something of an Iowa City institution, and rightly so. The shakes are blended on an old-fashioned shake machine, and the ice cream selection contains some really creative, interesting blends. Try the black raspberry chocolate chip, with giant chunks of dark chocolate blended into a sweet, fruity cream.
Wig And Pen Pizza Pub
1220 Hwy. 6 W., Iowa City | 319-354-2767 | wigandpenpizza.com | $$
363 N. 1st Ave., Iowa City | 319-351-2327 | wigandpenpizza.com | $$
Popular with families and sports fans, Wig and Pen can get a bit crowded on game days, but that’s not daunting for its loyal following, who can’t get enough of its pizza and bar fare.
Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon
4919 B Walleye Dr. S.E., Iowa City | 319-338-2211 | wildwoodsaloon.com | $$
There’s barbecue, dancing and drinks, and on weekends, you can try your hand at riding a mechanical bull. It’s like someone brought a little bit of Texas to Iowa!
Wilton Candy Kitchen
310 Cedar St., Wilton | 563-732-2278 | wiltoncandykitchen.com | $
While only a short drive from Iowa City, Wilton Candy Kitchen feels like you’ve traveled in a time machine, back to a simpler day when after-school fun involved banana splits and bike rides.
Yotopia Frozen Yogurt
132 S. Clinton St., Iowa City | 319-338-0500 | facebook.com/yotopiafrozenyogurt | $
This is downtown Iowa City’s only locally owned frozen yogurt shop, and this, along with other little touches, makes it a standout among the crowd.
Iowa City Yacht Club / Upper Deck
13 S. Linn St., Iowa City | 319-337-6464 | iowacityyachtclub.com | $
The Yacht Club’s basement bar is known as one of downtown Iowa City’s most important venues for open mic’s (both music and stand-up comedy) and headlining performances spanning all musical genres. On the main level, find the Upper Deck, where music festival parking lot parties have inspired a menu of delectable grilled cheese sandwiches, each named for a music icon. Open till 2 a.m. most nights, grab a Jimi Hendrix (Pepperoni, Marinara, and Mozzarella with Marinara dipping sauce — $6) or a Jerry Garcia (Smoked Beef Brisket, Garlic Aioli, Pepper Jack, and Horseradish with Cheddar Ranch dipping sauce — $7), and satisfy your late night cravings.