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Jan 16, 2008 02:15 PM

Cedar Rapids Eats?

Living in Iowa City, wondering if there are any restaurants in or around Cedar Rapids, IA that are worth the drive.

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  1. I'm still fairly new to the area, but I'd drive 30 miles for a few places...

    Zindrick's is a wonderful Czech restaurant in our otherwise underwhelming Czech village. The goulash was overly salty, but the stuffed cabbage take me back to New Years Day at my grandmother's house.

    My British wife and I have finally discovered a fried cod that is nearly good enough to satisfy her cravings for fish and chips at a new place called Beckett's Pub by the Hyvee at Edgewood and Blairs Ferry. If you rate the chip shop in her home village as 95/100, I'd say that Beckett's was an 85 and that we never found better than low 70s on the California coast. They also do a wonderful Roast Beef Boxty. Avoid the cheese sauce boxty (heavy!).

    We may have found the best Chinese in Eastern Iowa at the Sushi House by the Westdale mall, but we've only just discovered it and cant say for certain because we keep getting the sushi, which is also very good. Reviewers on other sites claim it to be the best sushi in Iowa (including des moines), but I lack the sushi palate to choose a preference between any of the 4 bars in town on sushi quality alone.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cali2ia

      Thanks for the tips. My step-mom went to that Czech place and was slightly underwhelmed, but that was just one visit. It's funny that you should mention Sushi House, because we actually won free dinners at that place last year in a raffle! Haven't been up though, must give it a try. FYI, there are a few really good sushi places in Iowa City, and some awesome resaurants in general. If you come down this way, I'll give you some ideas (there's also a monster thread about Iowa City on this site that's been going on for years!).

      1. re: lizzy69

        I'd be interested to find out if any of there are any Iowa City Chinese restaurants that could stay in business if they were airlifted to Monterey Park.

        Otherwise, there's no trick to finding good eating in IC, from what we sampled this past summer. Unless you need to buy fuel on the way to Lincoln Cafe in Mt Vernon, there's no reason to leave IC and come to CR for contemporary, mediterranean, etc. Constantino's, Vino's, Biaggi's(chain) are all fine, and worth a drive from Urbana or Shellsburg, but are not as good as what you can find within a stone's throw of Market & Linn.

        My wife had the same impression of Zindrick's, so I tend to return for solo lunches. Perhaps I give it bonus points for nostalgia (cabbage rolls) and novelty (everything else) that most people would not.

      2. re: cali2ia

        Now I'm curious. I live in Ankeny but visit CR regularly. I'm going to have to check out Beckett's.

        I go to Sushi House every now and would say their sushi is pretty good. There's places I like more in Des Moines now but they opened very recently. I've never tried the Chinese food there but I think I will next time. The atmosphere there is a bit lacking though.

        1. re: dg2445

          Sushi House rocks, it's our favorite restaurant in Cedar Rapids. The Chinese specialties are the best - General Taos chicken, Grand Prawns with Honey Walnut and my fav - Ginger Crispy Beef. A sweet & spicy dish unlink anything I've ever have. My favorite sushi is the crunch roll. Prices are moderate and portions are huge, plenty to share.

      3. Al & Irene's is a well-known BBQ place on the north side of CR, a block south of Blair's Ferry Road. It's the closest thing to a CR dining institution that comes to mind.

        4 Replies
        1. re: sigerson57

          My husband is working in CR right now, and heard about a place that just opened (possibly west of CR, maybe a different town, but no more than 10 miles) and is run by people who just moved here from New Orleans. Has anyone heard of it?

          1. re: lizzy69

            Lincoln Cafe in Mt Vernon (15 miles east), opened 7 years ago by people who moved from North Carolina? Probably not the one you heard of, but Totally Worth The Drive, if you haven't been there since moving here. There is also Redhead in Solon, which is only a few years old, but I don't think the owner is a transplant.

            1. re: lizzy69

              I think you're thinking of Augusta, in Oxford. Opened by a few displaced New Orleaneans. It's on the main drag in Oxford. I ate there once, and there were parts that were good, parts that weren't so good... but it's brand new, so that's to be expected. Great fried chicken, good crawfish beignets, really nice people. Curious to know other peoples' opinions....

            2. re: sigerson57

              But that doesn't mean it is worth eating at. I have found the ribs flavorless and too dry.

            3. The Augusta restaurant in Oxford is worth the drive, my friends and I have come in from Chicago and my cousins drive down from Elkader, Cedar Rapids, Monona and Des Moines to visit with each other and we have picked this as our place to meet for dinner on Saturday and then Brunch on Sunday. There are 4 owners and 3 of them lived in New Orleans and had to leave due to Hurricne Katrina.
              I have eaten there about 10 times and didn't like one dish out of the 10, and that's because I didn't realize it had green peppers in it ( I HATE green peepers) and they offered to make me something else. My favorite meal would be the fried chicken, mashed potatoes , creamed corn ( or carrots) and the chocolate beignets for dessert ( really ANY of the deserts)and the salad with green goddess dressing. If I am going to be good that night the Grilled chicken salad with sherry vinigrette dressing and the bananas foster. My nieces and nephews love to order the peanut butter and jelly fried sandwich, and can't get enough of the sweet potatoe chips. The crawfish beignets were o.k., but I realllly liked the fried wild mushrooms. It was a really light breading and you could really taste the mushroom. THey are going to try to get morels in the summer ( one of our cousins HATE mushrooms, and the rest of us LOVE them so we have talked about the mushrooms alot) . We used to go to Mondo's but Augusta is our new spot ( better and cheaper!)

              1. The pizza at Tomaso's is really great. They are located on Center Point Rd (actually, there are two locations on this road, but the original is the best-it's the southern one). The restaurant itself is very small-probably only about 15 booths but it's totally worth the wait to get a seat! I prefer the deep dish Chicago style over the New York, but they're both excellent.

                1. Also, my favorite Chinese place is family-run Ting's Red Lantern which is on Boyson Rd, near C. Ave. It's not gourmet by any means, but it's a step up from the greasy Egg Roll House and other such chains. Definitely go at lunch time, when you get an amazing meal and service for only $5! Favorites: Ming's Beef, Cashew Chicken, and Pork Lo Mein.