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Sep 29, 2008 05:21 PM

Ames Iowa

I will be stuck over by the North Grand Mall in Ames for four days next week. I am vegetarian with ocassional lapses into seafood. Does anyone have any ideas on chow-worthy places where I could get a meal? Appreciate any help!

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  1. My suggestion is to go to Aunt Maude's. I think they will do your bidding. Main St., I think.

    1. I used to live there and make frequent trips back there to work and visit friends. Since we left there a fabulous restaurant opened called The Cafe. It is owned by the same people that own Aunt Maudes (mentioned in your other reply). I absolutely love The Cafe and visit there every time I am in town. I'm not certain about their vegetarian selections, but they are so good I'm sure they have them. You have to try their bread!! I buy several loaves and bring back to freeze when I am there. The Cafe is located in a neighborhood called Somerset that is near the mall...of course everything is near in Ames! I'm sure that Aunt Maude's is great too. Have many fond memories of that place from my school years and beyond. It has had several revisions over the years, but has always been a winner! It will be pricier than The Cafe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: columbia foodie

        I went to "The Cafe" this week. The service was excellent. All of the vegetable dishes I had were outstanding. Squash soup, salad and brussel sprouts. The protein left something to be desired. A poorly executed rib eye. I thought the kitchen talent was on the grill? Overall, very good though. Thank you for mentioning it.

      2. I lived in Ames for 4 years and aside from a few good restaurants, found it to pretty much be a culinary blackhole.

        As columbia foodie mentioned, The Cafe is outstanding. They use local food and have a changing menu that features the freshest ingredients (definitely a rarity for the area). I'm sure they will be able to fill your need for good veg food. It's also not far from the mall.

        I was never a huge fan of Aunt Maude's, I always thought it was much overhyped and it's expensive for Ames standards.

        Ames has a plethora of Asian restaurants. Some of the highlights include May House and Li's Vietnamese (both on Lincoln Way north of Campustown). For a more divey option, Chinese Homestyle Cooking was always a fav. It's greasy, but I loved the shrimp fried rice. There is a Chinese restaurant on the backside of the mall that is average and a buffet/delivery place just north of the mall in the Northernlights Plaza.

        My favorite place in town was Battles BBQ, but that obviously won't do much good for a vegetarian (but just wanted to throw that in for other people who might encounter this thread).

        For pizza Great Plains is a must. They have multiple crusts (wheat, potato, white) that you can get thick or thin. So tasty. I do miss their pizza.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pollymerase

          Whenever I'm back in Ames pizza at Great Plains is a must. My favorite is the Wheat Crust, and many time just go with Cheese for a topping.

        2. I also heard of a place called Cafe Shi... Anyone been there? Its real near to where my dad lives?

          10 Replies
          1. re: rozz01

            I've heard conflicting reports. Some people enjoyed it, others didn't--but that was two years ago, it might have since changed. I personally never went there as I don't really trust a restaurant where the menu has multiple types of cuisines. When a menu has Italian, Cajun, Thai, Chinese, French, and American items I get a little nervous. Pick one and go with it--how can you do all well? But, it has been around for a few years which is a rarity in Ames so it might be decent. I'd probably eat there before the sports bar (Legends, I think?) that is on the top level of one of the newer apt buildings--absolutely horrendous food. The brewpub downtown has a good atmosphere and decent beer, but I never had a single decent dish there (we had to go there all the time for functions). Your dad lives in Campustown? Interesting!

            If you are in that neighborhood and like big Mission style burritos, the Flying Burrito makes a pretty mean grilled veggie burrito.

            1. re: pollymerase

              No... The restaurant I'm thinking about is over across from the cub foods. My dad called it Cafe Shi, but he could be wrong. He prefers his meals at the Moose Lodge. this place is supposed to have a killer brunch and be pan-asian.

              1. re: rozz01

                Ah, that makes much more sense! He might be thinking of simply The Cafe. I've never heard of the Moose Lodge, is it new? Sounds very interesting!

                1. re: pollymerase

                  Actually.. its just a lodge, like the Eagles or American Legion. Fryalator Heaven I guess...

                  1. re: rozz01

                    You're both right. Cafe Shi used to be in campustown, but now it's just north of Cub foods in the Northern Lights strip mall. I haven't eaten there and I've also heard conflicting reports.

                    I have eaten at The Cafe many times, and they're great! They have a lot of vegetarian options. I guess this is too late for rozz01's visit to Ames, but hopefully will help others.

                    1. re: rachelini

                      We went to Cafe Shi. Actually it was pretty great, thought the cocktail menu didnt hurt matters LOL

                      1. re: rachelini

                        I will have to echo pollymerase, and recommend the Flying Burrito to anyone vegetarially inclined. Very vegetarian friendly, and good luck finding a better burrito (whether carne or no carne). You won't find a better one at Pancheros, that's for sure.

                        1. re: djboring

                          The Flying Burrito has really gone downhill over the past few years ... very skimpy portions and non-existent customer service. Sadly, Chipotle is much better.

                        2. re: rachelini

                          I can vouch for rachelini's comment. I spend Christmas in Ames with in-laws, and it had always been hard for us to find a place where we could eat out together. It's a big group, for one thing, and tastes are all over the map, for another. Cafe Shi has been perfect! Everyone has been able to find something they're willing to order, and every order has been prepared perfectly. Last year, even with a big group on a busy night, the service was perfect. They also have quite a good wine list. I don't recall how extensive it is, but I have always been able to find something that pleases my palate—and I'm a real wine snob! Also, their vegetarian options are true vegetarian options. By that I mean that they have vegetarian entrees by design—you don't have to create a semblance of a meal by cobbling together a bunch of side dishes.

                2. re: rozz01

                  Unfortunately Cafe Shi is no longer ... used to be my favorite place to eat in Ames. I do know that the former owner is now working at Plus39 Restaurant as a baker.

                  1. re: rozz01

                    Vesuvius pizza is terrific, newly opened wood fired pizza

                    1. re: dijon

                      We've stopped here a few times and have enjoyed it very much. Far exceeded our expectations of Ames foodwise.

                      1. re: relizabeth

                        There is a new Italian Restaurant on the Northside of Ames that is above-average and operated by an Italian [with a large pizza selection as well]: Plus39 Restaurant.