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Jun 4, 2009 09:18 AM


I am a Kansas City chef who loves good food and good beer. I am taking a weekend trip to Des Moines, and I would appreciate any good food recs.

Here is what I have found so far - Lucca, Django, Centro, Azalea. I also found some cool places for beer like the Royal Mile, Red Monk, el Bait Shop.

Am I missing something? And are these places good? I want to get a taste of what des moines has to offer. Thank you!

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  1. I would just add that both downtown brewpubs, Court Ave Brewing, and Raccoon River, have above average food and decent beers.
    Your beer bars are the best it gets, although it's unlikely you'll find something you can't get in KC. Maybe some Belgians at the Red Monk. El Bait Shop has 250 beers or so, but I find myself always going through the list and thinking, Damn, I wish they had something with HOPS. They just revamped their food menu, but I can't speak to it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bobfrmia

      Great - thanks for the tip. We will have to stop in and check out one of those. A cool side note - Raccoon River makes a Biere de Garde special for Django, from what I saw online. Thanks again, can't wait for the trip.

    2. I've heard good things about Sbrocco in the East Village and Bistro Montage on Ingersoll, but I haven't been to either yet. Star Bar on Ingersoll I have been to and while each of the pieces individually don't seem outstanding I had an excellent overall experience there a couple weeks ago.

      I'm going to try and drag a couple people to Sbrocco next weekend.

      1. How did the trip go and what did you think of the places you went?

        5 Replies
        1. re: Inthewater

          I am going this weekend the 12th - I will definitely let you all know how everything is. Thanks again for the advice.

          1. re: chaiguy

            Ok, we had a wonderful time in Des Moines. It was honestly a lot of fun. Our favorite meal was at Django. The food was great and so was the atmosphere. Lucca was good but didn't blow my socks off. Had a great sushi lunch at Miyabi 9 in the East Village. We also had a great last-day pizza lunch at Centro. They were super busy on a Sunday lunch, and the wood-fired oven made the whole place smell awesome.

            The Red Monk was a cool spot, although the second night we went it was like a frat party in there, which killed the vibe. Great selection of rare, hard to find beers. We found a great bottle of wine at Sbrocco's wine shop that we took to dinner with us at Lucca. Good coffee at Java Joe's.

            Overall, we had an awesome time. Thanks for the suggestions!

            1. re: chaiguy

              Excellent! Glad you had fun.

              I had heard similar things about Lucca. Just kind of...meh. Glad you tried Miyabi 9. I think that place is just awesome and has amazing sushi.

              Django is probably one of the most solid new restaurants in Des Moines. The chef partner is a great guy (same dude from Centro, George Formaro) and he knows how to make a place that is elegant, yet still comfortable.

              Again, glad to hear you had fun.

              1. re: Inthewater

                I've been to Lucca twice for dinner. The first time was excellent, the second time was good, but not exceptional.

                That being said, Lucca/Basil's lunch pasta has always been wonderful. Mmmmm, sausage & pepper or 3 mushroom pasta. Lucca for lunch includes great bread and fresh parmesan with the olive oil at no additional charge. The last time I was there on a Saturday my lunch companion and I almost got stuffed just on the free bread & oil.

                BTW does anybody know if Lucca still sells their cheese directly? When it was Basil's East you could go in and buy a loaf of bread and something from their cheese cellar to take home without having to buy dinner.

                1. re: vitus979

                  Not sure if Lucca does, but I know La Mie is a great choice for buying bread and cheese. As well as Gateway Market.

        2. Sage was wonderful.
          Does anyone know if it is still open?

          1 Reply
          1. re: nochownohow

            It is not. Word is that there may be people interested in re-birthing it, but I don't think the old chef and owner, Andrew Meek, will be involved. You can find him at Sbrocco downtown DSM.