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Best Lunch in Des Moines?

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Want to take my nephew, who is graduating HS this year, to a special place for lunch on Memorial Day. Some place that would be "something to remember." Price is no object.

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  1. Alba was picked by several reviewers as best in Des Moines. Check out the menu here.
    http://www.albadsm.com/alba-cuisine.html

    1. The wife went to Alba for lunch recently. She had a terrible experience.

      One place that has never failed me for lunch is Centro. But I don't know how memorable you can make lunch in Des Moines.

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      Centro
      1007 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jbird35

        I'm not sure Des Moines has any real OMG THAT WAS AWESOME type of places for special lunches. There are plenty of low-key places with good value, but this isn't the kind of town that leaves teenager's impressed with anything. If you avoid The Machine Shed, you should do just fine.

        1. re: Jbird35

          Could you elaborate on the terrible experience? Food? Service? Ambiance?
          All of the above?
          I've actually never been, which is why I didn't offer a personal opinion. Probably not a good idea, but Des Moines participation is low.
          My idea of a memorable lunch is a sandwich from Manhattan Deli.
          jhojati, look forward to your return. It will seriously help the board.

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          Manhattan Deli
          3705 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312

        2. Yeah, I am not a huge expert on the "price is no option" sort of places. There are some really fun, good places to have lunch here, but nothing that will impress with a hefty price tag.

          I would say to go for Django, which is downtown. It's great stuff, and a cool but casual place.

          http://www.djangodesmoines.com/

          Beyond that, most other Des Moines restaurants are about good value (especially vs. a similar type restaurant in a larger town.

          )

          If you both like sushi, you could hit Miyabi9 http://desmoines.metromix.com/restaur...
          it's very good sushi for Des Moines, and some have said it is very good for anywhere.

          Sorry I can't be of more assistance.

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          Django Restaurant
          210 10th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

          4 Replies
          1. re: Inthewater

            I agree with what most have said here. There isn't a bona fide "special occasion" place in town, save for maybe 801 Steak and Chop, and I don't even think they're open for lunch.

            I'd stick with Django, Alba, Miyabi9. If it's nice out, maybe Dos Rios if just for the guacamole and tacos while sitting on the patio. Places that a high school kid probably doesn't frequent but could provide a nice segue into more age-appropriate dining (although I suspect if he is going to college, he'll be laden with pizza/ramen in the near future :)) Proof has some unique lunch items, you may want to look into them as well.

            Or, you could take him to Jethro's and have him attempt to eat the Adam Emmenecker sandwich.

            The only other place that I might recommend is Cafe di Scala. It's in an old Victorian home and they make fresh pasta. It's quaint and likely something that somebody would remember, is probably not a place he has been before (or heard of, for that matter).

            And while you're here...try the Al Pastor pizza and cabeza tacos at El Chisme, and the original flour tacos at Tasty Tacos. Catch a baseball game and eat wings at Jethro's, try Flying Mango for intimate BBQ. Eat at Bistro Montage, a diamond in the rough French bistro, check out downtown Des Moines' farmers market Saturday morning. Do tapas at Dish, or the Tenderloin DeBurgo at Greenbriar (another potential lunch spot here). Canneloni at Sam & Gabe's - start with the Italian nachos. Enjoy a scotch at the Royal Mile or Das Boot at Hessen Haus. Lots to do!

            -----
            Flying Mango
            4345 Hickman Rd, Des Moines, IA 50310

            Bistro Montage
            2724 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312

            Django Restaurant
            210 10th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

            Royal Mile
            210 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309

            Greenbriar Restaurant & Bar
            5810 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA 50131

            El Chisme
            2920 Merle Hay Rd, Des Moines, IA 50310

            Hessen Haus
            101 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309

            1. re: jhojati

              jhojati for Des Moines Mayor!

              :)

              Oh wait, you moved to KC. :P Heck, I may go enjoy a scotch at The Mile myself, tonight. Thanks for the idea.

              1. re: Inthewater

                I'm moving back in a year!

                1. re: jhojati

                  Nice! Bob, I agree. Was gonna reccommend a killer sub from B&B Grocery, and sit on the river walk, or something like that.

                  :)

          2. Thanks, everyone. The entire family is actually going to Centro for dinner, or I would definitely go there. I didn't really think there was a "awesome" place, but thought I would ask!

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            Centro
            1007 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

            1 Reply
            1. re: SeattleSam

              Just to clarify, there are plenty of awesome places to eat...just not many "wow this place looks expensive" or "holy crap, my bill is how much???" kind of places. I don't really look for that, as a Chowhound/Roadfooder/food fan, I look for good food made by good people.

              Now, if we were talking dinner, I'd say to try the new Baru 66 in Windsor Heights. That looks to be the new "holy cow, this is awesome...expensive and tiny portions, but awesome!".

              :) See if you can switch to dinner there to wow people.

            2. Django is the same restaurant company as Centro, so you can gauge the type of quality you'll be getting. If you want to treat him to a great burger and authentic French frites, Django is your place for lunch. If homemade fries interest you, go next door to Raccoon Brewpub. Best fries in town, imo. I also liked the idea of the 'killer' sandwichs at B&B.

              -----
              Centro
              1007 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

              Django Restaurant
              210 10th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

              1. I'm not sure if it's going to be open on Memorial Day but Proof (www.proofrestaurant.com) is delicious. The dishes are unique, fresh, perfectly spiced, and always wonderful. The chef is up for a rising star James Beard award and it's well deserved. The Scallops and the Salmon are my two top choices for lunch there.

                Baru 66 is a new French restaurant that opened recently in Windsor Heights and has gotten rave reviews so far. I'm not sure if it's open for lunch, however.

                I can't say I agree with the posts about no lunch spots with a wow factor. There are plenty of really good restaurants in Des Moines that offer great meals. Don't count Des Moines out!

                2 Replies
                1. re: girl4yoga

                  I don't think anybody was downplaying the quality of restaurants in Des Moines, but people were just being realistic about the gentleman's expectations. I think there is a difference between "Wow this is good"/"Wow this is surprising" and "Wow do you remember that restaurant in Des Moines from ten years ago?"

                  FYI, the chef at Proof is no longer up for a James Beard award, although the chef was an early nominee.

                  Baru is not open for lunch.

                  1. re: girl4yoga

                    It's more the "lunch" thing that is stumping me. Plenty of places that meet this person's criteria for dinner, just not many open at lunch.

                  2. Not sure about the hours, but an uncle-nephew bonding place might be a grill your own steak restaurant. Iowa Beef Steakhouse and Rube's (near Waukee) are the two that come to mind.

                    Another worth asking about: Embassy Club. The two restaurants are atop the Principal Tower and the Ruan Building. I'm not sure if they're restricted to members only (and guests).

                    Have fun.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: IowaGrazer

                      Sadly, both Rube's and IBS are only open for dinner, starting at 5pm, or so.

                      Would be a good choice, though. :)

                    2. Another vote for Proof, I think they have a great lunch for downtown. Also... Lucca's is nice, quick and fresh.

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                      Lucca
                      420 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: The Locavore

                        I would second the Proof idea - by the best lunch in downtown - they specialize in lunch being open for dinner only 1 night a week. Also - if you let the owner know it's a special meal, she'll take very good care of you. Sit outside for fantastic views of downtown!