Iowa City, a vibrant cultural hub in the heart of the Midwest, is not just known for its rich history and picturesque landscapes, but also for its diverse culinary scene. From cozy cafes to upscale dining establishments, this city offers a plethora of options for food enthusiasts. Whether you're a local resident or a tourist exploring the city, the variety of cuisines available is sure to satiate your palate. This article will guide you through some of the best restaurants in Iowa City, each offering a unique dining experience, exceptional service, and most importantly, delicious food. So, get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey through the culinary delights of Iowa City.
Breakfast, sandwiches & salads served in a casual luncheonette featuring exposed-brick walls.
We went for Sunday breakfast. The wait for two was 20 minutes- not bad considering how busy they were. They text when your table is ready so you can explore downtown Iowa City while you wait. The food was some of the best I’ve ever had. Homemade bread, fresh pastries were delicious. The wait staff was amazing. The atmosphere is quaint and cozy. Don’t miss this great spot!
5 / 5
I was intrigued by the "Lodger" breakfast because of the pimento cheese and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the entire dish! It was very rich and the tomato gravy really brought the whole thing home. The sourdough bread was what sealed the deal for me, since it was perfectly buttered and crispy and was a delicious way to sop up the gravy and egg mixture. Would definitely try it again!
4 / 5
Everything we ordered was amazing including the Valentine's day themed desert cookies. The gravy on the chicken fried steak was fantastic. The New York strip steak was cooked perfectly. The avocado and toast with Poached Eggs was amazing. And the vegetarian wrap with chickpeas and lettuce had a really tasty sauce that made me forget it was a vegetarian meal. There was a 45-minute wait, but it was totally worth it. You can give them your phone number and they text you when your table is ready so you don't even have to wait in the restaurant. We will definitely be going back the next time we are in Iowa City.
5 / 5
I’d been wanting to try this place for awhile, and finally got the chance to. The service was okay. Ordered their avocado toast which includes poached eggs, but after a bite, the eggs were overcooked closer to a medium or hard boiled egg. For a breakfast and lunch only establishment, I expect eggs to cooked to their menu description. If kitchen staff cannot cook an egg then I can’t return to a breakfast establishment.
1 / 5
I ordered Eggs Benedict with spinach and Cappuccino. My friends ordered Latte, French toast (with chocolate chips), Pancakes, and Eden. All of us were very satisfied with the food. The atmosphere was good, too. However, the place needs to reconsider their coffee brew. ** Update: Since I'm unable to add another comment to answer the owner's question, I'll answer it here: So, I didn't like my Cappucino. The coffee didn't taste good. I think you could change your coffee vendor, or see if they can provide different coffee beans.
4 / 5
Spacious, contemporary spot serving playful twists on American comfort food plus Sunday brunch.
The food here is Amazing! It’s the most perfect atmosphere if you want to relax and watch a game without the chaos and fast pace of a Buffalo Wild Wings or if you simply want to have a fine date it suits you well for that too! Servers are wonderful but it can be a significant wait at times! I would still recommend for any and all!
4 / 5
Adam was super helpful and great service. Food was amazing. I had pork-chop, and it was huge and seasoned amazing. Mashed potatoes was so good. My kids loved the old faithful burger and the clam chowder.
5 / 5
I love this place. Service was great and attentive. Mia wanted us there and to have a great experience. The Sweet Corn Dip (Seasonal Special) was rich, perfect cool dip to get us started. I love the Satay Sampler. Think Hibachi Grill. Shrimp, chicken and beef done to perfection. The wasabi mix was perfect under the meat. The Nay’s Pasta was rich and creamy. Excellent. Well done
5 / 5
Food was really good we had been putting off going and regret not trying sooner. There are very few options on this side of Iowa City . Even better that it's not a restaurant chain
5 / 5
My family and I have been a big fan of BlackStone for years, but our most recent experience was more than disappointing in several ways. We ordered carry out and I got the bratwurst burger which is a favorite of mine. When I got home with the food and took my first bite of the burger was cold, and not just cold because it was carry out but frigid cold. Took one look and the bratwurst Pattie’s were entirely raw inside. As you can imagine that was the end of my meal there. The next day I decided to email BlackStone to let them know about the experience and sent them the same images I will use on this review. My main concern is that they need to address this to their kitchen staff to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for over a decade and realize these things happen, and just wanted the issue addressed. I wasn’t expecting a refund but it would have been nice considering I didn’t get to eat my rather expensive food. But the worst part of the whole experience in its entirety, was the fact that I received no response. It’s been almost 2 months since the initial email with a follow up about 3 weeks ago. No response. Nothing. So I’ll never be giving them my business ever again, and plan on actively informing anyone I know potentially considering eating there, to maybe consider other options. Really a shame.
1 / 5
Seasonal American dishes with Mediterranean influences in a sleek, dark-wood dining room.
Orchard Green is tops. A fine dining experience in beautiful space. Our go to spot when we want to treat ourselves. The atmosphere feels very warm and welcoming and allows you to really unwind. The food is absolutely outstanding as well. Everything is always prepared immaculately. Tonight we got the pork belly appetizer, cheese board, and braised duck. All were excellent and we couldn’t stop talking about it after we left.
5 / 5
First off, YUM! Cocktails food and desserts were all fabulous! And there was a drink that I had to try, I'm a Ginger and my last name is Goodvin... to find out it was my cousin how was a regular and they made this drink for him so much that they named it after him! So I had a personal neat experience here.
5 / 5
Fine dining in Iowa city Spoiler: very good food in a very nice place. We had a family dinner. Waitstaff was very friendly, helpful and patient as we were with small kids. Food was cooked to the point, tasty and spicy just to the right amount and you could see and taste that it was freshly prepared. Not a cheap place, but worth the money.
5 / 5
Food was absolutely phenomenal. Shrimp and sweet potato gnocchi. Unlike anything I have ever had. Flavor blasted with sweet corn (my fave!). Our waiter, Kyle, was incredible! He knew the ins and outs of the menu and was so attentive to our table. 10/10! Will be back.
5 / 5
Undoubtedly one of the better if not best Iowa City date night stops! Definitely not a weekly stop for most as it is in the higher price range (rightfully so) with their fine dining atmosphere. Ended up getting the Duck and Pork Saltimbocca both of which were delicious and full of flavor. Definitely will be back!
5 / 5
Bright, modern hangout featuring creative shared plates, drinks at night & a casual lunch buffet.
The lips are excellent. Corn was new since the last time I was there & if the lips weren't so good I could go back & make a meal out of just corn. If you haven't tried the corn don't, you'll be immediately addicted to it! Tried a monster cookie this time also & again excellent.
5 / 5
Do yourself a favor and check this place out! Meatball pizza from scratch and chicken lips. What's a chicken lip? The best piece of chicken you will ever eat! Go see Peter and his crew. You will become an instant fan!
5 / 5
Pros: Chicken Lips and Green Beans are amazing, mac n cheese is pretty good. The take out “lips for 4” feeds our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids) with a tiny bit left over. Everyone from adults to kids in my house eat a ton when we order! -curbside pick up Cons: - take out only - no more take out martinis - expensive Pro Tip: Make a salad, add chicken lips, serve with ranch…. best Buffalo chicken salad!
4 / 5
The cashier with long dark hair was very nice and clarified max and cheese sizing. Food was great
5 / 5
Inquired on their catering for a wedding with flexible dates and menu. With no rationale, they said they "had to pass".
1 / 5
Eatery serving kebabs, gyros & other Middle Eastern street foods in laid-back, counter-serve digs.
On a Midwest scale I would say slightly below average but on a local scale within Iowa City itself probably considered pretty good by most. The food portions we're slightly smaller then I would have hoped. Overall I would say the price does reflect the quality of the food. Menu items pictured in the post that we tried include the gyro, and the sample platter which consisted of hummus, falafel, pita, and roasted chicken with veggies. See attached pictures and video. The staff was super friendly and super helpful. Our weight was much longer than I would have hoped. Almost 30 minutes. Come to find out our order was given to a different table so the server brought out a punch card for a free meal next time we stop in. It's a very small establishment but overall good environment. The restrooms were as clean as you would expect and parking is a little bit difficult to come by but there's a lot of side roads to park on.
3 / 5
Great portion sizes, delicious falafels and hummus, and all three types of meat I had (chicken, gyro, and beef kafta) were amazing! Also I loved the sides (couscous, madjadra rice, best olives and pickles), and the restaurant offers a nice, friendly atmosphere. Will be back!
5 / 5
If you're in the town, then it's my absolute recommendation to visit this place if you're a fan of Mediterranean food. This place serves the best and has the quickest service of its kind. The seating might confuse you but there's ample space at the back of the restaurant. Tons of vegetarian options to try from, if you're wanting to avoid meat. I loved and enjoyed trying their combination platters. Their sandwiches are so fresh, the ingredients literally smell so fresh. Will try again!!
5 / 5
*This place doesn't serve halal food* The bread and the Falafel's were crisp and fresh. The hummus and the Mediterranean salad complemented the Falafel's perfectly. The food overall was tasty but for the portion the pricing was on the higher end ($9.49 including taxes)
4 / 5
This is a small restaurant in downtown Iowa city. Parking might be a bit hard to find. Coming to the food: 1. The falafel was excellent- crunchy, soft and perfect taste. The hummus complimented it very well. The Baba Ganoush (5/5) was smoky and creamy. I would definitely order it. The fires were amazing too. I’m not a big fan of Baklava but it was very very good here. The size and taste of Turkish coffee was a tad bit of a disappointment. But overall a great place. The staff were very friendly and polite. The seating indoor was limited but there was lot of seating outdoor.
5 / 5
Krishna B Kidambi
White-tablecloth steak & seafood restaurant with a quiet, refined atmosphere & a global wine list.
We are from out of town & my filet was SO tender & full of flavor. Everything that I had was so good. The mashed potatoes that came with my steak & asparagus had incredible flavor. Everyone at our table enjoyed our meals & service. When I come back to Iowa City- I am definitely coming back here! The sauce on the side was delicious.
5 / 5
Excellent steak. The onion rings were amazing. I recommend the Brussels sprouts and bacon too. Service was great. A bit pricy but expected for a steakhouse. I would cost again for a nice family meal or date night. Wine list is extensive.
5 / 5
Had the Manhattan steak! The onion rings appetizer was great! Our server and his service were awesome.
5 / 5
Love Joseph's! Great apps and filet. Tried borsin mashed, delicious! Elderflower martini was excellent! Ended w creme Brule and Grashopper martini for desert. Jordan had excellent suggestions
5 / 5
I dined here on Tuesday for a birthday dinner for a dear friend, and simply had a fantastic time. The server, Aubrey (I hope I'm spelling that right!), was the perfect point between being present and accommodating without being overbearing or seemingly absent. She was the consummate professional, friendly and had excellent suggestions for the both of us on the menu, having clearly familiarized herself with both it and how people tend to respond to the various items. As for the meal itself, it was similarly satisfactory. The tuna tartare was scrumptious, speaking as someone who doesn't usually enjoy the fish quite so much, and left us wanting for more. Thankfully, we'd each gotten ourselves a steak: myself the ribeye, him the NY strip. Both were cooked to perfection, seasoned flawlessly, and the sides were just as well-cooked. I can be quite difficult to please when it comes to asparagus, and both they and the sautéed mushrooms were just grand. The drinks we ordered were as masterful as the chef's work. I'd gotten myself the Jungle Bird, a rum drink that was a departure from most that I've enjoyed in the past, and enjoyably so. But the Old Fashioned! I don't have the words. Smooth, flavorful, and far too easy to drink greedily. If you're even a passing fan of bourbon, order the Old Fashioned. Then, as a bit of a surprise after I mentioned it was my friend's birthday, Aubrey brought us some gelato, complete with lit candle, to complete the meal. My one regret leaving the table was being unable to finish everything there, Aubrey having packaged and bagged the items to-go for us. Easily one of the best meals, and dining experiences, I've ever had. Should I ever have cause to celebrate something, I'll have a hard time choosing somewhere other than Joseph's.
5 / 5
Ornate campus-adjacent eatery serving gourmet beef & black-bean burgers plus local craft beers.
The place was a little small, counters were dirty, the burger was well seasoned but over cooked. The bar tender was great, the beers she suggested were really good. It could be a great spot thats in a great location.
3 / 5
Petey Ramirez Varela
The quality of the food has tanked since eating here over a year ago. Stale buns, frozen patties (yes, frozen), and an absurdly small amount of bun spread that seemed like a joke. My husband ordered medium rare and I ordered well done and they came out the same). Thank heavens for their signature sauce to mask the burger taste. Such a shame because the burgers used to be top notch.
2 / 5
So many burgers, so little time! Walking into Short’s Burgers & Shine, it has an intimate feel for a long skinny restaurant and bar. The wait staff were friendly and attentive. There are so many burger options to choose from! I really enjoyed that there were so many options on the menu, and that I found plenty of burgers that I would like to try for future visits if I were to come back. The food itself was pretty darn good! My burger was thick and delicious. There was also a heaping pile of fries for a side. I did try the shorts sauce and I liked it more with the fries than my burger. However, if you do want a side of ranch or other condiments they are at an extra charge. I also loved the amount of big TVs throughout the restaurant. I happened to stop in for the second half of an intense Iowa basketball game, and it was so great to have such a nice view no matter where I was in the restaurant. If you’re traveling to the area or if you’re a local, this Iowa City staple should be on your must try list.
4 / 5
The best burgers in Iowa City by far! I had the Dundee and subbed Swiss cheese for American. The fried egg was cooked perfectly and the garlic aioli is amazing!
5 / 5
Been at Shorts before and the burgers were bigger and better tasting. This time in (Feb '23) I was disappointed. Burger was smaller, bread is different. The fries were still good.
3 / 5