You need to eat at these places at least once for sake of your palette and Des Moines native authenticity.
  1. Fong's
    This is a given. Any dsm-er knows of this jem and takes their friends here to try to make dsm seem cooler than it is. Plus Chinese cheese sticks are genius.
  2. Big Tomato
    Another hidden hole in the wall place all dsm-ers (esp SOG) venture to at 2 am. Great atmosphere and shitty service = ideal pizza
  3. Django
    This is for the fancy points of DSM. Django is a quality French restaurant, one of the best in Iowa. A little on the pricey side but totally worth it. Great venue also.
  4. Zombie burger
    DSM hit! This place takes a lot of credit for building up east village. Super fun idea and pretty delicious burgers. Unique and tasty sauces, you can try something new every time.
  5. Open Sesame
    This tiny Lebanese restaurant has such a cool vibe and really great, authentic food. Not as well known as the others, but deserves the recognition. Try the rose petal water for a kick!
  6. Wasabi Chi
    By far my favorite place in DSM. This tiny, oddly located restaurant ALWAYS has some of the freshest sushi in DSM. Great service and even better rolls, wasabi disappoints no one. The price is totally worth it. Try local favorites such as out of control roll or DSM monster roll.
  7. Waveland cafe
    Every local's favorite place to have breakfast-if you can get a table. The cutest, most delicious cafe ideal for regulars on the weekends. The culture alone of that place keeps people coming back for years, not to mention the home-cooked flavor!
  8. Americana
    This place is ideal for client dinners, date night, or family in town. Classy city venue with a personal vibe. Quality food with a very distinct menu. The seasoned, special fries are a must have.
  9. A Dong
    Best Vietnamese food in the area. This place has been here forever and despite all the shit, they prevail! Amazing pho and all sorts of other dishes. Comfortable vibe that you can walk in wearing sweats and enjoy a meal.
  10. El Salvador Del Mundo
    A plus food. This little hole in the wall exceeds all expectations. By far the best place to taste authentic Salvadorian food. Anyone who is a fan knows of this place, and those who don't are missing out. The staple, papoosa, is TO DIE FOR. Hidden on the north side, this little restaurant is sometimes over shadowed but you can almost always find them at the farmer's market!
  11. Villa nueva taco truck
    If you can find this, do your stomach a favor and buy something. The most authentic food you can find, the taco truck has character and even better al pastor tacos.