A day Des Moines. Where should I eat locally at a good price?
I get this question a lot. There are several great places to eat in Des Moines depending on the time you have or the type of experience you desire. If I am giving advice about places I usually point you away from chain restaurants and direct you locally. I think one of the great things about living in Des Moines is the culture supports and is loyal to local restaurants. So much so that there are several around the city that have been open for decades which are passed down from generation to generation. So when you visit, I want you to experience the local places as much as possible. If you have a day in Des Moines and want to experience some off the beaten path local places, then here are a few spots to try which are light on the budget. Try one, try two, try them all!
BREAKFAST: PerKup Cafe
This little mom & pop joint in Urbandale is a great stop for a great breakfast. They serve good strong coffee and have a lot of scratch made options. The biscuits are wonderful and the house made jam is something you shouldn’t pass up. Try a breakfast hashbrown taco or get an omelet with some of the special spicy Sriracha sauce. The space is small and quaint with a few retail kitchen items, a great place for 2 to 4 people, but still can accommodate a few larger groups. The service is spot on and worth the wait if they are busy.
Deets: PerKup Cafe, 7003 Douglas Ave, Urbandale, IA
LUNCH: Fawns Asian Cuisine
Just a quick jump from downtown, Fawns Asian Cuisine is serving up several different styles of food from Southeast Asia. Most notably, the Vietnamese Pho. The Pho is very good here, served with a smile and all the accoutrements you need to get your Vietnamese fix. Start out with some Goi Coun (Vietnamese Spring or Salad Rolls) with shrimp, pork, and the tasty peanut sauce. If you are not up for the Pho, then perhaps some wonton soup with egg noodles or stir fried chicken is more your style. You can usually catch Fawn herself checking on your experience, meal, and ensuring your needs are met. Fawn is very bubbly and she loves to talk about Asian food. Get to know her and you might even get the inside scoop about when she is making some off the menu specialties.
Deets: Fawns Asian Cusine, 1107 East University Avenue, Des Moines, IA
DINNER: Mi Patria
I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect when we checked out this restaurant. Located in a strip mall, this hidden gem is serving up some mouth-watering Ecuadorian food. This was my first time eating Ecuadorian Cuisine and it did not disappoint. At first we were unsure what to order, but we decided to start with the Picadillo de Hornado. Who knew this appetizer was large enough to be a meal in itself? Tender pulled pork served with a Llapingacho, white corn, fava beans, and a nice salad all in one dish. The flavorful juicy pork was the winner with the texturally interesting white corn and creamy fava beans. The Llapingacho is made with potato, stuffed with cheese, and grilled added a nice starchy element to the dish. My advice is to load up your fork with a bit of everything for each bite. Yum! Next we had some solid, perfectly fried chicken empanadas which hit the spot. However, a must try is the fried plantains. They are seriously delicious. I could eat a whole plate of them myself. Reflecting upon this meal, next time I think I have to bring several friends so we can try more of their menu as we were stuffed with the few dishes we ordered. Fritada con Mote, Churrasco, Arroz con pollo, and several ceviche are amongst several entrees yet to be tried. Oh, and don’t forget about dessert if you can stop eating the plantains. Arroz con leche, Flan, and Coconut friend banana with ice cream.
Deets: Mi Patria, 1410 22nd Street, West Des Moines, IA
So there you go. A few local places in Des Moines that are easy on the budget and big on taste.
Side Note: Apologies if you received an email stating “Des Moines Eats” a few weeks ago. This was my failed attempt at posting a similar post to this one from my Kindle WordPress App while I was in Vietnam. Unfortunately, it failed, posted twice with no content. Oh well! Stay tuned for more posts and some of my Vietnam adventures. Thanks for reading!