Greater Des Moines Restaurants and Food Scene

people sitting and talking with a sign in the background that states Welcome to Dough Moines

Hope your tastebuds are hungry and ready to eat, because the Greater Des Moines (DSM) food scene is bursting with flavors to explore. Partake in cuisines from around the world, experience unique dining venues and menus and find places to gather where good company and good food go hand in hand.  

Where to Eat in the Des Moines Region: Local Restaurant Districts 

DSM’s locally owned and only-found-here restaurants create the unique flavor of the neighborhood where each resides. Get a taste of each community at these local Des Moines restaurant districts and find a favorite outpost in every neighborhood across the region: 

Still not sure where to eat in Des Moines? Visit the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s business directory and browse even more restaurants found throughout the region. 

Culinary Notoriety in Greater Des Moines

As Seen On TV 

DSM food has caught the attention of TV shows, too. Crème Cupcake + Dessert was on the Food Network show Cupcake Wars and DSM’s Andrew Fuller, owner of Sugar Freakshow, was crowned the winner of Season 1 of Is It Cake? on Netflix. A number of DSM restaurants have made appearances on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; Man vs. Food; The Today Show and several more well-loved TV shows (here's a full list). 

Local Chefs in Des Moines 

three people looking at a bakery display

Local chefs at popular Des Moines restaurants continue to turn heads, too! Chef George Formaro (Centro, Django, Zombie Burger and more), Joe Tripp (Harbinger and Alba), Nic Gonway (Eatery A) and several others have been nominated for the James Beard Award in recent years.  

More Famed Foodie Destinations in DSM

The Better Homes & Gardens magazine (yes, THE Better Homes & Gardens) is headquartered in Des Moines. Every Friday during the summer months, visitors can explore the test gardens where herbs, vegetables and other plants are grown for the publication. Tours are available by request in the BHG Test Kitchen, as well. 

The Wallace Centers of Iowa is a true hidden gem. This food-centric nonprofit connects food, land and people in both urban and rural settings around DSM. The Centers provide sustenance for food-insecure Iowans and offer seasonal farm-to-table meals, cooking classes, “Pizza on the Prairie” and garden workshops. 

The World Food Prize is an international award honoring individuals who have helped improve quality, quantity and availability of food around the world. Drawing hundreds of dignitaries from around the globe each year, it takes place at the gilded World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, which also offers free tours to the public in Downtown DSM. 

Breweries, Wineries and More in the Des Moines Region

a person pouring a beer from a beer tap

Craft Beer Around Des Moines 

Local craft breweries can be found all across DSM! If local brews are your thing, get these hot spots on your radar:  

Des Moines’ Wineries and Distilleries

If beer isn’t your thing, no worries. Grab a glass of vino or spirits from one of these local establishments: 

Breweries and wineries in DSM also host numerous events — from trivia nights to bike pub crawls. Follow your favorites on social media or get on their email lists to stay up-to-date.  

Food Produced Here

green beans

And don’t be surprised to find recognizable food name brands are produced right here in DSM and sold on grocery store shelves across the U.S., for example: 

Food Festivals and Events

a person pouring a beer from a beer tap

Savor global flavors at cultural events like World Food & Music Festival, CelebrAsian or the Latino Heritage Festival. WineFest Des Moines holds several events throughout the year, bringing together the best wine and food pairings from signature DSM chefs. And Oktoberfest celebrates German heritage, food and — of course — beer. 

Farmers’ Markets and Farm-to-Table

Most communities around the region host weekly farmers markets, with fresh, locally grown produce as the main attraction. The Downtown Farmers’ Market in Des Moines is a staple event for locals and visitors, drawing about 40,000 attendees every Saturday, May through October. The Downtown Farmers’ Market is nationally recognized as a top farmers’ markets in the country by several notable publications including Midwest Living and Country Living.  

DSM is also ripe with opportunities for hands-on play on farms around the region as well! Pick your own strawberries straight out of the patch at Upstream Gardens, gather a basket of tasty apples at Wills Family Orchard and find your fall pumpkins at Howell’s

Additionally, numerous DSM restaurants (for example, HoQ, Mulberry Street Tavern and Prairie Canary) source fresh foods from local farmers to create seasonal menus that would make the most dedicated epicurean swoon.