So, where should we eat?

Whether you’re a visitor, a newcomer or even a longtime resident, everyone asks that question at one time or another. And because we know that the answer can make or break your experience—or your impression of our city—dsm magazine is here to help, with our second edition of Eat+Drink.

dsm has covered the city’s restaurants for more than 14  years. During that time, we’ve seen our dining culture grow from a (mostly) meat-and-potatoes outpost to a worldly and progressive culinary city. And each year, the dining scene only gets better.

Some of our top chefs have graduated from prestigious culinary schools and have trained in top-tier restaurants throughout the country and the world. It’s no wonder, then, that you’ll find artful chef-driven cuisine, with a focus on fresh and local ingredients, at a number of top-notch fine-dining venues.

But Des Moines does casual dining well too, with easygoing coffeehouses and bakery-cafes, inspired lunch and brunch spots, terrific barbecue (watch out, Kansas City—you’ve got competition up north!), smart small-plates spots, and quirky good-time joints (including—of all things—a wildly popular zombie-themed burger restaurant). Looking to go global? Iowa’s history of welcoming immigrants has enriched our state in many ways and has also resulted in some excellent ethnic dining options.

And yes, you can still get a superior steak here.

So take a look at our recommendations, and then take a sizable bite out of our dining scene. We’re sure you’ll enjoy what you find.

Note: The restaurant descriptions that follow were written by dsm’s longtime restaurant reviewer, Wini Moranville, based on multiple visits to each venue. The dsm editors and Moranville chose the restaurants in this guide. No venue paid to be included on the list.

+ Photography by Duane Tinkey
+ ON THE COVER The grilled sea scallops at splash seafood bar & Grill feature an edamame salad, a Sriracha butter sauce and a lobster-toast roll.