Des Moines has a great tradition of Italian Restaurants. The Steak De Burgo started here brought over from Italy after World War Two. These local restaurants are doing a great job of keeping up that tradition.
1.Tursi’s Latin King– This is an eastside institution that offers consistently high quality food in a family- like setting. They’ve been around since 1947 for good reason. Their food is great for a romantic date or to take an out of town visitor that you want to impress. My go-to is the toasted ravioli with the giant meatball but every meal I’ve had there has been a winner.
2.Baratta’s– They’re probably better known for their commercials pointing out how hard it is to find their restaurant, but once you find them you’ll be happy you made the trip. This is a cozy place to take a date or indulge in comfort Italian food. Their second, Café Baratta’s, has equally excellent food and has a wonderful view of downtown Des Moines.
3.Noah’s Ark-One of the oldest restaurants in Des Moines, they’ve managed to keep their restaurant looking like a step in the past with the stained glass windows and deep leather booths. Their famous homemade rolls are so good that you’ll want to buy some after your meal to enjoy at home.
4.Scornovacca’s– Located on the southside of Des Moines, their cavatelli comes with a heaping serving of perfectly cooked pasta and generous amounts of gooey cheese. Their staff is very friendly and very helpful. Perfect place to go in the middle of winter and you want something that will stick to your ribs.
5.Cosi Cucina– This Clive restaurant offers a more sophisticated take on Italian food without getting too fussy. The open kitchen lets you peak in on the chefs as they work hard preparing scrumptious food. Be sure to remember the door to the restaurant is in the back of the building when you go.
6.Aposto-Aposto location in a 1880 Victorian home may make you think you’re lost but you’ll be pleasantly surprised once you get inside. This is a wonderful place to take a date if you’re wanting to impress them or if you’re in the mood for more upscale Italian food. Don’t expect large portions like at the other restaurants on this list but do expect very high quality ingredients and dedication to a high standard in cuisine.
7.The Tavern– Located in a couple of spots in town, my favorite being the location in Valley Junction, the Tavern has been around since 1945. Famous for their Grinder sandwich, the restaurant offers a variety of sandwiches and excellent pasta dishes. The service is quick which makes this a great place to go during a lunch break.
8.Paesano’s– Paesano’s has hands down the best baked cavatelli in town. It’s not too heavy on the pasta and not too lacking in the meat and cheese either. Get the creamy parm salad dressing for the salad included with the meal and you’ll have a hearty, delicious meal to end your day with.
9.Tumea & Sons– This South side favorite may not have a fancy building but their food makes up for it. They have a solid selection of classic Italian favorites so no matter which meal you order you’ll end up with a consistently good choice.
10.Basil Properi– This small cafe has pasta, sandwiches and soup so if you’re not wanting one of the more basic Italian meals this is a great choice. They offer jalapeno chicken pasta if you’re wanting something a little spicier with a very creamy sauce. They can get busy fast so be sure to try to get here early or prepare to wait a little while for a table.