Lunch is the meal that typically gets skipped or delayed- especially during the work week- the following places will make you want to take time out of your busy schedule to sit down for a good meal.
- South Union Bread Café– located downtown right next door to Centro, this is the place that provides the awesome bread for Centro and their lunches are exceptional. The lines are long but the food makes it worth it. The Sarah’s Revenge sandwich and the Pesto Chicken Melt sandwich are must-eats. The soups are equally wonderful. They even offer online ordering to make things that much easier if you’re in a rush to get back to work.
- Alba– located on E. 6th St., this modern restaurant has the best gnocchi in town. The buttercup bisque is worth trying and so are the Chorizo fries.They really emphasize farm to table and you can easily taste the freshness of the ingredients they use. They don’t serve lunch on Monday so be sure to try to remember that if you’re wanting to splurge on a Monday meal out.
- Centro– located downtown next to South Union Bread Café as mentioned in the #1 spot, this is the place to go if you want to see and be seen. Try not to load up on the South Union bread they give before the meal or you’ll be too full for your lunch. The Kill Bill Tenderloin which features a sunny side egg, bacon,ham and pepperjack cheese on top of a massive fried tenderloin is a good choice but maybe not the best choice if you’re wearing a nice shirt. The Gorgonzola Burger with gorgonzola cheese, fried mushrooms and carmelized onions is a hearty meal that will keep you full until dinner.
- Palmers Deli & Market– located in multiple spots, this appears in my best breakfast list but I also love their lunches. Be sure to get the lunch box which consists of a sandwich of your choice (I recommend the Apple Orchard or Turnberry) , a side from their deli section, chips, a pickle and a dessert (get the brownie). They are very fast at getting your food out to you so if you’re in a rush, this is quality place to get your lunch.
- HoQ– located in the East Village, HoQ has a small lunch menu but it’s very well done. The Salmon Grilled Cheese features wild Alaskan salmon, Milton Creamery white chedder cheese and homemade brioche and is served with soup. They use organic ingredients and grass fed meat in all of their dishes.
- Django– located across the street from the Pappajohn Sculpture park, Django is famous for their Duck Frites which are french fries cooked in duck fat which come with harissa aioli and curry ketchup. The poutine is authentic with Milton Creamery cheese curds and braised beef served over French fries. This is a great place to have a business meeting.
- Café Baratta’s– located in the Historical Building, I briefly mentioned this in the best Italian top ten and this is also a great place for a great lunch. They have outdoor seating so you can enjoy your view of downtown while you’re enjoying your meal. The paninis are very good and you can’t go wrong with any of the pasta dishes. They offer live music on Fridays from 11:30am to 1:30pm in the summer to make ending your work week a little more enjoyable.
- Smokey D’s-located on Second Ave., the skywalk and at Nationwide downtown, the sandwiches offer a huge helping of meat. The sandwiches are packed with a healthy serving of meat and the choices of sides are all great choices. The bacon potato soup is hearty and filling and great on a winter day. Be sure to get a Dode Bar (scotcharoos) as a treat before you leave.
- El Rodeo– located in Clive, Urbandale and on Euclid, El Rodeo is consistently good Mexican food with very quick service. They’re reasonably priced but still offer large servings. Tacos De Carne Asada a good go-to for a quick lunch that won’t leave you feeling sluggish later.
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