When it comes to livability Iowa City has it all. Both visitors and locals enjoy the combination between indoor attractions such as the entertainment offered at the Englert Theatre, Coralville Center for the Performing Arts or the the Riverside Theatre. Open air Jazz festivals fill the air with the mellow sounds of old style or contemporary Jazz music while the riverfront beckons those who want to take in the air of relaxation that permeates the city.
However, Iowa City has not until recently been recognized as a culinary hot spot – but that is changing. Hordes of university students and an increasingly cuisine savvy populace is fast making Iowa City into a place not only to relax – but also to enjoy dining options that range from the relaxed and wallet friendly bar type destination to the silver service experience.
If you are Iowa City here are some great options to enjoy exceptional service and food.
It may sound like a 1930’s dance style but this restaurant / bar rewards sitting rather than cutting a rug. The industrial theme lends an air of whimsy and creates an ambiance that begs for patrons to try one of the 60 beers that are on tap. The rooftop patio area is simply too good to resist. Give the steak frites a try. Seasoned with aged Worcestershire sauce, a miso butter and a side of fries this is bar food as it should be done. Burgers are great as well.
2. The Big Grove Brewery and Taproom.
This is venue for the whole family – especially in those arm summer month. 26,000 square feet of fun await the patrons. Inside you can enjoy a game of foosball or ping pong and some fabulous beers, but outside is where the fun really starts. The patio is great, but it’s the lawn that keeps folk coming back for more. Plenty of room to throw a Frisbee or enjoy one of the bocce ball courts or let the little ones enjoy the kiddies play area. Ideal for a picnic or enjoying one of the exceptional sandwiches on offer. The Cubano is worthy of attention or the classic Reuben. But the tacos are also great. So many choices at this great venue.
3. Pagliai’s Pizza.
The secret to great dining anywhere in the world is to follow the locals. They know what’s good. In Iowa City a local favorite also serves one of America’s (and the world’s) favorite dishes – pizza. Sure as the sun rises pizza snobs are always going to give a shout out to New York or Chicago – but the folks at Pagliai’s Pizza can go toe to toe with the best of them. The restaurant has been in family hands for three generations and the love and devotion to their craft comes across in each bite. Fresh ingredients delivered daily – and a pork sausage made by hand are only some of the highlights for the pizza lover. This is pizza as it should be.
If you are in Iowa, take a seat at one of Iowa City’s great dining institutions- you’ll be glad you did.