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5 Best-Kept-Secret Restaurants in Des Moines

5 Best-Kept-Secret Restaurants in Des Moines

5 Best-Kept-Secret Restaurants in Des Moines

These five best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines are part of the hidden gems that await the discerning food enthusiast, offering a delightful journey of flavors and experiences. Our exploration of five of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines has revealed a diverse array of culinary wonders. From the authentic Italian flavors of Tumea & Sons Restaurant to the inventive Thai fusion of Cool Basil, each restaurant has carved out its unique place in the city’s gastronomic landscape.

Gusto Pizza Bar tempts with its artisanal pizzas that boast creative toppings and harmonious combinations, while Waveland Cafe captures the essence of comfort with its unpretentious breakfast delights. And let’s not forget Felix & Oscar’s, where the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza reigns supreme, and Cool Basil, where the aromatic Thai dishes transport you across continents.

However, our culinary journey through Des Moines doesn’t end here. This city harbors a wealth of undiscovered best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines, each one a testament to the city’s vibrant culinary scene. As you explore the hidden corners of Des Moines, you’re bound to stumble upon more best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines that will tantalize your taste buds and leave lasting memories. This is why these are some of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines that are waiting for you to discover them. This list is in no particular order.


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1) Felix & Oscar’s

Nestled within the heart of Des Moines, one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines, Felix & Oscar’s, beckons diners with its warm and welcoming ambiance. Situated in a charming area of the city, this family-owned and operated gem has been a local favorite for years. The restaurant boasts a cozy and inviting atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for a delightful dining experience.

Felix & Oscar’s is renowned for its mouthwatering Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas. Baked to perfection, these pizzas feature a thick, buttery crust that cradles an array of fresh toppings, gooey cheese, and rich tomato sauce. This signature dish is a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that leaves a lasting impression on every palate.

Main Menu Items:

1. Deep-Dish Supreme Pizza: Sink your teeth into a slice of perfection with the Deep-Dish Supreme Pizza. This masterpiece is generously topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Each bite offers a burst of savory goodness, all held together by the iconic deep-dish crust.

2. Chicken Alfredo Pasta: For those seeking a comfort food classic, the Chicken Alfredo Pasta is a must-try. Tender grilled chicken is nestled atop a bed of fettuccine noodles, all smothered in a creamy Alfredo sauce. This indulgent dish is a harmonious blend of rich flavors and velvety textures.

3. BBQ Baby Back Ribs: If you’re in the mood for something hearty and finger-licking good, the BBQ Baby Back Ribs won’t disappoint. These succulent ribs are slow-cooked to perfection, slathered in a tangy and sweet barbecue sauce. Served with a side of coleslaw and crispy fries, this dish embodies comfort food at its finest.

Customer Reviews:

“Felix & Oscar’s is a hidden gem that locals are lucky to have. The deep-dish pizza is out of this world – the crust is like no other, and the toppings are always fresh. A must-visit for pizza aficionados!”

“I can’t resist their Chicken Alfredo Pasta. It’s the ultimate comfort food with a luxurious twist. The portion size is generous, and the flavors are perfectly balanced. This restaurant never disappoints.”

“The BBQ Baby Back Ribs at Felix & Oscar’s are a revelation. Tender, juicy, and full of flavor, they practically fall off the bone. The BBQ sauce is incredible, and the coleslaw adds a refreshing touch. A true carnivore’s paradise!”

Nestled within the heart of Des Moines, Felix & Oscar’s stands as one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in the city. With its cozy ambiance and family-owned charm, it offers a delightful dining experience.

The restaurant’s signature deep-dish pizzas, along with delectable dishes like the Chicken Alfredo Pasta and BBQ Baby Back Ribs, showcase its commitment to quality and flavor. With rave reviews from satisfied customers, Felix & Oscar’s undoubtedly earns its place among the best-kept culinary secrets in Des Moines.


2) Cool Basil

Nestled within the heart of Des Moines, Gusto Pizza Bar stands as one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines. Located in a vibrant area of the city, this family-owned and operated establishment is a culinary haven waiting to be discovered. The restaurant combines a welcoming ambiance with a passion for quality food, making it a hidden gem cherished by locals.

Gusto Pizza Bar is celebrated for its inventive and mouthwatering artisan pizzas. Among their standout creations is the “Figgy Piggy” pizza. This masterpiece features a thin and crispy crust topped with a harmonious combination of fig preserves, prosciutto, gorgonzola cheese, arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The result is a tantalizing blend of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that dance on the taste buds.

Main Menu Items:

1. Thai Kwon Dough Pizza: Embrace a fusion of flavors with the Thai Kwon Dough Pizza. This creative pie boasts a base of Thai peanut sauce, topped with marinated chicken, mozzarella cheese, fresh cilantro, red onions, and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts. The marriage of Thai-inspired ingredients on a pizza crust offers a unique and delightful experience.

2. Truffle Shuffle Pizza: Elevate your taste experience with the Truffle Shuffle Pizza. A white sauce base is adorned with mozzarella, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and a drizzle of truffle oil. The earthy richness of the truffle oil pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the caramelized onions, resulting in a gourmet delight.

3. Mac & Cheese Pizza: Gusto Pizza Bar’s Mac & Cheese Pizza takes comfort food to a whole new level. This indulgent creation features a creamy macaroni and cheese topping, complemented by smoky bacon and a blend of melted cheeses. It’s a whimsical combination that satisfies cravings for both pizza and macaroni and cheese.

Customer Reviews:

“Gusto Pizza Bar is a hidden culinary treasure in Des Moines. The Figgy Piggy pizza is an explosion of flavors – the sweetness of figs, the saltiness of prosciutto, and the creaminess of gorgonzola create a symphony for the taste buds.”

“The Thai Kwon Dough Pizza is a flavor-packed adventure. The fusion of Thai peanut sauce with classic pizza toppings is a stroke of genius. Gusto Pizza Bar never fails to impress with their creative combinations.”

“I’m in love with the Truffle Shuffle Pizza at Gusto Pizza Bar. The truffle oil adds a luxurious touch, and the caramelized onions elevate the entire experience. It’s a gourmet masterpiece hidden in plain sight.”

Gusto Pizza Bar, nestled in Des Moines, is undoubtedly one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in the city. With a family-owned legacy and a commitment to inventive cuisine, it offers a unique dining experience. They stand out among the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines.

The “Figgy Piggy” pizza, along with creative options like the Thai Kwon Dough and Truffle Shuffle pizzas, showcases the restaurant’s dedication to pushing culinary boundaries. With praises from satisfied patrons, Gusto Pizza Bar rightfully claims its place among the best-kept culinary secrets in Des Moines.


3) Gusto Pizza Bar

Nestled within the heart of Des Moines, Gusto Pizza Bar stands as one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines. Located in a vibrant area of the city, this family-owned and operated establishment is a culinary haven waiting to be discovered. The restaurant combines a welcoming ambiance with a passion for quality food, making it a hidden gem cherished by locals.

Gusto Pizza Bar is celebrated for its inventive and mouthwatering artisan pizzas. Among their standout creations is the “Figgy Piggy” pizza. This masterpiece features a thin and crispy crust topped with a harmonious combination of fig preserves, prosciutto, gorgonzola cheese, arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The result is a tantalizing blend of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that dance on the taste buds.

Main Menu Items:

1. Thai Kwon Dough Pizza: Embrace a fusion of flavors with the Thai Kwon Dough Pizza. This creative pie boasts a base of Thai peanut sauce, topped with marinated chicken, mozzarella cheese, fresh cilantro, red onions, and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts. The marriage of Thai-inspired ingredients on a pizza crust offers a unique and delightful experience.

2. Truffle Shuffle Pizza: Elevate your taste experience with the Truffle Shuffle Pizza. A white sauce base is adorned with mozzarella, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and a drizzle of truffle oil. The earthy richness of the truffle oil pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the caramelized onions, resulting in a gourmet delight.

3. Mac & Cheese Pizza: Gusto Pizza Bar’s Mac & Cheese Pizza takes comfort food to a whole new level. This indulgent creation features a creamy macaroni and cheese topping, complemented by smoky bacon and a blend of melted cheeses. It’s a whimsical combination that satisfies cravings for both pizza and macaroni and cheese.

Customer Reviews:

“Gusto Pizza Bar is a hidden culinary treasure in Des Moines. The Figgy Piggy pizza is an explosion of flavors – the sweetness of figs, the saltiness of prosciutto, and the creaminess of gorgonzola create a symphony for the taste buds.”

“The Thai Kwon Dough Pizza is a flavor-packed adventure. The fusion of Thai peanut sauce with classic pizza toppings is a stroke of genius. Gusto Pizza Bar never fails to impress with their creative combinations.”

“I’m in love with the Truffle Shuffle Pizza at Gusto Pizza Bar. The truffle oil adds a luxurious touch, and the caramelized onions elevate the entire experience. It’s a gourmet masterpiece hidden in plain sight.”

Gusto Pizza Bar, nestled in Des Moines, is undoubtedly one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in the city. With a family-owned legacy and a commitment to inventive cuisine, it offers a unique dining experience. The “Figgy Piggy” pizza, along with creative options like the Thai Kwon Dough and Truffle Shuffle pizzas, showcases the restaurant’s dedication to pushing culinary boundaries. With praises from satisfied patrons, Gusto Pizza Bar rightfully claims its place among the best-kept culinary secrets in Des Moines.


4) Tumea & Sons Restaurant

Tumea & Sons Restaurant, one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines, resides in a charming corner of the city. Situated in a family-friendly area, this family-owned and operated eatery has established itself as a culinary gem. With a warm and inviting ambiance, it’s a place where patrons can experience a hidden treasure of flavors.

Tumea & Sons Restaurant is renowned for its authentic Italian cuisine, and their signature dish, the “Chicken Spiedini,” exemplifies their culinary expertise. This dish features tender pieces of marinated chicken skewered with Italian bread, then grilled to perfection. The result is a delightful blend of smoky char and savory tenderness, accompanied by the rich flavors of the accompanying marinade.

Main Menu Items:

1. Pasta Carbonara: Indulge in the classic flavors of Italy with the Pasta Carbonara. Al dente spaghetti is tossed with a creamy sauce made from eggs, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, pancetta, and black pepper. The simplicity of this dish belies its depth of flavor and comforting appeal.

2. Veal Marsala: The Veal Marsala is a testament to Tumea & Sons’ commitment to traditional Italian fare. Tender veal medallions are sautéed to perfection and served in a velvety Marsala wine sauce. The dish is accompanied by a side of pasta or vegetables, making it a satisfying and authentic choice.

3. Ravioli di Portobello: A vegetarian delight, the Ravioli di Portobello showcases the restaurant’s versatility. Plump ravioli are filled with a luscious blend of portobello mushrooms, ricotta cheese, and fresh herbs. Topped with a savory marinara sauce, this dish offers a symphony of flavors in every bite.

Customer Reviews:

“Tumea & Sons is a true hidden gem in Des Moines. The Chicken Spiedini is a revelation – the flavors are unmatched, and the presentation is exquisite. A must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic Italian dining experience.”

“The Pasta Carbonara at Tumea & Sons is like a taste of Italy right here in Des Moines. Creamy, rich, and perfectly balanced, it’s a dish that leaves a lasting impression. The ambiance adds to the overall charm.”

“I can’t resist the Veal Marsala at Tumea & Sons. The tender veal and the Marsala sauce are a match made in heaven. The restaurant’s commitment to quality ingredients and family recipes truly shines.”

Nestled in Des Moines, Tumea & Sons Restaurant proudly claims its position as one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in the city. With a family-oriented atmosphere and authentic Italian flavors, it offers an exceptional dining experience. The signature Chicken Spiedini, along with classics like Pasta Carbonara and Veal Marsala, showcase the restaurant’s dedication to traditional and exquisite cuisine. With glowing testimonials from satisfied patrons, Tumea & Sons Restaurant rightfully secures its spot among the best-kept culinary secrets in Des Moines.


5) Waveland Cafe

Nestled in a quiet corner of Des Moines, Waveland Cafe stands as one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines. Situated in a cozy neighborhood, this family-owned and operated establishment radiates a sense of warmth and familiarity. With its unassuming exterior, Waveland Cafe is a true gem that captures the essence of a welcoming and unpretentious dining experience.

Waveland Cafe is celebrated for its mouthwatering “Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.” This signature dish is a delightful fusion of two breakfast classics. The pancakes are generously studded with swirls of cinnamon and sugar, mimicking the flavors of a classic cinnamon roll. Served with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of maple syrup, these pancakes are a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.

Main Menu Items:

1. The Big Country Breakfast: The Big Country Breakfast is a hearty morning feast that showcases Waveland Cafe’s commitment to wholesome comfort food. This platter features eggs cooked to your preference, a choice of meat (bacon, sausage, or ham), hash browns, and toast or pancakes. It’s a satisfying breakfast that fuels the day ahead.

2. Chicken Fried Steak: Indulge in a Southern classic with the Chicken Fried Steak. Tender and flavorful steak is breaded, fried to a golden crisp, and smothered in rich country gravy. Served with a choice of sides, this dish captures the essence of down-home cooking.

3. Vegetable Omelette: The Vegetable Omelette is a delightful option for those seeking a lighter yet satisfying meal. Fluffy eggs envelop a medley of fresh vegetables, including bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Served with a side of toast or pancakes, it’s a nutritious choice to start the day.

Customer Reviews:

“Waveland Cafe is a true hidden treasure in Des Moines. The Cinnamon Roll Pancakes are a revelation – a perfect blend of cinnamon roll flavors and pancake goodness. The quaint ambiance adds to the charm.”

“The Big Country Breakfast at Waveland Cafe is a breakfast lover’s dream come true. The variety of options ensures a hearty start to the day, and the quality of the ingredients is evident in every bite.”

“I can’t resist the Chicken Fried Steak at Waveland Cafe. It’s comfort food at its finest – crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the gravy is the perfect finishing touch. A local gem that never disappoints.”

Waveland Cafe, tucked away in Des Moines, embodies the essence of one of the best-kept-secret restaurants in the city. With a family-owned heritage and a focus on comforting flavors, it offers an unpretentious and inviting dining experience. The signature Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, along with classic options like The Big Country Breakfast and Chicken Fried Steak, highlight the restaurant’s dedication to wholesome and satisfying cuisine. With enthusiastic reviews from its patrons, Waveland Cafe rightfully claims its place among the best-kept culinary secrets in Des Moines.


Now you know why these are some of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moinesjust waiting for you to discover them. However, it’s important to let you know that this is not an exhaustive list of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moinesand that this list is in no particular order.

So, whether you’re craving the charm of family-owned eateries like Tumea & Sons Restaurant or seeking the thrill of uncovering innovative flavors at Gusto Pizza Bar, Des Moines has something extraordinary to offer. Embark on your culinary adventure and unearth the countless best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines. For those in search of the best-kept-secret restaurants in Des Moines, the journey is just beginning.


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