Restaurants in Iowa City

Select Local Merchants

Sometimes the most satisfying meals are the simplest. Leaf Kitchen's cubano sandwich, for example, a semi-regular special with braised pork and melted swiss, was so good that it inspired Little Village's Scott Samuelson to declare, "a part of me [wanted] to check into some private room to be alone with my sandwich and its sauces." And this isn't the only dish that the restaurant's chefs effortlessly elevate. Their rustic cooking spans breakfast and lunch, ranging from sweet and savory crepes to grilled chicken-club sandwiches, focusing on sustainability as well as simplicity. Meals make use of locally sourced produce and meats, and even the coffee is an exclusive blend crafted by a certified organic, fair-trade roaster.

While the cuisine at Leaf Kitchen is minimalistic in design, the dining space is anything but. Midwest Living praised it by remarking that the "eclectic more-is-more interior offers so much to take in that you may not know where to look first." Servers flit among wood and formica tables set with mismatched dinnerware and clustered with turquoise stools and canary-yellow chairs. These vibrant touches find their complement in a retro-inspired soundtrack of jazz, soul, and world music, which gets knees bouncing without the spring-loaded floorboards used by other restaurants.

301 Kirkwood Ave
Iowa City,
IA
US

The cooks at Quinton's Bar & Deli know the ingredients that make a good Reuben?corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss, and housemade dressing. But they also know the Reuben's extended family, which is why their menu has a section entirely devoted to the sandwich. The Rachel exchanges corned beef for turkey, whereas the Patsy switches in grilled navel pastrami. They can even combine two or three of the meats to create a Combo Reuben with twice the cheese.

Sandwiches in general happen to be the deli's bread and butter. Their most popular is the TAC, which stands for turkey, avocado, and cream cheese. Other options include the beef and brie, whose house-seasoned roast beef is covered with imported cheese, and the Aloha chicken, stacked with grilled pineapple and served in the pocket of a Hawaiian shirt. Burgers make an appearance as well, featuring hand-shaped patties from Bud's Meat in Riverside, Iowa.

And if you'd like some soup with your sandwich, Quinton's serves up the combo with a twist, ladling the soup inside bread bowls. A sizable selection of beers, wines, and spirits?including cocktails with homemade ginger beer?wash down bites.

215 E Washington St
Iowa City,
IA
US

La Reyna was featured in the Iowa Source magazine as one of the best restaurants in Iowa in 2010. The eatery was also reviewed by Chowhound, and 85% of Urbanspooners like it.

1937 Keokuk Street
Iowa City,
IA
US

Nestled within the confines of a historic building, Century Grille exudes grandeur with its menu, or the crab-stuffed portobello, which conceals on-the-lam flaked crab and its red-pepper sidekick inside a provolone-topped mushroom cap ($16). Meat seekers can unleash freshly sharpened steak knives or scimitars on the Century’s selection of steaks, including the 8-ounce sirloin ($11) or the 6-ounce filet ($14), while nascent nibblers can choose from a bevy of kid-centric classics, including macaroni 'n' cheese and hamburgers. Soak in the charm of the Century’s mahogany woodwork, refinished marble, and bar top crafted from thousands of pennies between sups from the extensive wine selection, which boasts more than 26 available sippables donning their most dinner-appropriate red-and-white frocks.

100 E 3rd St
West Liberty,
IA
US

• For $6, you get $12 worth of pub fare at lunch (11 a.m.–3 p.m.). • For $15, you get $30 worth of pub fare at dinner (starting at 3 p.m.).

71 1st Street
Riverside,
IA
US

Try Bluebird for breakfast, lunch or dinner. All made from scratch! We do our own baking, we make our sausage, we smoke our meats in house and roast our own coffee. We have a nice selection of beer and wine also. Look for us in the Feb. 2011, Midwest Living Magazine!

330 E Market St
Iowa City,
IA
US