Fun fact: Josh loves end-of-the-year lists. Loves ’em. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know, but between Christmas & end-of-the-year round-ups, he’s positively giddy the last 2 weeks of December. It’s great.
In the spirit of that excitement, we’re recapping our favorite restaurants of 2015 – I chose 5 & he chose 5.
Without further ado…
Grace’s Top 5 Restaurants of 2015
5. Gateway Market – Gateway will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve enjoyed so many good meals with so many great friends over the years, and it’s always delicious. You can go there if you want a burger, you can go there if you want Pad Thai. You can go there if you’re a meat-eater or if you’re hardcore vegan. There’s something for everyone and all of it’s delicious and affordable. It’s casual enough to go after a hike around Gray’s Lake, but you could also drop in on a Sunday after church. Seriously. It’s for everyone.
4. Drake Diner – I’d be remiss to not mention a breakfast place, as it is the best and most delicious meal of the day, and Drake Diner was the best breakfast place I’ve been to all year. I loved the cute-but-divey feel of it, and the food was beyond delicious (and so cheap!). Definitely a must-visit if you’re in the area and in need of a delicious (though definitely not healthy) breakfast.
3. Sakari Sushi Lounge – Sushi is delicious, and Sakari sushi is the most delicious of them all. They have great happy hour specials, tons of options (even if you don’t like sushi!), and a great atmosphere. Get the Godzilla roll – you won’t regret it (I hope. If you do, I don’t know, yell at me). It’s affordable and fun for date night or to meet up after work!
2. Krunkwich – If you read here regularly, you just heard me go on about Krunkwich, but it’s hard not to. As a rule, I hate the combination of chicken and noodles; I always have. However, Krunkwich changed that for me with their Chicken Ramen, and now I want to try every single thing on the menu (I think I’m going to get the Vegan Burnt Ends next time and I already can’t wait). Every single thing they put into their food is seasoned/portioned/cooked to perfection. Another super affordable, fun place in Des Moines that everyone should definitely try. Plus, they have take-out now!
1. Americana – You can’t beat Americana. You just can’t. The atmosphere is amazing; I love the art-deco, old-school glam vibe. You feel like Gatsby. I know he’s kind of a jerk, but dude knew how to live. The food is to die for, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal there; you can tell they put a lot of time and love into what they do. They have great specials, like all-you-can-eat fried chicken on Monday nights (Winner Winner Chicken Dinner) and bottomless mimosas at weekend brunch (Bombshell Brunch). I hear Champagne Fridays – $4 champagne cocktails all night long – are amazing as well, and I can’t wait to try that soon! The service is excellent, it’s priced right. Just go. I hear they have a swanky New Year’s Eve party that might be the perfect opportunity.
Josh’s Top 5 Restaurants of 2015
Grace wasn’t lying…I love year end lists. It gives me a chance to try something new and experience new things. Take music for example: I like to listen to certain publications top 10 “songs of the year”. There may be a song on there that I missed and I may really like. Do I automatically like it because it’s “top 10”? No. I have my own opinion.
I hope you see something on this list and try it for yourself! Try something new and make your own opinion.
HM. Mullets – I cheated here and added an Honorable Mention. I debated between putting Mullets, B-Bops or Zombie Burger in this spot. I really enjoyed all of them but I ended up siding with Mullets. Why? Solely for the rooftop. If we didn’t sit on the rooftop then I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. The food was good but sitting outside with that gorgeous view made it spectacular. I can’t explain it but something about that night…the weather, the baseball game, the sunset…it made for a perfect night. Go to Mullets for the good bar food, stay for the patio and wonderful view.
5. Fongs – Novelty or not, Fongs has serious pizza. You wouldn’t think that Asian style pizza would bode well, but it does. Their crab rangoon pizza is spectacular and you can’t find it anywhere else. They also have the best cheese sticks in Des Moines and even that has an Asian twist to it. Where else can you find cheese sticks that look like egg rolls? The original location in downtown Des Moines is still the OG and prefer it to Ankeny. It’s small, dumpy but just feels right.
4. Brickhouse Cafe – Forget Grip writing a stupid, weird (yet very funny) review. Skip over his part and focus on the food at Brickhouse cafe. This place serves breakfast and it’s damn good breakfast. The Macaroni Breakfast bowl is something to behold and comes in clutch. Everything on their menu looked fantastic and I want – no…need – to come back for breakfast. It may be microscopic-ly small inside; but don’t let that defer you from the good, homemade food.
3. Krunkwich – I never knew how much I loved ramen until I went to Krunkwich. I fell in love as soon as that flavorful, delicious broth hit my lips. The noodles are perfectly cooked and all the flavors go so well together that it’s stupid. Plus there are cat pictures on the wall. Cats!! Meow!! I want to try their numerous types of ramen and maybe even a rice bowl if I’m feeling frisky.
2. Victors – Victor’s nachos are the best nachos I have ever had. Period. Done. Victor’s does them good by making sure every chip has SOMETHING on it. There are no bare chips in your basket as either meat, cheese, jalapenos, or something is covering them. Wow. What about the other food, atmosphere, and drinks? Doesn’t matter because nachos.
But…Victors has closed. It has re-opened as “The U” with new owners. We will never have the same nachos or be able to be back at the same happiness level. Life is a little more meaningless now and we have to accept that. RIP Victors.
1. Americana (brunch) – We went to Americana on two separate occasions. Once for brunch (all-you-can-eat), and the other for a regular dinner. I gave both instances 5 stars because it was well deserved. I want to talk about their brunch because I have that higher on my list than their dinner. The brunch is freaking fantastic and you need to try it. The food selections are spectacular and it includes lunch and breakfast options (duh…brunch). There’s even a build-your-own grilled cheese bar! The quantity is the best part but the quality of the food is also very good. Come to Americana and have a good time.
What were your favorite restaurants of 2015?