EXPLORE: Local hotspots with tasty eats

By Jeff Pitts

Dozens of fine eateries in the area offer top-notch cuisine, but the following central Iowa hotspots also offer a fun atmosphere. Bon appétit.

6170 N.W. Polk City Drive, Saylorville Lake Marina, Polk City
“The only floating bar and restaurant in Iowa,” according to its website, Fleetwood at Saylorville offers live music, food and “amazing” drinks.
TIP: The new restaurant’s menu had yet to be settled as Explore Des Moines went to press, but odds are good it will feature a fish entree worthy of note.

1011 Locust St., Des Moines
Delectable pasta. Brick-oven pizza. Perfectly seared steaks. Centro has been downtown’s premier dining destination for nearly two decades.
TIP: Buzzing with up-scale clientele clinking glasses, having fun and enjoying well-prepared food, in all probability, this is the city’s most popular restaurant.

300 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
The Undead Elvis burger — topped with peanut butter, fried bananas, bacon, American cheese, egg and mayo is just one of the unique concoctions found at this burger lovers’ favorite.
TIP: The Zombie Bride Wedding Cake shake with vanilla ice cream and cake mix makes these burgers even better.

4708 University Ave., Des Moines
The best hash browns in the galaxy? That’s the claim made by Waveland Cafe, and many locals definitely agree, as this traditional-style cafe and its menu of breakfast foods has had loyal customers raving for decades.
TIP: Don’t get cute, just order the Everything Hashbrowns with ham, green and hot peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and add sausage gravy. You can thank us later.

1312 Locust St., Des Moines
If you like breakfast, and if you enjoy a good lunch, Americana serves the city’s best brunch, according to CITYVIEW readers in its annual readers’ choice polling.
TIP: The Saturday and Sunday brunch offerings include a bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary bar, a grilled-cheese station, a build-your-own breakfast taco bar and a sweets and dessert station.

223 Fourth St., Des Moines
Known for delicious late-night treats, Chinese decor, tiki drinks, and, of course, the world-famous crab Rangoon pizza.
TIP: Fong’s regular menu includes lightly fried raspberry cheesecake egg rolls drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

1525 High St., Des Moines
Bacon & Kale Toast sandwiches, Smush Burgers and bowls of Chilled Avocado And Whey. Lua was named as one of the top 50 breweries in the world and won a slew of other awards in its first 18 months. “Our philosophy at Lua is simple: quality over all. From raw ingredients to processes to glassware to side-pour faucets to taproom environment, we promise never to cut a corner. Never frozen, bagged, or duplicated.”
TIP: Try the hand selected and harvested Lua Reserve Caviar served with fuilles de brick, egg yolk, creme fraiche, cucumber and chive. Don’t walk, sprint.