So, this year we made another Best Of list so we could keep it up to date and relevant for you all! I polled last year’s IMP members and had them vote on their favorites as well as leave any extra recommendations they had for new Iowa City residents. Here is a little break down of what won out as well as some tips/tricks that I have learned or heard.
So…lets start it off with which Restaurants came out on top this year!
The Best of the Best
These 5 were the ones that members voted as the best in the area and their absolute favorites. My husband and I have tried all of these and I have to agree…they’re SO good!
1. Red’s Ale House (North Liberty)
Great date night spot but also extremely family friendly. Their patio is our favorite when the weather is just right. Red’s is usually extremely busy most days of the week and they do not take reservations. They do however do call ahead an hour before you plan to go which I highly suggest- especially if you want the patio!
2. Basta (Iowa City)
A great Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Iowa City. They hand make a lot of their own pastas and everything is extremely fresh and flavorful. Another one I would recommend reservations for unless you’re ok with sitting at the bar or the bistro style tables
3. Stella (Iowa City)
A great burger spot extremely close to the hospital. They also offer black bean burgers if you’re not a red meat person and superb personal pizzas if you’re not in the burger mood. Monday nights are also half price burger nights!
4. Iowa Chop House (Iowa City)
Great date night location and my husband’s absolute favorite place to go. Their burgers are amazing and the beer selection is huge with lots of local options
5. Blackstone (Iowa City)
Another great date night location and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu! My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed their shoestring onion rings and their crème brulee duo (dark chocolate and vanilla bean) made this pregnant lady very, very happy!
Best Mexican Food
1. La Regia Taqueria (Iowa City)- great street style tacos, offer online ordering for pick up
2. El Sol (Solon)- worth the drive for some good Mexican food! Very authentic with daily specials
3. Casa Azul (North Libery)- Quick service and amazing queso
Runners Up: El Banditos (IC), El Cactus (NL), and Casa Azul (Coralville)
1. Wig & Pen (Iowa City)- the flying tomato is a must try!
2. Geyer’s Outdoor Oven (Oxford)- Only open the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month from June to September. It is a little farm about a half hour outside of town and an essential Iowa experience. Cost is $12 per adult for all you can eat pizza. Bring your own drinks, blanket and chair!
3. Paglia’s (Iowa City)- I haven’t personally tried this one but lots of members gave it rave reviews
Runners Up: Monica’s (Coralville), Airliner (IC), and The Wedge (IC)
1. Stella (Iowa City)- Monday Night is the time to go if you want a burger! They’re $6.99 and they offer beef as well as black bean burgers
2. Iowa Chop House (Iowa City)- great burgers and lots of local ingredients
3. Red’s Alehouse (North Liberty)- on a cooler day a burger on their patio is absolutely amazing
Runners Up: Big Grove Brewery (IC and Solon), 30 Hop (Coralville), Airliner (IC)
1. Bluebird Café (North Liberty and Iowa City)- I seriously can’t recommend Bluebird enough. We usually choose going out for breakfast over dinner just because we LOVE this place. Their pancakes are super fluffy and tasty and their omelets fresh and flavorful
2. Hamburg Inn (Iowa City)- Great for breakfast and milkshakes!
Tied for 3rd:
Iowa Power House (Coralville)- Great brunch on the weekends but it is usually very busy
Pullman Diner (Iowa City)- Voted one of the best diners in all of Iowa!
Best Dessert Spot
1. Heyn’s Ice Cream (North Liberty and Iowa City)- Hands down best ice cream. Their coffee oreo and monster mash are two favorites in our family. We live walking/biking distance from Heyn’s so it has become a staple for our summer (and spring and fall) nights!
2. Scratch Cupcakery (Coralville)- If you attended our Welcome Brunch this year we were lucky enough to have a huge assortment of Scratch Cupcakes so hopefully you were able to try one (or two)
3. Hurts Donuts (Coralville)- this one didn't actually make the "Best of" this year but after talking to a few members we decided adding it was a must! They have some insane donuts that are worth the trip! We're talking oreo cheesecake, Reese's, and so much more. And if you want just a straight up old school donut their glazed donuts are SO good
Runner’s Up: Ghurties FroYo (Coralville), Dane’s Dairy (IC), and Molly’s Cupcakes (IC and NL)
Best Local Coffee Shop
1. Java House (7 locations in Iowa City including the hospital)- This one is my personal favorite as their white mochas are by far the best I have ever had. And since it is in the hospital it makes it nice and convenient to grab a coffee when I take the kids to visit my husband
2. Capanna Coffee (Coralville and North Liberty)- Lots of different flavor options and if you go regularly make sure to sign up for their loyalty card to earn free drinks. Their gelato is also homemade and super good
Runner’s Up: La Crema (Coralville) and Cortado Coffee & Café (IC)
Now that you are craving a ton of different restaurants and starting a checklist of where you want to try first…lets move on to the important stuff. The stuff you usually don’t think about until you need it like doctors, dentists, hair dressers etc. I won’t give any extra tips/tricks on many of these because I haven’t used or been to most of them!
1. Dr. Kelly Ward- this is my OB and I highly recommend her! She is extremely busy though and can be very hard to get in with
2. Dr. Abbey Hardy-Fairbanks
3. Dr. Sarah Shaffer- another OB I have seen before and I really liked her. Young, friendly and a great energy
4. Michelle Root, Nurse Practioner- I have seen her for non pregnancy related appointments and loved her
5. UIHC Midwives
1. Dr. Shivgami Aurora (NL)- this is who my kids go to and we adore her!
2. Dr. Lori Christiansen (IRL)
3. Dr. Boutros (IRL)
Internal Medicine Recommendations
1. Dr. Rachel Dirksen (IC)
2. Dr. Denise Martinez (IC)
3. Dr. Angela Farrrell (NL)
Adult Dentist Recommendations
1. Design Dental (NL)
2. North Liberty Dental (NL)
3. Melrose Dental (IC)
4. Ridgeway Dental (Coralville)
5. Towncrest Dental (IC)
Pediatric Dentist Recommendations
1. Corridor Kids Dentistry (NL)
2. North Liberty Dental (NL)
3. Dr. Polly Iben (Coralville)
Hair Salon Recommendations
1. La Reve (Sarah Davis)
2. Studio 5 (Jodie Scheiber)
3. HABA Salon (Katelyn Sexton)
4. Thompson & Co
5. Tru Salon
I will post the remainder of the “Best Ofs” including parks, pools, splash pads and fun seasonal activities week after next! Have other recommendations for new Iowa City residents or other tips/tricks for the ones above?? Post them in the comments below!!