Favorite Des Moines Metro Restaurants for Date Night

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Couple toasting with wine glasses. date night restaurants in Des Moines. Des Moines MomMy husband and I make sure to sneak away for at least one date night a month. We are foodies so we rarely add a movie or show to our dates. Instead, we take our time at a nice restaurant enjoying our favorites or trying highly recommended dishes… and maybe a drink or two. If you’re looking for recommendations of a Des Moines date night restaurants, I’ve got you covered. 

Our Favorite Date Night Restaurants

 

Date night stop at the sculpture garden

Django

We have a very specific list of delicious goodies we get when on a date at Django: Poutine, shrimp cocktail, oysters, and lots of delicious wines that pair so well! We share delectable small plates of fine French cuisine, then sometimes finish the night with a glass of port. An added bonus is a gorgeous view of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the romantic ambiance.

Aposto

I grew up in the Des Moines area so I have been going to this beautiful old house with a restaurant tucked inside since its inception. Yes, I went when it was Café Di Scala… AND when it was Le Chat Noir Café (man, I sound like an old Iowan). This house has a lot of character that is impossible to recreate anywhere else, creating a truly unique dining experience. They keep their menu current to seasonal items, so I almost always go with the special or whatever the waiter recommends. I’m a creature of habit, so this place is one of my few places to be spontaneous.

Flying Mango

This small barbecue joint was once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri. Therefore, it may not have the romantic ambiance of a French restaurant, but the food more than makes up for it. The menu is unique to beloved owner Joe who put his personal touch to the menu, which you see reflected on names of dishes like “What Guy Had” and “Redneck Surf & Turf.”

My favorite is the 24-hour brisket and the cornbread, which comes topped with cinnamon honey butter. And don’t let my comment about the ambiance deter you – I love the ambiance at Flying Mango and know a handful of couples who have even gotten engaged there!

Proof

proof des moines
A beautiful dish from Proof on Second Saturday

Proof has amazing food any day, but they have a secret that I’ll share with you: Second Saturday. Each second Saturday of the month they host a two-hour pre-fix menu of seven courses. They provide the perfect date experience as you share each of the seven courses. You can also add an optional wine pairing (we share one of these).

This food event has a fun origin story. It started with a different name: Submit. Guests would take whatever the chef wanted to make until they couldn’t possibly eat anymore. We never made it to a Submit, but heard tales of long nights of delicious eating.

If you’re not convinced based on the format, please hear me when I say this has always been hands down the best food we have ever had. I would say we are mildly travelled folks who seek out top restaurants whenever we travel to new places. Every time I’ve finished an amazing meal I say, “This was good, but Proof is better.”

Where do you go on date night in Des Moines?

<< RELATED ARTICLE // 70+ Date Ideas in Des Moines >>

I polled our Des Moines Mom contributors on their favorite date spots to add to your list. Pro tip: Put the names of these in a jar and draw the restaurant for some spontaneity.

Gilroy’s
Cosi Cucina
801 Chophouse
Fleming’s Steakhouse
Simon’s
Tupelo Honey Cafe
Fresko
Skip’s
Banana Leaf Asian Bistro
Bubba
Waterfront Seafood Market
Ohana Steakhouse
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

What are your favorite Date Night Restaurants in Des Moines? 

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Niki is an Iowa native who now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. She is passionate about paid leave for working parents, thrifting, and Beyonce. Niki is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Homesteaders Life Company in West Des Moines. She is also owner of Bee Thrifty, which consigns designer clothing for clients on Poshmark. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015).

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