Ames Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Ames

April 14, 2018 Claudia Navarrete

Ames is a city located in the central part of Story County, Iowa, United States. It is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of Des Moines, and had a 2016 population of 66,191. The U.S. Census Bureau designates the Ames metropolitan statistical area as encompassing all of Story County; combined with the Boone, Iowa micropolitan statistical area (Boone County, Iowa), the pair make up the larger Ames-Boone combined statistical area. While Ames is the largest city in Story County, the county seat is in the nearby city of Nevada 8 miles (13 km) east of Ames.
Things to do in Ames

1. The Cafe

2616 Northridge Pkwy, Ames, IA 50010-4059 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 26 +1 515-292-0100
Excellent
69%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 443 reviews

The Cafe

Reviewed By init4keeps - Des Moines, Iowa

Second chance. I'm a foodie and I will give it. Yes, the hollandaise sauce was perfect. See pics. Right amount of lemon, thick, rich. The hash Benedict was ok. I don't think collard greens were the right accompaniment to the Benedict. The eggs were just a bit overdone, with nearly no runny yolk(drops). The salad as a side was ok, but unusual. The melon and pineapple 1/4"x2 1/2" slices were very good and ripe, but there was just too little of them. The presentation was beautiful. Clean place. I wouldn't bring kids here. The place is beautiful, but they continue with overly loud music that is "all over the place" with its genre. 1980s pop to some sort of jazzy blues to what not, at a loud enough volume to not be able to hear your party. Which brings me to a Marcydiner tantrum scale of 3/5-no screaming kids, but way too loud music. Music at any restaurant is meant to add to the experience, not overwhelme it. My waiter, a tall man, was not friendly at all. The prices here are some of the highest in Ames. And while today's visit was filling, many times you walk away hungry from this place. It's beautiful. It has rich atmosphere. If only the food(and music) matched. Street parking. There is outside dining. There is also a dessert area with separate seating.

2. Hickory Park Restaurant

1404 S Duff Ave, Ames, IA 50010-8022 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol American, Barbecue, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 515-232-8940
Excellent
62%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Hickory Park Restaurant

Reviewed By srgauger - West Des Moines, Iowa

This place has something for everyone! Excellent BBQ and generous sides. Family atmosphere and can really handle the crowds. The variety on the menu insures everyone is happy. Don’t miss it when you are in town!

3. Great Plains Sauce & Dough CO

129 Main St, Ames, IA 50010-6388 Delivery, Takeout, Seating, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 515-232-4263
Excellent
62%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 247 reviews

Great Plains Sauce & Dough CO

Reviewed By Melinda D - Lee's Summit, Missouri

We went late at night, so couldn’t get pizza by the slice, so we got a pie instead. Wasn’t at all crowded. Pizza crust was nice. Very cheesy. Excellent evening snack, and finished off the crust as dessert with the honey on the table. You order when you walk in, then take a seat.

4. Aunt Maude's

547 Main St, Ames, IA 50010-6008 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 515-233-4136
Excellent
62%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 208 reviews

Aunt Maude's

Reviewed By Sherry70_13 - Urbandale

My food came out cold, so the server got me a new plate, including the sides I had already eaten. Our server was very attentive. My sister wanted an ice cream sundae, which is not on the menu. The server came back with vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce drizzled on it. The staff went out of their way, which is exceptional and a great reason to go back.

5. Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill

320 S 16th St, Ames, IA 50010-8102 Free Wifi, Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Free Off-Street Parking, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Highchairs Available American, Irish, Bar, Pub, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Drinks SGD 10 - SGD 29 +1 515-956-3580
Excellent
49%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 217 reviews

Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill

For the Irish, a Pub is far more than a bar… a Pub is a community gathering place – an overgrown “family room” where members of the neighborhood meet to share the latest news, laugh, and ofttimes solve the world’s problems. At an Irish Pub, the idea of being a “regular” is, well, a bit of a lunacy… one can no more be a regular in a Pub than a regular in one’s own home! For the Irish, the Pub is a home – not for its beer, or stout, or libations, but for its environment of family… comfort… and safety from the stormy rains that grow the Irish countryside emerald green in grass and clover. For a traveler, the attraction of the Pub is the Irish philosophy that there are no strangers, but rather friends not yet met. To enter a Pub is to drop by a friend’s home… the greeting is warm and genuine, the service is gracious, the experience is relaxing and fun.

Reviewed By init4keeps - Des Moines, Iowa

We got fish and Shepard pie to do some taste comparisons to other diners. I found the fish here to be satisfactory, but not as good as the fish at The Mucky Duck. The fries were good. We love the atmosphere here. As for the Shepard pie, it was horrible. Flavorless. Ick. Friendly staff. Family friendly. Plenty of parking. They are frequently full but they also have a very busy bar. So if you are more into the bar scene, this place is for you! Clean. And big enough to hold many people (The Mucky Duck is small). A bit pricey as well. And the bread was horrible. It appeared that someone had taken a perfectly curved piece out of one of ours, looked just like a bite! We are going to try a couple of other things and give them another chance. These things can always be improved upon.

6. El Azteca

1520 S Dayton Pl, Ames, IA 50010-6438 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Mexican, Southwestern Lunch, Dinner +1 515-232-0116
Excellent
46%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 195 reviews

El Azteca

Reviewed By ladyomaha - Omaha, Nebraska

The enchiladas, chicken tacos, and chipotle chicken are all great. Try the red sangria for a change from the margaritas. Family friendly and plenty of parking. Close to many hotels so you can walk over. Large groups all have to be present before they will seat you. A couple of bar stools for a bar and small lobby. It gets very crowded on weekends, especially home Iowa State games.

7. The Mucky Duck Pub

3100 S Duff Ave, Ames, IA 50010-8460 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wheelchair Accessible Bar, British, Pub Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +1 515-232-8888
Excellent
50%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 113 reviews

The Mucky Duck Pub

Reviewed By init4keeps - Des Moines, Iowa

We did some comparison dining and found the fish served here was much better than the other(Irish)place. It's a small dining place with friendly staff. Family friendly. Clean. Plenty of parking. Prices are also better than that Irish place we went. The fish though is really good here and comes with fries. I'm sure the drinks are good as well, but I rarely drink. Nice community bar and grill! Marcydiner tantrum scale of 5/5-no screaming kids.

8. Provisions Lot F

2400 N Loop Dr, Ames, IA 50010-8229 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 515-598-1783
Excellent
61%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 52 reviews

Provisions Lot F

Reviewed By muchan5 - Chicago

We visited twice last Sunday- walked in at brunch (it was packed) and bought coffees and croissants to go, which we enjoyed back at our hotel. Very good croissants. Returned for a post-concert dinner and enjoyed a delicious collected of "basics" (chicken thighs, burger, salmon fillet on brioche, beef) elevated with inventive preparation, delicious veggies, and a stylish atmosphere. Mushroom toast appetizer was a real hit. Desserts were very good. Wine... my only quibble- not quite enough in the glass to qualify as a serving.

9. Spice

402 Main St, Ames, IA 50010-6150 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol Asian, Thai, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Lunch SGD 20 - SGD 26 +1 515-232-0200
Excellent
52%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 83 reviews

Spice

Reviewed By DavidNancyJessica - Woodbury, Minnesota

We gave The Spice Thai Cuisine a try during our drive from Minnesota to Colorado for a skiing vacation. Wow, what a pleasure. The food was delicious, expertly flavored, and served promptly. As others have commented, the servers are outgoing and friendly. The restaurant is clean and airy. Our dishes of Pad Ka Prow Duck and Yellow Curry were both delicious. The location is downtown, a few minutes off the freeway. Well worth the time!

10. Brick City Grill

2704 Stange Rd, Ames, IA 50010-3974 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Bar, Pub Lunch, Dinner +1 515-268-4224
Excellent
32%
Good
47%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
7%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 102 reviews

Brick City Grill

Reviewed By Melinda D - Lee's Summit, Missouri

Menu had lots of burgers, and I was tempted, but had the Greek salad with chicken, which was excellent. Everyone liked what they got, there were TVs to keep folks happy while they ate. There were drink specials - had to pass, we had a long drive ahead of us. Restaurant is in a nice part of town off the college campus.

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