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The ultimate guide to Italian restaurants in Des Moines – Des Moines Register

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The Italian restaurants of Des Moines are unique to our city. Many are tied directly to Des Moines’ community of descendants of Italian immigrants, passed down through generations of the same family who keep things consistent throughout the years.

Considered prized culinary landmarks and institutions of Des Moines Italian food, these eateries serve everything from comfort classics like spaghetti and meatballs to upscale fare like carpaccio. And more than one will specialize in Des Moines’ quintessential dish of its Italian community: steak de Burgo. 

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Here’s a comprehensive look at Des Moines’ Italian trattorias. These mainstays are a part of the fabric of Des Moines, carrying on traditions and memories for decades. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover your new ‘old’ favorite on this list.

Aposto at the Scala House

Aposto, an Italian word meaning “everything is right,” is the mantra at this Sherman Hill gem inside a historic Victorian mansion. Enjoy inventive Italian dishes of gnocchi and osso buco. Keep an eye out for frequent pop-up dinners and special dining events. And be sure to order the house dish — cappellacci filled with butternut squash and tossed with butter, Romano cheese and fried sage.

Location: 644 18th St., Des Moines

Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday through Tuesday.

Contact: (515) 244-1353; apostodm.com; Facebook

Baratta’s Restaurant

For more than 50 years, Baratta’s has expanded to include several dining and catering options throughout the metro. But its South Side location offers plenty of classic Italian dishes for lunch and dinner. Start with some homemade fried ravioli and then enjoy Amaggio — your choice of chicken and/or shrimp coated with bread crumbs and grilled, served over linguine with roasted red peppers and mushrooms, topped with Amaggio sauce made with olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, garlic and basil. 

Location: 2320 S. Union St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 243-4516; barattas.com; Facebook

Basil Prosperi

For lunch, this Italian eatery is located just off the downtown skywalk in 801 Grand. Enjoy an assortment of pasta dishes like lasagna and various combinations noodle toppings based with marinara, pesto and Alfredo sauces. Salads, sandwiches and pizza are also available.

Location: 801 Grand Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday.

Contact: (515) 244-2070; Facebook

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

For a regional chain, Biaggi’s repertoire includes both time-honored Italian classics as well as new dishes like black fettuccine with lobster, wild mushrooms and chili flakes, tossed in a lobster cream sauce. Dine on appetizers, salads, pizza, seafood, steaks and chops. But save room for a tall slice of lemon tower cake.

Location: 5990 University Ave., West Des Moines

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 221-9900; biaggis.comFacebook

Bianchi’s Hilltop Restaurant

Bianchi’s Hilltop opened in 2006 on the east side of Des Moines. The family-owned Italian-American eatery serves appetizers, salads, pasta and thin-crust pizza for lunch and dinner. In the evenings, enjoy entrees like steaks, chicken livers and walleye with a dinner salad and a basket of bread, along with a choice of sides. Try an order of homemade thin-cut onion rings, Italian egg rolls or fried ravioli. 

Location: 2820 Hubbell Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 265-2746; bianchishilltop.comFacebook

Billy Vee’s Italian Restaurant

Ever since relocating to West Des Moines from Panora a year ago, Billy Vee’s has been serving its authentic Italian specialties in its cozy house in the Valley Junction neighborhood. Nibble on antipasti like brie ai pistachio — pistachio-encrusted brie served with toasted baguette, seasonal fruit and sauce Melba. Then go for pizza, salad or pasta like classic penne con polpetti with meatballs and slow-simmered “gravy.”

Location: 304 5th St., West Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 3 to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Contact: (515) 255-2000Facebook

Bordenaro’s Pizza & Pasta

Since 1977, Bordenaro’s has been an Italian food fixture on Des Moines’ South Side. This place is known for its pizza, but you can also order rigatoni with red sauce, cheese, meatballs, sausage and chicken Alfredo. Sandwiches and appetizers are also offered here, like the double-dipped onion rings in small and large sizes.

Location: 6108 S.W. 9th Street Des Moines

Hours:  Monday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30 to 11 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 287-1607; bordenarospizza.com; Facebook

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BRAVO Cucina Italiana

If you’re out at Jordan Creek Mall and you have a hankering for Italian, BRAVO is a convenient option for both lunch and dinner. Start with the pecorino cheese dip, melted in a brick oven and served with fresh cracked pepper, toasted ciabatta bread and clover honey.

Location: 120 S. Jordan Creek Pkwy., West Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 225-0660; bravoitalian.com; Facebook

Centro

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Enjoy pasta dishes, steaks, seafood and brick oven New York-style pizzas are the thing at Centro, open for lunch, weekend brunch and dinner since 2002 in downtown Des Moines. Try the handmade cavatelli with Graziano Italian sausage, mozzarella and marinara. And portobello fries with truffle aioli and chipotle dressing for dipping are available in full and half orders. 

Location: 1003 Locust St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 248-1780; centrodesmoines.comFacebook

Christopher’s

Enjoy a full menu of appetizers, soups, salads, steaks, sandwiches, seafood, chicken, pizza and pasta classics at this family-owned Beaverdale landmark that’s been around since 1963. A 10-ounce prime rib special for $18 is available on Mondays, and enjoy half-price wine with the purchase of two $17 or more entrées on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Look for steak de Burgo with garlic butter cream sauce and Boursin-stuffed mushrooms.

Location: 2816 Beaver Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 274-3694; christophersdsm.com; Facebook

Chuck Celsi’s Tavern Restaurant

This historic restaurant in Valley Junction has been serving great food and drinks to the metro since the Great Depression. It’s a tale of two families — the Rileis and the Celsis — and their recipes have been passed down for generations. Try the crunchy hand-cut deep-fried mozzarella sticks and The Italian Grinder with homemade Italian sausage simmered in a special sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese and oven-baked on a fresh hoagie bun. Or check out the legendary thin crust pizza and pasta dishes. Tavern now has two locations in West Des Moines (Tavern Pizza & Pasta Grill) and a food truck.

Location: 205 5th St., West Des Moines and 1755 50th St., West Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 255-9827; (515) 223-6700; tavernpizza.com; Facebook

Chuck’s

Chuck’s opened in 1956 as a bar, but soon became a family restaurant serving Italian-American fare. A full line of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, pizza, burgers and sandwiches, and Italian entrées of chicken, steaks and seafood are available. Keep a keen eye out for the Italian fried chicken, which is battered in Parmesan cheese, Italian herbs and spices served with two sides, along with the hand-breaded tenderloin sandwich.

Location: 3610 6th Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Contact: (515) 244-4104; chucksdsm.comFacebook

Cosi Cucina Italian Grill

This cozy spot in Clive has been a local favorite since 1993. Serving lunch and dinner, Cosi offers plenty of Italian-American specialties based around its Diana sauce — the house red sauce flavored with Graziano Italian sausage. Plenty of appetizers, salads and wood-fired pizzas and calzones round out the menu. But entrees also shine, like butternut squash risotto, Cosi steak scampi with jumbo shrimp and signature spaghetti and meatballs. 

Location: 1975 NW 86th St., Clive

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m., closed Monday. 

Contact: (515) 278-8148; cosicucina.comFacebook

Dino’s Bar & Grill

This hidden gem is worth the hunt. From wings and chicken fingers to filet de Burgo, this little restaurant fills up fast, so make a reservation. Enjoy pizza, pasta and sandwiches like the spicy sausage sandwich served on Vienna bread and topped with house marinara, peppers, onions and mozzarella. But be sure to save room for bananas Foster.

Location: 5962 Ashworth Rd., West Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday. 

Contact: (515) 809-1708Facebook

Felix & Oscar’s

One of a handful of places in Des Moines serving Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, F & O’s — as it’s commonly called — has been open since 1975. Go for a baked pasta dish like cavatelli with Graziano Italian sausage or meatballs, and enjoy plenty of appetizers, sandwiches and burgers. Lunch specials and a kids menu are also available. But be sure to save room for the house special dessert: a fried cookie dough sundae.

Location: 4050 Merle Hay Rd., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 278-8887; felixandoscars.comFacebook

Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

With deep culinary roots in Des Moines, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse continues to participate in the local de Burgo argument: olive oil or garlic, butter and cream? Now a small chain with 17 locations, this West Des Moines spot serves its signature de Burgo with roasted garlic, basil, oregano and cream sauce. For lunch, try a gourmet grilled cheese with brie and Swiss or share some toasted ravioli.

Locations: 

  • 550 Bass Pro Dr. NW, Altoona; (515) 957-9600
  • 6800 Fleur Dr., Des Moines; (515) 287-0848
  • 6075 Mills Civic Pkwy., West Des Moines; (515) 333-5665

Hours: Altoona, Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, aa a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Des Moines, Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; West Des Moines, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: johnnysitaliansteakhouse.com

Leaning Tower of Pizza

For more than 50 years, this landmark has been baking pies with its signature caramelized edges, and it now has a location on the DMACC Ankeny Campus for hungry college students. Create your own pizza or try one of Leaning Tower’s specialty pies like the Harrington — homemade Italian sausage, pepperoni, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and zesty sauce. But don’t forget about the thick-cut onion rings served with a side of house dressing and the spaghetti and meatball dinner served with garlic bread and a dinner salad.

Location: 512 SW 3rd St., Ankeny

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 964-0401; ltpizza.comFacebook

Lucca

Now in its 10th year, Lucca is one of the more romantic spots in the city for elevated cuisine. Lunch at Lucca is speedy and casual with an assortment of dishes like salads, sandwiches, pasta and pizzas. Dinner is centered around a creative four-course prix fixe menu for $40. A must-try is the house favorite gnocchi with butter and sage, but look for features like seared scallops with paprika aioli and zucchini.

Location: 420 E. Locust St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Contact: (515) 243-1115; www.luccadsm.net; Facebook

Luigi’s Italian Restaurante

Relatively new to the Italian food scene of Des Moines, Luigi’s opened in 2013. Appetizers, salads, subs, 14-inch pizzas and entrées make the menu, including veal, seafood and chicken dishes like Hot Chicken Arabiata with onions and a spicy light marinara over a bed of spaghetti. Can’t decide what pasta dish to get? Order the baked pasta sampler with lasagna, manicotti and cannelloni. 

Location: 2811 SE 14th St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 330-2112Facebook

Mad Meatball

This quirky little spot is more apt to induce hunger than anger. With an extensive wing and pizza menu, this is a great place for a feast. A full range of appetizers includes the Idaho Nachos — Graziano sausage on a pile of tater tots topped with mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, jalapeños, sour cream and salsa. Of course, a must-try are Mad Meatball’s mad meatballs.

Location: 401 S.E. 5th St., Des Moines

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Contact: (515) 288-2404; themadmeatball.com; Facebook

Mama Lacona’s Italian Restaurant

In 1963, Chuck Lacona sold pizzas out of the back of a Cushman cart with use of a CB radio. Fast-forward to 2019, and this restaurant is still using the same family recipes, including a red sauce that simmers for six hours; hand-made potato focaccia; jumbo-sized cavatelli using a special machine and served classically with Des Moines’ own spicy Graziano sausage; and dressings from scratch — including its popular creamy Parmesan.

Location: 3825 121st St., Urbandale

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed Monday. 

Contact: (515) 270-0022; mamalacona.comFacebook

Mama Mia’s

The newest addition to this list of Des Moines Italian restaurants, Mama Mia’s is already becoming popular for its fun twists on Italian-American standards. Mama’s Stuffed Meatballs come four to an order, stuffed with mozzarella, breaded and deep-fried, served with red sauce for dipping. Order penne, linguine or gnocchi with half red sauce and half Alfredo sauce. Another tasty discovery is the steak de Burgo pizza — a white pizza brushed with de Burgo oil and topped with mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and steak tips. 

Location: 550 SW 9th St., Ste. 4108, Des Moines

Hours: Monday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday. 

Contact: (515) 303-2366; Facebook

Marino’s Italian Restaurant

This best-kept Italian-American secret has been in operation since 1997 and moved into its new Johnston location in 2017. Choose from an assortment of appetizers, salads, soups, pizza, pasta, Italian sandwiches and its popular calzones. Baked cavatelli with sausage can be found here, along with Marino’s specialty eggplant rollatini with fettuccine. 

Location: 5775 Merle Hay Rd., Johnston

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. 

Contact: (515) 255-3931Facebook

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Noah’s Ark

A Des Moines staple, the Lacona family opened Noah’s in 1946. Enjoy classic Italian dishes like veal alla mozzarella, Calabrese-style lasagna, or the fried chicken, pizza and steak. Don’t pass up the complimentary garlic knots and try to save room for a slice of the San Francisco blackout cake, lemon fantasy, coconut whiteout cake or chocolate windmill cake.

Location: 2400 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 288-2246; noahsarkdesmoines.com; Facebook

Noodles Pasta & Sandwich Shop

This tiny south side shop has been serving Italian food for 26 years. The small but mighty menu offers plenty of pasta specilaties including fettuccine alfredo, stuffed peppers and casseroles, oven-baked with cheese and served with garlic toast and salad. And there are plenty of appetizers and sandwiches like beer-battered onion rings and a triple sausage patty served on Vienna bread.

Location: 2924 SW 9th St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Contact: (515) 283-1218; Facebook

Now or Later

Comforting Italian-American fare can be found here like mozzarella sticks and other appetizers, sandwiches, salads, pasta and steaks for lunch and dinner. A few house favorites are the cavatelli with a choice of meatballs or Graziano Italian sausage and hand-breaded onion rings.

Location: 3750 E. University Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Contact: (515) 266-9777; Facebook

Orlondo’s on Park Bar & Grill

Located off the Great Western Trail, Orlondo’s opened in 1978. The menu is full of Italian-American favorites like salads, appetizers, sandwiches, pasta and pizza. But look for fun twists like Jamaican jerk or Italian nachos; Italian grinder sandwiches with loose meat sausage, red sauce and cheese; and pizzas with wheat or rye crusts.

Location: 4337 Park Ave, Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Monday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Contact: (515) 244-3637 ; orlondos.com; Facebook

Paesano’s Pizzeria

Paesano’s Pizzeria is a cozy south-side favorite that’s been serving appetizers, salads, pasta dishes with garlic bread, pizza and sandwiches since 1982. Pizzas can be ordered in four sizes, including Aunt Angie’s Special with cappacolo, fried sweet peppers, meatballs and boiled egg slices. Start with some breaded cheese sticks, mushrooms or cauliflower. 

Location: 2804 SW 9th St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m.; closed Monday. 

Contact: (515) 244-1699Facebook

Pagliai’s Pizza

Pagliai’s had its roots in Iowa in 1957, with “tomato tarts” being sold in a bar in Ames. That tradition is carried on by the family in Pagliai’s menu consisting of starters, salads, calzones, pasta, sandwiches, and, of course, pizza in thin crust, double crust, or pan styles in three sizes. For something different, go for the Italian stroganoff with sliced ribeye, red peppers and mushrooms served over wide noodles.

Location: 5312 Merle Hay Rd., Johnston,

Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m.

Contact: (515) 253-9800; pagliais.comFacebook

Riccelli’s Restaurant

Since 1964, Riccelli’s has been serving Italian-American food in Des Moines’ south side. Steak de Burgo can be found here, along with sandwiches, salads, appetizers, pasta dishes and seafood. Onion rings are the thing here in small, medium and large sizes. But don’t forget about the 8- or 10-ounce prime rib special served on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, served with a salad, a side of spaghetti and a choice of potato.

Location: 3803 Indianola Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday. 

Contact: (515) 288-7755; Facebook

Scornovacca’s

Since 1973, the loosely translated “scorned cow” has been serving up Scorno’s pizzas made with Mama V’s secret family recipes as well as homemade Italian sausage, meatballs, onion rings and cheese sticks. Chow down on a homemade sausage and capicola sandwich served on Vienna bread with red sauce and mozzarella. 

Location: 1930 SE 14th St., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Monday.  

Contact: (515) 244-5779; scornos.comFacebook

Sam & Louie’s Italian Restaurant

This regional chain had its start in Omaha in 1994. It serves hand-stretched, thin-crust New York-style pizza to hungry diners in Urbandale, along with appetizers, wings, salads, sandwiches, pasta entrées, burgers, hoagies, stromboli and calzones. Start with an order of zesty buffalo wings or cheese bread before digging into a Manhattan pizza with creamy Alfredo sauce, sliced meatballs, Canadian bacon and mozzarella. 

Location: 8561 Hickman Rd., Urbandale

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 537-8361; samandlouiespizza.com; Facebook

Scopri

Opening in late 2018, Scopri at the newly-renovated Renaissance Savery Hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with an upscale menu of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches and entrées. Enjoy Graziano meatballs with a tomato-basil ragu; Chianti-braised pork osso buco with an orange-basil-mascarpone polenta, charred carrots, mustarda di fruitti and a reduction ragu; and a panna cotta trifle with amaretti, spiced cherry compote and fallen cream. 

Location: Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel, 401 Locust St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

Contact: (515) 244-2151; renaissancedesmoines.com

Simon’s

This dinner-only restaurant formerly known as J. Benjamin’s opened in 1994. It serves homestyle Italian cuisine like steak de Burgo made with beef tenderloin in 6- or 8-ounce sizes with fresh herbs, garlic, spices and butter; and lasagna with Graziano Italian sausage, ricotta, basil and marinara with melted mozzarella. Try an order of the Mediterranean baked feta with black olives, tomatoes and toast points. Look for Simon to come by with dessert. 

Location: 5800 Franklin Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday. 

Contact: (515) 255-3725; simonsdsm.comFacebook

Skip’s

While by no means one of the oldest restaurants in Des Moines, Skip’s has become a Des Moines institution. The restaurant that opened in 1981 serves American classics for lunch and dinner such as baby back ribs, pork shanks, steaks, walleye and cod. But don’t overlook Italian influences like crispy calamari with red chili aioli, steak de Burgo and chicken piccata.

Location: 4000 Fleur Dr., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 287-1820; skipsdesmoines.com

Sonny’s Pizza Bistro

This Des Moines secret opened in 2006 and has become known for its homemade family recipe sausage, meatballs, pizza, sauce and dough. Appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches and pasta dishes round out the menu, like grilled Sicilian shrimp pasta with sauteed roasted sweet peppers and onions tossed in garlic oil served on a bed of fettuccine. Or feast on a Sonny’s special pizza in 10- or 12-inches with Italian sausage, capicola, pepperoni, black olives and sweet peppers.

Location: 6594 NW 6th Dr., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Contact: (515) 289-2555 ; sonnyspizzabistro.comFacebook

Spaghetti Works

This former hat factory has been transformed into an Italian eatery with locations in Omaha and Ralston, Nebraska. Enjoy classics and specialties like sandwiches, pasta and pizza. Try the Alfredo chicken and mushroom bake with penne pasta, chicken breast and sauteed mushrooms smothered with provolone cheese and baked. Spaghetti Works even serves breaded chicken livers — you can top your salad or pasta with them.

Location: 310 Court Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Contact: (515) 243-2195; desmoines.spagworks.com; Facebook

Tumea & Sons

Even though Tumea & Sons opened in 1998, it feels as if it’s been on the south side forever. This red sauce joint serves up veal Parmesan, pepper steak, chicken saltimbocca and pasta, pasta, pasta. Enjoy classic Italian-American dishes for lunch and dinner. Then, you can burn off your meal by playing a game of bocce ball at the Lucretia and Sammy Tumea Bocce Ball Court located on the property. 

Location: 1501 SE 1st St., Des Moines

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 282-7976 ; tumeaandsons.net; Facebook

Tursi’s Latin King

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The Latin King didn’t add Tursi’s to the name until 1983 when Bob and Amy Tursi bought the restaurant. Jim and Rose Pigneri originally opened the Latin King in 1947. Never fear. The two families both hailed from Terravecchia, Italy, before immigrating to the United States. Order up dishes served family style including the Tursi’s for the King with a 16-ounce New York strip or Tursi’s for the Queen with a beef tenderloin. Everything comes with pasta with sauce. Go authentic Italian with the chicken spiedini, pepper steak with garlic mashed potatoes or pasta with homemade meatballs. And much of Latin King’s produce is grown on the property.

Location: 2200 Hubbell Ave., Des Moines

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to ao p.m.; Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. 

Contact: (515) 266-4466; tursislatinking.comFacebook

Villaggio

Opened by the Eoriatti family in 2008, this restaurant serves Italian-American fare for lunch and dinner in Norwalk. That fare includes sandwiches like the Italian Beef made with slow-cooked beef seasoned with Italian spices, topped with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese on a hoagie roll. Be sure to try an order of the unique cheese sticks, wrapped in a thin crust and fried, served with marinara for dipping. Pasta dishes include Village Pasta — rigatoni in a rich Italian tomato meat sauce, topped with sweet Italian fried peppers and mozzarella. 

Location: 1220 Sunset Dr., Ste. 101, Norwalk

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Contact: (515) 981-9491; Facebook

Yanni’s Grill & Vineyard

Yanni’s opened in Ankeny in 2002, the dream of Oswaldo Ochoa, an Ecuadorian immigrant who came to Des Moines by way of New York City. This restaurant’s menu is a unique blend of both Greek and Italian specialties. Appetizers include fried zucchini and toasted ravioli while entrees of seafood, steaks, chops, chicken, homemade pasta and gnocchi round out the menu — like the penne pasta diablo made with a creamy orange-colored sauce with Graziano spicy sausage. Be sure to save room for tiramisu. There’s even one flavored with raspberries.

Location: 410 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny

Hours: Tuesday, through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Contact: (515) 965-7802; yannisgrill.com; Facebook

Is there an Italian restaurant we missed and should be on this list? We can fix that. Please email Brian Carlson to be added. 

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