Salads are an entree that can easily be overlooked. Other times, it can be the talk of the table. Salads can come in lots of sizes from a simple dinner salad to a loaded salad with all sorts of delicious toppings that can either make it more healthy or perhaps a little less healthy.
Des Moines restaurants provide a wide variety of options when it comes to ordering fancy salads. There are quick counter options and then high class restaurants that feature specialty salads. Here are 20 different restaurants to try out in central Iowa for a delicious salad.
Let’s dive in.
2002 Woodland Avenue
I’ve had experience working there when it was over in the West Glen area and I remember some amazing salads. Two that stood out to me there were the:
- Cranberry Walnut: greens, Gorgonzola, spiced walnuts, dried cranberries, balsamic vinaigrette.
- Cilantro Lime Chicken: greens, grilled chicken, Parmesan, onion, tomato, corn relish, avocado, fried tortilla strips, cilantro lime vinaigrette.
The Club Car
Lake Pointe Center, 13435 University Avenue #200, Clive, IA
There’s a lot riding on a salad dressing. It can either make or break the salad and at the club car they focus on not only the salad but the dressing. They have some outstanding homemade dressings including their house creamy Italian. Two salads that stand out are the:
- Poached Salmon Salad: Mixed greens topped with capers, hard-boiled eggs, red onions, garlic and tomato served with poached salmon.
- Asian Salad: Marinated sesame chicken, greens, mandarin oranges, red pepper and crispy chow mein noodles all tossed in a poppy seed dressing.
Ted’s Coney Island
3020 Ingersoll Avenue
Ted’s has been around for a long time and they know what they’re doin’. Not only with the gyros and coney dogs but they are pretty good at making one particular salad.
- Greek Salad: Be sure to add gyro meat to the salad
2843 Ingersoll Avenue
Being another former employee of a great food joint, I never made the salads but I watched people order them like crazy (I was one of the sandwich boys at the West Des Moines store). For a non-green salad, I would say order the Frog Eye salad. I could eat that ALL DAY. Instead, here are 2 options at Palmer’s:
- Cobb: Chicken, bacon, egg, carrots, tomatoes, provolone cheese on iceberg lettuce.
- Spinach: Bacon, egg, red onion, mandarin oranges, on fresh spinach with Palmer’s raspberry dressing.
841 42ND ST.
Gosh, who doesn’t just love this place. So many great options. I still dream about when there was a City Bakery (same owners). Enough of that dream, let’s get to reality of amazing salads you can get NOW at La Mie Bakery:
- Apple Salad: avocado, almond, carrot, feta, cranberries and balsamic.
- Mesclun: almonds, cranberries, carrots and feta
900 Mulberry St
Downtown’s latest restaurant features a great take on inventive Mexican dishes. They really celebrate all the flavors of Latin America. This is actually a great spot for salads too. There is quite a selection two notable options are:
- Malo: Mixed greens, queso fresco, toasted almonds, orange and agave-white balsamic vinaigrette.
- Taco: Mixed greens, beef barbacoa, shredded cheddar cheese, corn salsa, tomato, avocado and chipotle ranch
Court Avenue Brewery
309 Court Avenue
Home of great beer, and great food (honestly) they can also make great salads. You might not think that getting a salad is the right thing to do at a brewery, but when they’re this good you gotta order one:
- Caesar Salad: Grilled chicken or smoked salmon over romaine, roasted peppers, balsamic romas, croutons and creamy parmesan.
- Blue Cheese Steak Salad: Grilled flat iron steak over greens, cherry tomatoes, carrots and blue cheese crumbles all tossed in a creamy blue cheese dressing.
Big City Burger And Green’s
400 Locust Street #195
Home of some great burgers and easily accessible from the sky walk and parking garages, you’re sure to find a delicious option. There are some pretty awesome premium toppings to choose from if you think these two salads need extra toppings:
- The DSM: Iceberg lettuce, skirt steak, bacon, fried onions, roasted corn, goat cheese and butter milk ranch dressing.
- The NYC: Romaine hearts, prosciutto, mozzarella, artichokes, red and green pepper, black olives, giardiniera with creamy roasted red pepper garlic dressing.
1420 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309
A real treat for French style cuisine. There is a variety of entrees and salads to choose from. Did you also know that they don’t have a corkage fee – ever. It’s a great spot for date nights or just celebrating a night out on the town. If you’re looking to order a salad check out these two:
- Pickled Beet Salad: Frisée lettuce, bleu cheese, pickled beets, beet jus, red onion, apple, candied walnuts and red wine vinaigrette.
- Tuna Niçoise Salad: Mixed greens, pan-seared ahi tuna, hard-boiled egg, haricot verts, tomato, cucumber, Niçoise olives, fennel, radish, red onion, fingerling potatoes and classic vinaigrette 15.99
1003 Locust Street
Another all-time favorite by many from Des Moines. It’s definitely top of mind when it comes to Italian food. They also have no corkage fee specials. If you’re not thinking pizza or pasta for the evening, try out two of these salads:
- Centro Cobb Salad: Seasonal greens, wood-grilled chicken, bacon, tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese, avocado & parmesan dressing.
- Centro Salad: Seasonal greens, toasted pecans, red onion, gorgonzola & balsamic vinaigrette
524 E 6th St
There is honestly a lot of love in this restaurant. From the owner, Jason Simon, putting his attention to every little detail, to Joe Tripp knowing and appreciating food and the source unlike any other combine into a unique eating experience. If you’re looking for a salad at Alba, try these:
- Warm Frisee Salad: 6-minute Egg, Bacon Lardons, caramelized Onion
- Cleverly Farms Mixed Greens Salad: Timeless Prairie Orchard Apples, Spiced Pecans, Fennel di Parma, Shaved Gruyere
Exile Brewing Co.
1514 Walnut Street
Beer, and sure, greens mix well. After all you’re probably drinking a nice hoppy beer which comes from something green. So, why not continue that while eating out at Exile. A couple of salads worth trying out are:
- Pickled Beet Salad: pickled beets, whipped goat cheese, candied pistachio, arugula, balsamic dressing
- Fried Chicken Tender Salad: mixed greens, fried chicken tenders, bacon, white cheddar, tomato, cucumber, tossed in roasted garlic buttermilk parmesan dressing
1975 Northwest 86th Street, Clive
Since 1993, Cosi Cucina has been a great restaurant in West Des Moines for casual Italian cuisine. The feature wood oven pizzas, specialty pastas and of course – fresh salads even house made vinaigrettes. Try these two:
- Candied Almond Salad: Candied almonds, sun-dried apricots, feta cheese over spinach tossed with blackberry vinaigrette.
- Caesar Salad: Fresh cut romaine lettuce tossed with creamy house made caesar dressing and topped with house-baked croutons, anchovies optional.
Aposto at the Scala House
644 18th Street
This is another restaurant that has no corkage fees. Along with that, they have outstanding Southern Italian fare and one of the most unique parts is that you are served in a Victorian mansion. Of course, with great Italian, you’re going to have great sides and usually that means tasty greens. Try these two salads at Cafe di Scala:
- Spinaci: Baby spinach, balsamic and honey vinaigrette, chevre, dried figs, red onions and pine nuts
- Casa: Greens, grape tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers with garlic-fennel or balsamic-romano vinaigrette.
Nick’s Bar and Grill
9769 University Ave, Clive
Whether it’s a business lunch or getting food to-go, Nick’s is always an amazing option for appetizers, entrees, and even salads! Try these two salads:
- Chinese Chicken Salad: Romaine lettuce, chicken, scallions, almonds, mandarin oranges, fried wontons and sesame dressing.
- Cobb Salad: Avocado, bacon, egg, tomatoes, onion, and raspberry vinaigrette.
1905 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines
8950 University Ave. Suite 105, West Des Moines
8705 Chambery Blvd. suite 100, Johnston
Gusto is home to delicious pizza’s and with multiple locations around central Iowa, almost everyone can experience a slice of pizza in their neighborhood. If we were talking about pizza in this post, I would highly recommend the Spartacus (Red sauce, Graziano’s Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, banana peppers and cremini mushrooms). It’s so delicious. If pizza isn’t you thing and you prefer some greens, these two salads will satisfy you:
- Le Bacon Florentine: Spinach, arugula, Dayton Meat’s Cajun Bacon, hard-boiled egg, red onion, cremini mushroom, and warm bacon vinaigrette.
- Gusto: Romaine, roasted chicken, Dayton Farms Bacon, Roma tomatoes, red onions, carrots, croutons, Asiago with creamy Italian dressing (homemade dressings!).
St. Kilda is a restaurant that has been around for a couple of years now. It has been a very trendy spot for brunch, a great cup of coffee and even a fine dining experience. This restaurant isn’t the first time it has been mentioned on this site! Consider trying one of these two options for a fancy salad at St. Kilda:
Harvest Salad: seasonal greens, tabouli, roasted cauliflower, sweet and sour cabbage, dried cranberry, feta cheese, tahini dressing +poached egg +chicken +salmon
Grain Bowl: fresh spinach, quinoa, farro, black beans, corn, roasted red pepper, spiced pepitas, avocado lime dressing +fried egg +chicken +salmon