Iowa City has plenty of options for romantic dining or celebrating special occasions from classic Italian joints to elegant steakhouses, Asian-centric sushi and Thai restaurants, and sophisticated French eateries. There are many fun things to do in Iowa City.
Head to Baroncini Ristorante Italiano or Basta Pizzeria Ristorante for delicious Italian fare; try Graze Restaurant and Orchard Green for deliciously healthy and organic farm-to-table food; or savor classic French cuisine at Chez Grace. Here are some more of Iowa City’s top romantic restaurants.
1. Baroncini Ristorante Italiano, Iowa City
© Baroncini Ristorante Italiano
Tucked away on South Linn Street, Baroncini Ristorante Italiano is a charming little Italian restaurant that offers contemporary Italian cuisine in a cozy setting. Owned by Chef Gianluca Baroncini, the family-friendly restaurant uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create classic and modern Italian cuisine of homemade soups and fresh salads, antipasti platters of charcuterie and cheeses, fresh seafood and prime meats, and decadent desserts like the tortino di cioccolato gianduia.
The cuisine is paired with a variety of casual wines from Italy and other wine-growing regions, along with craft beers by the bottle, and made-to-order cocktails. Check out the best places to visit in Iowa and explore the surrounding area.
Baroncini Ristorante Italiano, 104 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA, Phone: 319-337-2048
2. Basta Pizzeria Ristorante
© Basta Pizzeria Ristorante
Basta Pizzeria Ristorante is an upscale, family-friendly restaurant in the heart of downtown Iowa City that specializes in delicious Italian style pizza cooked in a wood-fired brick pizza oven and served with gourmet toppings. Owned and operated by Jack Piper and James Adrian and Executive Chef / General Manager Brady McDonald, the restaurant serves hand-tossed pizzas made from scratch and other items such as house-made pasta, fresh soups and salads, gourmet sandwiches, and appetizers of fried calamari, grilled artichokes and ahi tartare.
The full-service bar offers a wide range of libations, including a variety of wines from around the world, craft beers and brews on tap and by the bottle, top-shelf spirits, and handcrafted cocktails.
Basta Pizzeria Ristorante, 121 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-337-2010
Blackstone is a spacious, contemporary spot that serves traditional American cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian flavors and presented with playful twists. The restaurant features comfortable décor and modern furnishings in warm tones, banquette seating and a full-service bar, along with dining spaces for private events and functions. Seasonal menus of innovative cuisine are prepared with locally sourced ingredients and include the finest USDA corn-fed beef, organic chicken and pork, and fresh seafood. The full-service bar serves ten rotating craft beers, a whiskey menu featuring over 175 bottles from around the world, more than 20 variations of martinis, and casual global wines. Explore the Iowa escapes for your next trip.
, 503 Westbury Dr #1, Iowa City, IA 52245, Phone: 319-338-1770
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4. Chez Grace
© Chez Grace
Chez Grace is a quaint, old-world brasserie serving traditional French fare and boutique wines in a relaxed, unpretentious setting. Focusing on authentic French fare and excellent estate wines, the brasserie’s menu boasts favorites such as Soup 'à la Provençale, Le Foie Gras Poêlées à la Poire, Magrets De Canard a l’orange, and Steak Au Poivre. The cuisine is accompanied by vintages from boutique French wine producers, craft beers by the bottle, high-end spirits, and housemade cocktails.
Chez Grace, 424 6th Ave # 101, Coralville, IA 52241
5. Graze Restaurant, Iowa City
Graze Restaurant is a farm-to-table eatery that focuses on serving healthy and delicious market-driven fare prepared with locally sourced ingredients and regional produce from artisans, farmers, and fishermen. The bright, modern hangout serves creative shared plates and entrées of Italian meatballs, cheese fondue, chicken spring rolls, grilled steak, and fish tacos and a variety of salads, sides, and desserts. The full-service bar offers a range of casual wines and craft beers on tap and by the bottle.
Graze Restaurant, 345 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-887-5477
6. Iowa Chop House
© Iowa Chop House
The Iowa Chop House is a country-chic eatery with a traditional taproom that serves classic farm-to-table steakhouse fare and a rotating selection of local craft beers. Decorated in dark wood and leather tones with elegantly dressed tables and dining booths, and soft lighting, the traditional steakhouse serves a menu of thick house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks, free-range chicken and pork, fresh seafood and a range of vegetarian options.
The full-service bar has an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails.
Iowa Chop House, 223 E Washington St, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-359-1078
7. Joseph's Steakhouse
© Joseph's Steakhouse
Joseph's Steakhouse is an old-school, white-tablecloth steakhouse that serves the finest cuts of aged steak, prime rib, and beef, along with fresh seafood and a wide range of fine wines. Boasting traditional steakhouse décor with dark wood and leather accents, elegantly dressed tables and gleaming silverware, the steakhouse serves a menu of thick house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks, free-range chicken and pork, fresh seafood and a range of vegetarian options. The full-service bar has an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Joseph’s Steakhouse is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
212 S Clinton St, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-358-0776
8. One Twenty Six
© One Twenty Six
Located in the lively and bustling downtown area of Iowa City, One Twenty Six is a classic French American bistro that has been serving contemporary American cuisine with French influences for the past 16 years. Globally-inspired and French-accented cuisine is prepared with fresh, natural and local ingredients and served in a warm and welcoming setting. Seasonal menus features dishes of prime meats and chicken from local farmers, wood-fired pizzas with gourmet toppings, housemade pasta and sauces, fresh salads and vegetarian options, all of which made in-house and from scratch and served alongside fine global wines, craft beers, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits from the elegant Moonrakers Bar. One Twenty Six is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
One Twenty Six, 126 E Washington St, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-887-1909
9. Orchard Green
© Orchard Green
Orchard Green is one of the top fine-dining restaurants in the city, serving seasonal American fare with Mediterranean influences in a sleek, dark-wood dining space. Strongly influenced by traditional French delicacies, seasonally-inspired menus created by Owner/Executive Chef Bryan Herzic feature gourmet classics artistically prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. The elegant restaurant boasts a beautifully appointed dining room with chandeliered cathedral ceilings and soft lighting, perfect for romantic celebrations, and a casual, intimate downstairs lounge with a full-service bar that serves global wines and custom specialty drinks against a backdrop of live music throughout the week. Iowa parks offer an affordable way to explore the state.
521 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-354-1642
10. Oyama Sushi, Iowa City
© Oyama Sushi
Located in the Iowa City Marketplace, Oyama Sushi is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that serves fresh handmade sushi, sashimi, and teppanyaki in a sleek, wood-floored space. The restaurant is decorated in sleek and stylish décor and serves a menu of authentic Japanese cuisine such as an array of hibachi, sushi, sashimi, rolls, tempura, teppanyaki, and other fresh seafood dishes. Diners can watch the expert sushi chefs preparing specialty rolls at the open sushi bar, and a range of drinks from sake to classic cocktails are available.
1853 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-337-8801
11. Rapid Creek Cidery
© Rapid Creek Cidery
Set in a beautifully restored, century-old, gable-roofed barn surrounded by apple trees in picturesque Wilson’s Orchard, Rapid Creek Cidery is a two-story restaurant, bar, and event center that offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience. Seasonal menus market-driven cuisine prepared with fresh locally sourced ingredients features dishes of Roasted Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Shiitake, Roasted Long Line Swordfish, Roasted Magret Duck Breast with Duck Confit, and Grilled Hanger Steak with Smoked Artichoke Ricotta. The food is accompanied by an excellent selection of house-crafted ciders, global wines, and creative cocktails.
Rapid Creek Cidery, 4823 Dingleberry Rd NE #2, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-643-4159
12. Vesta, Iowa City
Bring the warm and wonderful flavors of the Mediterranean to the heart of Iowa City, Vesta is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant that serves contemporary cuisine from Italy, Greece, France, Spain, and North Africa. The bright and cheerful spot has large dining room that seats up to 150 guests, as well as private dining areas for special occasions and a spacious patio in front of the Coralville Marriott Hotel that offers alfresco dining in the summer. The seasonal menu features creative dishes like Pistachio Herb Walleye, Portobello Mushroom Ratatouille, Greek Scallop, Parmesan Panko Chicken, Goat Cheese and Sausage, Iowa Elk Stroganoff, and Ancho Rub Pork Loin. The full-service bar has an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Vesta is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
, 849 Quarry Rd # 100, Coralville, IA 52241, Phone: 319-338-3782
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13. Vue Rooftop, Iowa City
© Vue Rooftop
Set on the 12th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, the Vue Rooftop is a sleek and stylish rooftop bar with spectacular views of downtown Iowa City. The distinctly modern escape boasts a stunning outdoor design with comfortable contemporary indoor and outdoor seating, and a beautiful lounge area and a full-service bar that serves craft cocktails, bar bites and fine wines from around the world. Soak up the expansive city views over a fresh contemporary spin on flatbreads and delicious New American entrées accompanied by a variety of craft beers on tap and by the bottle and creative locally-inspired cocktails and live music.
Vue Rooftop, 328 S Clinton St Suite A, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-519-4650
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