Restaurants to try during your time at Iowa State


By Leah Landrum [email protected]

A Garbage Burger and a Green River soda served at Hickory Park on Duff Ave. 

Leah Landrum

When you aren’t running back and forth between classes or catching a cup of coffee at the Hub while studying, make sure you find the time to try out these restaurants in Ames.

You can opt for a café or burger joint, or you can spice it up with some international flavors. Here is my list of restaurants in Ames that you have to try at some point during your time at Iowa State. 


Hickory Park: This is probably my favorite restaurant in Ames, maybe even my favorite in general. 

They have burgers, home-style meals, salads and more, plus a large menu full of ice cream sundaes and treats.

My choice of meal from Hickory Park is the Garbage Burger with a Green River soda, finished with a Pink Panther sundae.

Buffalo Wild Wings: B-dubs, as many call this restaurant, has 16 signature sauces, ranging from the mildest: “Sweet BBQ,” to the wildest: “Blazin.’”

Their wraps and burgers are delicious. My favorite is the Buffalo Chicken Wrap.

Red Lobster: This restaurant is a bit pricier, but if you are looking for seafood, there’s no other place to go. 

Start your course with salad and biscuits before digging into a plate full of lobster, crab or shrimp. The coconut shrimp is my personal favorite! 


Mandarin Chinese Restaurant: The Mandarin has a quiet and relaxing environment and serves delicious Chinese cuisine.

Don’t forget to order egg rolls during your visit; they are the best I have ever had!

The Taste Place: If you are looking for a more traditional Chinese cuisine, this is a great option. One item to try on the menu is the Stewed Beef in Black Bean Sauce.

Le’s Vietnamese: This is the place to go if you are craving Vietnamese cuisine.

They have spring rolls and a dumpling appetizer that are delicious.  I also love their hot pot.

Fuji Japanese Steak House: This steak house is a bit pricier, but if you are in the mood for sushi or hibachi, make sure you try Fuji. 

You can watch as they cook Hibachi on their grills, and many times the chefs will perform for you- tossing food in the air and lighting food on fire. 

They have a very good variety of sushi rolls. I love the California roll, the Dragon roll and the Crawfish roll.

Indian Delight: If you are in the mood for a little spice, visit this restaurant.

Chicken curry may seem like a basic dish, but it is very good! There is a good selection of curries, including vegetarian options.

El Azteca: For Mexican food this is the place to go. 

Chimichangas, burritos, enchiladas and more are available here.  Start with a bowl of chips and salsa and try the shrimp chimichanga.


Jeff’s Pizza: Pizza is a must for any late night study group, and it is just as great for a quick bite to eat with friends. 

Jeff’s is delicious and offers take-out or dine-in service.

Old Chicago: This is another great option if you are craving pizza.

Their Tuscan Chicken with Spinach is my absolute favorite.  Try out their calzones for a twist on your usual pizza dish.


Café Milo: If you are looking for a quick lunch, this is a great option. They have a long list of drinks and some delicious lunch entrees.  

The Pesto Turkey Caprise is a delicious sandwich option and their Vanilla Chai is one of my favorite chai’s in the area.

Stomping Grounds: This café is conveniently located in Campustown and has delicious options for your lunch.

This is a popular place for students to go relax, grab lunch and talk with friends.  As is the case with many cafés, you can find plenty of vegetarian options here.

The Café: This cozy eatery offers a restaurant menu in a café atmosphere. They also have café drinks, pastries and desserts.

My go-to menu item is the Turkey Pesto sandwich, but there are many other delicious options.

Panera Bread: Panera is a great option for a breakfast run or a quick lunch. They have a great variety of drinks and lunch options.

I love their chai, hot cocoa and Panini’s.  They also offer delicious bagels and pastries.